There's a saying that experience is 'what you get when you don't get what you want', and that sums up our trip to Madison! Conditions were really tough on course Friday, with rain overnight creating lots of mud, puddles, and exposed sections of ice for the morning's race. In the afternoon, after hundreds of riders had competed, it was deeper, thicker mud, with the ice hidden much better. In short, after a warm, dry season in Colorado, it was sloppy and slippery! Carl's Report:
I hope I've learned my lesson now. For the second year in a row, I was too passive at the start, soft pedaling, and even scrubbing my brakes as the group bunched, instead of asserting myself and pushing through gaps to move up. For the second year in a row, I got caught behind crashes just after leaving the start straight. I know better than this, I know that the middle of the pack is the worst place to be since you'll be right on top of the inevitable chaos, with no time to react. I lost spots there and it took some time to get my balance back. Looking at lap times, there were only about 20 guys with slower first laps than me, and I passed a bunch of riders late in that lap, so I was probably somewhere back in the 50's.
Overall, I rode a decent race, I had done 3 preview laps, the first of which was a mess, but then I lowered my tire pressure and started feeling the flow. During the race, I was able to do a good job of staying on the mud and puddles to avoid the ice. I was taken down by other riders twice, but never went down on my own. I was fast on the runups, and able to ride the hill all but the first lap (when traffic made it impossible). In the end, I was 26th, missing my goal of top 20, and know that I let that slip away in the first 2 minutes of the race.
This next two weeks will be filled with lots of intensity leading up to World's in Louisville. In order to even get into the Finals, I have to qualify through a 3 lap Heat race, so there won't be room for errors or a slow start!
Humiliating, discouraging, disappointing…sums up my race.
I only got one preview lap in before the race and it was tough. I should have been out earlier to get at least another under my belt to feel comfortable in the conditions. So when I lined up I was tense. Not a good way to go into icy/muddy conditions. This was truly the slipperiest conditions I've ever ridden in but no excuse. When you go to a race at this level and have high expectations you have to take what's dealt to you.
On the bright side (there's always one, right?)…my conditioning felt great. Legs/lungs were good.
Anyway, I'm working through all those feelings listed above and focusing on Master's Worlds in 2 weeks. Sorry for the bummer update but the next race WILL be better.
Thanks for reading!