Breakthroughs.

28Aug09

It’s been an off year for me with the racing (see previous blog posts). I’ve been really close to some breakthroughs a few times, but haven’t actually had any. The wait came to an end at the Colorado State Criterium Championships at Niwot. It’s a classic course with a long history, mostly of being brutally fast. 

After another dismal day at the Raisin Hope classic, I had a little breakdown/”come to jesus” about how I was racing. I did some reflecting and realized some mental stuff I’ve been doing during races. Mostly, my frustrations just came to a head and I made some decisions on how I wanted to move forward. 

The next day at Niwot, I as relaxed and ready. My legs didn’t feel good, but I didn’t care. From the gun, I made the first few selections. This race usually has a high attrition rate, so even finishing is usually a small victory. Once I made it through the first 20 minutes, which is usually the hardest, I settled into the groove. While I tail-gunned the race for most of the time, I was feeling good and was never in danger of being dropped. In the final laps, I made my way through the pack and while I started my journey to the front too late, I ended up in 19th place at the Colorado Senior Pro 1-2 crit championships. My teammate Drew came in for 5th place to end a great day. It was a tough field and a tough course, so I was really happy. The field was littered with guys from Garmin, Fly V Australia, Hotel San Jose and the usual local pros. 

Niwot:

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The next Thursday was our local CSP Table Mountain weekly crit series. I was active the whole race, chasing moves down, getting in a break and with 3 to go, our team organized a leadout for our sprinter Mark. We controlled the last 2 laps on the front and then executed a nearly perfect leadout. I was the last guy to peel off and while Mark didn’t get the win, he did get 3rd and I came in for 10th. It was a really fun night and great to have the team riding so well together. 

Then last weekend, at the Primal/HART crit, I was again feeling good mentally and physically. I patrolled the front, chased down moves and worked my butt off for the team and made the final selection. Unfortunately, on the final lap, Dirk Friel went down in front of me really hard when someone swerved into him. In the mayhem, I had to hit the brakes and slow down. My chances of a top 10 or 15 were dashed, but I still managed to come in around 26th, which I was ok with considering. 

What can I say, it hasn’t been run-away successes, but I’ve had some measurable progress both mentally and physically with racing. It feels good to finally feel that and I hope to carry the momentum I’ve found into the home stretch of the road season and then cross.

I have tried to figure out what the difference is between the last two weeks and before. All I can find is an increase in hunger, a stronger mental state and I quit wearing gloves. I know it sounds funny, but I think it’s the lack of gloves. It’s very representative of confronting fears and going “All in”.

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One Response to “Breakthroughs.”

  1. 1 kim west

    funny, as i was reading the “what i’ve learned” list, i was thinking for myself, it was not wearing gloves. i usually don’t but got some for iowa city [it was chilly], and i sucked every time i wore them.

    now, they are set aside for gravel rides this fall and winter, where they belong.

    nice report, garrett. good job.


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