"We knew that we had to be at the front for that last corner. I tried but I messed it up with visual judgment at the car deviation. I thought we kept going straight for another block, so Pinot got a good jump and then there was no time to come around him," Bookwalter explained, his anger fading to regret as the adrenaline of the sprint eased.
This quote hit me squarely between the eyes.
It's the "anger fading to regret as the adrenaline of the sprint eased" bit that rang so true with me, because I've been there. Usually a lot of profanity colored the air before I withdrew into a dark cave of self-loathing.
It's one thing to not have that extra needed to contest for the win. I've watched the winners ride away and observed the finish play out from behind far more than I'd like to admit. Sometimes (most of the time) you don't have it. Somebody is stronger. Usually a whole lot of people are stronger.
What's worse is when you have the fitness to go for the win, but squander it on stupid tactical moves. You pull too much (because you're feeling good). You chase down every attack (because you're feeling good). You are way out of position (because you're stupid). The wheel you picked ends up flailing and blocking you (because you aren't any good at reading a race). In other words, despite all of the stars aligning for one brief moment, you fuck it up in a comprehensive fashion.
You know how rare these moments are, which makes it even worse. You didn't close the deal when it should have been a sure thing (or as close as you can get in this sport). You're Hillary Clinton in spandex. Try not to visualize it. I dare you. Then try to erase the image from your memory. Equally impossible.
I'm right there with Brent Bookwalter. Certainly not in fitness or ability, but in terms of frustration? Yeah, I can relate.