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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

KvA (Part II)

The burn in my legs, from the consolation sprint, is waning. I circle the course, cooling down. Or is that warming up? I have another race, and it’s starting soon. Very soon. So soon, that I see people lining up as I roll in.

I jump off of my bike, hand €2 euros over, refill my bottle, shove a muesli bar down my gob, take a quick ‘sanitation pause’ behind some bushes, then hop on to my bike, pushing my way through the riders I’ve just raced with, to get to the ones I’m about to race with.

I have just enough time to look over and spot my two teammates, Mr. Late the WegKaptein (road captain), and the Kop Man II (not to be confused with the original KM). They’re close, but not close enough. The plan is simple: help the KMII. All winter he’s been training like a man possessed, but during the early races, he’s been more preoccupied with training, rather than racing. The night before Late and I bombarded him with emails, pushing him to go for it, and pledging our support. The only problem is that his hip has been bothering him, and he wasn’t sounding his usual confident self.

Once we’re given the go to start, I ride alongside him, and ask how he feels, if he’s up for it. He smiles, and answers with the affirmative. I see that he’s riding his good bike, complete with aero wheels. It’s a positive sign.

I have no idea how my legs will fare after the previous race. Only one way to find out. I find myself riding towards the front of the field. Ouch. We pass the start/finish, and I drift back.

The peloton begins to string out into one long line. My burning legs express their displeasure. I’ve clearly dug deeper than I should have in the previous race. I’m somewhere in the middle. I look towards the front, and see the KMII riding comfortably. Meanwhile I’m digging deep, just trying to hold the wheel in front of me. If only my legs weren’t so sore. I’ll be alright. I think. I hope.

The pace eases. Just a bit. The pain subsides. Just a bit. I work my way up the field, close to KMII. I wonder where our third Musketeer is. He can’t be behind me. Can he? Nope. He’s up the road. I must have missed it. He’s in a break, with the rider who won this race last year. I’m impressed. More importantly, our plan is working.

The wind has picked up, the pace as well. Once again the field stretches out, in pursuit of the riders ahead. Another lap passes, and they’ve been reeled in. Once again, I move towards the front. A teammate from last years winner jumps. The WegKaptein shouts at me, telling me that it’s my turn. I jump. At least that’s what I try to do.

Somehow I managed to bridge up to the rider in white and baby blue. I’ve brought along company, which is fine by me. I drift back, and let the two (or was it three?) of them set the pace, while I recover. Our endeavor doesn’t last long. We’re caught within a kilometer.

As I drift back, I notice that the KMII is riding near the front. I want to try again, which is what I would normally, stupidly, try to do. Thing is, I don’t have the legs.

A counter attack is launched, and I see the WegKaptein cover it. It’s over as soon as its begun. I notice that I'm drifting further back back. I slowly start moving forward.

Then it happens. From where I am, it's not entirely clear what's happening ahead. It appears that last years winner jumps, along with another favorite. The pace picks up. I’m in self preservation mode, doing what I have to do to hang on. Fortunately it’s only a brief surge. The pace drops. The pointy end of the peloton dulls. I look for the KMII. He's not with us, he's up the road. The break is away.

What follows is somewhat boring. Last years winner’s teammates (all 10, 15, too many of them) disrupt whatever chase there might be. For a while the WegKaptein tries to keep the pace high “to try an keep them within sight.” I suggest we do the opposite. After all the KMII is in the break.

We’ve done what we wanted to do. Now it’s up to him. He will not disappoint.

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