So I found out today that I'm dumber than I thought. Not necessarily all around, just bike racing, but unfortunately that's my current unit of measurement. This is the disappointing tale of not winning with 3 in a break of 13.
120mi road race. Covered moves really well the first lap, probably everyone on the team spent some time up the road. Half way through the second lap Roman and I get in a move then Johnny bridges across shortly thereafter. Good odds. Paul Mach and Ben JM from Bissel, Matty Rice, Routley, three Yahoos (hey, that's what they call themselves), some others I didn't know. We roll all day not super fast but keep the gap between one and two minutes.
Last lap, 4hrs in, no one feels great but Johnny says he's effed. Right then attacks start going, I'm marking BJM and we're thinking I have the best shot at the downhill sprint. Roman covers a move by Matty Rice and people start launching across. I hesitate still on BJM's wheel thinking he'll go, but he doesn't... then I hesitate again and the gap opens up and that's it. Johnny and I chase and pull the 25sec gap down to about 10, connect with the team cars on a short roller, and BJM jumps us and then it's over again. I chase solo for the last 10km and get caught by the field with 200m to go. Shit.
Roman was the top rider in 5th, Bav did well in the field sprint but I don't know the results. No one's happy, and for good reason, we did plenty of stuff right today but then made bad decisions at the most critical moments. Had a good team meeting and hashed it all out and cried and hugged and I know everyone walked out of there with a good fire in the belly to never make the same mistakes again.
I always thought before that the key to doing better was to just get stronger. Now I realize that I've just been riding like an idiot for the last few years. Admittedly, things are different when you have a full team and everyone's going to be there at the end and other people are racing against you; but I'm seeing some bad habits that I've gotten away with in the past that just aren't going to fly anymore.
Disappointing day, also because I know that these opportunities don't come often and it's tough to tell your teammates to trust you in the future when you're 0 for 1 in this sort of situation. I know for a fact that I'll never again make the same mistakes, but of course, you never know what you don't know. It's also tough since I need to go home early for finals and won't have another crack until Dana Point in April. There were definitely good things from today and I'm going home with lots of great information on what to work on--both physically and tactically--but for now it's feels productive to wallow in the defeat, let it sink in and get under the skin a bit; because even though we're definitely going to lose races again this year, I promise that it will never again be this way.