2015 Arctic Bike Club Crit-Trial Champion

It was raining and in the mid-50s. Only 8 people signed up. Only 5 actually showed. It was the last race of the season. 

It was supposed to be a crit, but the people that showed did not make for the most cohesive pack. We had a closed course, so the race directors decided to get creative and changed it to a time trial. 20 laps around a crit course, and drafting was allowed if you caught up with the next guy or lapped someone.

Interesting.

I was the first guy out of the chute, and I decided to ride it like I ride the crit on the same course. Hammer the uphill and then back off on the flats. It was 20, 30 second VO2max intervals with a little less than a minute recovery. Between that and cornering more aggressively than most of the "field", I started lapping riders. I was feeling pretty good.
 
About lap 15 the rain really started to soak in and my back started to question why I needed to ride so hard when I'd already passed everyone. I started to ride a little easier on the recovery portions, but my main goal at that point was to finish the race.
 
When I stopped, the race director had lost count of my laps and thought I had one more. A quick check of the count showed I was done. My back could have told her that- without any prompting. Whether or not she thought I was, I was done.

As the other riders sloshed their way to the finish, I tried to stretch a little. When the last guy on course was finishing up his last laps, I tried to go out there and pace him home. On the downhill turn I felt my rear tire squish to one side more than normal. I stopped and quickly confirmed I was running fat bike pressure. So much for helping him out.

My cheap, fat Chinese carbon tubular wheel, which I had such low expectations for initially but had delivered me to my two sprint finishes ahead of Markus, had waited until the last race was over before saying enough was enough and hissed its way into a well-deserved rest period. Can't say I blame it.

I'll peel the tubular off and send it in for repair. I'll clean the race bike up and hang it from the ceiling. I'll stow all of the race-related gear that I carted around for months on the off-chance that I would need something. I'll shift gears into racking up miles instead of intensity, and eventually I'll retreat from the falling snow and ice to my cold, dark trainer dungeon.

After last year, this season was a stunning success. I have a lot of good memories to keep me moving through the dark months, grinding out gallon after gallon of sweat while going nowhere. I have goals to work towards, and the delusion that I might have some small measure of talent in this sport. That'll do.

Now I have something more. I have a title.

I'm the 2015 Arctic Bike Club Crit-Trial Champion.

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