Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weak 1

Ugh, rough weekend. I really don't want to talk about it. But, I'm going to pick myself up, put on my big boy pants and tell you, the people, all about how horrifyingly terrible my races were.

So, I went down to the event with Brooks, of Bard. We arrived at the hotel reasonably early and had a big dinner of pasta, sauce, turkey sausage and varying vegetables. Seeing as I was racing A, and he was racing C, we decided to roll in to the ITT fairly late and then get ready to race.

After a pretty solid warm up and being bothered by some people while on the trainer I headed over to the start line and went off just in front of Ross from UVM. I went off pretty well, rode what I thought was a good pace and tried to average 23mph. Eventually I got passed by Ross, but I was still happy because I felt that I had put in a respectable effort..... Only hours later would I learn that while I did get a 21 second improvement from last year, I finish 2nd to last in Men's A.

(before the ITT, courtesy Brian Roberts)

I'll spare you the details, but I spent most of the day before the crit, on the Mic, coaching intro and generally fooling around. Eventually I got my act together and warmed up, still certain that I could at the very least hold my own in the crit. That was not to be the case. I started 3rd row and had an ok but not great start. After ascending the hill and speeding down the descent I saw I was probably about 3/4 of the way back in the well strung out field. After only 1 or 2 laps in the field I made a HUGE mistake on turn 4 and tapped the breaks just before everyone else accelerated out of the turn. I ended up losing a few places and went straight to the back. Then going up the hill like and idiot I dropped my chain as I was just catching back on and lost more time to get off and fix it. After this point I spent the next 5-6 laps with UVM Derek, AJ, and Anna McLoon (Harvard), going really fast with pathetic attempt to catch back on. Basically Derek and I did all the work, and while it did seem like we were closing the gap on the descent, it would open back up through the start and the hill. Eventually Alan Atwood put us out of our misery after being lapped by the field.

(Early in the A Race, There I am just behind the Army Guy, Thanks Uri)

After being pretty frustrated by the Crit I was really not sure about the circuit race. I spent the time leading up the race on the PA for a while, relaxing, walking around and drinking lots of water. But I still didn't feel very well. And as an added bonus I became very anxious.
When I finally got into my kit and began to ride around the parking lot I was already not looking forward to racing. But I did hit the trainer for a while, which included watching some races, a really crappy pick me up speech by Joe, and pathetically trying to keep my heart rate down.
I got a pretty good spot at the start, 2nd row, but in the end it didn't really matter. When we got going I spent a while trying to move up and having some chit chat with some of the other races as we rocketed about the circuit. I spent oh, about 4 or 5 laps in the pack until some one attacked and there was BIG acceleration. I was about mid pack at the time and went backwards, pathetically trying to stay on the last wheel in the bunch, which happened to be Natan from BU. Then at some point I ended up in a chase for a few laps, got dropped by them, picked up a Drexel guy, got dropped by him and then rode alone for a couple of laps. All the while getting some lonesome cheers. When I was eventually pulled I was pretty upset about the whole ordeal and mulled around for a while. Then very dramatically I went over to the start area took of my blue numbers and exchanged them for pink B numbers.
In the end I took away a few lessons from the event:
  1. A Field has no forgiveness, you need to be perfect through each turn.
  2. I shouldn't fool around all day, and I should focus on my race if I want to do well.
  3. I REALLY suck at Time Trials.
  4. I am still faster than AJ, who I beat in both the mass start events.
  5. I can ride in the A pack, but I need to work on a few things before I can go back.


  1. Come on, my "pick me up" speeches aren't that terrible. Regarding the lessons:

    1) Hells yeah. All you strongish B racers out there thinking about the big upgrade, that's the key I found: You need to be frickin' perfect in the corners in an A crit if you're going to hang on at all. No one has the strength to cover flaws there like you can in the other races.

    2) Bring a chair to hang out on rather than standing around the PA, extra water and food as well, and dress double warm. Seriously, it all adds up. I used to plunk down wrapped up in a sleeping bag because I was losing so much energy standing and being cold while cheering, etc.

  2. You are racing for 7th this weekend.

    Just so you know......

    If you don't know what I mean you are super screwed.

  3. actually 8th if you want to get technical

  4. Um, Sully & Derek, you're wrong. UVM is racing for 2nd through 9th.

  5. I find that shanking the opponent can do wonders when you're in danger of falling behind.

    I don't blame you for tapping the breaks on the crit corner, I watched 6 guys crash one after another on that in a span of 4 minutes. Granted they weren't A racers but the womens A racers were all talking about how it took them a few laps to be comfortable enough to go around the corner full-speed. But don't let me mitigate your self-recrimination. I'm just sayin. -Rachael

  6. Hey Hopengarten... long time now talk. Sounds like you got handed a beating in the A's but don't sweat it. We've all been there. It sounds like you need to gain some experience and fitness in the B's before moving up, which sounds like a smart move. All the best, Travis.

  7. Look at this nice comment from T-Roe. This has got to be the nicest comment anyone has left you on this blog. You owe that man a major thank you Hopengarten, like a warm homeade apple pie major, and that will cost you a pretty penny to get it to him nowadays.
    I was going to join the masses and leave you a witty smart a$$ remark, but my teamate has shamed me into doing otherwise.
    I'll be in Toga in early June for a day, cya in Stables