According to the automated banner ad, DJ Brew, on July 25th, in Mathis, W.V., was supposed to be getting his epic on at Lost River. But, after July 18th, in Barnesville, M.D., after Giro di Coppi, DJ changed his mind.
I really wanted to support the Lost River Classic, which is why I initially registered. I expected my support to extend beyond my money to actually racing in the race but after my performance at Coppi, I realized I am just not in the kind of shape I want to be in to spend most of a race climbing. Now had it not been so close to the end of the season and I felt like I had a lot to gain from a training aspect, I would've gone to Lost River. Instead I figured I would go to Lancaster and test the legs out in a good ol' fashion criterium, the Grandview Grand Prix. I did this race last year and I really liked the course and the atmosphere. I went back this year seeking a better result than last years race. I actually figured I could win it, which also aided my decision to do Grandview over Lost River. Unfortunately for me Lance "Freakin' Stud" Lacy was there and decided he could win it as well.
I'll start by saying there is something about the racing in PA that's different. I can't quite put my finger on it but it didn't seem the same as racing in the MABRA area. The race was pretty easy. Obviously since I was seeking a result, I did no work and waited for the sprint. Lance Lacy, seeking a result, and more importantly not wanting to sprint against me, took off and never looked back. He had some company initially, but the sound wave his S80's were creating as he pedaled was too much for his breakaway companions to handle and they got dropped. There were several bigger teams there with 8 or more riders who I figured would do some work to bring Lance back but no such thing happened. It seems that they were all sprinters sitting in waiting for the sprint with me. Which brings me to the final lap.
I was feeling good at the bell. After not having done any work and taking good lines through the turns I was coming into the last turn in about 10th. Some might think this was too far back but the final stretch was sort of a long false flat into a downhill and there was a bit of headwind. I was feeling good so I knew I could blow past people as we got past the false flat. Unfortunately, I picked the wheel of Kyle Jones to follow. In hindsight, I definitely can't blame him because as soon as we came to the last turn I should have just nailed it like Steve Wahl did at Ride Sally Ride, because I felt good enough to hold it all the way to the line but instead of being aggressive and going on how I was feeling, I started thinking too much. I picked Kyle's wheel because he said he had been sprinting good and he's bigger than me so I knew he would be a good draft. But during the race he did too much work and didn't have enough for a final kick. I came off his wheel back to the inside of him where there was a group of guys about 4 wide in front of me. I panicked a little because I knew I was boxed in and running out of real estate. With the curb on my left, Kyle on my right and 4 dudes in front of me I was able to accelerate into a small gap in front of me and nudge my wheel in for 5th.
I'm kind of pissed with that result, because I know I lost that sprint from lack of confidence. I should have never went into it relying on someone else to give me what I need to get to the line first. There was nothing I could do about Lance, he was super strong that day, but I should not have lost that field sprint. I should've made my own way to that line. Instead 3 other pansies who I know I could've beat got there before me and that really gets under my skin.
Congrats to Lance on the win though. There's something about when a person has a plan and executes that plan to perfection that's just amazing to watch. Before the race Lance told me he was gonna go into time trial mode, and he did, and he won. I need to start applying that to the sprint and just speaking it into existence.
Too much work and not enough sprinting is how I would classify this past weekend of racing for me. I was really excited about Hagerstown because it's a crit of course and I felt like I had a good chance of winning being a sprinter and all. And some point in the race though, my focus changed from "sitting in and waiting for the field sprint" to "do work to make sure the break gets a big enough gap". I used up too much energy for things in the race that shouldn't have been my concern anyway and ended up not having enough at the finish. I didn't care what place I got I just knew that it wasn't first and I was pissed. If I don't get first, I don't care. You can keep your bar points, upgrade points, prize money, jerseys, medals and primes I just want first place. After looking at the results online when I got home I realized I finished in 6th, and at the time I didn't realize it but after checking last years results I got 6th as well. Talk about a marked improvement. To add insult to injury, I'm almost positive that at some point while packing up my truck to leave I misplaced, and by misplaced I mean "placed" on the roof of my truck and not at the bottom of my bag, my Garmin 705. This would be Garmin number 3 that's been donated to charity. If anyone found it and wants to give it back just let me know.
I couldn't stay too disappointed about Hagerstown because Dawg Days was just around the corner and if there is anything to cheer me up after a bad race, it's more racing! I would be racing twice at Dawg Days in the 3 and 123. In the 3 race, the story was pretty much the same as Hagerstown. After Lance and Tim got away, there was an initial chase group that formed and then there was the peleton. At some point I was able to bridge up to the chase group and shortly after we were all back together with 2 still up the road. I was still doing more work at the front than I wanted because I figured more people would be helping out. I didn't think they would stay away seeing as how only two teams were represented and neither one of the guys up the rode was a sprinter. I thought more people would put in work to bring those two back but that didn't happen. I guess people like sprinting for 3rd but I don't. Bike Rack did a great job of blocking as well. Seeing as how they co-hosted the race with Artemis, my team, I guess they were my co-teammates, so I should've been co-happy that they were doing a good job blocking, but I co-hated it because it was too good. I didn't have enough left in the sprint (for 3rd). Whether is was lack of energy or motivation, I guess a little bit of both. Congrats to Lance and Tim for seriously digging deep and sticking that break all the way to the end. After this race concluded I started thinking about how I was going to survive the 123 race. Fortunately, I did survive, in the field, with two cramped legs, but survival nonetheless.
Now that another weekend of racing is behind me, I would like to say I'm no longer thinking about the piss-poor performance at Hagerstown but it still sits in the back of my mind. But, by the time Coppi rolls around this weekend it'll be all gone.