Tuesday, June 5

2012 TSE continued...

in a moment.

but first, an update 0f the now.

My hand is swollen and sore, and my chest feels like I punched the the TSE women's leader in the head with my sternum. I couldn't comfortably put my u-lock under my chest strap yesterday, and my prox card flapped around in the breeze smacking my injured inner upper arm. I came back to the busiest day I've seen at work in a long while, and I didn't get a chance to have lunch until 3:30 which my jacked-up, stage race metabolic rate did not understand.

I just love coming off a stage racing high.

Stage Four: Raystown

Raystown is a great place to ride. Swoopy, fast, fun, and awesome. I just hate racing there. Everybody tries to give me advice.

"Just pump the bike through the humps."

"Let it go on the turns."

"Carry your speed into the uphills."

No offense, but I kinda know all that. It just doesn't work for me. I carry as much speed as those around me, I just can't come up with the occasional and quite frequent 110% efforts to punch up the short climbs over and over at race pace.


It's not my bag, baby.

Nonetheless, we race there regardless of my shortcomings.

I told Dejay if he wanted to try for a virtual top ten in the men's open, he would need to go for the hole shot off the line. Go into the woods a few people back, and you're guaranteed to get stuck in a train due to the tightness of the course. I did not listen to my own advice, and I doubt Dejay really needed it to begin with.

The single speed class went off with the women's field. I saw Dejay hit the woods at the top of the climb ahead of the pack, and I went in about six deep. While playing my part in the train, the rider ahead of me brought a tree branch back into the trail that found its way into my armpit. Unable to hit the brakes with so many riders behind me, I ended up feeling like a SSP toy car.

Just like that.

It's so hard doing the train when I'm used to riding alone. As expected, a slight touch of the brakes up ahead meant the scrubbing of speed before the climbs and the need for extra acceleration to get up the short inclines. I was riding out of my comfort zone, and by the time I got around a few riders, I was blown. I was in for my typical Raystown experience. The people I just got around passed me back in short order along with SS rider Clay Chiles.

And that was that.

I would end up alone for awhile, get caught by riders from the following wave, wake up, get on the gas, and then get lost in my mind again. I was crushed when my cyclometer read 18 miles on the first lap as opposed to the 16 it was supposed to be. A bonus four miles of Dicky suckage. Why must I do so terrible at Raystown?

In the end, I only lost seven minutes to Dejay and finished a little over a minute back from Clay.

Meh, but not as meh as I had fjeared.

Stage Five: RB Winter

A stage more to my liking. Climbs, descents, rocks, rocks, and rocks. Before the start, Abe walked up to me and asked my what was all over my saddle.

That Butt Stuff had managed to squeeze out the perforated holes in my chamois and applied itself to my saddle.

Not a problem that couldn't be fixed...

whether or not Karen Potter happened to be looking in the right direction at the time was not of my concern.

Go time. I got out ahead of Dejay and Clay on the first climb because with knowledge from previous years, I knew what was coming. The rocks, rocks, and more rocks caused many riders to bobble, and the gaps formed immediately. Not race changing gaps, but gaps of frustration and momentum sucking pauses waiting for riders to remount. By the time we hit the second section of nasty gnar, Dejay, Clay, and I were together again.

On a more rolling climb, Dejay and Clay rode away from me. I don't know why it happened. It just did. When we hit the descent at mile nine that dropped 1,000 feet in a mile, it was game on. Rolling past all the walking riders in the gnar-gnar, I managed to pop out at the bottom with Clay right out in front of me. It was time to race.

I attacked on the climb with a fair amount of vigor. When the climb turn into a rocky shit fest, I turned on the hate machine and just stomped the pedals like an angry stomping gerbil should, would, and could. On the final rocky climb, I could see that I was even closing the gap to Dejay.

Holy shit.

I gassed it trying to bring him all the way back, but the climb ended at a gradual gravel descent, and Dejay used his weight against me and outcoasted my ass by almost two minutes. Fat, hairy bastard.

Stage Six: Tussey Ridge

The weird thing was, although no truce had been called, the single speed field rolled out together. We rode along as a group until the point where I felt like it was time to get the party started, and I started going off on the first real climb of the day. Unfortunately, the climb was followed by a pure coasting double track, and I shortly found myself in fourth place after a whole lotta not pedaling. Once the climbing started back up, I got myself back into third and started chasing Clay. I found him shortly after the aid station standing in the woods addressing a flat, so the pass was not as dramatic as I had hoped for given the awesomeness of the stage. I just love Tussey Ridge. Technical, crazy, sweet climbs, logs, views, descents... and a certain sense of urgency to get to the finish line. I managed to get to the end less than two minutes behind Dejay. Either drinking beer all week helped late in the game or hindered my performance earlier in the week.

No matter. As long as we all performed.

One day to go.

photo cred: Beth Ann Stauffer

The Shirtless Club for Men goes big time on the podium.


Anthony Duncan said...

Anyone else chuckle when reading the line, "I went in about six deep"? Just me?

Anonymous said...

I verped a little.

pv said...

Angry stomping gerbal!

Aint foolin' anyone with the razor rash pic. Pony up for some good razors.