I’m glad I’m not a headcase, else I’d have quit cycling by now, easy. Day two confirmed my worst fears: that I had to dig too far into the red during my failed solo bridge attempt in day one to render my legs useless for the rest of the weekend. I stayed with the lead group up the first climb, where the field was shattered to pieces. No one really attacked, because everyone was already at his limit. It was fun, until my legs just slowly gave up. There was no blaze of glory, no massive explosion that at least makes the story worthwhile. It was just a slow burn, my inability to push the pedals joined by the similar inability to even get my heart rate up anywhere near threshold. A running-on-empty type deal, and boy did it make my day fun! No sarcasm at all here! Note the exclamation points!
I heard a guy once say, “Sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail.” Well, I heard this other guy say, “Sometimes you’re the dragon, and sometimes you’re the valiant knight armed with shield and sword who is now a literal shadow of his former self, a mere pile of gray, ashen dust because the dragon burned him beyond all recognition with its flaming fire breath and now the knight’s dead.” I’m that pile of ash.
There’s one hell of descent down the side of this mountain, bad enough that local ambulances are surely aware of this day in April. I managed to get down it OK, though the fellow dropped rider who was behind me at one of the hairpins wasn’t so lucky. I heard and saw him go down in what did not sound like anything pleasant. His just deserts would come when he bridged back up to the group I was in, the same group I would get dropped from.
Yes, dropped. Like a bad habit. Like a shattered piece of stemware that, just moments ago, seemed to be so full of promise and delicious wine. I felt like a Cat 5. I got dropped from a group that had been dropped long ago on the first climb. After I rid myself of the expletives, I laughed. What else was there to do? I was a Cat 5 who had never actually trained or ridden 25 miles but planned to be competitive in a 25-mile road race. It was unbelievable. And humbling. Like I said, I’d have quit cycling if I wasn’t so busy being totally embarrassed at my suckiness.
I finished up (after another climb), pretty much unable to even push hard enough to get my heart rate over 160 over the final climb of the day, and gave all the other GC guys an extra 13 minutes on me.
This weekend is now being viewed as strictly an altitude training camp for Joe Martin. Because it’s been a major disappointment so far in regards to actual racing and/or results.
Up next, the time trial. Winds are howling at 30 mph as I type this, and will only get windier in the next couple hours when I go off.