by Buzz Wright
Masters 35+ Cat 4/5
I've been able to somewhat regain my aerobic endurance the past few weeks but my legs are still pretty weak and I have no jump right now. No jump at all. No sprint either. No power, no speed, no acceleration. It will come back after I get some solid interval training in, but for these races I had little hope of avoiding being pulled again. My hope was to hang with the group as long as possible and I really wanted to see Jimmy gain confidence in crits. The plan was to stay near the front to minimize the surging and have Jimmy stay on my wheel. If I were able to hang on for the finish I would do what I could to give him a leadout for the sprint.
As it turned out, I was able to stay with the group for the entire race which was a nice surprise. With a couple laps to go I made sure Jimmy was on my wheel and worked as hard as I could to keep us in the top 5. I knew we needed to move up to the front on the bell lap but I just didn't have the power to get up there and we remained in 5th place going into the final corner. Out of the corner I tried to give Jimmy a leadout but I had nothing to give. My "sprint" was horrendous, only taking me from 27.7 mph to 30.6 but it was good enough to hold my spot (5th).
My legs were done after the first race. The plan for the second one was just to hold on for as long as possible. The field was pretty big, resulted in a lot of surging which just annihilated whatever remaining strength I had in my legs. Lap after lap I lost positions until eventually I fell off the main group, resigning to riding out the remaining time in a smaller chase group. The chase group was never organized enough to avoid being pulled and after a few more laps that's what happened. It was frustrating to be pulled from a race after 20 minutes but it meant I could watch and cheer for Jimmy.
Photo by Nick Wilson