Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Rest of Philly Week

I took two days off work after Tuesday's race so that I could arrive relatively fresh to Reading on Thursday. On Wednesday we all went out for an easy ride and spirits were high for Thursday. The Reading course was hillier than Lehigh and it had a a 500-800meter long climb each lap and on the last three laps it was a 2.5 Km climb which was sure to break the race apart. The rest of the course was very up and down with a lot of turns. On the very first lap there was a crash and the race was neutralized for one lap while a few riders caught back up. I wish I could say I was sorry for that but I was really happy we were going slow. Once the race started it was full gas. Not quite as fast as Tuesday since it was up and down but it was still hard. There were a few spots where I was just suffering to stay on and usually it was in the false flats. I was feeling good on the climb but once we started the big loops I just couldn't get good position to pass the climb with the leaders. I came off at the top of the big climb with 3 laps to go but came back to only come off for good one lap later. Glen called on the radio for me Scottie and Garrett to go to the front and help bring Sevilla's break back but I only managed to get about halfway up to the front before I had to tuck back into the pack before the climb. Once on the climb I again began to have problems and was off the back about halfway through the climb with another few guys including Magnus Backstead (poor guy weight 205 pounds). I wanted to finish so I just kept riding the last lap by myself and came in amazingly again exactly 8:26 down on the winner. But show up as DNF again which is annoying as hell. At the end of the race I was completely destroyed and was not looking forward to the 3 hour drive back home. But Friday was a work day and also Tiiu's birthday so I had to be back.

On Saturday I went to do Gimbles and my legs felt terrible on the hills which worried me a little bit. I got to Philly mid-afternoon just in time to miss my massage but was in fairly good spirits. Sometime during the evening my head just started to spin out of control and literaly everything came apart for me. All of a sudden all of the different pressures of family, work, responsibility to the team, knowing that people were looking for my name and wondering how I would do came crashing on me and I just fell apart. By the time I lined up on Sunday I was frightened beyond belief and the last thing I wanted to do was be in that race. It is hard to explain but it literally all fell apart. I remember the very first lap just thinking of turning right and going to the hotel. The only thing that kept me in the race was a sense of responsibility towards my teammates. My job was simple. I had to help Scott Zwizanski and Richard England start the climb in the front each lap so that they could do it at an easy pace. I tried to do that as often as I could although Richie really does like hanging out in the back like most sprinters. My legs were actually really good and the heat was a good thing for me since it didn't bother me too much. Each time up the wall I felt better and better and outside of a few times where the speed was high on the flats I never really had any problems. Yet my head wasn't there and I couldn't turn it around. With two or three trips left up the wall Scottie flatted and I helped bring him back spending a lot of energy in the process and I paid for it a few minutes after we got back on. On a flat section before the finish the pace was super high and I just couldn't hang on and came off. Normally this is something that I should be able to recuperate from by staying in the cars but this wasn't the day and I packed it in. Showered, put my bike in the car and drove home to see my son and wife. It was the first time this year that I truly gave up and I wasn't proud of it so I couldn't face the team and just left. Its not pretty but there it is.