First and foremost, I must give kudos to all of those who attended and participated at Bazaar today: Sam, Doug, Alex, and Steve in Cat 5; Greg and myself (Masters 50, Masters 40); and Donovan, Bill Wells, Bill Mason (wheel truck driver), and Frank (Masters 60 and Masters 65). We knew there was a good chance of challenging weather conditions, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for what we encountered. You represented Big D Cycling and our title sponsor, Keen Wealth Advisors, very well.
For this post, I’ll give you my perspective of what happened. In the weather department, the high topped 79 degrees at the start of the race. We had stiff headwinds going south. At one point in the race, I was going 7 mph! After the first turnaround, the cold front literally passed through the course. We experienced 47 mph wind gusts, and the temperature dropped approximately 25 degrees in a matter of minutes, along with cold rain. Some competitors experienced hail! In addition to this, the wind direction changed during the race. The sustained winds from the south were around 31 mph (all weather statistics confirmed at www.weatherunderground.com). When the cold front passed through, the winds changed from the south to the north, giving some competitors headwinds from both directions with no opportunity to enjoy a tailwind!
In my race, I went off with Greg, as the Masters 40+ and Masters 50+ started together. The 360 Racing team was well represented in these categories, and they utilized their numbers to launch several attacks into the south headwind. There was little concern that someone would slip away into the headwind, but I shut down a couple attacks to test my legs and make sure no one escaped. As we approached the first turnaround, I moved to the front and glanced back and saw that Greg was right behind me, so I picked up the pace a bit to ensure we were not swarmed. We both made the first turnaround in the front. I’m not sure what Greg did, but I turned it up from there, with average speeds around 37 mph. My top speed was 47 mph!
After the turnaround, Jay Hawkins, from OKC Velo Club, and Stephen Songer, Doug Obershaw and William Peters, of 360 Racing, joined me in the breakaway. At those high speeds, I hesitated or made the mistake of not fighting to stay on back of that train (that was the race, right there). I was dropped, and I could not get back up to them! I always try to learn from each race, so I definitely learned an important lesson there. All of this was occurring as we could see the storm front coming in from the Northwest.
I eventually ended up in a chase group, working together to close the gap on the lead group. We approached the finish line for the shorter races (not our race). A couple guys started picking up the pace, so I thought they were just attacking. After we crossed that finish line, I kept going and yelled at them to say that was not the finish line. Then, a truck pulled up beside me to tell me our race was shortened due to the weather conditions. What? I’ve never been so frustrated or disappointed – not after what I just had to experience. After the results were posted, I was able to protest the results. Those that placed third, fourth and fifth in my race were given a share of third place (and KBAR points), since we were never notified that the race was being shortened. I did not like protesting the results, but it was a fair resolution to an unfortunate circumstance.
Alex Brizuela took first place in the Category 5 race. He rode down with me and Greg, and we explained to him that he should not do any work, until he was in position to do a successful attack or a sprint for the win. Alex seems very receptive to listening and instruction, because, as I was blazing north, I peered over and saw he was dead last in the Cat 5 group. It appeared he was also messing with his phone (while racing). We later learned he was trying to take a picture …
I’m going to submit a request to Joe Fox to upgrade Alex to Category 4. If Alex wants to take pictures, he will need to do this while he is not racing!
A special thanks to Greg Vaught for taking the time to haul the trailer down to Bazaar. It provided some much needed refuge from the elements so we could change quickly and stop the shivering!