Well the much anticipated weekend of racing that officially kicked off the 2008 campaign for me ended in complete disappointment.
First out of the gate was the Tour of Walkersville on Saturday morining in beautiful Walkersville, MD. The weather forecast leading into the weekend called for relatively cold temps and consistent rain throughout the day so I got my mind prepared for those conditions. Turned out to be an absolutely gorgeus day, albeit windy as hell.
The 3/4 race had a somehwat ominous beginning when 3-4 people in front of me banged together during the neutral roll-out...IT IS A NEUTRAL ROLL-OUT PEOPLE!!!!.... Following that the race jumped immediately after entering the course (so much for the initial feeling out of a 40 mile road race). Heading into the wind on a slight uphill with rollers was a pretty decent wake up call, unfortunately I got stuck onthe right side of the road and managed to pinch my front tire between the side of the road and a drainage grate. The telltale psssst sound pretty much signlaed the end of my day before it even got going. I was fortunate in two regards following this incident 1) the nice lady that was marshalling the corner offered a tube and a pump so I was able to fix the tire and 2) the flat kept me out of the crash that followed not too long afterwards (taking down one of my teammates). After hopping back on I paired up with him and took a leisurely ride around the rest of the 8 mile course and enjoyed the scenery before calling it a day.
Day 2 of the weekend brought us the Tyson's Corner Crit, in not as beautiful Tyson's, VA. And the weather that was supposed to be with us at Walkersville managed to find it's way to Tyson's. It was rainy, windy, and just a bit cold (much like Tour of Flanders that was ongoing at the same time)....Following sign-in and warm-ups I made my way the start line with the rest of our team and awaited the opening whistle. Immediately following the "tweet" my first pedal stroke caused my chain to pop completely off and somehow get lodged between the small chain ring and the frame. To say that I was disgusted would have been quite an understatement because I ended up throwing my bike into the grass. Apparently it worked to unstick the chain and I was able to get it back on and was faced with the decision of simply strolling back to the car, warming up and calling it a day or trying to make a pointless effort to rejoin the field that was a good 2+ minutes gone. For some strange reason I opted for the latter and buried myself (as much as I can) to try to catch back on. I was never able to catch back on but did begin to pick up some off those that got spit out the back along the way. I made a few efforts to pull some teammates back into the mix before popping and riding out the end of the race. I didn't finish well (34th), but I did finish and was happy with that.
I would have thought that my bike was cursed given these events, but the fact that I used a different bike for each race puts that fear to rest.
I have decided that with upcoming vacations, and my 5 year old's busy schedule with hockey and t-ball, that I am taking the next 6 weeks off from racing and will attempt to build a second base for the end of the season races (June/July/August). We shall see how it goes.
Next up for me is a trip to Netherlands and Belgium for the Amstel Gold Race and the Fleche Wallonne and perhaps a few efforts up the Cauberg and Mur de Huy, possibly a trip across Belgium into France to give the Ardennes' Forest and Roubaix cobbles a go. Stay tuned for more