This morning, I got up at 3am. Showered. Drove up to Traverse City. Raced in the cat 5 (35+) road race. Drove back. Had a early dinner with my mom. Came home. Mowed the lawn. And showered.
I've had some time to think about what happened. You wanna know what happened? I got my ass kicked. I got my ass kicked as soon as the lady said, "Go!"
It's as simple as that.
I don't know exactly when I got dropped. But it was well before 20 miles into the race. Probably around 15 miles in the race, I was watching the peloton pull away in the distance. The pace was high from the beginning. And unlike West Branch, there was no letting up after getting to the summit of a hill. The group kept churning their legs. Most of the 15 miles before I got dropped, the field was single file. The pace was high. I got caught without a wheel to one side of the paceline for a while several times. And my timid corning had me sprinting to catch up to a wheel after every turn. But unlike Frankenmuth and West Branch, I just couldn't keep it up.
I don't have a very good recollection of exactly where I started struggling to keep up...or even the geographic features around that moment...because I was so gassed. It happened after a corner though. My legs just didn't have enough to catch a wheel yet again after one of those corners. And a big gap formed. I let myself catch my breath for just a bit, and then I tried to bridge back up. For a second, I thought I had a chance because I was gaining ground! But then after a fast decent and another corner, they were way too far away.
So I let off the gas to let myself recover a bit. A couple riders caught up to me, and I latched on to their wheel. I pretty much rode with them at a semi-leisurely pace all the way in. I took two long pulls. But mostly sat behind them, probably too far away to even benefit from a draft. I was just demoralized and riding around feeling sorry for myself.
Riding with those two guys...I did learn a couple things though. I do fine when the terrain is flat or down hill. I do well when the road pitches up to a grade above 6%. But when the grade is like 3%-4% and long...those bigger, stronger riders really start to gap me without evening trying.
And I need to find some cornering confidence. Even in our group of three, riding at a non-race pace, I'd get gapped pretty good in the corners. But after watching all those guys wreck all over the place in Frankenmuth, I'm very timid.
Anyway...I squeaked by the other two guys with me at the finish. Meh.
This was my most disappointing race so far. Even more so than when I got lapped at my first crit, or when I got dropped at Cone-Azalia. On the heels of Frankenmuth (where I would probably have placed pretty well if not for a crash in front of me with less than 400 meters to go) and West Branch (where I was in it until the last few miles), I thought I would have fared better today.
The most frustrating part is I don't know if I was just having a bad day...or if I was just out classed today. A couple guys I handedly beat at West Branch and Frankenmuth dropped me. Did they have bad days at West Branch and Frankenmuth? Or did I have a bad day in Cherry-Roubaix?
I just don't know! Was yesterday's ride at Kensington a mistake (20 miles of hills, meant to be easy but probably went a hair hard)? Was running three times this past week instead of riding a mistake? Again...I don't know.
What I do know is that I need to get stronger. But that sounds like hard work! Blerg!
I'm signed up for Festival of the Sun criterium next weekend. Sounds terrible at the moment. Hopefully I'll be in better spirits soon! :)
Strava of my race: http://app.strava.com/activities/60820879