Let me take a step back though. Four years ago Dave Faso and I started a local training series called the Tuesday Night Training Series. I was in decent shape back then, and the fields were small so it was easy to look like I knew what I was doing. Fast forward a couple of seasons, and my summer time race form had . . . what's the word I'm looking for? Well as a stupid guy, I'll just say "form . . . bad." I spent most of the last two seasons dropping off early to "film the finish." By film the finish I mean I got popped on the first lap, chased like an idiot for a lap, rode a lap pedaling squares and then quit a lap early to film the finish. It became a running joke.
At some point in time last summer I started to feel like a fraud. Granted I'm 100% committed to CX and all things tarmac are an afterthought at best, but I'm co-running a series, racing with the A's, giving out pre-race instructions, and sending out weekly recaps to the local listserv. Getting popped every week is embarrassing. I started feeling like Milos from Seinfeld. Tennis instructor by day, horrible tennis player in my free time . . . here's a clip as a little reminder:
Where was I? Oh yeah, fresh start, new found form, thank you Pointway. Queue the first WNW of the season and my legs explode on the second lap. Second WNW and I hang on until the end. Third WNW and I blow up on the first lap. What separate races 1 & 3 from race 2? It wasn't ignorance, that much I know. It must be stupidity.
A smart person who races road as a Cat 4 would sit in with faster racers. That same person wouldn't cover many breaks. That same person wouldn't ride on the front unless it was at the beginning of a hill. That same person wouldn't average WAY more watts getting popped than they would staying in the race. What kind of Cat 4 racer covers breaks, sits on the front, and generally wastes watts? "This guy," that's who. Who has two thumbs and loves getting dropped? This guy!
A wiser man than I once said, the race is seldom won by the strongest racer, it's often won by the racer who puts out the fewest watts . . . until they need them, and then the watts are still there. So the bad news is that I'm an idiot and I may be destined to repeat myself week in and week out. It certainly beats being doomed to repeatedly push a giant boulder up a hill, Sisyphus style, but not by much. I have clearly angered the Road Cycling Gods with all of my smack talk and boasting of the greatness that is Cyclocross. I get it, I'm likely doomed to repeat myself. Occasionally I'll race intelligently for a week, but just like Charlie Brown falling for the Lucy with the football con, I'm doomed to end up on my back. I believe Aaugh was Charlie Brown's typical response. I have no idea what Sisyphus said as the boulder rolled back down the mountain, but it's probably closer in sentiment to what I say as I get popped.
Anyway, to quote another genius, "Stupid is a stupid does." The good news is that 'Cross is in the air and that's my kind of stupid. That said, if you see me in a road race, feel free to remind me not to be so stupid. Apparently I could use a constant reminder because knowing what to do, and actually doing it are two very different things with two very different outcomes.