Golden Gate Park, one week after the SSCXWC, and both the course, and myself were primed. I told myself, and anyone that would listen, about 5 people in total, that I was going to win this race. Hometown, Freewheel sponsoring the race, etc, it was time to earn a proper finish.
Lining up, I was on the front row, my new favorite place, with 7 other guys that I now mostly know by name and effort. A bad start left me in about 12th place again, just like the last round. The difference between this round and the last was that I went through the first lap possessed. Every time I wanted to coast, I forced myself to shift into a harder gear and hammer. I came into one of the hard uphill sections with a lot of speed on lap 1 only to discover a serious jam-up. I was able to go to the outside and my speed carried me past everyone. It was one of those “happening in slow-motion pro moments” that set me up for some big gains in lap 2 and 3.
The race went by fast and I knew I was sitting somewhere around 5th after some informative coaching. Going into the last half of the last lap I had managed to move into what I believed to be third place. It wasn’t a win but I was incredibly stoked, and my legs were buckling. I made a wild outside pass on two C under 35 riders, just to add some space between me and the other 35+ rider behind me. Coming out of the woods and on to the paved straight I was riding to the line in 3rd. The two C riders came by me at the line and I didn’t fight, thinking I was secure in third as I rode to the line. Past the finish line, when it was way too late, I realized one of the riders’ numbers wasn’t 2xx but actually 7xx, and he was a 35+ rider.
So waiting for the results, I had no idea where I really was. Did I give up 2nd or 3rd? I was secretly hoping I would end up in 5th or 6th, just so there would be some distance between me and the disappointment of fuc*ing up 3rd place and my first podium. Results were posted and I did indeed give up 3rd place by a foot at the line.
Learning a lesson like this sucks, but getting faster, and finishing better is a decent consolation prize.
Mutiny on the Bounty - Nordhoff/Hall
The Caine Mutiny - Wouk
Islands in the Stream - Hemingway
Lost Horizon - Hilton