je ne sais quoi

Monday, May 21, 2007

For The Good Of The Land

The weekend's race was an interesting one. My forearms are still sore from riding with my arms on the bar for a good bit near the end of the race. More on this in a bit. Before rolling along, I want to give thanks. Had a bit of a realization today: Every click to velonews or cyclingnews has become such a downer. I get this uneasy feeling of apprehension during that second or two before the page loads. Emotionally bracing myself, in a way. I'm sure i'm not alone in this regard. So after reading the day's filth, I click over to the other side, to my bar of soap: the blog world. The personal side. I'd so much rather read about a guy training like a madman in the dead of winter so that he can get that superrrr cat-2 upgrade...or reading about a under-20 kid guy mixing it up in the EU game for the first time...or reading about the supposed cause of a crash from the perspective of two or three different parties...Hilarious stuff sometimes, and I'm very happy to have this alternative to the "conventional" cycling news outlets. If you read this blog, you read others. You understand what I'm talking about. I wish more of the "cycling is dead" theorists would share in this great epiphany. To the blog people: Thanks! Write more!

Allright....on to business. All week long, the team president said "Aram, the course is flat flat flat. Good for you." Hmm, yeah? Well, i've finally figured out the French race-description code. "Flat" means: not flat at all, but without massive hills over 4k in length. It can also mean that it's a smaller-than-normal circuit (under 10k). I wonder how my DS would describe a course like the one in dominguez hills? Or LA Circuit? Hah! He'd be at a loss for words, I think. On the way to the race we got lost -a first! It took nearly 5 hours to drive what should have taken 3 at the most. We arrived with 25 minutes 'till the start. Ah! JUST my game. While my teammates were running around nervously trying to get situated, I was right in my element. Hah...all that training...paying off. 15 to go, I was dressed. 10 to go, bottle situation taken care of, pockets full of food. 5 to go numbers pinned. 1 to go, fixed the pin-job on my number after a teammate gave me a nice parachute to race with. After a 200 meter ride to the start/warmup, I got to staging and we were soon off. The course (oddly..."course" in French means "race"): Here's what it looked like from the startline, halfway up the first hill: "flat flat flat".....just as I expected. But hey, the legs are good, and a bit of selection wouldn't be a bad I didn't care. Wind in droves as well.

The race: 7 kilometer circuit. 17 laps. 125k. The race started full-on gung-ho. They all do. Road racing in the USA isn't like this at all...quite the opposite: Mellow at first, getting more difficult as the race progresses. 5 UCAers started: Herve, Adam, Loic, Michael, and myself. And we're off. After a few pedal strokes, I realized the legs would destroy -they felt springy and quick. I put myself in a bunch of little moves early. My break-success rate last week was 1 for 1, 100%. In the early going here, not as good. My first 5 didn't go too far....but...the damage was being done. It's always reassuring to get caught by a continually diminishing peleton. Eventually, the pace settled. The elastic was on its last fibers: go time. I attacked through the start/finish area in a bridging effort. 4 came with me. We worked well and smooth, and caught the 6 in front. 11 leaders now. Once we caught, the pace slowed. Gah. 4 bridged up -not shocking if you consider the lapse. Ah well. More than I wanted, and I was bummed to see that no teammates had hitched a ride up to the break. So with the 4 new guys, the rockets blasted, and we were gone. C-L-E-A-R. hah! Two races in a row! I don't think that's happened to me before. Now, the prime situation...I wasn't sure which laps were $ laps, but at 5 to go, I saw a guy get excited 100m from the line, followed him, and took it from him, easy. But! A counter with 6 guys went right as I took the prime! I dugggggggg to mark it, and failed....and nearly got dropped by the rest of the break. Poor timing on my part. So now it was 9 of us now. And the pace dropped to stupid-slow speeds. I recovered, and seeing as the rest of the break had no interest in catching, I attacked. The next three laps were insane. Racing for 7th. solo hammer-land. And strangely...the legs were F#@%$#% amazing. I didn't look back because I didn't have to. They would not be there. I snuck up behind a group of 2 stragglers, and just attacked through. Again, no looking back. No need. Rode 2 laps solo, now for 5th place. Caught a guy 10 meters from the line, and cruised in, figuring I was AT LEAST 4th or better. STOKED.

I finished 17th. I rolled up to the team car afterwards, and asked..."so what'd I get? 4th? 5th?". No one was sure. Fact: I took a prime in a group of 15...the group split in exactly the way I described above. No one passed/caught me. They don't give "field primes" in French Road Races. So I really can't understand it.....and "protest period"??? hah! Gah. Money was 20 deep. I got TWO envelopes. One for the prime, one for 17th. The only feasible explanation is that a huge group maybe slipped off in the early going that me and the entire team somehow missed...and...if this is true, then they erred in giving me that prime! We had a lead car! The guy with the boquet and trophy getting interviewed [pictured above] after the race was in my break! Something awry went down somewhere, and what could I do? Eh...I'm over it. My legs were fantastic, and I'm happy to have made the break again. So that's that. Stage race this weekend. RR, TTT, RR. It'll be a daisy.


Anonymous Faris said...

sorry to hear about the scoring snafu, but stoked to hear you have the good legs. They can't keep ya down for too long with the supple gams.

1:22 AM

Blogger Marco Fanelli said...

Totally agree with you about enjoying the blogs more than the "mainstream" sites. Democratization of the media/entertainment sources!! Keep on reporting...

5:44 PM

Blogger Serko said... all caught up...maybe the discrepancy is the French "f you" to american cyclist still begridged about Lance...stupid americans (poor french accent). Fooket, at least you still have the cheese.

11:15 PM

Blogger Skye said...

Robbed! That's frustrating. However, I'm psyched that you are kicking so much assssss over there. And, no, I still haven't heard the Decemberists' album, BUT, Broken Social Scene's "You Forgot..." is amazing.

11:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes you just gotta stop being such a queen. GO BEACH! -who do you think

6:20 AM

Blogger Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

cycling blogs are you know how much time i can spend (waste? nah) on these things? :-)

Sorry about the race scoring issues...Im going to france next month, but for work without the bike...and I will be in withdrawal.

1:37 AM


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