I hate target races.
I never do well in them. I let the pressure build up all weekend, and then once the race starts I second guess every move I make, and when anything bad happens, it cracks my will power like DDT does an eggshell.
Where’s Rachael Carson when I needed her?
It was pouring rain soon after we got to Spring Prairie. We spent an hour in the car joking, eating and watching the RADAR on my cell phone – it looked as if the entire state of Wisconsin had been covered in a four-year-old’s green, yellow, and red fingerpaint. But soon the flat grey mass overhead lightened and took on the dimension and texture of clearing skyies and we got underway only delayed about 45 minutes.
A few half-hearted efforts pushed the pace early, and by the end of the first lap I am sitting 3rd wheel at the base of the hill. A pretty big effort holds that place and as we crest I am with a Cuttin’ Crew rider and fellow XXX-er Sean Piper. I was told later the field split on that first time up the hill and the front pack was much smaller from here on out.
There’s a modest gap behind us and I try to get things organized and Sean takes the initiative as well and pulls through. Nothing formed and it wasn’t nearly enough, however, and the group got us back in early on the rollers after turn one. The pace stayed fast and as I tried to stay up front I couldn’t recover so had to fall back.
I was mid-pack next time up the hill, and began to have a hard time staying positive as I fell back farther. It wasn’t hard to get back up to the front by Turn 1, but I started thinking about lap 5’s hill, and basically the race was over right there.
Peter got off at the top on lap 2 with Al of Cuttin’ Crew and a KME rider, plus one other and they increased their lead to about 200 meters for the rest of the race. Sean Piper was a mad-man in the pack, chasing down anything and everything, and Jeff, John, Mike and I also worked well together to block for Peter those next two subsequent laps.
There were a few desperate attempts to bridge up on laps four and five, and I caught onto them, but only Chris Padenfield of Pegasus got off to finish a solo 5th when his wheel sucker - my wheel - died on the effort. I was forced to make a choice to bridge to Chris or get back in the pack, and the pack was closer, so in I went, thinking Chris would be next. Nope.
Then Jeff Holland strung out it hard on the back stretch coming to turn 3, and there I was sitting pretty at 3rd wheel in the pack when the hill came back for that last time.
And I choked.
What more can I say? Riders passed me on all sides as I mashed it way over geared, and lost all of my willpower and drive. A Cuttin’ Crew rider kicked me when I was down by throwing past me for 28th place or something like that. Good for him. I deserved it.
No more target races, at least as I am defining them now. And maybe I need to work harder during the week. And to start taking more risks to expand my race dynamic, poking the bear, I mean…sucker punching a gang-banger perhaps. Laughing at cops, or lighting firecrackers in my hand.