Thursday, April 24, 2014

With a Little Self-Confidence

Its truly amazing what a little self confidence will do for your psyche. A couple days after feeling like I was ready to turn the corner, I finally got the results I was looking forward to. On Tuesday, I went to the Oval and  entered the Masters race. It was 25 laps and I was just hoping that I'd make it to the end without getting lapped.There were a total of 13 racers including Nikki Bee and 2 other female competitors. And with the ABRA's Steel City Showdown just days away, it was evident that a few of the guys were using this as a tuneup for the competition they'd face this weekend.
Coming to Pittsburgh on 4/27/2014

The whistle blew and of the front went 2 riders. We did our best to chase them down, and with a collective effort from Al Meder, Fred Gohh, myself as well as some others, we brought them back just a couple laps later. The pace slacked for a few laps and I got pinned against the white out of bounds line when the two attacked to the outside again. I had to watch them go as only 1 person attacked to try and catch them. When I had a chance, I tried to attack and bridge as well. I was closing on the rider in front of me and decided to take one more hard dig to get on his wheel and catch my breath. As I felt the effects of silpstream kicking in, I glanced over my shoulder  and saw that we were 50 yards from our chasers and only about 25 yards from the two leaders. We were sitting in a good position to re attach with the leaders and then my partner just eased up. I went around him, but without enough time to get a little recovery, I could see the front two riding off and feel the chasers gaining ground. And with that, we were soon back in the field. As the laps wound down, 2 more riders went and I made the mistake of waiting for someone to respond so I could jump on their wheel and work with them, but everyone just looked around and was content to let them go. 

Eventually the two leaders lapped us and kept going. When I saw this, I jumped on their wheel and went with them. We had a little gap and they started conversing and felt comfortable that they were far enough ahead that they wouldn't be caught by the two chasing, so they sat up and decided to roll back to the field. A few minor attacks happened in the final laps but nothing stuck or was all that serious. It was simply a test of the legs and a way to check to see who was really ready to react.  I took my last pull on the front with 4 laps to go and drifted back and found the back wheels of the 2 leaders. I was banking on the fact these two were obviously in great shape and still had their own battle to fight. I was planning on jumping their wheels and hopefully using them to launch my own sprint. I was really hoping the the rest of the field in front of us wouldn't go early and leave me out of the mix for 5th. And thankfully it all happened about the same time. I jumped and really put the hammer down for the first time in a very long time. It felt good to feel that deep muscle burning in my thighs as I gave it all I had. And my efforts were rewarded with a field sprint win and a fifth place overall in the masters race. I finally found my way to a pay day. 

And I felt so good on the bike that I decided to double up and ride with the C's. As a former winner of the series, I had no intention of going for any results, I just wanted the extra miles of race pace training. And after driving the pace at the front of the field as we started the last lap, I flicked my elbow and let the C field roll through and finished comfortably  in the back of the pack. It was mentally challenging to not stand and sprint for a position, but I think that the C's races are for the beginners and I will no longer race it competitively, even though I am still technically eligible to do so. 

And as I sit here this morning and reflect on the last week of riding, I am all smiles. Its a great feeling to have confidence in myself again. Now more than ever, I am excited for the summer of racing that awaits me.