From Chip: I asked Ryan Javech for a write up about his win last week at the Federal Center and he has submitted this excellent post…
About the race
When I was thinking about giving racing a try this winter, my Uncle, who introduced me to road cycling a couple years ago, sent me a book – “Reading the Race”. A small tidbit I remember from the book was when the author pointed out that when the weather isn’t ideal, less guys want to race.. race those races! It not only increases your probability of a result, but also is good experience racing in less than ideal conditions (e.g. wet corners at higher speeds).
Description of the conditions: Cold, wet, and cold – great day to race! I was really glad to run into Will Pirkey in the parking lot pre-race – we introduced ourselves, and planned to meet at the start line and work together in the SM5 race. We were riding side by side around the first or second bend of the race and Will realized his front wheel flatted. Pull over, race over – right? Wrong. With a nod and a quick (quiet) word to me he attacked to shake things up since he knew his race would be short-lived. I learned something about the luxury of having a teammate in a race… I could relax while everyone around me started panicking over a first lap solo attack. Thanks, Will, you saved me a match.
As the race continued on, there were a few more solo attacks, nothing stuck. A few times the race revved up with a few of us on the front hoping to split, but nothing could ever get organized enough to pull away from the peloton. With the course having some leftover water from the rain the night before, I knew I wanted to stay towards the front to avoid any crashes. That plan was useful, as there were a few crashes mid-race. Avoiding other category crashes was also part of the race, with a pile up in a different category race. Midway into the second lap I was feeling like the pace had slowed (maybe because of the crash(es)), and so I decided to try and stretch the group. I hopped on the front and gave it a good effort for a few miles. Maybe not the smartest move from a conservation perspective, but having little to no idea what I’m doing with one whole race under my belt I figured it’d be fun, and it was.
I think the majority of the group figured the race lap count would be 5, but after the 3rd lap we got word this would be the 4th and final lap. With that, jockeying for the front positions started and the pace increased. Pulling through the last corner before the nice long finishing straight, I was on the outside (left) of a group of 9 or 10 guys. It turned out to be a good position and vantage point as I was able to surf up on a wheel and see who was taking off for the final sprint, and whether I felt it was too soon. A few early sprint surges and then a little lull, and that’s when I decided to give it go. One other racer on the inside (right) had the same idea and we met in the middle for the final sprint. I was able to get my wheel to the line first.
Personal reflection (Grab a tissue…)
Honestly, I would probably still be talking about “wanting to give bike racing a shot someday…”, if it weren’t for a few really important people – I’m sure others can relate.
My uncle – He introduced me to the sport a few years ago and has been beyond supportive in every avenue of cycling. He’s the kind of guy who’d give you the shirt (or bike) off his back, and it’s the sport that’s brought us so close. Also, Eric and Kate Bennett – Eric introduced me to this great shop, he has been a mentor, coach (Kate too!), training partner, and most importantly has become a really good friend.
Achieving success in any capacity (personally, professionally, athletically, etc.) the achievement itself isn’t the best part. I mean I definitely feel a personal sense of pride, but the most humbling part of it all is sitting back and looking around at how blessed I am. I am surrounded by caring and supportive people, and I am so fortunate to have them in my life. Not everyone has that, and I have it in abundance. If you have those kind of people in your life, make sure you remember to acknowledge their importance in getting you where you want to go in life. Winning an Amateur Cat 5 bike race didn’t prompt this realization, but rarely having my thoughts published to a group of people, I figured it would be a nice opportunity to remind those who subjected themselves to my lengthy post… I’m a finance guy, excuse the poor writing skills.