IF YOU EVER STOP BY TO SAY HI - AND I HOPE YOU DO - YOU WILL SEE A STRING OF 2ND PLACE TROPHIES. I have earned an unusual amount, and I keep them front and center as a reminder...
... there is always somebody better, I can always work harder.
Today's 2nd place, unlike the others, was a near disaster.
So many lessons.
First off... I set my sites on the wrong goal. Again. This time it was to be close to my San Diego friends who always whack me when I race down there. When I checked the start list and saw Stenk, TimZ, JohnnyO, JeffW, LarryP were also racing my chances of eating dust increased immensely.
That said... we'd just come off getting whacked at the Cactus Cup where the course is a series of neverending ups and downs. Matt set us up a local route that was nothing but that. Constant power climbs and quick drops. In other words, we trained about as best as one could for today's course.
Concurrently... I've been leaving late for to meet the posse recently requiring me to go all out the moment I leave the house. Which is exactly what Coach Brian has been asking me to work on.
No more Old Diesel TB... time to start hard and fast.
Let me just interject here, that Coach Brian did his first mountain bike race today and the first words out of his mouth to his Padawans was...
I had no idea how violent the start would be, we need you guys a lot fresher for these racers.
The lesson here is this... a good coaching relationship is two-way. He knew I needed to work on my starts, I knew to be fresh. Per Strava my form was a whopping +24 today.
Why was today a near 2nd Place disaster?
Well, yours Diesely wasn't paying attention.
I've often said the closer we get to the finish line the dumber we get. Today was no exception.
I knew the laps were 6 miles long. The race is called the Dirty30. 5 laps right? Duh...
... so there I am, in second place on the 4th lap...
TimZ had gapped me on the first lap by wisely choosing the easy to ride climb while I chose the hideous wall option. Took me a lap to recover from that. He was gone.
... anyway, I'm in the zone, figuring I've got another lap and half to go. It's heating up and my Camelbak is nearly empty I'm picking the cleanest lines I can, conserving as much as I can.
I slide around a corner and TimZ has a flat.
Ah, crud... sorry Tim!
Go, you got this!
I got this... well, probably if I race wisely I can keep this pace up for another 45 minutes.
How fun would that be?!
I catch and pass some of my pals. Yep, feeling great. Riding within myself. Thinking, Holy cow! This could work! Letting myself get a little giddy.
The last half mile of said lap 4 this jackball keeps battling me. I'm thinking Bro, we have another lap. I've already put minutes on you, since you were in the first wave.
We roll through to do lap 5 and the great Victor Sheldon, the promoter on the mic, says Todd Brown, winner of the 55+ division!. Hellyeah I say to myself.
Matt rolls up... Nice job on the V, but I still beat you by 4 min. Folks, that is friendship. The best kind.
The posse is congradulatory. Slapping my back and all.
Sten rolls up, I'm a believer! You took off so fast I couldn't ever see you. Finished less than a minute behind you. Second place is great!
Second place, no way. Tim flatted. No one else in front.
Well... scoring says some guy named David Juarez beat you.
Tinker! That stinker!
For the record - have I said that yet? - David Tinker Juarez is a former Olympian who usually races pro... at 58 years old. Beating a lot of the Pro field is normal for him, still.
When he lined up and took off with them we all figured he's doing his thing... thankfully. We took off 2 minutes later.
Could I have beat him...
.... hahahahahhahaha, no chance in 'ell. He put 13 minutes on me.
Back to my point, I'm never dissatisfied with 2nd place as long as I know there was nothing left in the tank and I raced to the best of my ability.
However, I would have been extremely ticked if the pack of gray wolves behind me had caught and passed me at the end of lap 4 while I was secretly setting them up for an all out onslaught on lap 5.
Lastly, so far I'm the only actual grandpappy on that podium... and I'm most happy about that.
2 More Critical Race Notes:
- JimmyC came up to me, probably when Victor was explaining how many laps we were going race and said I was trying to decide Camelbak or bottles last night and you came to me in a vision... Camelbak, totally dorky but infinitely better on a course as relentless and technical as this.
- 3 things helped me go faster than last Dirty30: first, I'm about 5 lbs lighter than last year; second, via a lot of saddle time I'm one with my new BMC 4 Stroke and is legit much faster than any XC bike I've ridden before; third, the HyperVolt is a recovery game changer.
Don't you deserve this for Christmas? Your competitors certainly don't :D