I didn’t mean to attack. No wait that’s wrong. I did mean to attack. It would be more appropriate to say that I hadn’t planned on attacking. But on the first hill of the last lap I found myself moving toward the front as the guys at the front let off the pace. The contents of my nose had dropped down into my mouth so I put my right hand out, spit and caught it with my open palm. The guy behind me screamed “thanks”. I looked over my shoulder nodded and grabbed the drops.
Then I went.
I knowing the road in front of me to be clear I put my head down gritted my teeth and kept pedaling. It was only after I had reached the bottom of the descent that it occurred to me to look over my shoulder.
In most cases I’m used to one, maybe two people being there with me. Then one of them won’t or can’t take a turn and the charging Peloton easily catches us. This time I looked back and saw that I had escaped. Alone. I was screwed.
You can’t just sit up after an attack like that. So I kept my hands in the drops and tried my best to pedal hard. I was running out of gas and wishing that Sean, or maybe one of the Soraz guys had gone with me. The gear got harder and I shifted to an easier one.
It was only when I was completely out of gas and had switched my mind from get away mode to not get dropped mode that another rider bridged. He wouldn’t, or couldn’t pull through. I tried and tried for another minute, but nothing. I was waiting and waiting for the Peloton to put us out of our misery. I flicked my elbow again and moved right. Nothing. I looked back again, and there he was. I looked forward and “motherfucker” slipped from my lips. It was then that he pulled through, but it was too late.
Two guys had gone clear half way through the previous lap. They were gone and the pack just wasn’t organized enough to chase them down. Sometime between the end of the race and those two guys going clear someone acknowledged what the remainder of us knew. That it was a race for third.
Back in the pack I chased moves. Sean – Bob told me not to work to hard. Five minutes later the two of us strung the field out. We were making this the first hard race of the season.
Half way around I found and apologized to the guy I’d sworn at. He understood.
There were a hand-full of us making it hard. Surging on the hills, jockeying for position and trying to keep the pace hard without doing too much work. I did my best to keep a good position.
Franz takes a flyer. I think about jumping, but wait, trying to cultivate patience. The wait pays off. Just before 200m we catch him. I’m three wheels back and the guys in front are about to blow. Then Sean – Bob jumps and comes around me. There is a second of hesitation before I jump out of the saddle and the world vanishes. My bike seems to leap forward.
I crest the hill sprinting hard enough that gearing up once wasn’t enough. My legs are starting to die, but I keep Sean-Bob in my sights. Then I make my next mistake and sit, robbing myself of the power I need to catch him, but still enough to keep the place I earned.
After crossing the line we roll to the feed zone where I dropped a bottle and a jacket. There I set the bike on the ground. Shake Sean’s hand and we share a man hug. I thank him and Franz for making the race hard.