So i couldn't help myself. 11 o'clock saturday nite heading for bed and i cant take it anymore........i decide at that moment i am throwin' my original plan to the wind. seeing 30+ guys in saturday's cat 3 race, watching the 360 guys and everyone else duke it out was too much. the choice of racing against 9 or 10 in the masters race or against 30+ guys in the 3's race.......well, thats easy for me. at least right now anyway. I actually felt like i could double up and still do both races. however, that thought was before i finished racing 45 minutes in the first race on sunday.
Saturday evenings recovery from a hard day of racing and chasing andy and steve consisted of a barbeque dinner at Oklahoma Joe's with friend and bike geek Dan Hansen. a perfect source of protein to help torn up muscles recover. I then proceeded home to bath dogs and bike, but not in that order. actually the epson salt bath i took before i went to bed really seemed to help, cuz i woke up feeling great. i seemed to havd no ill effects from the previous days race. the saturday/sunday racing is new to me this year. i did the back to back race days 4 times last year. but those really seemed to take a toll on me come early and mid-december once state and the nationals' races came around. i have really tried to limit my racing as much as posssible eiht the hope that it will pay dividends later and i will be able to peak better for nationals this december.
i was actually amped up to get going sunday morning and left the house about 45 minutes earlier than originally planned. this allowed me to take my time and get an early breakfast with the hopes of not racing with a full belly. once on the bike and warming up though, i really felt the effects of the previous days racing not soreness, but more fatigue is the description i would use. oh well.....most everyone else would be dealing with the dame issue.
like i previously stated in last blog, the cat 3 races in our area seem to get more nad more competitve with each year and each race. this season especially. cat 1 roadies sandbaggin' and cherry pickin' by not racing on saturday and 18 year old legs of a guy who didnt race the day before too are gonna be tough to beat. i dont mean that to be an excuse. it just a plain fact. young graham aldridge is a stud and steadily, hell drastically improving with every race. wether its on a road, mtb or a cross' bike, the kid can absolutely kill it. the other guys......well......i'll just keep my foot out of my mouth and shut up.
i got a call up cuz of pre-registration. this put me on the front row with the field size a rider or 2 shy of 30 racers staartinng in the cat 3 field. it was brian, ted, jason, joel and myself representing the 360 colors. so with the quick roll call, the wistle was blown and we were off. i didnt really have to dig at all to get a good position going into the grass 'bottle-neck'. with ben stover from gp velotek, i was 2nd wheel and racing well under the red line thru the first 1/3rd of the course before we hit the pavement. ti was ben me and mark cole of cowtown putting our noses up front with teammate brian joining up front about halfway thru the 1st lap. really once we were thru the start/finish area starting our second lap, this is where mark cole got on the front and just stuck it. noone else did any work to speak of for the next 2 laps. mark was content and so was everyone else. it was halfway thru the 3rd lap when i realized the mistake we had mad in leting mark do all of the work. obviously after 3 laps of work and noone else bothering to help out, the pace is going to slow a hair. no matter how strong a guy is, that pace is going to slow just enough. as i turned to catch a view behind what i thought was a group of maybe 4 to 5 of us, what i actually saw or counted was 11 friggin sets of wheels. including mine. this was not good. and with a complaining cat 1 roadie behind me and working to the front, i knew something was coming. and it happened. slow motion almost as we were grinding up the little hill to the gravel section. i even barked out to brian to get on the guys wheel, but on that hill, nether one us were able to get on that train. it was the train to be on, i knew it before it even formed. only graham on his singlespeed and ben stover were able to match the OKC racer and once on the gravel, those 3 had enough snap to put 4 or 5 bike lengths before we got to the grass. joe fox was next with brian actually getting on his wheel a few seconds later. i had screwed myself. i was racing too conservative and had glued myself to mark cole's wheel. the guy had just done 95 percent of the work thru the first half of the race and just didnt have the snap to get on even joes wheel. i was lacking the quick acceleration but was really pinned in by mark and and another guy to my right cuz we were almost 3 across coming up to the gravel road. so w/ 3 up the road, joe and brian in the 1st chase group, it was me and mark trying to get to those two. mark really dug deep but joe was just so powerful on the paved andwindy sections, we weren't ever able to get to him. and i, hinestly was no help to mark in this endeavor. joe i going so good at this point that he eventually popped brain off with a lap and a half to go in the race. mark and i actually began to reel in both ben from the lead group and brian with the race official ringing the bell for the last lap of the race. this actually perked me up and mark as well. we did 7 laps in the race and the last 2 laps were much better for us than laps 4 and 5. brian was not able to stay on our wheel, but ben had shut it down early enough up the road and recovered enough to join mark and i. i've raced against this 18 year old on the road and i was not happy he was sticking to us. cuz the little 'f!@#&r' can sprint. i had already told mark that i wasnt going to sprint with him. he had done all the work the last 3 laps and i wasnt in the overall series points either. but ben being there changed things. i tried to communicate this to mark on the run up right before the sprint to the finnish. he didnt here though and didnt know we had a 3rd guy in our group. so i started to wind it up on the little downhill buefore the last pavement section, cuz i knew ben was coming. i hollered out to mark that he had to go!go!go!. he turned around just in time to see ben roaring by me and gaining on him. ben actually nipped mark at the line by no more that a 'butt hair' fo 5th. mark was 6th and i was 7th. brian finnished a couple of riders back and jason and ted were a few more back. joel had been sick the previous week and pulled out after a lap cuz that chest crap just didnt allow him to get enough air to race. cant push or rush those chest colds.
the masters races were hottly contested again, with 360 racing taking 1st and 2nd in the 45+ with steve followed by andy. david white raced the masters instead of with the 1/2's and finished 2nd behind scott dunsmuir of slimenundgrossen. david hejduk was 3rd and brendan jenks was 4th. jason gaikowski 'doubled' up for the 2nd day in a row and raced like an iron man. guy is already training for the DirtyKanza. now all he needs to do is get a map.
360racer of the weekend though is Cameron Chambers. a lap or 2 in to the pro1/2 race, cam began take time out of shadd smith early lead. cam had actually jumped out of the bill marshall/mark studnicki group to rell in shadd a lap or 2 later. he then spent the last 1/2 of the race consistently putting time into an 'under the weather' shadd smith. take nothing away from cam. awsome racing, cuz a 'off day' shadd is still faster than shit. great racing , cuz a healthy studnicki and guys like bill marshall,shadd schreiner and kyle bush were left way back in camerons' wake.
a fine, fun weekend of racing. however, i missed my wife and daughter because they were out of town visiting grandma. so the weekend would have been much more enjoyable had they been here to enjoy it with.
til next time.....
Steve Tilford Eulogy
11 months ago