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Vingers Lost Virginity

Old 04-06-05, 11:02 AM
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Vingers Lost Virginity

Tuesday evening, the Waakzame Vingers--represented by Il Boia and Il Bruco--made their debut in the racing scene! We did not know what to expect, other than that it would be one a one-hour Sufferfest and that the Opposition at the local parcours would be keen on ripping our legs off. Yet, I am pleased to report that the Vingers were de-virginised and came out with their heads up.

Right from the start, it became clear that this type of racing is very different from the 'tourist' atrition wars we usually wage. While filling in the paperwork (the organisers need to know where to send the bodybags) and receiving our numbers (it felt so 'real'), we spotted some serious cyclists. The place smelled of former amateurs. Apart from Bruco's, all legs were shaven and very well defined.

Unlike we had expected, hammering over the winding circuit (which is basically one-third climb, one-third downhill, one-third flat) was not terribly dangerous. Everyone rode in a very civil manner: attentive and sort of disciplined. It seems that our bike handling 'skills' suffice to stay upright. There were no crashes. Of course, some wrecking will occur eventually.

As we had anticipated, the pace was uncivil, even merciless. As soon as the announcer sent us, the B-group, off, we felt that the Opposition meant business... 60 minutes or so pure racing speed; no warm-up (too bad I didn't have the time to loosen the legs beforehand). Even though Boia and I each rode in a different league (see below), we both felt that the downhill section was the toughest, since everyone produces his/her (yes, there were quite a few ladies involved!) top speed there. And some of the
Oppositionists do know how to turn high gears at a fast cadence. You can compare it to hanging onto the wheel against a headwind, and immediately getting dropped when the 'drafting factor' loses significance.

How did we do, then? Well, I think that Il Boia rode a splendid race. Not only did he manage to stay in the pack during the entire onslaught, he even did massive turns at the front of the peloton. A group of six, I believe, had broken away quite early (including our badass friend Henk!). The peloton there is about 95% wheelsuckers, who were (with a few exceptions) happily eating the Vinger's Superdomestique's plate, bluntly refusing to relieve him. The breakaway was never caught. But Il Boia finished well within the
bunch (where people typically woke up in the final two laps or so). If he continues riding this strong, it will not be long before we will have to go to the strategy drawing board and devise some winning (or at least
upsetting) moves. Well done! Helmets off!

Meanwhile, I was leading the unofficial 'C-group', lagging behind (and even being lapped--the horror--once by) the B-monsters. After the first five, six or seven (you do not really do math when you are in and above 'Interval 1') laps I was ridden to the last spot in the peloton. The speed, but also my caution (I wanted to avoid crashing at all costs), caused the infamous 'rubber band' effect: getting dropped-working your socks off-reestablishing contact-getting dropped again, etc. Eventually, I drowned in lactic acid and
was forced to let all but one (later two) riders go. Since finishing was my second objective for this first-timer (together with not crashing), I decided to ride my own race from there (I was 'in the wind' all the time anyhow), not even that much slower than before (but in races like these it makes a big difference whether you do 40 km/h or 39 km/h). As happened to Boia, my plate was eagerly being eaten by two wheelsuckers, who would rather hit their brakes than to take over the towing. Obviously, there is lots of
work to be done. I already knew that one of my 'limiters', as Il Boia always says, is coping with the high-intensity stuff (my heart rate monitor gave up on me, but I doubt that I was ever below D3/Interval 1). The race is a bit similar to the Finale of a tough cyclo (only without the long D1/D2/D3 work-out prior to that Finale--I doubt whether Tuesday's Oppositionists would last that long). And we know that thus far I do not excel in the last km's. But I am sure that this Suffering will prove to be beneficial later on. And with a few more training rides, I should be able to maintain my spot in the bunch. In any case it beats training alone.

To be continued...
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