Something clicked last night down at the park in Calumet. I don’t know if it was the near-perfect weather, me finally starting to feel comfortable in the pack, knowing the week was almost over or what. I’ve been thinking a good bit about what a cool thing Half Acre has put together with this series, and last night I finally started to appreciate it while it was happening.
Anyway, the race was a good one. We started pretty slowly, but I missed my clip (again) and had to chase back on. I made a conscious attempt to put myself more inside the pack, and found myself getting more comfy with this. Several attacks went off and but the pack was having none of that and all were shut down pretty quickly. I was hanging around the back about 15 minutes in, just crossing the start/finish when I realized I was flatting. I was bummed as my legs were, surprisingly, feeling good. Fortunately, Liz, J, and Patrick had me rolling on Liz’s rear wheel in a few seconds as I took my free lap. Mental note: when you’re getting your push-start back post free lap, you probably don’t want to be in the same gearing you were at when you flatted (i.e. at 25mph).
I chased back on, recovered in the draft for a couple of laps and then started to try to spend more time up in the front of the group. I am starting to notice that staying further up in the pack is sort of not a static thing. Once you’re there, you have to continually keep your eye on your position or you gradually slide back. It’s different than riding the rear of the group where you’re always focusing on not falling off. At one point Francisco and Jesse went off the front, and I pulled my way up to the front to try to make a false chase. I was thinking that given my (new) UCVC kit, people would not have immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was in cahoots. That worked for approximately 30 seconds, and then I was told very politely (ha) that I needed to get on it.
Things fired up on the bell lap and the group shed a number of people. I managed to hold on as things strung out mostly because I wanted to get another close up view of the finishing sprint. I passed a couple of guys with my feeble sprint, and probably finished 18 or so back.
I need to spend more time in my drops. Pack dynamics are something I’ll probably keep learning about as long as I do these things. Ideal race tires are not the same as ideal training/racing tires. The front of the pack is where you really want to be sitting.