Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Independence Valley Road Race 3/28

All I can say is "What a shitty day for racing". I drove down with Dave M. and John from Byrne and it was pouring the whole way down. I thought after the Mason Lake 2 race that you couldn't race in crappier weather. I was wrong. We kept looking at the outside temp in the car and it was 39 degrees. The masters race wasn't until 1:10 so I figured it would warm up by then. As we drove past Lacey it started to snow and continued to do so the rest of the way. When we got to the lot everyone was either completely miserable from earlier races or just sitting around in their cars trying to stay warm. One of the women's cats. were coming in (can't remember which one) but they looked like they didn't know where they were. Following the finish you had to ride two miles back to the start and I think that really did people in. Most of the woman looked hypodermic and it made me question my sanity. They talk about cancelling the afternoon races but decided that they were just possibly going to neutralize us on one of the climbs where snow was sticking. The course is a 19.5 mile loop with tow good climbs. We were doing two laps. I put on my four layers of gear and rolled to the start. I was already cold. The pace started out really slow and no one cared except for two guys who jumped ahead. No one seemed to care and we I guess we figured we would hall them in at the hill. We finally got to the first climb and I didn't want to be in the back for the downhill section so I got out of the saddle and hammered to the front. I reached the top with about six other guys. As we flew down the the hill I realized we had already lost a 1/3 of the pack. I realized that I wasn't that cold. We got in a good pace line and kept going. I think anyone who got dropped just turned around and went back to the start. We hit the 2nd hill and I decided to mix it up a bit and see if I could get everyone interested in catching the two leaders. I got to the top way in front of everyone and decided I would push it down the hill until I got caught. I did get caught be this reduced the pack to about 15 guys. We were now really moving. We still couldn't catch the leaders. We rolled through the start/finish and most were relieved the we were not doing three laps. We got to the first climb again and at the top there were only eight or so of us. As we descended into the valley I saw that we were going to catch the cat. 3 guys (they had to do three laps) They were neutralized and we went by. When our lead car waved us through I think a lot of guys got caught looking over at the cat. 3's and just two of us got on the back of the car and flew through. We were out in front by 100m and I thought that if we made it to the climb we would at least have 3 and 4th rapped up. Just as we were about to hit the climb, depression set in. I flatted. I purposely didn't put my wheels in (it was wheel in/wheel out for our race) saying that if I flatted in this weather I was just going to quit. I didn't want to quit as I could have had a new wheel before the pack caught me. As I was thinking of pulling a David Millar and huck my bike over the guard rail, the other guy flatted both tires. As he got in the van with me two more guys flatted in the same place. I was pissed as I really had a good chance for a top 5 finish. We did get to watch the final 4 miles in a nice warm van with the gals from Group Health but didn't enjoy watching the sprint at the finish. Peter finished 12th and everyone else on the team, including me ended up the the big DNF. I think around 1/2 the racers that did didn't finish. Now I'll say it again. It can't get any worse than that.

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