Time to place your bets, people.
So in case you couldn’t tell from the sparse posting over the past month and a half, I’m getting pretty burned out over the state of pro cycling. Riders forced out of racing on still-unsubstantiated suspicion, Howard Jacobs exploiting the scientific ignorance of Americans, the inexplicable vitriol of Lance Armstong and associates, the media’s inability to find an attitude between dumbfoundingly impartial (insert link to any cycling site ending in “news” here) and chidlishly suggestive; It’s just an infuriating series of affairs to try and make funny. As W.H. Auden claims, the goal of comedy is acceptance, and in this case, that’s not what I want.
Stage 4 – The Burlington Criterium
Remember that episode of “The Simpsons”, when Lisa introduces Mr. Burns to recycling? Anyway, he doesn’t know that word, and they have a little literal shot of him going through his internal dictionary, sounding out the word, but not finding it. That was me last weekend, man. “Cry-Tear-Eee-Um?” I hadn’t raced a crit since – you guessed it – last year’s Burlington crit, which didn’t go so hot. Seriously, this was where my months of not racing really caught up with me.
Stage Three – All Road Races Should be This Road Race
So this is the classic New England road race, and apparently served as it’s own event before being integrated into the Green Mountain Stage Race. Two big gaps (Middlebury and Appalachian), a hotly contested points sprint, Roubaix-esq dirt sections, plus a few Amstel Gold-style short/steeps in between for good measure. This year’s event also featured some classic New England weather – low 50′s, decent wind and awful, awful rain. It was cold and fell in big drops that felt like freshly melted ice. Normally I’m too hardy and beefy to care about such things, but as I haven’t ridden in the cold rain since, like, college, I am a bit nervous about it.
Circuit Race – The Green Mountain Terror
This course is kinda dumb. It starts mid-loop, goes up a hill, then downhill for like 20k to a sprint/finish line, then uphill (slowly and rolling until the last little bit) to a KOM (which is near the start). The feed zone is mid-climb which leads to unecessary complication. My main beef with the parcours is it’s essentially (for my fields) breakaway proof. From the KOM to the finish is miles of almost uninterrupted descent. I was scared for my life in the final KMs when the Green Mountain Stage Race included it two years ago, and, as the “Technical Guide” (damn race organizers joining the War on Christmas by renaming the Race Bible) points out, this time there’s no crossing the yellow line. Ever.
Yes, I realize there have been no race reports since April. That’s because I haven’t raced since then, due a wide variety of factors. But hey, did Valverde need “racing” to come in second at Worlds last year? Nope. So peak performance on no racing should be a piece of cake at something as comparatively easy as the Green Mountain Stage Race, despite the fact that I’ve done one Cat 3 race since my upgrade last fall, right? We shall see…