Excuses. Excuses. Last night was just one of those nights.
Downtown Reno Criterium. This was another awesome location for an epic crit. With the city skyline around us, the crit started on a false flat in downtown and took 10 turns in its short .7mile path. It went over the Truckee River, up a two-tiered hill, then a fast corkscrew S-turn back to the start/finish line. The mighty, mighty, Tour de Nez delivered once again with a great location, awesome course, and good music and fun crowds.
As the race started, the winds were swirling and making positioning everything. We began the race, ready to dictate the pace and make it fast from the gun. With a course like this one, it is important to gain position fast or else you will be out of the race. When the selection process occurred, I made a rookie mistake and was in very, very bad position. I found myself fighting somewhere in the middle. BY in the middle, I mean in middle of no-man’s land. Somewhere between the break, and the peloton, I was dangling. I was fighting to get to the front to help Amber, but fighting to keep my position. What I find are my strengths as a bike racer were barely visible on such a course, yet it was as if someone were taking a magnifying glass to my weaknesses and showing the Reno population what mistakes to not make in a bike race. AFR was doing great in the break, keeping it fast and aggressive. Rush was covering all the moves, and with a bold attack, she went down on a sharp corner. Meanwhile, I was struggling to stay in the bike race, and try to help AFR in the break. With Rush out, it was more important then ever to get up there. Why couldn’t I?
I will admit that I found myself searching for a possible explanation for my lack of assistance. Was I sick? Surely, I was. Nope. Maybe my food wasn’t settling quite right? Nope. Brakes rubbing? Nope. It must be a flat. Nope. I was already thinking of what excuse I could use for such poor position and performance, yet could not bring myself to do that. With 3 laps to go, I got back to the break, just in time to see the barrage of attacking occurring. Brutal. AFR got 2nd, I rolled across the line in 11th. AFR had a great race, no thanks to me tonight. Bold racing in her hometown of Reno. With frustration, I admitted my mistakes. And that, is bike racing. It can’t be perfect every time, as much as I wish it could be.
I guess we all have those days, the days that you wish you had a button to release that either transports you out of the humbling experience, or at least lets you start the race over. Oh well. AFR told me to not beat myself up over it, but it is hard not to. Each race we need to approach with new resolve and focus to not make those mistakes, and each race we cannot let ourselves become passive. No excuses for last night. Rookie mistake, and I am moving on…NorthStar Circuit Race tonight.
Rush is fine and in good spirits. She just has a little road rash, some deeper than others, but her wrist survived.