The most memorable races of '08 for me were (in order):
- Hagerston Crit:
We went into this race with the plan to win Brandon the Champion's Jersey. Joel and Brigham would drive/control the field, I would protect Brandon till the last lap and then pull him around and drop him off at the last corner first, he'd take care of the rest. All went as planned and he crossed the line with the victory salute. I rolled across in 40th or something...not memorable for the folks watching, but to be part of a choreographed ass whipping...that was nice.
- ING Direct:
Going into this race, Esmonde was hyped about having the turbos on "go", feeling good, and talking up a possibility of a win for the little team that could. So we went in with the plan to do everything possible to give him a chance at the line and the win. This was also the first 1/2/3 race that I did and felt like I wasn't just in it because I was a 3; I was there because I belonged and could contribute...not just hang on for dear life (kind of how I feel these days). Now, this was another race where I crossed the line dead last (nasty crash in the last turn of the last lap of the damn race...thank god my rookie mistake didn't take anybody else out) ... but the effort right before the wreck was unselfish and committed like I've never been committed in a race...I was going to get us to the last turn first as if my life depended on it (and pray that Esmonde was in a position for the win). The win did not come (I think Esmonde rolled across in the top 15), but the confidence from the experience is still something in the back of my mind waiting for my fitness to catch up to.
- UMD Crit:
My win last year. Again, this was one where I went from the hill on the last lap. No jockeying for positioning for the sprint, or waiting for someone else to make the move. Just deciding that if I went now, I'd either get caught and lose, or not get caught and win...50/50 right? Cliche saying, but "to win, you must be willing to lose"...everybody and their brother knows that one, but to get a chance to try it...feels good when it works.
- Coppi Road Race:
Another one where I went early (WAY too early), committing, and the result this time was disastrous. I ended up blowing up with about a quarter lap to go and rolled in to the finish by myself, no cheers, no good jobs, just looks of acknowledgment from several other bike racers that had been in the pain cave of suffering and agony that I was "enjoying". Now the end of this race sucked in all ways anything can suck, but I walked away from it with a better understanding of how I should be road racing and self acceptance that I gave everything I had on that day (maybe not in the smartest way, but all was laid out there).
I've been having a hard time managing my time this winter. New work duties, 9 month old puppies, and house improvements have all taken priority over my riding. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little disapointed with how my winter has gone on the bike, but thank god the season is long...maybe the wife will let me race cross this year to, eh? Drag it out a little longer....