No 'net at home these days. Infuriating, but still not resolved. Meantime, I'll drop this quick report during my lunch break.
Carl Dolan was lots of fun. After my lackluster showing at one of the Tradezone races, I wondered how well I'd do on a shorter, faster, circuit race. I'm content with how things went. Also, I think it's a good sign I can isolate what might've accounted for my middling results.
The race seemed fast enough to me. As others posted, I agree there was way too much unnecessary slowing at completely random spots on the road, but we did cover our 25.2 miles in exactly 59 minutes.
Had quite a few teammates at this race. They seemed to do well latching onto each others' wheels. I have to say, I favored the right side of the road for most of the race and wasn't very quick to jump in line with our guys on the left side of the road. No matter. The meat of my story really comes from the lone aggressive move I pulled all day and the final kilometer of the race.
My aggressive move was pretty laughable. Lap 3 was a prime lap. I didn't win it. I did, however, launch a hilarious and pointless attack after two guys already tore away from the field for the prime. Here are two shots (shot 1 and shot 2) of me blazing up the right side of the finishing climb. As I rode by nearly all the field, I heard some amusing "What the?"s and "Oh my god!"s and "Woah!"s. I don't suspect anyone was impressed or worried. Mostly, I suspect they were amused and confused. Why the eff did I bother? Well, I kinda just wanted to see how fast I could get up that hill. Further, it did get and keep me at the front of the field (where I wanted to be for the last lap or two) after they swallowed me up.
The kicker about that move, though, is what could've come of it. As I crested the hill and crossed the line, I saw two guys about 50 meters up the road. They looked like they were kinda taking it easy. First thought: I think we're lapping these guys. Second though: naw, that can't be. Third thought: I could ask, but that might be pretty insulting if they're not being lapped. Current thought: maybe they were being lapped and maybe I actually won the prime.
When I caught those guys, no one (including yours truly) made a move to organize and try to stay away from the field. I looked over my shoulder and we easily had 200 meters on the field. Thinking back, I should've continued to drill it and tried to stay away all by my lonesome. Who knows? Maybe it would've stuck.
Anyhow...getting to the finish. Strategy on this one was pretty simple. I had to make sure I was within the top 25 coming out of the turn with 1km to go. I was. Good news. Further, I wanted to use the right lane (which only opened up with about 250m(?) to go) for my sprint. I talked to Dave Kemp about this and he was eager to help me out. I'm just getting used to the team thing, but it's nice to have those sorts of talks with 'mates. I think my strategy was a smart idea, but there was one hiccup in the way. The enitre lead out train and strung out peleton headed to the left side of the road after the turn. Worried that I might get caught way far from the lane I wanted to take for the sprint, I opted to sit out on my own in the wind for the final 500 meters. I chose my plan over protection from the wind. Dumb move. Sitting in the wind let the front 20 ride away from me. Sticking right did keep me out of the final crash, but limited me to 9th in the Cat. 4 group. I also suffered from an All-American guy's move right across my line with about 150 to go. I was spinning the right gear, but had to slam on the brakes to avoid this dude. That slowed the momentum and I was subsequently over geared when I tried to start up again. And so it goes.
Post-race, Kemp did tell me he had all intentions of being there for the lead-out. Once again, very cool to know. He made me laugh when he described how the plan fell a bit flat. He said he was on my wheel coming into the turn. He hoped to come around me so I could latch on. In the end, though, he said I came flying out of that turn at high speed and accelerated away. Oops! It would've been fun to see how well we could've worked together. Next time, eh?
Other lessons from the race...position on the new bike is not yet dialed. I suffered terribly numb feet (left side was worst) and some really odd muscle pain in my extreme upper hammy on the right side. Hopefully this will all work itself out with continued tweaking. Final lesson acknowledged (but I'll probably never truly 'learn' it)...wear friggin' sunblock!!