are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Loop of the loop of the loop (A tale of two races – part one)

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Sitting in the club house, drinking coffee, I pin on my number one last time, mystified at how quickly the season has passed. Thinking about it, I realize that apart from the weather, not much separates the various races. 2007: a loop of a loop. I’ve become a little bored with it. No matter, today is the “Sluitingsrit”, or Closing ride, the last race of the season.

I roll up to the line, and see most of the usual suspects: the Sprinter, van der Moser, Flick, van Poppel. There are also two friends, both psychologists. I’ve always wondered if racing is research or therapy for them. Maybe both?

A few words are spoken before the start, a round of applause for the organizers is given, and for the last time in 2007 I attack from the line. Actually, it’s not so much an attack, but an attempt to get the race over as soon as possible. I’m quickly reeled in.

The following 30 some odd minutes grind away without incident. There are a few attacks, but none that manage to stick. I stay near the front and notice that the psychologists have two friends with them today. They’re not wearing the same shirt, but they’re playing team tactics. It’s the only thing of interest that I note.

I find myself on the Sprinter's wheel just as he jumps from the field. I go with him. The two of us have a gap, but the Sprinter tells me that two isn’t enough. I’m not feeling very adventurous, so I agree. Meanwhile, Flick has bridged up to us. I wait us to be reeled in. The Sprinter says to continue riding, but not too hard. We share our work, setting a moderate tempo, recovering for the next wave of attacks.

I look behind, and see that we now have some company, but the field isn’t getting any closer. Once again, the usual suspects are all there: van der Moser, van Poppel… as well as one of the psychologists. It looks like the teamwork is working back in the field, because it doesn’t take long for us to pull away, safely out of sight from the peloton.

We commit to the break, more or less, and the race blurs. The collaboration slowly becomes spotty. A few riders are sitting in, while others are working hard, some words are exchanged, but that's about it. The bell rings, and we prepare for the final sprint. As expected, van der Moser, who has been sitting at the back the entire time, attacks. We catch him quickly.

The Sprinter asks me if I’m feeling strong. I’m not sure. Maybe. Why? He tells me I should try and surprise the group. I decide to do just that, but I wait until there’s about 1km to go, just before the "hill" on the course.

I’m sitting, 4th man from the front staying tight on the Sprinters wheel. There’s a half -hearted surge on the left, it’s van der Moser again. He stops before he’s even started. When I switch my gaze back to the front, the Sprinter accelerates. Someone is off the front. It’s one of the riders who had been sitting on for the previous 45 minutes.

We crest the ‘hill’, a viaduct in reality, and accelerate down the road, taking the final turn of the final lap of the final race of 2007. The Sprinter is reeling in the opportunist. I hear a gear shift behind me, and know that the game has finally begun.


Anonymous said...

Part two?

Arron said...

the never ending loop. good sutff. later.

Gregory Garrison said...

The ending is reminiscent of the Gunslinger's, (Steven Kings "The Dark Tower"), realization that his quest is an endless loop.