Wednesday, January 24

Winter Shart Tarck '24: Race One

Sigh.  With Dr Mike calling out sick, I was on a solo roll down to Rock Hill.  The only good news being that I'm on my own anal-compulsive agenda, so I have all the time in the world to "do me."

Bathroom, sign in, mount the number plate, go see what the new gravel (that was added the day after my last trip down here) on the fifty mile an hour corner looks like, back to the car to prepare.  

I will never stop singing the praises of the SoPro number plate mount.  It's so clean and wonderful, I think it will inspire me to keep racing many, many more years past my already diminished relevance on the scene.

I started my warm up and quickly realized that wherever I finally ended up placing my bars after swapping to a longer stem put the brake levers in a bad place.  Didn't catch that last week.  Fix.  Back to warming up.

I lined up to the far left on the front row of the start line.  Not so much to get the hole shot on the first left turn but to stand in the full sun.  Nick lined up to my right... then Robert moved a cone and made a spot to my left and there went my sun.  *sigh*

I miss my left pedal by a whole bunch at the start, and Nick and Robert closed the small space I'd hope to occupy.  It was the usual flurry of folks all trying to win the race in the first five hundred yards, and for some reason, I forgot to do the same.  I think I got into the woods about ten or eleven back.  


My frustration with my stupidity and lack of effort caught up to me on the first punchy climb where I put in a big yeet to reduce my losses.  After that, the usual suspects that pull away off the front have.  The usual suspects that I end up mingling about with are all right there in sight.  I drifted off mentally a bit until the third lap when I started dealing with two problems.  Mike King (yeth, if you're not from around here, "the Mike King") and the other fast 50+ guys who started a minute behind us were going to get to me early on in the woods.  I don't wanna slow them down, but I'm not getting over for a whole train.  My other problem being that I'm doing the mental math of three laps to go after this lap is complete, two decent climbs per lap to take advantage of being a tiny human in order to claw back what looks like a ten to fifteen second gap.  

Six climbs, two to three seconds faster up each.  NBD.

Well, when Mike King did catch my wheel, I tried to go faster to stay ahead of him enough to not affect his/their race... but too much looking behind and not ahead and a couple "oh shit" moments coming unclipped and other assorted bobbling before I could let them around on the first climb.  Surge to the top, hit the flat gravel, see my carrots ahead, finish the long, flat gravel section, look back... no one, and I mean NO ONE is chasing me.

Through the start/finish and they say "two to go."

Huh.  We did six laps last year.

So, I redo the math and it's now four climbs and three to five seconds faster up each one... and now I'm running into lapped Clydesdale, masters, and single speeders.  That's the game of Shart Tarck.  The timing of your catches on lapped traffic can either help you or hurt, and it seems its mostly hurting me today.  My hopes that remained afloat of catching the two or three riders ahead might as well be named "Titanic," but with Pantera doing the soundtrack.

Sit up.  Accept fate.  Eighth place.  

Which looking now at last year's results, maybe should not have been a surprise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad for shart track recaps.

You should get a GoPro sponsorship, I'm sure you edits would be good. Although I don't like it when people tell me what I "should do".