RACE REPORT: Wednesday At Wakefield Race Number Three: CODE ORANGE

sorry... this post is long
long and late

these words just did not seem to be a priority
but alas... I wrote them... so I might as well post them
read on... or not... I was not able to give this the proof I wanted to give it
hope it makes sense
either way... enjoy!

RACE REPORT: Wednesday At Wakefield Race Number Three: CODE ORANGE

it has been hot...
parts of the country are experiencing a heatwave Washington dc and its surrounding area is experiencing a record breaking heatwave
some serious highs and some serious humidity
air quality is poor

I think that they call it CODE ORANGE

but with all the CODE PINK activity around here I get confused of the severity or the measure

in these times they say not to exercise they try to tell people to stay inside or at least... take it easy
I am not sure if that is an option

heat and humidity are nothing new to Washington DC summers

heatwaves are part of the region's seasonal flux

hydration is important
listening to your body is also important

after listening to your body hydrate again
then discuss with yourself if you are listening to your body or listening to your demons
beat back the demons... do not listen to your demons... do not give into your demons
an electronic correspondence with Emily of Gripped Racing had me questioning if the Wakefield race was going to happen

I had to get it in my head that I was racing
it had to be established and agreed in my head that I was going to spend Wednesday evening racing my bike at Wakefield Regional Park

with my head right I also had to get my son Dean's bike right
having raced a few weeks prior I had been wanting to get the boys our for another TRAILS FOR YOUTH race at Wakefield

Dean's younger brother Grant had a scheduled get together with his kindergarten teacher from last year (just weeks ago) and another student... a girl from his soccer team
they would be going to All Fired Up

after picking the boys up from camp then dropping Grant off in Cleveland Park for some pottery painting I headed home with Dean to finish packing for the evening at Wakefield
a lucky glance at FACEBOOK... okay... not lucky... an obsessive look at FACEBOOK showed me that Trails for Youth had canceled the kid's race
but PVC was still having the adult race

I was pleased to be racing and understood why the kid's event would be canceled

initially I had planned to bring Dean along to Wakefield anyway but when I gave him
the option... Dean opted out...
this would all be fine... in fact... that gives me less to get my head around

instead of packing... feeding... hydrating... registering... and getting pumped up for two was reduced to one

I only had to worry about me

my drive was nearly traffic-less well... there were cars all around but the post holiday weekend had Interstate 395 feeling pretty vacant
as with weeks prior I arrived plenty early not absurdly early but better than rushing to register and get on the bike no time for warm up just get in the queue on the line

having the time to arrive early but not having the intensity or the desire to attempt the "back to back" I meandered with the camera

years prior I have mixed things up by racing the Single Speed Race at Six then roll pas
t the finish and get on the line after a few minutes of letting my heart rate drop I then race in the Clydesdale Class
this had been a consideration
when the heat was discussed I found my excuse not to attempt the "back to back"

really... it was more a lack of commitment than the heat
just could not get my head around things
to get it together the back to back takes a little more a little more than just showing up and
registering for two races

a good number of people do the "back to back"
it is not an original concept
when searching for excuses not to attempt the "back to back" I let the thought that I am not in such good shape
that such an effort would be more harm than good

when actually... my head is not where it needs to be to make that happen

in fact... I am stoked that I am able to pull it together enough to get there once and race it once
I just need to race one race... one race without error... make one race happen as it should instead of botching it by trying to race two
I am not working as an efficient machine
which had me thinking that one race would be enough

the first night at Wakefield
I felt totally off on the full suspension bike
sure... my efforts offered the results I was looking for (first in Clydesdale)
then on the second night at Wakefield I was not able to compare my finishing times because my ef
fort was cut short at the tail end of lap two I flatted when crossing the creek
and then this past wednesday.... there were more issues with the bike I did play with some tire options and some jack up the tire pressure even cleaned and lubed the chain

but I did not take into consideration
the shock
sure... rigid was a consideration

ineffective shock does not ride the same as a rigid fork

hold on... not to bust out the results before I start the story

it was Wednesday night and I was breaking a sweat sitting and waiting for the first wave of racers to cross the log on lap one of the Six O' Clock
a few shots of various racers from various classes from the log and then another perspective in the woods before I got into my kit
it was hot... but really... it was not any more hot than we are accustom to in the DC Metro area

on my march back to the car I ran into DCMTB team mate Brian Pooch's son Ofori
Ofori is six... maybe seven Ofori was wearing a long face

