|I think I crossed a line...
Posted: 08/16/2000 by Chris Brewer
Sometimes in life you hit crossing points, where you transition from a point where you were comfortable at to one of more challenge and difficulty - last night's Tuesday Nighter was one of those times... for me it all started with those fateful words "I think I'll just ride pack tonight..."
Unfortunately, sometimes the pack rides really fast! (grin) - Big Bruce, our resident 6'6" hammer went off immediately - shades of what Monti and I did last week, but as he was solo we just spun up as a group - that was until Chris Larkin (a Team USAF tri type) decided to bridge up to Bruce. No question these guys would be able to stay away so anyone wanting to "win" had to go, and now. Before we even had a mile under our saddles we're rolling at 26+ mph, and had dropped about half of the 30 or so folks - some pretty disgruntled at the early speed. Within 3 miles we finally regrouped, but speed fever was in effect and the pace continued to blister along.
I was concerned that I had gone too hard too soon, but determined to sit in and try and relax - no early attacks tonight!
Bad timing for me in the line - or good, depending on your perspective - I found myself on point on all of the "major" climbs. While this did let me set the initial pace I could not believe my luck as I got to pull everyone along - but I was doing OK. At the halfway point we were starting to lose some of the hanger ons - it was hot and humid and the high pace was kicking in. As we turned back and went hard through a right turn, a gap resulted and the 15 were now down to 10 - up several rollers and then the oft-attacked 10 mile Hill - yep, I'm on point... just before we crest it Chris and Bruce attack on my left, I swing over and just barely grab onto Bruce's wheel then we're off like a shot down the hill. I look back to see who came with me - no one made it.
I can't tell you how many times I have seen this happen from the other side - the "fast guys" hit it and there's nothing you can do about it but watch... to now be up on the point and doing this myself was a new experience - a painful one. Greg Lemond's quote kept ringing through my head "It never stops hurting, you just go faster..." I wanted to quit at least 4 times - looking for riders off the back to "go and help" - the reality was I was being ripped and wanted off, but something wouldn't let me quit.
I think it was the look of other riders who did the short route, that wistful glance back as the three of us caught them and pressed on - if I dropped off I would have somehow failed that expectation. There was a feeling of serious relief as we went up the last climb and had 5 miles of flat roads ahead - I was going to make it. I could only take a 30 second pull at a time - we were still rolling 26-27 mph as a trio - Chris L is a freakin' tri train and can flat smash it... and as we headed into the final sprint I just lead the other two out until I was totally spent - I had not earned the "win", but it's a third place I will remember for a long time - 32 miles @ 25 mph average - I think I crossed a line...