Driving home on the highway and listening to the fabulous Amy McDonalds’ “Don’t tell it’s over…” keeps me recalling the fondest moments of the ’12 race season. Sentiments are coming up and let me wish for more. Frankly, though, what should I wish for more? The sheer abundance of gifts I have experienced makes me humble and grateful. All that hasn’t been planned, let alone expected.
If the race season meets all expectations, or exceeds them, mostly it finishes with some bittersweet sentiments. For one, I’m just longing for those fond memories and eventfully rich moments. I wish them back; want to dwell on them as long as possible. That said, if the spirit and flesh becomes weak, there is nothing to do.
I meant to finish it off on a high note with lasting fond memories. So the task at hand was just squeeze myself to the utmost for the very last time.
The final round of the Inter Mountain Series in Istebna [Poland] was the picked race. It is, simultaneously the ultimate round of the PowerAde Series as well. We have got a massive attendance, which was due to an astonishing Indian-summer weather too. I saw my chances to end up on the podium for the IMS general classification and knowing the stakes are high, there was no way of hiding, rather going into perils and taking chances. The game plan was straightforward: pacing myself the first 70% of the race and then to switch into an all-out mode and see how much is in the tank, and how far can I last.
The set-back was plain; I didn’t keep the race momentum since the Masters Championship. There were back to back 2 race-free weekends. Yes, it’s teasing and, admittedly, helps to re-focus and recuperate. However in this part of the season where you tend to finish with a bang, one is better off to keep this racing frequency and exhaust the body and mind utterly. The on-and-off pattern doesn’t work for me.
All the same, I still had a good sensation and was up to the task. Undeniably though, it took me a while to be creative enough to get myself on a high motivated level. I mean I know the parcours next-to inside out, and almost the same goes for the majority of my competitors. So my highest carrot had to be the final GC. And for that I was willing to spend myself completely, and go way beyond my comfort zone.
This time I dealt better with technical downhill’s, it’s obvious, however, once I lack a deep sleep and rested mind, the coordination and motor skills suffer. Much to my surprise, the Istebna parcours it is about to morph itself into a way more benign pattern of track. Gone are the days everybody associated this race with relentless trail and at places unride-able paths. Now we have got welcoming jeep-roads and a larger amount of pavement. It is up to the individual whether this is a good thing or not. However, evidently it pays off at the end of the day as the PowerAde Series’ success story carries on; what’s more, I have got the notion that the crowd is growing constantly.
The first hour passed, rather uneventfully as it’s pretty evident that the majority are riding conservatively. Partly due to the creeping fatigue, but also the unknown outcome, so they want to keep their powder dry for when it really matters.
But it’s also true that only the minority is riding for general classement so for them it’s mainly about to finish off the season and not to dig so deep.
My game plan was plotted based on the fact that I needed to give it all in my power, as that would put me on the podium. But todays, that’s been predominantly about tactics due to the altered characteristic of the Istebna course. The pave and jeep-road sections called us to create echelons and imply ‘roadie’ tactics.
As time passed I managed to gather my strength and leftover-power I found deep in my tank. Every small uphill passage helped to make the different and sever myself from the group. I had to burn matches, much to my un-liking, but that’s been the only way to make up ground.
When approximately 70% was done, I just fired on all remaining cylinders and dug deep. The final kilometers were looming and I was let down by the last opportunities the course boasted. We still played poker face while pushing on pave, and I was in the dark in regard to the closing kilometers. The 6 man group needed to be exploded. That’s been my very last chance to end up high or make myself contented with an off-podium placement.
I took my chances, surged on the ultimate uphill. Didn’t look behind, just went out of the saddle, and let come up the ‘lactic-epidemic’. The crest however lasted longer than I estimated I could push this hard. And soon I was square-pedaling and was all over my bike. Once I reached the top where I hoped for a brief technical downhill, [and breather] I meant to make my attack stick and keep it to the ultimate finish line bow.
What ensued though was a massive 30 % ramp littered with rooty obstacles that made me cross-eyed in no time. I knew on the other hand, those are the very last minutes in the pain locker. The carrot justified the agony big time, and so knowing that I gave it the very last drop I found up my sleeve.
I passed another 2 in the process but I was still unsure of the success as the last descent presented itself from its nasty facet: crowded spectator cordon, at the sides, cheering on and encouraging you to the ‘devil-line’ and break your neck in doing so. My legs and upper body was so sour after my previous ascent that I got blurry eyes and could barely hold the handlebar, let alone negotiate down-hill. I thought it’s not worth the hassle and dismounted – much to the disappointment of the spectators. But I have been blasé; all which counted was to conquer the very last 300m meters and take the coveted cup on the podium.
This is it! Last couple of pedal-hammering and the enterprise is in the bag.
Gorgeous – just overwhelming. The elusive feelings this moment released is incredulous.
I have got to stop for the moment and reflect, flash back for a brief tick of a moment. The Lord keeps loving me
Now, I just want to dwell on all this sweet episodes of 2012. Plunge into the long cinema that started end of March and ended up today on high notes.
Thanks all of you for sharing and reading my race recaps thus far.