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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lead Out

I was supposed to get up around 4:45 AM so I could be at a training ride for the Austin trip. Unfortunately, my body clock didn't agree and I overslept. I missed it and decided to take part in the Sunshine Cycle Shop Hour of Power.

The groggy feeling wasn't gone even with the extra sleep I got. Thursday night I had raced in the heat, Friday I rode again in the heat, and the body was telling me to chill out. Still, I dragged myself out onto the bike and met with the guys.

There was a good group with several new folks along for the ride. We started off with Bob setting a nice pace. However, it seemed that everyone had different views about how fast we should be going. The group kind of splintered right off the start.

I decided to just hang out until we got on Meece Bridge. It was fun catching up with the other guys -- finding out how they did Thursday night and other cycling stuff. Before we knew it we were crossing the bridge on Meece Bridge. It was time for the sprint.

Near the front, I tried to play the old jumping on the wheel of the people who try to pass you. The plan was to do that until we got over the rise onto the final straight. The timing didn't quite work out and I found myself up front before we crested.

There wasn't much I could do but just try to go for it. Then I heard a freight train coming behind me! Peter and Matt went by me like I was sitting still! I tried to rise and counter, but my legs said, "Huh, huh." I sat and took it easy from there. Matt ended up taking Peter. Give the guy a relatively flat road and he will flat crank out some wattage!

From there I decided to see if my legs would give me a chance at the quarry road. I've found that sometimes my legs take a little bit of time to get going. I can actually do better in the later sprints.

Just before the climb we had a long portion of road. Some of the riders formed a pace line and pushed it a bit. I sat back knowing we would regroup before the climb. Several of the better riders were also back with John who was staying with some of the slower riders.

We started up. Louis and Blair started off pretty fast. Blair backed off and then it was Louis, Art, and I. Web and Doug also came up beside us for a bit, but by the time we reached the flat before the final climb it was back to Louis, Art, and I. Though Louis had a pretty good gap on us.

I started spinning like mad to catch Louis and I knew Art was right on my wheel. Finally we caught him and I grabbed a few seconds of breath on Louis' wheel. Art came around me and I then jumped on his wheel. Then we both kind of sat up to see who would make the move.

When I saw the finish line, I picked it up and just pushed to the end. I had these visions in my head of Art coming around me just before the line. However, the line came and went and the gap held. The best thing is my legs felt much better.

On Sandy Flat Road the guys who regularly ride the route took the leisure approach since we have not been sprinting on the road lately. However, a group of about six riders who weren't aware of the change came blazing past us. It was kind of fun to watch them.

There was one girl, Sam, I think was her name, who gave those guys a run for their money! Still, it was Peter who ended up taking the "illegal" sprint. The rest of us slowly climbed up to join them.

I sensed that the POA guys were cooking something up for the State Park sprint. I'm not sure, but I thought Tony and Matt were also planning to do something. So, I pulled up to Peter (a fellow Spinner team member) and offered to lead him out. He replied, "No, I'll lead you out."

We made our plan. He would pull me to the downhill. We would sweep around the other riders as we bottomed out at the bottom and then he would pull me up about halfway before dropping off. I was supposed to take it to the top from there.

At first I was a little concerned because the group really started picking it up. Matt, Tony, Blair, Billy, and Louis were all there. However, one by one I watched the lead out men for the "other teams" start dropping off. I was sitting there doing basically nothing. Peter was just sucking me along.

We swept around the final rider just as we planned. Then it was just the two of us. I felt bad about having Peter do any more work, so I started off for the top a little sooner than we had planned. I ended up with a very comfortable margin.

Man! When you can have someone like Peter doing all that work for you, winning a sprint seems pretty easy! Next time it will be my turn -- though I don't think I am as race smart as Peter is.

The only other thing of interest in the ride was when I went for it on Nature Trail, I was able to hold off Bob, but I nearly puked at the top. It was getting pretty hot by that point and I think I participated in one sprint too many!

For the fun of it, we all weighed ourselves when we got back into the shop. A couple of guys that I thought I would be lighter than ended up being several pounds lighter than me. They sure look like they have more muscle than me, but I guess my couple of inches more must add a few pounds.

At 167 at 6' 2", I really don't want to be much skinnier!

Thanks Peter for that lead out. It was the most fun I have had on an HOP in some time.



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