After a 3-week hiatus to allow clean-up from a significant summer storm, Bryan Park was back on the Tuesday night schedule last night.
Three weeks off posed an interesting set of questions. Who had taken the time to train up? Who had gotten lazy? What teams had worked on strategy and communication? Who would even show up?
I took the break to start a mileage blitz and get Alastair into road cycling. My blitz and my vacation started with the hiatus, which was pretty convenient, and I've been getting 150+ miles per week, with at least 100 at speed. There have been a couple of pace-y rides with the team, some decent strategy discussion, and the legs came into this week feeling pretty good.
But I decided to commute on Monday, to get more of my blitz in before things happen next month that will significantly impact my riding availability.
And while I was pretty good about not using explosive power on the morning commute, I foolishly chased a KOM on the way home. A 4.1 mile KOM. I got it, but at substantial cost.
Tuesday I was feeling pretty flat all day. My legs just felt heavy, and work was pushing pretty hard for some tight deadlines.
So stressed out and tired, I headed over to Bryan Park with a head full of questions and no gas in the tank.
I gridded up near the rear so as to be less tempted to blow up off the front, and rolled around near the back of the pack for 2 or 3 laps before getting bored. As I was getting to the front, I saw one of our guys join a break.
It was too early for a break to stick, and I didn't really have the legs to chase it down, but I decided to see if I could impose a pace on the peloton. They obliged and I was able to build a 6-second gap for the lead-out group. It fell apart after a lap or so, and I dropped back through the pack.
During the women's prime lap, I was amazed to hear a bunch of racers shouting to let up the pace and let the ladies through. That's ridiculous, because they're scored based on wherever the hell they are--they don't have to be off the front. So I found Maggie's wheel and chased her to the front and held out there while another teammate started a break.
Once again I found myself hanging off the front, holding up the pack through the turns. Nobody seemed eager to pass, but with the breaks being one or two riders, none were destined for success.
We had a rider tear off for a prime, late in the race, and then later one of our guys tried to make a break that would stick. I held off the pack as long as I could, but with two laps to go I knew I was done.
I made it to the final turn before the bell lap before the group consumed me, and ended up finishing just about last in the peloton.
But we put together a hell of a team effort, sending guys off the front, blocking, winning primes, and ended up with at least two riders (of 8) in the top 10. It felt really good to finally be a part of something strategic, rather than just a privateer in a team jersey. And I should now be two races away from moving out of Cat 5!