My nephew is a funny kid. He's even more of a butthead than I am, and when he was really young, playing with Legos that were meant for far older kids than he was at the time, he looked up from whatever mess he was trying to make and pronounced "Legos are frustrating!" In this regard, Legos are no different than bike racing.
I've been racing pretty actively since 2007, with most of one year off for a broken leg. In that time, I've had a lot of crappy finishes, and I've been second a bunch of times, third a bunch of times, fourth a bunch of times, fifth a couple of times - you get the drift. What I've never done, however, is win a race. I've been within inches of doing so a couple of times, but never gotten there. I even won a season long mountain bike race series this year, but never an individual race. It's something I'd really really like to do.
I thought I'd identified pretty good goals this cross season - win a race in the master's b series, wear the leader's jersey in same, and become a consistent point scorer in the master's elite series. For a rider of my abilities and constraints, a challenging but good set of goals. Going into last weekend's race, I thought the stars were pretty well aligned: a track I liked, the guy who'd been pantsing us the first two races force upgraded, me in a tie for the series lead, slippery conditions that I've done well in in the past, and my legs really seemed to have shown up.
When the whistle blows, I've got the perfect line for the hole shot and take it. The first section of turns that spits us out onto the start/finish goes completely my way and I'm already working on a little gap. The next section went just as well, and into the woods we go. I clear the technical climb easily, make it over the sketchy transition, start on the downhill, get onto the line that I'd liked in pre-ride, hit a root that I hadn't seen, and endo. Bike and I go flying, but somehow manage to land next to one another, and without ever stopping I've picked up the bike and am running to the clearing to remount. The carnage watchers at the u-turn had nothing to say other than "holy shit, nice recovery!" Check to see is the chain on? Nope. Give up the lead to stop and put it back on, remount, get going, and something feels weird. Go around one sweeping turn and maybe we're okay, then into a greasy 90* right, and squeezing the rear brake lever produces exactly zero slowage. What does happen, however, is my right hand coming off the hood in sort of a weird way. Well, too much speed plus trying to turn one handed puts me on my butt in short order, of course. I pick up the bike and the right brifter is toast. The shift paddle comes off in my hand and the lever might lever, but the brake doesn't brake. During the endo, the brifter body had cracked in half inside the hood. Race over.
Well, you've got to use your time productively somehow, so I decided to pick up the bike with all of my astonishing cyclist strength, and place it gently off the course for some durability testing. For a thousand reasons, I don't recommend you act like the twat I acted like at this moment, but if you should have to unleash your inner John McEnroe, make sure you've got a HOT BUNS to do it with. They can take it, as this bar cam video clearly demostrates.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXbfhwgkea0&w=560&h=315]
The brifter has been replaced and the bike is ready for the next go 'round. Perhaps I can act like a grown up next time?
The brifter got good and destroyed.