Saturday, May 1, 2010

Disqualification, protest and Individual Time Trial

I have for the first time this year suffered motivational issues.  The likely cause is long days at work combined with some calf/knee pain.  This was all finally put over the top by some shenanigans at Race the Ridge this weekend.

The commissar at the race was on a major power trip.  From what I understand there was an incident in a previous race where a racer was having heated conversation with the commissar.  It seemed he was now determined to take out his his frustrations in a vendetta against the racers.

The yellow line became the commissar`s guillotine, and I was 1 of more than a dozen victims of some questionable disqualifications.  We raced on quiet rural roads.  The roads were quite narrow, with no painted center line.  Questionable disqualifications include a situation in which a man in a wheel chair was on the shoulder and the pack swerved wide to avoid him.  This resulted in several disqualifications.  Another incident occurred on a fast decent.  There was a slow moving truck,  much of the pack had to swing wide to avoid.  This too resulted in disqualifications. 

I was disqualified as the pack came to a hill slowing the speed.  The accordion affect forced me to the outer edge of the group.  I remained in the draft of riders ahead of me, and not over the center-line.  Along comes the commissar.  Drives up beside the pack and informs me that I have been disqualified, and that I am to remove myself from the race immediately.  We had not even gone 30km and was removed from the race and all subsequent stages.

I was pretty jaded.  Vowed never to support this event again, and could not bring myself to consider just training this weekend. 

Needless to say I was not happy.  Due to the unusually high number of disqualifications neither was the race organizer and Title Sponsor.  We launched a protest and with the backing of the Title sponsor and Race organizer I was re-instated to the race.  In last place, with a massive time penalty, but at least I could continue racing. 

On paper I could continue racing, but mentally I was not there.  I had to make some effort to get my head back on straight.  Having to force the motivation is not a good sign.  I have it for the rest of the weekend, but I will have to hit the mental refresh button on Monday.

Shenanigans aside, it was time to get focused for the Time trial.  A 21km out and back ITT with a net elevation gain on the way out.  Being the first ITT effort of the year the expectations were loose.  I expected not to embarrass myself, and I expected it to be a "Trial".  I placed 8th.  Which means I did not embarrass myself,  in fact this is somewhat of a pleasant surprise.  I have not done much in the way of TT work, and I felt I had stable ride.

The race plan was to be under control on the way out and wind it up on the way back.  I rode the TT in control, but perhaps too much in control.  I might almost go as far as to describe it as comfortable.  I did not wind it up as much as I would have liked on the way back.  For the future this is good information, I know for next time that I can go deeper.  I can now adjust some of my training to support this and improve.

Nevertheless I am sure to be in last place overall.  I will go into tomorrows Criterium with nothing to lose.  I will warm up well and then ride like I have nothing to lose.  This often produces good results at least in underdog sports movies.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

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