Monday, February 8, 2016

Qatar Baptism

Wow wow wow, Qatar is a unique race! Despite what I think was a good effort, I was not in any position to battle with the big boys. Then again, I'm bigger than my roommate Chris Jones, and he made the front group! Regardless, it is a special game we're playing here and it requires a unique skill set to be good here. I thought I was giving myself a decent chance at being well placed by starting at the front of the race, but already by the end of the neutral I had been shuffled to the back! It was incredible really. The first 50km of the race were nervous and tense, but didn't have any serious cross winds, so not much happened. After that all chaos broke loose. The splits happen quickly here and before I knew it I was in what I think was the third group. We continued to roll quite hard because things break apart and come back together here regularly. We could see the group in front of us for the next 30km. Finally at the feedzone we had closed the gap and rejoined.

I skipped the feedzone in an effort to try and get into good position for the next echelon. I wanted to feed, but I knew I had enough food and just hoped that I could get a bottle at some point. Luckily one of my teammates grabbed a mussette and gave me a bottle. I also figured that the most useful I could be was trying to be in the front for my teammates as long as possible. Unfortunately the next echelon happened almost immediately and I didn't have the legs. A small group split off the front of and I remained in the third group. At that point I think the energy in our group deflated. The first group was long gone and the race was essentially over with 100km to go! For the rest of the race our group split, regrouped, split, regrouped, etc. as we turned a few times and the winds changed. I just kept my nose out of trouble and was almost exuberant to cross the finish line. Silly, I know, but it felt like a fairly good accomplishment to me because I had raced hard and stayed out of trouble: small victories.

Tomorrow's race is on the Worlds course for 2016, which is being hosted here (obviously). It is forecasted to be a windier, so things will certainly be more interesting tomorrow! With that I bid you good night and wish myself sweet dreams. :)

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