Wednesday, February 12

Winter Shart Tarck 2020.4

Despite Shart Tarck being short, the entire series is really like an endurance race with a couple hundred minutes of lactic acid heavy effort over a period of five weeks.  Anything can happen either in the few minutes of racing every Sunday or during the 167 hours before you get back to the start line again.  I'd given myself the time last week to look at the points and think about how I could possibly move into the top five overall before it's all said and done.  I'd need to at least keep doing what I'm doing, but I'd need someone else to falter.
I bump into Jamie at the start, the guy who's ten points ahead of me after three races.

"I pretty much need you or Charles to get sick or just stay home for me to move up."

"I was sick last weekend, but I'm feeling better now."

Poop.  He beat me by more than thirty seconds last week... sick.  And I was feeling spunky.

So I lined up Sunday feeling a bit... hopeless?  Dunno.  I know anything "can" happen, but that door swings both ways.

I go off the start with a little less gusto than the last few weeks.  I want to go in the woods behind the "haves" and just in front of the "have nots."  I succeed.

I'm on Colin's wheel and mebbe back in seventh or eighth place.  Considering I've had two 8th place finishes and one 6th, probably where I belong.  I settle into a painful yet lethargic pace. 

photo cred: Supercycling
Show me your war face... your painful yet lethargic war face.

I'm thinking if I continue to helplessly flail about in Colin and Jamie's wake, perhaps it's time to start taking handups mebbe?  I saw red solo cups at the end of extended arms at the top of the climb outta the woods.

But then, I manage to get around Colin, and then... Jamie?  How? Why?  I need to get back into "trying" mode?  I attempt to flip the mental switch.

I see FM teammate Jason at the side of the trail wandering about and not riding his bike to a podium finish like he's supposed to.

"You all right?"

"Dropped my phone!"


Jason was kind enough to dramatically recreate the scene of his dropped phone for me after the race.  The tire tracks on the case are real tho.

My brain can't comprehend carrying a phone at the shart tarck, but I really can't process information when my body has shifted all my blood resources to my legs, heart, and lungs.   Jason catches back up to me, and I let him around.

And here's where I continue being stupid.

I've been giving a lot of thought recently to the fact that life would be better if I did some drafting on the gravel and pavement.  Unfortunately, I need someone to be there at the right place at the right time.  If I catch the wheel of a slower lapped rider, that's not the right person to draft.  If I can get on a competitor's wheel, I need to quash my desire to drop them immediately, instead using them to save energy for later.

And so it comes that I find myself in no man's land with no hope of a draft.  Looking ahead, I can see that Jason has pulled himself back up into third place... and in doing so, he's giving both Charles and Chris a huge draft to hide in for two (mebbe three) laps.  Summa'bitch.

By the time Jason pulls away (taking Charles with him), I've got two laps to go to catch Chris.  Doing the math in my head and taking into account this is a double points race, catching him might make a difference... or it might not.   Like I said, no blood to my brain right now for maths.  I make up the gap on the longest climb towards the end of the woods section, pop out on the gravel, give it all the gas I got, hoping Chris will lose all hope and give up.

He does not.

He sits on my wheel and enjoys the ride to the pavement.  Meh.

I do some zig zagging to try and keep him off my wheel.  Mebbe we go into the last lap with nobody having the advantage of a recent draft?

Chris pulls away on the down bits, I pull back up on the climb out... and try to hold his wheel.

And fail.  He pulls away and there's little more that I can do other than look over my shoulder to see if I need to protect what I reaped.  Nope.  Sit up, defeated, and also not, but also mebbe.

How did it shake out?

Well, Chris is an interloper, as he missed race #2.  That means that while he would have a hard time ever getting on to the overall top five podium, he can still take points away from people.

And that he did.

Had I beat Chris in this double points race, I woulda jumped into the top five over Jamie by two points.  Now, I sit two points back going into the final race, which means that not only do I have to beat him (again), I need to put one rider between us to not end the series in a tie.  Five weekends, four long weeks, close to two hundred minutes of pointless effort in pursuit of local shart tarck glories.

It's an endurance race for sure.

BTW: I was smart enough to use my squeezy leg bags after the first three races, but I was too lazy to get them out this past Sunday.  I mean, it's only a forty minute race, right?  Wrong.  My calves were soooo sore on Monday, so obvs I'm an idiot.  Lactic acid is lactic acid.  Don't be dumb (like me).  Get it outta your system ASAP.

Unless your name is Chase, Jason, Christian, Charles, Jamie, Chris, or Colin.