After the Halloween festivities of Friday night, and with gorgeous weather on Saturday, I hit out for a quick little ride to burn the alcohol out of the system. There weren't many bikes out, even with the great weather, so I think others were recovering as well. I took in a few short climbs, perfect little openers for Sundays race, and then I rode up to the Reservoir to catch some of the Elite Men's race. Breaker Baker did a good job of attacking the lead group that contained a ridiculous amount of horsepower until he ran into some issues of his own
I was pretty motivated for Sunday, again since it was a cool looking course that I hadn't gotten to race up till this year, and the weather was looking good too. The course was going to be rough, with a high demand on power, and not much of anywhere to rest. I just chilled at the line-up, since we were supposed to do call-ups, and then line people up based off registration... no worries, I registered nice and early. No worries that is, until it DIDN'T run that way. So instead I started all the way at the back. And with a first 200 meters of paved uphill, it looked bad on the single speed. Ugh.
So nothing to do, but go hard, and pass guys whenever possible. Passing was a bit tricky. I absolutely love nice twisty courses, especially on grass, when you get to carve back and forth, brake hard into the corners, and accelerate just as hard out of them. Though I'm also surprised how many people don't know how to attack those corners... brake early, miss the apex, ride it "square" rather than a nice arc, while you lay down the power... and that makes it frustrating in the early laps too, since of course it means things are bunching up. And even worse... when your on the single speed, it's worlds more important to ride smooth and carry your momentum through turns, or into harder sections where you are going to run out of gear. People: if you're a mid-packer, spend some serious time working on momentum and correctly riding your lines. It's not a slight, just some advice. I guarantee you will make up much more time, than even working on your fitness.
Anyway, back to the race. It was hard. Damned hard. That course was killer on the single speed. Lots of accelerating, several sharp little climbs, and not much room to rest at all. I kept moving up through the field throughout the race, but finally ended up behind a few riders. I really wish I could have gotten around them, and in fact, I usually could; out-riding them in corners and the accelerations, but once up to speed in the straights, it was hard to hold any advantage over my geared counterparts. I finished up in 18th, not too bad considering the advantage I gave up at the start. The legs felt good, and I was so very close to passing out at least 5 times through the race. If you can go hard enough for "the darkness" to start narrowing your vision, it's usually a good day. We hung around for the women's race, and most of the men's race, and as usual, it was incredible to see all the people out for these races. Just made me want every weekend to be like that though.
- Formula 1 Spoiler alert -
Last night though... that's what really took several years off my life. I finally got to sit down and watch Formula 1s last race of the season at Interlagos. Hamilton, in the lead by 7 points, and with Massa looking all but certain to win and score 8 points, meant that Hamilton needed to finish no worse than 5th. To keep things interesting, moments before the start, there was a vicious cloud burst, forcing everyone to quickly move to intermediates... and start on a slippery track! Just adding drama to the first very difficult corner! Sadly, Coultard in the last race of his F1 career, got taken out in the second corner, ending his race, and career in the worst of ways.
The race was ticking along, though looking scary on the slippery track. Hamilton was hanging out right on the edge, in 4th of 5th for most of the race. Then came the news that another band of storms was coming through, scheduled to hit with just 3 or 4 laps left in the race! Ugh! More drama, especially with Vettel pushing hard to pass Hamilton for fourth. Everyone but Glock pitted for intermediates with 3 to go... which put Glock into 4th, Hamilton got passed by Vettel putting him into 6th! Which would mean second for the championship! Massa crossed the line looking like the new World Champion, but behind, Glock's gamble to stay on the dry tires started to fall apart, as his final lap time plummeted. Unbelievably, Hamilton passed Glock in the very LAST corner of the race, to take back 5th place, and the World Championship! Understandably, Massa's joy quickly turned to disbelief;
While Hamilton's disbelief... turned to joy;
Absolutely insane end to the season. And now, I can only like Massa that much more. He drove an incredible last half of the season, and is always gracious and well composed. Even after this defeat, and being understandably crushed.
142 days until the start of the 2009 season...
...which means you have plenty of time to go vote today.