Day four came early, with a 5:00 AM wakeup call. Grits, coffee, PowerBar Endurance, a pair of bibs underneath my skinsuit, leg warmers, base layer, skinsuit, jersey, jacket, balaclava, lobsterclaws (my sister calls those cameltoe gloves—eeesh), booties: the full cold weather racing regalia. Sadly, it all came for nought, as I got taken out by a guy who couldn't hold his line at the bottom of a hill. Yes, first race of the year, first crash, and I didn't shave high enough (who shaves his hips, anyway?!) to leave the abraded area bald. My buddy, Tyson (he of the year-round leg shearing), never does Cat 3 (or, god forbid, 3/4 races) any more, and I think I'm now of that mindset. I didn't do the 1/2/3 race because it was the first race of the year, I wanted to score some points, I wasn't sure of my form, blah, blah, blah. So I entered the 3/4 race.
As Hunter S. Thompson once said: "It seemed important at the time."
So this guy swerves into me, sticking his derailleur firmly through the spokes of my front wheel. I now have to go to my mechanic (happily, he's the best mechanic in the Northeast—goes by Daq Woods at The West Hill Shop in Putney; check him out some time) and say "Daq, could you rebuild this Zipp 404 for me? Some Cat 4 idiot destroyed it." The wheel wasn't totally tacoed, but 6-8 of the spokes were ripped cleanly in half. I walked back across Central Park to the start line to retrieve my jacket, and made it to the Park's east side just in time to see my field come past me, starting its last lap. Tellingly, there was an 8 rider pileup as they came around an easy, sweeping corner. Never again for me in the 3/4 races. I swear. Everything's a bit tore up: my hip, my bibs and skinsuit, gloves, leg warmers, my bar tape.
I miss cyclocross season. There you only had yourself to blame.
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