Saturday, November 19, 2016

changing a mindset is a process

Drove last night to Suffern, NY to race in Day 1 of the Supercross Cup today. My hope was to race against some of the region's fastest, both to get a glimpse of many of the guys I might be racing against at CX Nationals and, if I did well, to improve my USAC points and move up my position in the starting grid for Nationals.

Rebecca Lewandowski captures my third attempt to get the
wheel to stay in place.
Photo: Rebecca Lewandowski
First lap, as I'm in 4th or 5th place, my pedal strikes a root as we do a 180-degree turn around a decent sized tree. I go down. No big, I thought, I'll just jump back on and get back in the race. Wrong! Wheel is loose. Tried to get it back in and tighten. Lose more time. Guys flying by. Finally get it in. Making up spots. Wheel comes out again running over barriers. Working to get it back in. Guys I just passed are passing me -- again. I resume trying to make up spots. A little while later it comes out again just climbing hard out of the saddle. Tightened it down. Rode it to pit. After being admonished at HPCX for not racking my bike, I asked (frantically? -- it seemed a bit frantically) if someone could rack my bike for me. Turned out Don S. was in the pits and took care of the bike for me. Next time around, he asked what the bike needed. I told him as best I could in about 5 oxygen-starved syllables what had happened. While I finished on the pit bike, he and I chatted after the race. Especially with the skewers I am running, he recommending running the QR level so that it points backward. This allows you to get more leverage on it (i.e. tighter) and keeps it as far as possible from the disc rotor should anything odd happen. One more Velominati rule to ignore!

First lap data capture:
breaks in lines show stoppages

Chasing back
Photo: Rebecca Lewandowski
In the end, I picked up enough spots to get into 12th place. When I looked at my Garmin data, between the three stops to fiddle with the wheel (:30, :20, and :26) and the one stoppage in the pit (:05), I was stopped for 1:21 during the race. This is pure stoppage time and not slowed or slowing time to deal with this problem. I suspect with those times factored in the real time cost of this issue would be even greater. Nobody seemed to have an answer for Roger today -- which is true most days --  but I was really hoping to see how long I could keep him in my sights. Without that 1:21 of stoppage time, I might have climbed much higher in the final standings. I'm not saying I could have hung with him, but I would love to have given myself a better shot at it. While it'd be easy to say the mechanical issues were something I had no control over, they were undoubtedly a result of my sloppy line through that 180. While it's also true that I've probably fallen a hundred times the same way I did in this fall and there's never been an issue with the wheel or the skewer, if I hadn't fallen in the first place, I might be writing a very different story right now.

Normally, I'd be pissed at a 12th place finish, even in a field this strong. But, today, I was happy that I was able to work through the challenges. I fought through every one of those stoppages. I never gave up. If that's what it takes to build grit and perseverance, I'll take it. Still begrudgingly, but I'll take it. One day, it will pay off. Today's effort earns a "Da Bom" from Wafel & Dinges. I'm getting there. Slowly, but surely.

"Da Bom"
Photo: Kevin Justice

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