Racing bikes (and to an extent, participating in any sport) is like being a character in a movie. The opening credits are filled with pageantry and custom. There's an explosive beginning, followed by a complicated middle, and a ferocious ending. There's a setting, and there are protagonists, but the twists and turns of the story aren't known until they happen. There's danger and excitement and tragedy and triumph, often in rapid succession. Sometimes, very rarely, you're the main character in the movie, and you win the race. Sometimes you're a supporting actor, and play a major role. Sometimes you're a victim of fate, and meet an untimely end. Sometimes (and for me usually), you're just an extra, a face in the crowd, one body among many, someone who makes the story believable, but doesn't really tell the story. Sometimes you're aware of your role before the finish, and other times you don't know until the end.
In yesterday's stage 3 of the Joe Martin Stage Race, my role in the movie took a wild swing a mere kilometer from the finish line. After a day filled with fetching water, covering moves, and shepherding sprinters over climbs (and loaning them my gloves), I found myself with the best chance I've ever had to win an NRC field sprint, and Team Exergy's best hope for a result. All day long, we knew it was a day for Logan -- he's one of the fastest men in the country, and his mental toughness and hunger for victory are second to none. Once we got over the final climb on the final lap, my teammates and I did our best to attack the field, and keep Logan in position. Three k's out, I wasn't where I needed to be, but the road was wide, and I had a match or two left to burn, so my teammate Matt and I made one final push for the pointy end of the peloton. Just as we pulled alongside the Bissell lead-out train -- a touch of wheels -- and down they went, nearly all of them, like an invisible bowler made a perfect strike. I'll let Krogg take it from here:
HOLY SHIT THAT HUGE CRASH! LOOK LIKE TSUNAMI OF BICYCLIST CAME CRASHING DOWN ON MAINLAND. Krogg no slow down at all. Lucky caveman! Whoah -- Krogg find self in staggeringly good position with 1 kilometer left in race. Krogg get on wheel of few remaining bike racers nearby. Krogg think "oh shit, Krogg must sprint for win." Oh boy, Krogg see finish line. Time to sprint! THEN KROGG SPRINT!
300 METERS: KROGG WIN RACE!!!
200 METERS: KROGG WIN RACE!!!
100 METERS: Krogg hear someone come around...KROGG GET SECOND!
50 METERS: Krogg think "300 meters too long for caveman sprint" and blow head gasket on heart and lung motor.
20 METERS: uh oh -- several other wheel come around Krogg. Krogg top ten?
Finish 6th. Not bad, but Exergy cavemen here to win race. Not get 6th.
Krogg replay sprint in head 1,000 times. Stupid caveman! Why you no look around before start sprint?! Why you get impatient and start sprint with 300 meters?! Why you look to sides so close to line -- JUST PUT HEAD DOWN, GRIT TEETH, AND SPRINT! Look around after finish line.
Krogg happy for 6th place, but sad Logan crash with sprinters. Were Logan in Krogg shoes, Logan win by many mammoth-lengths. But as they say: that bike racing. Krogg so happy Logan ok. No hurt (Logan did destroy Krogg gloves though). Trust Krogg: Logan win race real soon.
Thanks Krogg. For the record, that's my best result at an NRC race. Also for the record, I'd trade that result 1,000 times over to give Logan another shot at that finish.