. . . was going through my mind as I was rolling into the parking lot at Church Creek as I was thinking about tomorrow and going down to the flat lands of VA to do Stoney Creek.
I quickly packed up my gear and set it up so that I did not need to take anything inside except for my used bottles and kit, as we awaited the results. While packing Luis asked me if I was still doing Stoney Creek, I told it really depended on my results today even though I was mentally prepared to do it. He told me that if I go, he'll go, I replied I will do it out of spite just to put him in pain. Mean while Ryan Simpson returned from his time trial. He carpooled with some teammates I was parked next to and I mentioned to him earlier that morning about a shirt I saw once, shut up legs and how it applies to time trials, when he got back he said there should be one for Church Creek, shut up crotch.
To that detail, one can practice riding their TT bike for muscle adaptation, for both legs and lower back and trying to put down similar power as the road position. But there is a one hell of a difference between doing a 40k TT and a zone 2 /3 effort in that position, and then doing it again the next day.
After the excruciating long drive home because MD and their infinite amount of wisdom decided to close down two lanes of 50 before 495 causing a 5 - 7 mile parking lot, I finally made it home, almost 4 hours after starting my what was supposed to be a 2 hour drive. Floating on cloud nine from my results I was looking forward to Stoney Creek. My LG compression pants on, two huge ice blocks on my legs while sitting in traffic and making sure I was getting enough fluids I was on my way to recovery as quick as possible. Somewhere in my journey I received an e-mail from Tracy approving my upgrade to Cat 3. I was stoked, how much better could this weekend get.
Sunday morning came quick, way too quick. I set off around 5:45am for the long drive down to Petersburg. As the sun began to rise it was on it way to be an overcast morning, which was welcomed, keep the temps down and possibly winds as well. Luis arrived shortly after I did and we began to slowly get our stuff ready as we both anticipated a relatively short warm up to get the legs moving and heart pumping.
Around 9am we head out for our warm up, on Rt 40. It was great nice and quiet and in the shade, felt great. Until half way through as I we were getting ready to turn around I felt something on my throat, and then it stung me, just above my Adam's Apple. I grabbed my throat and ripped it off I had no idea what it was, I just threw it to the the ground. The next thing I knew my throat began burning, like hell. I have only been stung by bees before and this felt nothing like the pinch on one those. For a good 5 - 7 minutes it just kept burning. We pull over and Luis checks out my neck and sees a little swelling and blood obviously from where I pull the stinger off me, but the stinger was not stuck in my skin. He asked if I was allergic, I had no idea, but did say a good sign would be if I just drift off the road into the ditch to call 911.
We get back to the car a few minutes later than I anticipated. I forgot about the sting to change my jersey, helmet, glasses and put on my shoe covers. I arrive at the line a few minutes to spare. My 30 second man however was nowhere to be found so we wait for the minute and then I get ready to go.
Off I go, I settle down in the aero position quite quickly as there is a bit of a headwind on the way out. Shortly after that I settle into a good pace, watching my map and keeping an eye on the white line. I started keeping an eye on land marks and times to anticipate efforts for my return. Then I start passing riders, how many well not quite sure because, me being a Cat 3 I was the third person in the Cat 4s to go off behind the cat 5s. My estimates would have been 10 -15 in total.
I approach the turn around just over 28 minutes. Halfway there and I am on a sub hour pace, this was great, even better was the tail wind on the way back. My pace definitely picked up, HR finally started to rise after being quite low for the first half. I kept doing my thing. I came to the last kink in the road around 45 minutes in to it, next up was the one bridge that had some pot holes on it.
Buried in my own misery I am looking down my map and miss seeing the potholes. I hit one, dead on, hard enough that you know in the pit of your stomach that something is not right. A few seconds later pssssssssssssssssssss, my rear tire is flat. My race was over. my season ended the same it started, a flat in a time trial...
I was furious, I was doing really well, on course to set a personal best for a 40k, even better the day after what is suppose to be one of hardest in the area. I come to a slow stop, careful enough not to stop too quickly and have a chance of the bike falling from under me.
I get off the bike, take off the helmet glasses and eventually shoes and start the long walk back to car. This is depressing I was thinking to myself. All of the people I had passed were now passing me. After about 10 minutes of walking a gentleman in a van pulls over and asks if I want a ride. I told him he was a sight for sore eyes, although my legs were killing me, my feet were in pain from walking on hot asphalt, it was truly a blessing.
And this is where the religious reference from Saturday comes in to play, the gentleman that picked me up told me he was minister at two local churches and was on his way to his second church to give his second service that morning, and by chance he was running late. What are the odds, sure another motorist might have eventually stopped but this guy did. I regrettably didnt get his name to be able to send him a thank you, but I did shake his hand and tell him thank you as we got to the parking area.
I suppose there are some things I could have done differently to avoid the potholes on that bridge but hindsight is always 20/20 right, but at the moment it was out of my control. It wasnt a mechanical that was caused by a lack of oversight in prep for the race, just bad luck, we all have those days sometimes, and just like a friend once told me. . . sometimes your only reward is sore legs. . . and that was for damn sure.
I got to my car, my teammates convey their condolences but being pretty upset I pack the car and leave as soon as I can, mainly so I can beat any kind of traffic on 95 which is generally a crap shoot on a summer sunday afternoon.
After I got home and cleaned the car out I downloaded the data from the 705, extrapolated the data and based off current average speed and power, and distance from the finish line I would have bested my time the day prior by a good amount, oh well, wasnt mean to be. But I can tell you that those 22.7 miles I did race were extremely painful and raced just as a 40k. I suppose my luck had to run out sooner or later.
C'est la vie