Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What If?

The field was small and the weather was cold and crappy. My teammate launched a parking lot attack from kilometer zero, which surprised me. It lasted about half a mile. Good try, but not gonna work today with only 20 riders in the field - even a small break of strong riders might hold off 15 or 16 not-quite-so-stong ones. I countered at kilometer 1 - as soon as my teammate was caught - just to see what would happen, and to wake up my legs. After a few miles it became obvious that I was going nowhere and that nobody thought enough of my early effort to take a chance on joining me up the road as I'd hoped. Just one guy rolling the dice and I would have kept the pedal to the floor, but not by myself.

After 5 laps the little hills narrowed the field to nine. I was never concerned that I'd be dropped on the hills, just that maybe two or three would get away without me. Maybe we should have let two or three get away for a while. Maybe we'd have gradually pulled them back -- tired out the most adventurous and aggressive (and maybe the strongest) riders in our small race. Maybe I could have countered when we caught them and maybe I'd have been the strongest among the counterers. Why didn't I try it?

Then at the end. With 1k to go I took off up a small rise as everyone marked everyone else. Nobody went with me. At the top of the rise I made a fatal mistake - I looked back. When I saw the group of eight, even though they were 50m back and slowly gaining, I sat up, jumped in, and finished fourth. What if I'd stayed on the gas for 10 more seconds? Would the group of eight chasers have turned into four? Would I have stayed away for 200 meters more and then been consumed and dropped before the finish? Until I grow balls enough to be ok with finishing last, I guess I'll never know.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
-An excerpt of the poem 'IF' by Rudyard Kipling

don't look back.