Yes, I got lapped at the Rentschler Field Training Crit last night. Twice by the break. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
After Sunday's race in New Britain, I decided to try again to get into a break and see how hard I could race before I totally blew up. The Rent' is a training race after all - where better to test one's limits?
I'm no great reader of races (though I'm trying to learn as much as I can), but luckily I read a strong move that went up the right side and followed it right into a split of about 8 guys. We got a gap and settled in to our work.
Well, "settled in" isn't quite accurate. I was hoping for a smooth, fast, rotating pace line. I guess the break was too large for some of the guys in it and they tried to pop some of us, leaving gaps, missing pulls, etc. Admittedly, I missed a few pulls myself and - with two teammates in the break with me - tried to do what I saw some others doing for their teammates and gap my guys off the front when I could.
But all I seemed to accomplish was cooking myself, thoroughly. So when I saw yet another gap open in front of the guy in front of me, and that my teammates were up ahead, I let up to try and recover. I continued to cover what moves I could, but the die had been cast. I slowly lost contact with the break.
Pity. It turned out to be the break that won.
Ah well, I was accomplishing what I set out to do - test my limits. And boy, were they tested. So much so, that when the pack came around, I was barely able to hang on. But I did - barely. And eventually recovered.
In the meantime, I had reset my Garmin when I came off the break and then restarted it when I got back into the pack. "Two" races in one, in my mind at least. At some point, the break lapped us, but that didn't matter much to me. I was in a "different" race, just trying to stay sheltered and follow wheels.
As the lap cards began to wind down, I felt pretty good - much to my surprise. So when teammate Joe motioned for me to get on his wheel - and didn't care when I told him I'd been lapped - I jumped on, eager to practice a leadout/sprint. It's a training race after all, and lord knows being in that position in an actual race is rare enough. Where else ya gonna practice?
Joe went up the left side and for a full lap and a half at something over 30mph(!) and I stuck to his wheel as tightly as I could. We passed the break just before corner 3 (though they were 2 laps ahead of us), and I came around Joe as we went through the sweeping corner 4, determined not to let his pull be for nothing.
Thankfully, it wasn't. I'm not quite sure what I was sprinting for, but it wasn't for "nothing." Joe was happy I held it to the line, and after his huge effort, if he was happy, then so was I.
Tuesday night is my favorite night of the week. Not only do we get out on what are usually beautiful summer evenings, but we get to see our friends and blow out the stress of the day on the racetrack. We're all at different levels (last night's A race was won by a VERY strong Junior, recently returned from nationals), but we all are there for the same reasons - to have fun, get a good workout in, and try new strategies & tactics. There's certainly nothing else at stake in these races (except bragging rights, and occasional blog fodder), but - come Tuesday - I can't think of any place I'd rather be.