Suspended belief, I am still trying to actually believe what happened last night. I started toward this path almost a year ago, building my own training plan and working in some great ride adventures along the way. Structured to a point but with some flexibility, I’ve heard someone describe it as “Intuitive Training” and I buy into it. My definition is, if you feel like crap, don’t train so hard. Ease up some, recover and then train hard again. It doesn’t mean take a lot of time off and go easy all the time but listen to your body and work smart.
The reality is on my 5th Worlds event, last night I got to stand on the podium, collecting a silver medal, only 20 to 30 meters away from a gold and it was in a Scratch race of all things. I was worried going into last nights race that all that soft time between my last Saturday at NSC and last night would be too much time off and I wouldn’t have the legs and heart for a mass start race. That wasn’t the case.
Using what I learned at US Masters, I got to the track early, slightly before 4. The session started at 6, my race was at about 7:15 to 7:30. 15 minute roller warm up in easy gear started at about 4:20. Switch to what I thought should be my race gear for another 5 minutes and then line up to get on the track. My training session on Saturday really didn’t feel all that good so I still had some doubts that quickly disappeared as I rode and did some jumps at the blue line. You get about 10 minutes on the track before getting called off and the next pack is allowed on. At that point I felt strong and ready to rock. I had that excited feeling that kind of gives you the shivers. Linsey asked what gear I had on, 48/14, my planned gear and she shook her head, 52/15. Some what tentative, I moved to that gear. Rollers for a few minutes to make sure the bike was ok and then to the line just to feel the gear on the track. I had to wait in line but not a big deal, I was only planning to be out for less than 5 minutes. As I was waiting I heard the track officials talking about not allowing hard, fast efforts during these sessions. “This is a warm up session, not training” is what they said. It’s all about safety as far s they are concerned and there is a wide range of levels on the track doing lots of unusual efforts so kind of like a madison, your head needs to be on a swivel. I got my 5 minutes in, doing efforts at the blue on the home straight where the officials couldn’t see as well. Off the track and now the wait. A variety of TT events before me, including James’ 750, then 2 VC (Victory Ceremonies) and then out. ( James did the time he was looking for, almost beat it, 53.1??, not sure what place he got but he looked happy with it) I was on and off the rollers during the down time just keeping active, no efforts. Finally into the ready circle during the VC’s. It was a bit of a mess getting started. One guy hadn’t done bike check (another story about bike check), some were late getting into the circle. Eventually we all packed up at the warm up exit and had a quick riders meet. You have to roll out to the inside rail in turn three and line up, then get released to roll into a neutral lap. Most want to ride there, which is ackward, I walked my bike there. Got in line near the middle but a small gap appeared as I got on and clipped in. Another guy cut in front of me and just kind of grinned at me as he did it. Just wait buddy. We roll off and I was last in line but quickly went up track before the start/finish and was at the top of the pack almost at the front at the gun. The rest is a blur, but here’s how I remember it. A few early accelerations at the front, I’m on them, mid pack middle of the track staying behind anyone I think might be fast. (I do remember a few guys and what they can do including Stan who beat me at US Nats in the Sprints last August) The racing is close, some big guy pushes into me from below in 3 but I hold my line and move past him. The pace is fast but not out of control and I can respond to the jumps ok in this gear. 7 laps to go and the pack eases some going into 3, I roll up track near the rail and as I do, I hear a lot of voices behind me, which means trouble, then I hear the crash of what sounds like a lot of guys going down. The gun goes off and the race is neutralized. We roll around and there is a pile at the apron and a lot of activity collecting those that are down. The rest of the racers are gapping apart and the leaders are still riding quite fast, faster then they need to. I’m 50 meters back and accelerate to close up the gap. A bit confused, we keep collecting riders at the front. I thought they were from the crash but after, I find out they were lapped riders that were really off the back behind the crash. (Sorry, been there, not fun) The pack is clustered even tighter as we do about 10 neutral laps. 6 laps to go in the race. I am in the middle, feels like a Miss and Out, wrong place to be. I eased up and off the pace enough to go under at about the red line and then accelerate back along side under the pack not ideal but the right move because at about 4 to go two guys go off the front, I jump and get on behind them going around 1 and 2. This is the race. I stayed on their wheels and then come over the top of the second guy with a lap and a half to go and hammer after the leader. On the back straight I’m doing all I can thinking when is the pack going to come over me, not looking back just riding as hard as I can in the lane, home straight, where is the pack? Closing in on the finish and I just start to think I’ve got second, over the line and YES, I can’t believe it. As I roll along the back, all the NSC crew is cheering, as they were during the whole race. Thanks for the GREAT support team. I am off the track finally and can barely walk after that last lap. I make it almost to our pit, Linsey meets me and grabs the bike as I find my way back to a chair still in disbelief. Second place at Worlds, IN A SCRATCH RACE of all things! Did I already say that once.
James reminds me to get on the rollers, thanks James. The the podium ceremony. I don’t know what to do as they point me to a chair along side the podium and then point me to a spot right behind the 2 podium girls as they start to walk to the front of the podium, oh yeah, I need to follow them. Bronze award to Argentina, then me (podium girl has to remind me to get on the podium), gold to France. On the podium, we each get a flower bouquet and cheek kisses, national anthem of France is played as the 3 flags are raised. The three of us at the top sep for a hands raised celebration and hand shake between the three of us.
Time to change gears to warm up gears for tomorrow, change clothes and a quick shower in the changing rooms. Drive back to the home, food and open a bottle of wine I bought earlier (1 glass only) Some food and some banter and then to bed. Sleep time to recover, no early morning tomorrow. 500TT for me Tuesday night, Scratch race for Linsey, heats and mass start for Dan and Timmer and massive 120 lap race for Sam. Big day with more big days to follow.