Monday, September 14, 2009

Once More, With Feeling

When I went racing last week, I was a little disappointed in my performance. Mainly because I felt I could have raced harder. There are a lot of things in racing I can't control - the weather, other riders' performance, etc. But I can make a choice to race really, really hard, and last week it wasn't there. Since then, I've been riding bikes fast, near where I blow up, and I raced yesterday at that level. I don't think I placed much better, but the results posted on race day were pretty illegible, so I'm not sure yet. Adella thinks I finished in the leader's lap, near the tail, somewhere near the guy from the Starbucks team who just beat me at the end of last week's race. That would be a pretty similar result to last week's race, but I feel a lot better about it since I was better prepared and gave everything I had to the effort this time.

Don't I look intense? I'm totally being intense. That's my war face. Or my metal face. Or at least my racing really hard face. Also, I raised my handlebars about half a centimeter and got rid of the crosstop levers from my brake lines. The bike is definitely better in its current configuration. I'm going to be adding barrel adjusters to the brake lines and changing the saddle for my favorite one, but then I'm going to stop messing with it for the season and just go racing.

This picture is another of my favorites from the set that Adella and her friend Dan took. In general, ordinary color photos are hers and the infrared ones are his.

The course was pretty fast, although it felt like there were a lot of false-flat climbs. I raced really hard, but ended up on my own a lot of the time. I'd pass someone and drop him, or get passed by someone I couldn't quite hang onto. There was no real run-up, although both of the singletrack sections had parts that I found to be unridable, so I did do some running. I think that the race was won and lost in the esses on the grass, which is fairly common to 'cross racing, and maybe a little bit on the stretch of course between the longer singletrack section and the paved descent. I think Adella's right about me finishing in the leader's lap, because usually if I get passed by the leader, he passes with authority and a couple of other racers right on his wheel. That didn't happen yesterday.

I rode as hard as I could. That's why I keep going back.

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