Sunday, November 25, 2012

When Something You Love, Doesn't Love You Back

I realized the other day, that our CX seasons are now just as long as a mountain bike season, with double the races. This is great, but can be somewhat wearing as well. Luckily, I have had a few planned/forced breaks from the racing action here and there to help keep my head on straight and remain positive and excited for the races that are important to me. But even with that said, it is starting to become hard, especially if things don't go the way you like them to. Which leads me to this, when something you love, doesn't love you back. We all can relate. You feel hurt, betrayed, worthless. But on a positive note, you still love that "what ever it is" So this is what Waterford CX day 1 and 2 was for me.

This was going to be a big weekend and a game decider for the Masters 35+ Series overall. I was still in the lead heading into the weekend but only by 6 points. I needed big results. Like wins. Because there were only a few points separating Alex, Andy, Rodger, and me for the top spots. And we have been all racing at the same level. It was going to be an all out war for the weekend. And the person with the most fitness, desire, and luck would come out on top. And it didn't necessaryliy need to be in that order. But that is how racing goes.

Day 1 - It was cold, windy, dry, and I was ready. I had some strategy I felt was going to be the key for a great day. But finding the right time to execute is always the other key you need. We started and the pace was very controled. I was feeling good and just sitting in waiting to see what Alex and Andy would try to do. We rode like this for about 4 laps. Then we caught a group of about 5 elites. Andy jumped to the front of the group when an opening appeared. Alex just snuck in behind him, and I had to latch on to the back. Not good. This has been a problem for a few of are races this year. Into the next lap I was able to burn a match and get around everyone and back onto my train. The effort was hard and a few of the elite guys came right back around me once we hit the grass again. Not a big deal, but Alex and Andy were slowly pulling away. I explained to the guys I needed to get around, to catch the guys ahead, and that I was not racing them. One of the guys (from out of state) was a complete asshole, and we exchanged a few words and rubbed elbows through a few corners as I tried to cut his line for being an asshole. But I soon got over it. During this time however, Andy opened a gap on Alex and now both had a gap on me. I was left to chase full throttle for the rest of the race. Not what was in my plan, but it was the hand that was dealt, so I had to play it. I stayed in the red zone for the last 3 laps and slowly clawed my way back to Alex. With only 2 turns left and the final drag on pavement I finally caught Alex. He opened the sprint from a long ways out and I jumped on my pedals. I was quickly pulling along side of him as we approached the line. I was finally on his side with just a few feet left, through the bike at the line, but missed second place by about 2 inches. I was so spent from the effort, that I started to dry heave after the finish.

Day 1 - To my surprise it snowed! And enough to make everything icy, muddy, and unpredictable. Perfect! When the race started I made sure I was in the front. I was 2nd wheel to Andy then Mark Caffyn pulled around and made a huge attack! this was perfect I thought. Exactly what I needed to try and help break Andy and Alex. Then Jarod Makowski soon followed. I knew at this point that Jarod would have a great day in the mud and was someone I needed to work with. After Mark put in his effort, I thanked him and pulled around. I was now on the front and trying to put in a small dig. Jarod stuck to my wheel and Alex was not too far behind. Andy was off the back. I went a lap and a half, and then Alex decided he need to try and control the race. Jarod and I just sat in and Andy made his way back. We went another lap, the Jarod launched a hard attack. Perfect I thought. It unhitched Andy and put Alex under stress again. We made our way back to Jarod, then I went. Jarod followed. things were looking good and I was ready to pounce and open up a big surge and try to force the gap. We went through the sketchy bowl section of the course. And on one of the uphills, my chain came off! NOOOOO! I cause Alex and Jarod to bobble, and then they got around me. The Andy came by. I got the chain back on and began to chase. There was a lot of race left so I did not panic. I was already closing in on Andy and just a head of us, Alex went down in a slick corner taking out Jarod. We were all instantly back together, and Andy took the lead. We began to chase him, and soon Alex, Jarod and myself made it around. I was very thankful for the 2nd chance, and was ready to stick with my plan again. About this time I began to notice that my front tire seemed to be over bitinging in the corners. And it dawned on me that it was going flat. I now had to use caution on every corner until I could get to the pit. Alex and Jarod were slowly slipping away but within contact. However, it gave Andy a chance to catch back up as well. As I made it to the pit, my tire was almost completely flat. And now I was chasing Alex, Jarod and Andy. This was not in the plan. I rolled around for another half lap, closing in on Andy. Swapped my bike again, and continued to chase. By the time the last lap rolled around, I was spent and Andy was out of reach. I settled for 4th. With this 4th and my 3rd. It secured my spot for 3rd overall in the series. But it also took me out of having any chance for a 1st or 2nd overall. But that racing. And I am happy with the overall result considering the level of talent we raced againist in a small but competitive Masters 35+ class.

But there is still one more prize left for me to shoot for. The State Championship race. I have been pimped 2 years in a row at this one. And after this weekend I am even more hungry for it. So between the last few years, the past few races, better fitness than ever heading into the final few weeks, maybe lady luck will be on my side.

Thanks to everyone for cheering to pushing me through the race this weekend. It was awesome! Brad, Jay, Kelly, Jim, Alex, Vinne, Andy, and many others, just too many to remember.

Here are some congrats and favorite moments from the weekend. As always, there are others, but these are the ones I remembered.

Congrats to Alex and Andy for splitting the wins this weekend
Mark Parmalee for laying it down on day 1 taking a commanding win.
Jarod Makowski for showing why he use to be a pro mountain biker and taking 2nd on day 2
Jim Goerlich for taking 5th on day 1 in the B's
Adam Mac for doubling up the W's on both days.
Brad Lako for not giving up and fighting through the pain both days to take home to podiums
Scott Goocher for taking home his first ever CX podium and 2 wins to boot, especially after coming back from being hit by a car just over a year ago - AMAZING!!!
Vinnie Cousino Anila for taking 5th in the C class on day 2 in a slippery mess. Steady improvement is key and thanks for the photos.


Paynful said...

It can't always be love... it takes a little hate every now and then to appreciate the love!!

Also, a wise man said that you also need a little luck... ;)

Surly Bastard said...

Unrequited love? Man you need a beer. Or I do.

BrAdLaKo said...

That wise man is right! Nice work Johnny.... the one that counts is right around the corner.

JMAK said...

I'll love you back. You raced great this weekend. Unfortunately you had some bad luck. Another three weeks of focus and then the big dance.

Paynful said...

Haha!! Let me translate... JMak is coming into form and going to hunt you down at states!! Lots of love coming your way... ;)