Let's not start this one off with the bike. That album
? It's been on non-stop repeat since early summer, and I've been listening to it even more in the last month or so. One really neat property the album has that's unique to me is that whenever it's playing on the ipod (iphone!
) on a ride I instantly get these vivid recollections of France. Every little detail and sense is there. Tingly on so many levels. It's a good way (the only way?) to deal with the intermittent nostalgia I can't help but feel. Also, on that note, I'm going to try
to commit to writing a weekly ditty in french here just to keep the language somewhat spry. I've stopped studying, and that part of my brain kinda shut itself off once that door closed. Gotta intervene! Allright.......
Another sunday, another crit....but first: I raced the track on saturday night. I skipped Valley of the Sun partly because the purse to entry/gas/lodging ratio wasn't too favorable, and also because there were a couple local options that were both metro/riding distance from my house. I really really love NOT having to drive to a race. One of the perks of the socal scene. So yes, the track. Not much to report. Honest, it's not even worth breaking down. Would like to note though, that track racing suddenly got more expensive, almost prohibitively so: they've found a way to throw in pre-registration and late fees (in addition to track usage fees) to the mix. That said, it was a great workout and the legs got nice and open for the next day's criterium.
The results sheet will read "7th........Aram Dellalian.......Unattached", but f
, that results sheet came together in the strangest fashion. It was your standard flat 100k crit. 75 guys? Christian Valenzuela was at the start, as were other perennial breakaway masters: Thurlow, C-Walk, etc. Again, not a stellar field, but enough to make it interesting. The course is cool because you can see the entire race from a single vantage point. Don't think I've done any others that are like this one. Really cool for spectators, and for racers trying to gauge where they are. Prior to the race I told a bunch of people "i'm riding for a break. be there."
Lo and behold, I miss the first major move. But so did the thurls and c-walks of the peleton, so I wasn't alarmed. Valenzuela was up there, however, driving the break along. Not surprising, because that's what he does, he motors. They quickly had half a lap before the main group started to move. Eventually, Walker, Rigo Meza, me, and a couple other guys worked to bring it back. Wasn't too hard. Once we brought them back, I caught up to Christian, and jokingly said "otra vez, con mio! [one more time, with me]". A couple corners later I attacked through the start finish. Not super hard, but hard enough to get some separation and maybe have one or two tag along. Sure enough: Christian Valenzuela on my wheel. I let him sit (the guy had to be tired off the front for 40k) for a while as we bridged to Randall Coxworth (SDBC). Not sure how/when Randall got up there. In any case, It was a promising move. SDBC had a big team shutting things down, and I was sure Christian had more in his legs after a bit of rest. It worked, we got 30 ticks real quick...though we still had too much race to go.
I think after 7-8 laps out there, they announced "29 laps to go". Gah. SDBC wouldn't work. It's cool, at least this way I could "adopt" his teammates and help stretch the gap a bit. Christian (who had 1 teammate) seemed okay with it, and him and I exchanged equal pulls...'till of course his wheels came off (figuratively). So now two people are sitting on. Really, it was a funny situation...but the legs were up for it. Somehow, we still gained on the field. Got to within 20 seconds of the back...but lapping the field would present its own problems....the problem of teammates....my current dilemma. I could get Christian in a 3-up sprint...Randall...perhaps...but the guy did lots of resting. If we lap, he wins easily 'cause he's got 500 teammates. Can't attack, because then those 500 guys shut me down. It's a catch-22, and this is why the unattached game is annoying...but also interesting.
Hate to drag this on, but eventually the gap started coming down. 10 to go sounded. Really, I was doing full lap pulls here. I'm not stupid. I had a little chat with the breakaway guys, set some terms, and vowed to keep the gap going. And did. 5 to go, Christian was getting gapped on the corners. We still had 30 ticks. 3 to go, Christian was gone, and Randall pulled through with a bit more regularity. Into the bell we must have had 20 seconds. I pulled the first half lap. Believe me, I looked back plenty. Randall took over with a half lap to go. He was motoring, and I was comfortably in tow. I looked back for the final time here. We well were clear. A good 10 seconds. We rounded turn 4 for the millionth and last time. Randall didn't mess around -no games, and I'm thankful for that. He set it up for me perfectly...
but i screwed it up. I foolishly (delusions of grandeur-ly) pulled wide right into
the wind while he stayed his line wide left. We were even with about 25 meters to go, and when I realized that I wasn't gaining ground, my legs conceded...2nd place......no! What? The pack! 5 others passed, and all that's left is this blog entry and