Reality Check.

Brett: No, no, I just want you to know... I just want you to know how sorry we are that things got so fucked up with us and Mr. Wallace. We got into this thing with the best intentions and I never...
Jules: [Jules shoots the man on the couch] I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort.
- Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction
When I entered the A Race at this week's Kulis Crit, I got into that thing with the best of intentions and I never...
Then they shot me. It was a most excellent retort.
The goal of entering the A race was to shame a few of the sandbaggers out of the B race, opening up the field a bit for people to move up. What actually happened was I got shelled in a spectacular fashion two or three laps in. They hammered from the gun, a gap opened as a rider ahead of me exploded, I bridged, I held on for a little while, and then I exploded. All that was left was to ride tempo and get lapped repeatedly. An hour averaging 250W lasts the exact same amount of time as an hour at 300W, it just hurts less. I made a couple half-hearted attempts to latch back on, but they were flying. Within a lap they would be gone and I would be alone again. I tried to link up with the first dropped rider, but he was worse off than I was. Dave Henke blew up after a prime sprint, so I rode with him for a while, but eventually he got tired of riding slow and left me too.
A most excellent retort.
Earlier I had jumped in to tail-gun the C race and drag dropped riders back up to the pack if possible. It didn't require an excessive amount of energy on my part, and I took care not to affect the overall race. It was more about making sure everyone had a good time and wasn't excessively discouraged. I wasn't interested in chasing down breakaways or dragging the whole group around. They set the pace, and I just tagged along for the ride. When a rider finally dropped off the back, I dropped back with him and paced him around the loop for the remainder of the race.
I sat out the B race, as it would have completely cooked me. Strong riders (sandbaggers) drove the pace, and team tactics overcame a surprise late break at the last minute. That was the race I should have been playing in. Not saying I would have been there to play a role at the finish, but I would have gotten a better workout and I would have lasted longer than a handful of laps. I think.
I'm not sure what class I'll line up in next time around. Getting shelled on principle that early in the race is not my favorite thing to do, especially when there's a race I'm better suited for at my current level of fitness. However, going in over your head, getting dropped, and coming back to try to hang on a little longer is a tried-and-true way to get stronger. That said, having Jules unload a chamber into your skull at short range probably isn't an effective path to fitness. 
We'll see how the remaining crits of the season play out. The packs this time around were more balanced, with only a handful of riders falling away instead of a completely shattered field littering the course. Whether that was a new trend or just a one-off occurrence remains to be seen. I'd rather not take a bullet if I don't have to, but if it makes the overall program better...
I guess an hour at tempo isn't so bad. I could use the reality check.


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