After 3-days of Rothaus Riderman, only one race in the Germany Cycling Cup remained, the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro. An awesome venue to conclude the Jedermann (non-licensed) race circuit. On this day the best riders and teams in Germany would receive recognition for a season of service to the bike. I on the other hand just wanted to complete the task I started and commited to last November . . .
With only 3 more days since my last race, my legs were tender to the touch before I even started the planned 120 km of cycling madness. This was going to hurt so good . . . NOT!!! I needed a walker to get down the hall at work and was chewing Vitamin M (Motrin) like candy. I had no idea how I was going to make it . . .
The Münsterland Giro fell on a Thursday and the German Holiday of “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” or German Unity Day in which the unification of Germany is celebrated. After driving 6.5 hrs north for the race the only unification I felt was with my car seat. Tender legs and a tender backside does not make a bikeROCKstar and I was starting to listen to my growing list of excuses . . .
Claudia had decided to join me on this day and I have to admit that I needed the moral support. I was a lone TURTLE in event riding along and very much afraid. My previous performance in long road races had secured me a slot at the front of the bus. Of the 5 start blocks, I was in BLOCK B and while I was happy to be near the front, I also knew the pace would be fast and furious. I would have to dig deep to keep the TURTLE legs from snapping off before the 120k was done . . .
I met race day with a head cold, temps in the upper 40s (it was around 7C), and low on the TURTLE happy scale. I took my time at breakfast and getting ready. I was dragging as TURTLE pace took on a whole new meaning . . .
I started looking for wheels to follow right out the gate. I was determined to just sit in an survive. In my age group of over 1000 riders, I was sitting in place 150 or so. The year had been a great lesson. I just wanted to make it to the end of class . . .
|Tired TURTLE Sits In|
Sitting in a pack has advantages and disadvantages. While the draft was my friend and savior, some cat clipped a guy in front of him and although I avoided the crash, I could here the carbon, metal, and bodies hitting the pavement at 40 kph just over my shoulder. At 20K in, it took a bit of grit to stay on my rig. I was actually hoping my bike would fail or I would get a flat or something. Again, I was tired and my excuses were starting to make sense . . .
We covered almost 38 km (about 23 miles) in the first hour. I closed the gap on a few groups as I had to. I just wanted to stay out of the serious wind that was howling around the course. I got dropped once or twice but got lucky as the chase group that caught me took me back to the group I had just left. On this day I was the biggest wheel sucker there was. My pulls were short and I happily drifted to the middle of the pack . . .
After 2 hours I began to believe I would indeed finish the race in one piece. I was safely tucked into the middle of a large group and happy that I was not chasing wheels ahead. I had told Claudia to expect me back in 4 hours. We crossed the line just over 3. I was done and then some. I was toast just from sitting in as the average pace was just under 38 kph (23 mph) for the 3 hours.
But done I was . . . I finished what I started. The sacrifices were many but it was finally done and over with for now. Time to reflect, regroup, and get my party back on . . .
This was my first true racing season in Germany. It was long and I have learned much that I will apply next season. As I posted not to long ago, over 4900 km trained and over 1100 km raced . . . this TURTLE is DONE! So, as I live in German and October is Fest month, in the words of Max, from “Where the Wild Things Are” . . .
“Let the wild rumpus start!”
|Happy Hour lasts for a month in October!|