Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Climbing Coldspring with Comedians

So an unexpected personal issue came up the week before Red Bud, so I had to tell Nick and the Warship the bad news--I wasn't going. I was devastated as I'm sure the guys were as well. I told them I wouldn't feel bad at all if they decided to go anyways, but I knew they wouldn't. I felt so bad, but I had to do what I had to do...as Nick said, "this [racing] is just a hobby," which is right. We won't be racing for too much longer, but at the same time, there are things that will not come around again and must be attended to right now. As you probably can tell by now, I am not about to tell you what exactly that pressing matter was that was able to take me away from racing, but that's alright--this is an (adventure) racing blog so that's what I'll be talking about.

So, my weekend actually started to clear up towards Saturday night, so I decided to do a race which was closer to town: the Coldspring RR. This was extra special because the course was the same one we trained on about a month ago, so I knew the terrain already. I was pretty excited to see how my training was doing and to test it against the field of most-likely hill climbers. Mo accompanied me for general support as well as to hand up a bottle to me in the feed zone. We got to the high school, signed in, dropped off my spare wheels for the support car, and Mo was off to drive to the feed zone. I warmed up for about 20mins and we started lining up for the controlled start. The centerline rule was in effect, which turned out to be a factor for me later on...but its there for a purpose--the traffic was not at all kind and people where just whizzing by riders like they weren't there. Asses. Anyway, after a few moments of waiting for our support car, we were off at a little after 11.

The start was controlled up to when we got to the 156/224 intersection and it was on. One guy asked, "have we started racing yet?" and with a quick acceleration at the front of the pack, he got his answer. Actually, throughout the race, people were making wisecracks and jokes--it was quite enjoyable...it kept the atmosphere relaxed and the riders, when relaxed, were very predictable. I really didn't know how I was going to attack this race--I had planned for Nick and Weihan to be there and had planned for us to talk strategy right before. As the pack sped down 156, I was a bit worried because I felt a bit winded when I should have been leading the pack. But this is how I always start--it takes a while for me to warm up. By the time we made the first turn onto 224, I started getting my legs under me. Accelerations came and I was able to respond. The hills were next and I was feeling springy....but I took it easy. The long climb to the finish line (on the next lap) was next and I just slowly churnedm working my way through the pack to the right side so that I can get to my water bottle. Mo actually didn't see me so I had to let out a hoot, which startled her, but her reflex shot the bottle out towards me and I grabbed it. She clapped with joy--it was funny. Then the final hill came on that first loop and I thought the pack was going too slow, so I followed UH and UT guys up the hill...weird how the colleges were dictating the pace. Anyway, it wasn't a tough climb and we weren't going balls out, but some how we had gapped the pack. That's when a light went off in my head...this could be our break!

We started to speed down back to the start line and take a right back onto 156 and we still had a good lead on the pack and one other guy bridged to us and was yelling to keep the pressure on. I had no idea if the pack responded or not, so I kept with it doing my pull, but when I was done, I looked back and both UT and UH riders disappeared back into the peleton which was now just a few bike lengths behind us. Our attack failed. It was like that all day long--someone would attack and the pack would respond eventually. I guess they were either ill-timed or no one was strong enough. I started to put in more work to make sure none of the attacks lost contact for too long...that's where I should have dialed it back. But our attack just excited me too much I think. I stayed to the front of the pack now, waiting for the final burst.

We were turning back onto 224 and now I was worried about positioning. I stayed towards the outside, next to the dreaded centerline, so that I wouldn't be boxed in. The last downhill came, right before the last, long climb and we were hammering. Then the climb started and I was stuck behind a slowmo and had no room on either side--the centerline had me boxed in!! People started passing me on the other side of the centerline, so I was now furious--I finally followed suit, figuring about half the field would have to be DQ-ed if they called us on crossing the line. It was too late though...the guys had too much of a gap on me and I was losing steam. I was able to catch one guy, by a tenth of a second, for 10th. I was really happy for that result. I should have done better, but the earlier gamble for a breakaway and pulling at the front may have tired me too much. Still, I love 10th!

A funny piece of coincidence was that my race numbers for both Coldspring and Waco had the same digits, 538 and 358, respectively. Okay, not really mindblowing, but odd. Mo picked me up and we were back in town in no time. Nice, quick, simple race. No frills.


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