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

Monday, March 2, 2009

Race Report (Sandbagging, bad timing, what to do?)

Race day.

Last day. February.

Bad timing. What to do?

Race and not watch, or Sandbag and watch? That was the question.

A smart man would not even think twice. He’d race. Yet your humble narrator, could not resist the temptation to watch the first big race of the year – the Omloop - on TV. So, a plan was devised. I hasten to add, not by me.

Four of us were to meet early; ride for an hour; turn up for the earlier, easier race, and hope that the organizers would understand our plight, and let us ride. Sounds simple enough, and surprisingly it was.

What to say about the race? Not much. I had no intention of racing it, per se. No. I was there to get some time on the saddle, and put in some efforts. One of my Gang of Four had other plans, and did his best to get away, which managed to, in a group of three. I moved myself up to the front of the group, and started soft pedaling.

Much to my surprise, everyone complied. Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes later – I’m not sure, I wasn’t paying attention – the group was pulled in. A few laps later, another friend, Mr. Late, pulls alongside, and tells me that he has a plan. We’re to rev things up with four laps to go, with the intention of launching our friend to a winning break. I thought it was a few laps too soon, but nodded in agreement. We may have been sandbagging, but we are human. The time comes, and the plan fails, much as I expected.

Bad timing. For once, Mr. Late is too early.

The bell lap arrives, and I move up, placing myself about 5th wheel, in front of the friend who’s racing for a result, and behind Mr. Late. We hit the last long straight, and Late opens it up.

I shout to him. Trying to tell him to not completely bury himself so we can work together, knowing that as long as we keep it fast, nobody will try and come around, and we can make one last effort to launch our friend. He pulls off, and it’s my turn. I keep the tempo, until I hear Late shouting. There’s a gap?

I see someone bridging up to me, and jump on his wheel. There are two of us, and we have a legitimate chance on fighting for the win. We take a few turns, and then I remind myself that I wasn’t here to race. We hit the last hurdle of the course, a viaduct, less than 500 meters to go.

Race day.

Last day. February.

What to do? I brake, and watch as the field sprints past in pursuit.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I showed up to training crit on a rainy night. No "A" riders showed up, but ten "B" riders did, so I raced (I'm a cat1). I pulled a lot, led them out the last mile, then kicked with 400 meters to go. Sandbagging? No. A win is a win and they got more speed for it. It counts on my bed post :)