Have you ever shown up somewhere with high hopes only to have them suddenly seem hopeless at the start, but once in it, your hopes are raised again to new levels, to finally be missed by an ever so slight margin of error? Yeah, I hate that too.
And so there I was starting in line with Tim Butler, William Sullivan, Tim Jones and John Rollert, all of whom have beat me in the past. But I was not deterred, I wasn’t going to drive 2 hours one way with crazy football traffic to not podium! (By the way, what’s with the flags and pom poms sticking out of everyone’s trunks. Maybe it’s just me but it seems kind of…how to put this…well, it just doesn’t seem to jive with the whole rough and tumble football image).
I lead the first lap but was overtaken by Butler, Jones and Sullivan at some point. I think this is the point I struggle with the most. Why did I let them get by me? How did they get away from me? I felt strong enough and I felt technically competent. Maybe how I feel isn’t reality at all. Maybe I’m just off on each skill such that it’s imperceptible to my minds eye? Am I over confident? Can I improve such a small margin or is this a chasm beyond my own blinded perception?
As the race progressed I was alone and far off the podium. However, there was a glimmer of hope as I passed Jones seemingly out of gas. Then in the distance I could see Rollert, who was in third. I came so close to him that I could still see the mud in his wake settling. I ran up the stairs just behind him, set my bike down and heard – and felt – a strange rattle. My rear wheel had come loose. Really? Anyhow, it took me a bit to get it all resolved, as my brain couldn’t do the math trying to recall “lefty loosy, righty tighty” while also standing on the opposite side of the wheel lever. Meanwhile, the crowd was yelling something about a dollar that happened to be sitting right in front of me. So, while distracting, at least I got something for my troubles.
That was it though. I enjoyed the rest of the race flying through the back section and otherwise enjoying a great course. 4th. Just shy of a podium. How glorious that would have been, but it gives me aspirations for next year. I’m so happy not to be the best in the world. How boring would that be?
Photos Courtesy of William Sullivan