Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Getting back to normal

After racing last Saturday and basically taking the week off due to my finger issues, I got back on the bike for a normal ride this morning. It was good to get back to the Hour of Power. I had been looking forward to it because it would be the first time on my new Tarmac.

A shout out to Art who had to go to Hendersonville to be with his father. It seemed odd not having the "race boss" there. I hope your father is doing better, Art. Hope to ride with you again soon.

Thankfully, it wasn't too cold. We started out in the 50's. By the time we finished the ride it was absolutely perfect. The arm and leg warmers came in handy there at the start, but you could get by without them.

I was feeling kind of rough starting out. The cool air was making my fingers ache. The group was also somewhat depleted. There was only one guy who had hoped to run in a B group. Kirt kept apologizing, but really he was doing fine. He had only been on his bike twice after taking 15 years off!

Billy wasn't there when we rolled off either. He is always pushing me - though I'm not sure he knows it. I love having someone better than me to push me along and for right now, he's the one. Thankfully, before we got very far we came up on him. He had started out slowly waiting for us to come along.

I'll skip ahead to the Meece Bridge Road sprint. That was the first point where I was involved in any action. Well before we got into the sprint area, John started building a gap on us. My first thought was, "Boy, John is feeling pretty racy today." Then I thought about it, "Hold it, that is exactly what he keeps telling me not to do." I figured something was up.

Plus, I knew John wasn't in racing form at this point. It crossed my mind that he might be testing me to see if I would go out and try to chase him down. I didn't want to fail, so I just hooked on Billy's wheel and decided to let him pull me up to John. I guessed John would have to let up and then there would be the three of us at the sprint. I wanted to be the freshest one.

Sure enough, we caught him. Billy and I were leading out. I waited. Normally at this point I just go for it. I wanted to wait for Billy to make the move and match it right up to the line and hopefully come out of his slipstream to take the line at the last moment.

However, John made a move around our left. Seems he had recovered and was making a move. I jumped from Billy to grab John's wheel as he went by. I expected John to just drop me, but when he didn't seem to get a burst, I decided to see what I could do. I went around him and he ended up just letting me have it.

The next sprint point of interest was the quarry road sprint. On this one Chris and Webb broke away before coming to the hill. Mike and I went up after them riding pretty much side by side. Mike commented how much he missed Art at this point. We could have used his pacing.

Webb fell back but Chris kept right on trucking. Here I lost my patience and kept wanting to see the gap close. I wanted to get on his wheel before reaching the flat spot before the last incline. I managed that, but I gave a good bit to do it. I sat on his wheel trying to recover.

Suddenly I heard a gear shift behind me and I knew someone was coming. So, I shifted myself and came out of the seat. Unfortunately, there just wasn't anything there. Still, I tried to push it to the line. Billy came by on my left and beat me by about five feet.

At the top he told me what I already knew - but he was right. I had basically pulled the group up to Chris and just didn't go fast enough to make my move work. First, I should have known that we would over take Chris. He is getting better, but he couldn't have sprinted with us at the end. Had I been patient, we would have overtaken him and then we could have battled it out to the line with all of us a little more rested. I might not have won, but I might have.

The third sprint of interest to me was probably the most fun I had for the day. I was concerned I would be too tired after the quarry sprint to contest the Paris Mountain State Park sprint. However, as Mike and I rode near the front just taking it easy and talking, John and Billy came through. I figured I had better hop on if I was going to give it a try.

We passed Chris and that left Webb, Billy, John, and myself. I noticed John kept glancing back at me and I guessed he was wanting me to form up on his wheel. John was going to give me a lead out.

This allowed me just to sit there and let him pull me through the wind. Webb was overtaken just before we reached the lowest portion of the distance before the final climb up to the park entrance. Just as John pulled up to the left of Billy's rear wheel, I slingshot around his left.

I had a great run because of John's pull. In no time and with little effort, I was able to pull even to them. For just a second it was the three of us side by side. Then my momentum pushed me past them. I knew at that point, Billy was going to react. However, that is when John's tactics worked to my advantage.

In the past, Billy always killed me on this section because I would start the sprint too soon. He would just jump on my wheel and then blow past me in the last ten yards or so. However, John took this option away by coming between Billy and myself. He was unable to cross over and jump on my wheel. I was able to form a gap.

I had a sudden fear that I had made the move too soon. The top sure looked a long way off. Still, I just couldn't bear the thought of Billy doing the quarry deal to me again. I stood and gave it all I had. Looking back at my data, I see I maintained over 20 mph all the way up to the last few feet. I don't know by how much I beat the guys behind me. I really didn't care, I was just glad I made it first!

Thanks John. I know you set me up for that one, but more than that I learned something. What I need to do is learn how to create those types of situations for myself. Seeing how that worked went a long way toward that goal.

Wow, sorry for the long post. It's just I was having fun just thinking about it again.

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At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still no mention of the real hills? Oak Leaf and Nature Trail deserve coverage too.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Jonathan Pait said...

But it isn't as much fun remembering Oak Leaf and Nature Trail! You just want me to write about it because you left me in the dust and beat everybody to the top!

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those two hills should be included in the ride description (and the sprints) because of the unique flavor they bring to the HOP. With your PM times, you should be up there...just save some legs from all those meaningless, shallow flat sprints. Right Art? Anyhow, hope the fingers are OK.

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not including the last two hills in the ride reports is like covering a NASCAR race without mentioning the finish. And we even get to turn right! OK, I'll leave it alone now....


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