This year is about firsts.
First for doing everything right leading up to today’s criterium race. Eating right, training enough and resting enough and changing my drivetrain – the chainrings, the cassette and the chain. A first for going off the front of the peloton with a group of four, only to have my first puncture in a race series I’ve been competing at for the past four years.
It went like this.
The pace started off fast and in the first couple of laps, we went at speed. But then all of a sudden, my bike started to make this rattling noise and I couldn’t put any power down to the road. I looked down at my bike, riding it for half a lap only to find that yes, I had I puncture. Closer to the start/finish line, I peeled off to change my tube, only then realizing that I was in the first group of four people, with a 7 second gap from the peloton. I was surprised but also literally deflated in spirit. No matter.
It took 3 laps for me to locate a sharp seashell embedded in my brand new Vittoria’s. As I mentioned before, this never happened in the 4 years I participated in this race series – and I was on Continentals the whole time. It seemed as though Lady Luck wanted her way and didn’t want me to win. I was prepared to win this time in mind, body and soul.
I rejoined the group once I repaired my tire and replaced the tube. The leading group went down to two and they had a 15 second lead over the peloton. The wind also started to pick up slightly, so chasing was a bit of a chore. But the group didn’t want to do any work, so I yelled out, “C’mon guys!” It was the first time I really spoke out while racing. Exasperated that no one would initiate the chase, I made an attempt and sprinted forward to instigate a reaction. The group predictably reacted and raised the pace, only for it to slow down once again.
The two who broke away were free. The bunch sprint was for third place. Having expended too much energy and with the interruption of my bloodflow and heartrate of my puncture, I ended up on the tail end of it – but not last. But more importantly, not first. Today just wasn’t in my favor, although, I was surprised how far I rode my bike on a completely flat tire.
Next week is another story.
The best part, however, amid a cold spring day was stopping off at Tim Horton’s for a hot chocolate.