Ofori did not believe that the race should have been canceled

Ofori did not think it was too hot
I talked to Ofori about the heat
Ofori did not think it was too hot for him

it may not have been too hot for Ofori but I think it may have been too hot for some others
calling off the kid's race is a solid call
letting adults decide for themselves is also another good call

back at the car there was not that much time
I questioned my not continuing to hydrate while I waited to take those photographs
as I "kit-ed-up" I fueled up with some Red Bull

dressed in the Speed Racer White and Red of DCMTB and I was on the Jamis Nova Single Speed
I was feeling pretty swank with my tire choices

but was curious about my tire pressure
a conversation last week influenced my high pressure tires
Jamie of SBC said he pumped up his tires to the max
Jamie did not care if his tires bounced like basketballs
these words echoed through my brain

repeating the second lap flat of last week was not going to happen
oh... I packed a 15mm box wrench to assure myself that I would not repeat the actions of the week
if I were to flat out... I would fix it... no hanging on the sidelines watching my competitors finish in front of me

ah... suited up... fueled up... then on the bike
a quick spin to see how the bike and body are feeling

a quick test to see how the tire swap with the high pressure feels on the dirt turns

head to toe gear check... then down the gravel service road pointed out of the park
a quick up and back then into the woods to test the tires a few turns
at a less than intense pace and I felt fine with the tires and the tire pressure

off to line up where the wait is long enough to cancel anything that resembles a warm up
Jim Carlson of PVC released the classes in what appeared to be an increased stagger time
it seemed like a longer wait then weeks prior
not only did it seem like a longer wait but they also released us further back down the gravel road

the Experts were released with a distance where they could see that short gravel climb

that little climb that that acts to spread out the field
that little gravel climb that dictates the line up into the woods
not that the race is decided by the gravel climb and the hole shot
but a good start is better than a bad
especially on a short course sprint like Wakefield

so... with all the classes released before us the Clydesdales waited anxiously

we waited
I reviewed those around me
I noticed a few new faces with an unknown set of legs
tried to get a handle on the familiar folks around me
Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes had been nipping at my tires for the past few weeks
Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes was on the podium the week prior while I stood by with a flat tire and watched him calculate his points
I knew that Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes was looking to get our from behind my shadow and cross the line in front of me

Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes enjoyed getting in the number one slot the week prior due to my flat

but I could tell that Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes wanted to finish ahead of me with
better racing rather than a mechanical

so... I did not know what sort of race to expect from the unfamiliar faces
but... I knew what to expect from from those who I recognized
I knew that I had to be ready to race because Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes would capitalize on any opportunity in front of him
with Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes in my shadow for pretty much each one of my pedal strokes the two Wednesdays prior at Wakefield I knew that I would have to be strong
no reason to rethink my attack
my approach the two weeks prior was effective so... I would maintain that line of atta

in my mind I know that I want the hole shot

I know that I want to be the first on top of that gravel road
I know that I want to be the first person dropping into the woods
in this group of racers it seems to be more of a sprint to the top of the gravel road and then fall into line
when I raced with the single speed it was a race to the hole shot into the first section of dusty singletrack

that is a whole lot of words and I have not even gotten to the words GO!

it happened... there was lots of waiting... there was some counting down from various time warnings... then it happened

that very long slow five second countdown
then that delayed start that happens
in that very long last second where people try to get a good start without false starting

the Clydesdales had started a little further back maybe even further back than the Sport
Women started
and the Sport Women started pretty far back
the Experts started from a spot where they could see the gravel hill
the Sport Women and the Clydesdales would started from a spot where they could see where the Experts had lined up for their start
which means that there was a longer slog through deep gravel at the start of the race

at word GO each race

sorry... I have been going back and forth between Stage of le Tour
funny... Mark Cavendish stepped into the role of the underdog
I was really happy for Cav
the overhead perspective showed his advantage
psychologically an important day for the young athlete

where was I?
let me go back a few lines and read to see where I was going with this long winded rant that is still stalled at the line

at the word GO! each racers fight up this short hill with its deep gravel
most certainly there are awkward moments as tires reach for the same section of road that appears to be more hard packed than the others
at the words GO I pushed the pedals and rotated the cranks

my standing foot clicked into the pedal before the completion of the first rotation of the cranks
a few fluid pushes of the pedals and then I try to accelerate
the sound of gravel kicking free from the knobbies of my rear wheel was visible

momentum may not have changed
I dug deeper as my tires sunk deeper
my effort was real
I was going for it
I wanted it... it was there for the taking... I am going to take it
unfortunately... this is the same mentality of a number of racers around me

