2017 Nationals

Three days of competition have now passed. My wife once asked me “Can’t you just race for fun?” Racing is fun, but I race to win. Perhaps that is a simplistic view, but it is the truth. I do not win often, that is what makes it so thrilling when it does happen. To win at this sport usually takes several things coming together at the right time to be able to pull that stars and stripes jersey over one’s head. It does occasionally happen that you show up and are the only one in your age group and you win by default, regardless of fitness or training. Matt Rini told me, if you don’t show up, you can’t win. So, I am proud of those who show up and win even though they could not stay on a brisk group ride. They have that competitor’s urge and that is half the battle.

Again, three days have passed, three events down. I have not performed well if one goes by placing. In fact though, I raced one of my best ever points races. I raced smart, I did not over react, and it was hard and fast. Glenn Winkle made the first move right after the first points sprint at lap 10. He was descended upon by the hordes and gobbled up. Mike Hines and Mark Sommers countered hard a couple of laps later and Robert Black joined the chase. We (the pack) admired their boldness and tenacity while waiting for Glenn Winkle to chase . He did not. In three laps they had caught us and the race was, effectively over. Shannon Fox, my team mate from Worlds last year and Glenn did the lion’s share of the work in the pack driving hard to shred the hangers on. They managed to drop one and keep the rest of us hanging on for dear life. Unlike last year’s event it was hard and fast! I hung around for the tenth spot. My coach, the awesome Rich Voss, and I broke it down and we both were pleased at the effort and the result, despite the lack of hardware.

The second day saw the 500 go down for us old folks. My Robson Forensic mate, rode in the age group under me and my pal Robert Kowal rode in my age group. The three of us are riding team sprint on Sunday so this would be a good way to size things up. Kurt Sato owns this age group. A consummate gentleman, an impeccable sportsman, he is astoundingly fast out of the gate and holds it to the line. He beat second place, the much improved James Thiele, by nearly a second! Rich Voss ticked in a tenth later for the bronze. I managed to squash the too big gear I rode fairly well but settled for ninth of twenty three. I find it amusing that my time would have placed me higher in the younger age group and Kurt’s time would have won that, as well. We are fast old men! Robert, Glenn, and I are all pretty close on time so it should make for a fair team sprint. We will have to ride perfectly to get a medal, but we have a shot!

Today was the pursuit. I hate pursuits. There is nowhere to hide, your foibles are on display for the world to see. The clock ticks relentlessly, invariably more times than you would wish. The track length grows to nearly double on the last couple of laps. Each breath starts to hurt and the resultant cough, delightfully known as track hack, lasts for hours. But, I am a “Best All Round” points slut so I rode it. I ticked a few points. I went for a nice long ride along the Catawba river later.

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