Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Ghost at #1

Having wailed on the short track course yesterday for a third place and a lot of pain, the big race was today. It was two laps and about 24 miles of mostly flat-undulating single track with a smoldering section from a nearly completed planned burn of the forest and a long gas-line climb that was out in the open. To add some misery, they included the short track course from yesterday which in itself was very hard.

I only did the 40-49 race but in it were a lot of really good riders. One in particular, Jon Dahlman, was an ex-pro now living in Dahlonega and having known him from 'cross, he seemed to be the one to beat. At the start it was two local guys setting pace for almost 5-6 miles and it was pretty slow. On an inclide Jon took over and soon it was him, me and an Alabama rider (Andy?). We settled in and I told Jon I was happy to work but he liked the lead so he stayed out in front over the gas-line climb and rounded out the first lap. I was tired from the previous day and I thought I sensed Jon tired as well. I took over the lead on the second lap and the other two had no trouble matching my pace.

Around 3 miles in Jon had a mechanical where his chain came off his cog. I did not stop and Andy caught back up and told me the deal. I decided to go all out since I figured Jon+expro= easy bridge of the gap. So I did and ended up dropping Andy in the process. Jon was catching upby an outstanding effort but he told me later he kept having mechanicals and eventually ended up easing off. I was alone the last 6 miles or so and the gas-line climb was easier the second time. My back was killing me from the effort, not knowing if Jon was gaining or not; I have a lot of respect for him and his ability.

It was pretty sweet coming onto the short track course knowing I was first and would win the title, but as i approached the line I, the official and number keeper were the only ones who seemed to know it. I think everyone thought Jon would easily take the win. Even the announcer totally forgot about me and as I was sitting on the grass watching the others roll in, he started calling the race once he saw jon coming up to the line. It was pretty funny.

Unfortunately I could not stay for the presentation of the jersey or podium due to family committments. But I should be getting it in the mail (thanks Shey!).

I have to say that Shey Linder, Adam Jones (and their families) and Scott Hodge put on a great race weekend. The race ran like a clock without and troubles, the short track on Saturday was fantastic and light-hearted and they even got to race this year with Shey taking 3rd in the open class. Every race these guys touch is promoted fantastically.

So, as for the blog caption, stealing from a band, I did feel like a ghost in winning, but it was pretty damn funny too!

I was thinking that in doing some of these SS races this year, physiologically it is strength needed over power. Not just brute strength but also strength-endurance. Since you are confined at all times to how fast you can turn the one gear you have, for me it seemd like I am doing squats or deadlifts for 2 hours. Core is really important--back and abdominal strength as well as glutes. Unless you already work on these, you need to have a natural strength here to put up with the pounding. I think most road cyclists are deficient here because the lack of core work in a daily road cycling routine. It is there for stability but many guys supplement with weight training. I like these compettions where you can't hide--'cross, time trials and single-speed. For me, much more satisfying than sitting in a pack for 2 hours and sprinting or in a small group hanging on.