That and many other experiences have given me great respect for what the pro's have to endure. I enjoy knowing what TJ Van Garderen was feeling in Stage 8. My legs actually ache sometimes just watching certain efforts by these great athletes. I've given too much early in a race and paid for it later. I understand that a skinny guy like me can't take a bigger, more muscular guy to the finish on flat terrain. I've been beaten both mentally and physically by other riders. Bike racing can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it. I choose to make it very complex because that's my personality. I like the details, the strategy, the goal setting. If I try my best and still don't hit my goal I feel accomplished as long as I did the best I could. Some people can't live with that. I enjoy the preparation, the event, and the outcome (if it's good) is just gravy. Now don't get me wrong. I love to WIN! But I decided a long time ago to enjoy the experience regardless of the outcome. I guess that would be my advice to anyone considering racing for the first time. Enjoy everything about everything. Although I have to admit, the farther time passes from my the last event the better the event seems to have been. If that makes sense at all.
This weekend I raced the CAT4 Georgia State Championship. My friend Sean Philyaw took the trip with me so he could race the CAT5 race. We got there in good time and had about an hour before our 8:30am starts. After registering and a visit to the "sweat box" to lighten my load I got dressed and rode down the course for a preview of the last 600 meters. My race was to be three laps of 17 miles so I'd see it a few more times before having to sprint it. The roads where wet from rain only an hour earlier and boy was it muggy. We started with more than 50 racers and during the race several attacks were attempted (mostly right after the feed zone) but all were brought back until the last lap when two stayed away (Team Arrons and Dupala?). Here's where having team mates pays off. You see, when you have a team mate in the break, if you're a good team, you move to the front and try to slow everyone down. Believe it or not it actually works. Those who understand it start trying to recruit other single riders to lend a hand with the chase. We saw the breakaway as we approached 1K to go and things started getting crazy. A crash happened that split us up and I was just ahead of it. Some guys started yelling "Split! Let's go, let's go!" so up we went. I managed to hold my position and not begin sprinting until 200 meters. I could only pass a few riders and held off a hard challenge from a rider behind to get 5th in the field sprint and 7th overall. Not bad I think.
Chad's Positive Spin: Great job for a 40 year old time crunched cyclist with no team mates.
|Sean Philyaw, Mike Long, Mat Sexton, Chad Hayes|
|Sean Philyaw, 1st Place Georgia Games Crit|
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