Friday, July 27, 2012

Hot days, hot nights - National Life Criterium and Tour of Hilltowns

The past two weekends of racing have been plagued by ungodly amounts of heat and humidity.  Two things which would make any normal man cringe, whither and possibly create the urge to crawl under a rock until winter.  That said I would like to announce my retirement and retreat to under a rock until further notice... JUST KIDDING.

National Life Criterium, the place where it all began, was a hot day.  With about 20 or so riders in the field, there was no hiding on the hill.  Riders went flying ahead, causing chases and counter attacks lefts and right.  With about 16 laps to go I made an effort to bridge, bringing some of the field with me.  With about 14 laps to go, the bridge was made and the field was back together.  Two laps later, while grinding over the top of the course, things started to close in and I was forced out of the race.  While I didn't pass out, I was on the verge of catastrophic systems failure.  Sad to say, this was not the outcome I was hoping for.  After pulling out of the race, I drank as much water as possible in an attempt to refuel my system and begin recovering.

Tour of Hilltowns was one of the hardest races I have done.  The course was demanding through and through.  With a large 20 minute-ish climb in the middle, riders would be equalized and tested in strength and tactics.  This race was a reminder that inspecting courses is a must.  No matter how strong or fast you think you are, knowing your course and plan off attack is key in successful bike racing.
That said, I miss planned my attack on the climb, as I had not inspected it, nor did I really look into the overall length and difficulty of the climb.  About half way up, I launched an attack thinking I was near the peak of the climb.  To my surprise, around the up coming corner was the remainder of the climb and the end of my race.  My pace dropped and I watched the peleton ride away.  Defeated by the race, I still rode tempo the whole way back, ensuring that I would learn the remainder of the course for the future races at Tour of Hilltowns.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!

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