As many of you may know, I am a full time student studying to be a Physical Therapist, which means there’s a whole load of classes that I need to take before I can learn how to rehabilitate injured people. In actuality, a lot of these classes don’t have much to do at all with helping one through the struggles of plantar fasciitis. In my current Chemistry class, a big subject in the interaction of certain molecules is polarity, and to be completely honest, I don’t really have a passion for the interactions between things on a molecular level. Although sitting through over 10 hours of Chemistry per week does at least do one thing – it makes you relate things you might learn about to everyday occurrences. So, to make things simple, I’d like to talk about the polarity of bike racing. (Highly Scientific Stuff Here)….
Polarity is defined (by Wikipedia, the world’s most trusted source of all sources) as: the state of having two opposite or contradictory tendencies, opinions, or aspects. Doesn’t this seem to sum up bike racing for a lot of us? Racing a bike has a lot of contradictory tendencies and aspects, mostly when looking at overall performance in the sport (training, race results, etc.) If there’s anything I have found this year, it is that bike racing is like a field in which polarity is constantly changing.
Last weekend was the Town Center Criterium, put on by Folsom Bike in the heart of El Dorado Hills out front of the very bike shop that I work at. The race was going really well, I was in the break all day feeling good, and I decided to attack with about 3 laps to go. Trying to put in a gap in the fast section at the bottom through the turns, I slid out and hit the deck. I hopped back on the bike as soon as I could and tried my best to chase the break back down, but to no avail, finished behind the break for 8th. This was a disappointing day for me because I felt great, but I wound up taking a corner on my hip.
Golden State Race Series in Rancho Cordova was up next on the calendar, and it always been a fun race weekend for me because it is local and put on by Rio Strada Racing (the team that I started racing with in 2010). Although I was trying my best to heal up my road rash, I felt good about my legs and was excited to have some teammates to race with. Saturday was the criterium, followed by a circuit race on Sunday, and with a lot of the big guns at the Cat’s Hill Classic on Saturday evening I was hoping for a good result. Nate Freed, Matt McKinzie, and I were there to represent Marc Pro – Strava, and we raced actively for the first half of the race. I rode across to a break that was forming up the road with Dave Grundman (Team Bicycles Plus p/b Sierra Nevada with a sweet Taco Bell logo on the back pocket of the jersey), Mike Buckley (Specialized / Touchstone Masters), Chris Baker (Specialized / Touchstone Masters), and Reese Levine (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator). We were joined shortly thereafter by Dean LaBerge (Folsom Bike VW/ Raley’s) and his teammate AJ Snovel. This particular break ended up working well together, and at the end of the “cat and mouse games” at the end of the race, I was able to take the sprint for the win. Here’s a shot of the podium:
Sunday’s circuit race looked promising also. I now had more teammates joining me, with Josh Carling and Jared Kessler jumping in to help me keep my lead in the overall standings. The circuit race course is wide open, flat, and generally a little windy, but usually ends in a field sprint, so I liked the fact that we had more guys there. Attacks happened throughout the race, and moves came and went, but ultimately it did end up coming down to a sprint. Nate, Matt M., Jared, and Josh perfected a lead out for me at the end, and I was able to win the circuit race too. Josh was going so fast in his final pull that he was able to still grab 2nd! Animal! My first time ever winning two days in a row was an absolute thrill thanks to great teammates and well executed tactics. Here’s some photos from Sunday:
Overall, this was a great weekend of racing. So what about that whole polarity thing??? It’s pretty funny to me that you can be on the ground losing your skin one weekend, and no more than 7 days later win back to back races. Completely contradicting and opposite results. What’s to take away from that? Try not to let every loss get to you, I’m slowly trying to master that. Thanks for reading! Also check out the races on Strava (links below).
Golden State Criterium
Golden State Circuit