Barry Quigley may not care if he finished the race in front of me
yet it seems that Barry is intent on beating me up this gravel hill
the weeks prior I felt Barry in my shadow this week... I saw Barry just in front of me 2/3rds
up that climb
this advantage of Barry had me thrust harder to try and be the first up that hill
which aids in being the first onto the dirt

after thrusting past Quigley I maintained pace and did not back off until I made the first turn on the dirt
knowing that I best slow down for the hard soft right handed turn that so frequently gets over cooked
then rolled it into the woods

sorry... just saw the finish of today's stage
ah yes... Cavendish delivered beautiful...
emotional on the podium
great stage with a beautiful finish
as much as I may cheer for Farrar I really felt like Cavendish needed this

onto the dirt and making my turns I heard and felt nothing behind me
it was strange
no heavy breathing... not squeaky suspension... no creaky cranks
nothing behind me... I glance back... NOTHING... NO BODY!
no heavy breathing no skidding tires nothing...
it was odd
it was unusual

the longer break between classes had me alone in the woods
I felt as if I was the victim of an April Fools Joke
had I been Punked or had Scott Young of Blackwater bikes done something about his squeaky shocks or had Quigley actually done something about his noisy cranks

I looked back I looked back
again nothing... nothing... no one... nothing
I was alone
I got my focus forward and hammered the pedals

unsure how to pace things I focused on flow
not having a racer in front of me I feared that I was flowing too much
I feared I was not pedaling enough
in my head I tried to find a balance between time trial racing the clock intensity and sma
rt racing

having flatted out the week prior I could not help but consider that this week
then of course there was the ever present risk of crashing which could cause a mechanical or worse yet an injury

several laps a week several weeks in a row after years of racing here well... there is some bit of familiarity with the course
although I may not be taking the fast smart line I am familiar enough that I can be lazy and know I can make it through at a decent pace
the weeks prior I did not spend too much time looking over my should
but this week... it seemed suspicious had Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes decided to play it differently
Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes appeared to be going mellow for the first lap to finis
h strong rather than start strong


I continued to look over my shoulder
there were riders that I had passed
it was hard for me to tell who was who
more importantly.... is that person who they appear to be
not sure where but eventually I was relieved to see Scott Young of Blackwater Bikes involved in the chase
this assured me that my effort was real that my pace and intensity were as I felt them to be
I was moving I felt good

not testing how fast I could take each corner while moving fast and fluid
flowing fluid through the turns not over accelerating
not over breaking
trying to maintain all while trying to derive the fast lap time on each lap

I over exaggeration of the creek crossing
before the race I had looked at the creek crossing to try and determine what caused my SNAKE BIKE PINCH FLAT the week prior
on my pass of the creek with the camera I gave a second's worth of a glance for what could have cause my flat the week prior
I considered the line that was trouble free on each lap I tried to take the trouble free line

somewhere in lap two I had an issue

no... tire pressure was fine
it was the shock it was in lock out mode
I used the thumb activation to try and unlock it
no dice rock slice
a little wheelie did not send the fork extensions popping out
the cable to lock-unlock the fork was working fine

this is an issue I man not have been able to repair in the stand... so fixing the fork on the fly was not an option
I would be forced to race the remainder of the race with the fork locked down all the way
I was extra careful to avoid the flat
it was brutal
not rigid brutal
it was broken fork brutal
heavy and low
my body position was off and so was my handling

at the close of the second lap I felt pretty good
the body was feeling well enough and the bike seemed race-able even with the fork in its f_cked up state

I cruised into lap three feeling that if I race the last lap smart I could finish on top

I cleared the beaten down log at the start of lap one to build confidence
then hammered on to finish the race

the last lap offered some pleasure...
there were no Clydesdale racers within view
they had caught me then I had pulled away

I rode the last lap fast and smart feeling confident that the front fork issue was not going to keep me from standing on top of the podium
sure enough... it happened

broken bike... body in tact... I was on the podium in the heat
hot, sweaty, and glad to be alive

Wednesday at Wakefield delivered again... even in the oppressive heat the race was a joy
thanks again everyone at PVC for a great event
we look forward to this each summer
and we thank you

Potomac Velo Club W@W Results

images by Jason Berry and Emily McDonald
thanks guys

I like the image with this link
but I do not like to report injury
I heard the rider is on the mend
Ofori's dad finishing his lap

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