I Did It My Way

I rebuilt my time trial bike a couple days before the Tour of Anchorage. Completely swapped groupsets and pretty much every part that could be bolted on. Rode it around the block a couple times to test it out, then parked it. Don't want to wear anything out by actually verifying that my marginal wrenching skills had hit that one-in-a-million chance that everything worked. I'd find out everything I needed to know on the opening prologue.
Since my toddler had brought home yet another bug from daycare (his second in as many weeks), I didn't want him to suffer alone. We spent the day before and morning of the first stage not digesting anything. While he favored spewing food in liquid form on carpets and other cloth-covered surfaces around the house, I opted for the other end of the digestive tract. Oh the fun we had...
When it was all over, my whole body ached. That deep, empty ache like after a long bike ride that depleted every last energy reserve. The kind of ache that takes a while to get over.
No matter, I still had a few hours to fill up my energy reserves before the first stage. Just pack in as much food as possible that will stay down and everything will take care of itself, right?
Turned out, despite my best efforts, I had a marginally good outing. Sure, I raced around trying to find a CR2032 battery just before the race for my power meter. And it must be admitted that my warm-up was somewhat insufficient. I could see the little gas tank light on the dash was lit, but I wasn't how many miles I could push it before it ran dry. Immediately after the start, I fumbled to clip in for three or so of the four miles that comprised the course. I got caught behind my 30 second guy in a 90 degree turn and had to back off. I then sprinted around him and promptly blew up on an uphill drag. In such a compressed race, I was hitting all of the right marks to have a horrible outing. The amount of effort it took to do poorly made the small margin of success I achieved a little disappointing. I was left wondering, "did I screw up enough? Could I have done more wrong?" Those sort of questions haunt me.
I could have been faster. That much was plainly obvious. However, I can take away some positives here. First, the bike didn't blow up. I think the only logical explanation is that magical bike shop elves snuck in the garage and worked through the night to right the wrongs that I perpetrated upon the bike. Second, I managed to finish 6th in a field stacked with all sorts of low-life, sandbagging scum (truly, a class of my peers). Even in such a short stage, I bled time, but it could have been much, much worse.
If I make my eyes bleed tomorrow and there are a string of timely mechanicals among the competition, I could move up to the elite ranks of the top 5. Not sure I want that, because then I would feel compelled to try to defend that position. That just sounds like a lot of pain to get the privilege of not standing on the podium. Seriously, I can fake a mechanical, drink beer at the car while everyone else pedals their hearts into cardiac dysrhythmia, and still not stand on the podium. How far from the podium is the only thing left to be decided. I was off the podium before sign-ups closed. That's just reality poking its ugly head into the weird fantasy world of geriatric racing.
With some luck, I might get a decent result in one of the road stages. Find the right wheel, surf the draft to a sprint placing. I might manage to make a split out of sheer dumb luck, when everyone's legs are ground away by a couple days of racing. Then again, I may just string together a couple pack finishes to go with my humiliating TT and hill climb results. I guess I'll find out when I get there, and then try to scrape together some thin glimmer of success to prop up my fragile ego so I'll continue in this sport I'm obviously not at all suited for.
I'll see when I get there.


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