It all begins, if you’ll pardon this terrible abuse of language, with a start… or rather starts. After four races I can tell you that I am terrible at starts. Like I just said I’ve lined up for four races and with the exception of one, where I had an a front row call up do to a wonderfully low out of sequence number, but I ended up blowing that one too. Well not totally blowing it. Those other three races? Well in those gigs I’ve started near, or at the last row.
This week I tried to temp luck by showing up a whole twenty minutes before my start, smelling like embro with water beading on my bare knees. Last week I missed and ended up near the back because I lined up like I do for a road race, with a casual roll to the starting grid. There was always time to move up.
I used the same strategy last year during the Blind Date series, where I was the king of the anti hole-shot where I would play the role of the pack’s tail until we hit the run up which is where I would start passing people with the strength I should be starting with.
Starting from the cheap seats provides you with one ego boosting advantage and that is the past. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re fast, strong and really railing the corners. It gives you the notion that you actually aren’t as terrible as your mid-pack results are. However that seems to me like teetering on the edge of self delusion.
This hope, that one can always move past the people who have worse cornering skills than you do is always a good one, and I know people for whom it pays off well, and I’m sure in places where you take the line with only thirty other people, but here in the NW where the four – five field will have up to 100 other people who are hoping to move up. So even though I maybe picking my way past those slower than myself there are also some juniors on the front who are hammering away out of a corner that maybe four or five corners ahead of the one you just dismounted in so you can run past everyone who had to put their foot down.
In the tradition of all things obvious, it feels like my life is one long ass race where I started at the back and I’m trying desperately to move up. C’est la vie.