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posted Oct 5, 2012, 5:33 AM by Brian Bressler   [ updated Oct 12, 2012, 8:32 PM ]

MFG Rapha Focus GP - CAT 3 35+ Report

Brian Bressler

Racing is not about the race. It’s about the hours, days, months…time preparing to race.  The best Boy Scout will win. Sometimes there's luck. Or sometimes there’s bad fortune. But bad fortune is more about not being totally prepared. Last week I picked up a thorn and flatted while riding to my car after the race.  I lucked out. I added several ounces of Stan's to each tire – always be learning, always be prepared. 

I'm preparing my legs, my lungs and my focus. I'm digging deep on the hard days and (trying) to recover fully on other days.  My bike is becoming a comfortable extension of me, it’s shifting and braking well and cornering at my limits.

The MFG Rapha Focus GP course at Lake Sammamish State Park is flat and fast and there are no “rest” sections.  I talked with some of the earlier riders and got some good tips on the long sandy section: ride as far as you can, run as fast as you can, re-mount 15 feet after the steps at the top of the small hill.

I had a plan for the race: start fast and fall into the number 2 or 3 position going into the first corner, draft when possible, taunt the leaders and go hard and off the front for the last lap.

In reality I bolted at “go” and took the hole shot into the first turn.  Remembering my plan, I backed off slightly and grabbed a wheel as it came around.  At the first technical turn the leader came in too hot and landed in the bushes; I was back at the front.  I led a pack of two to six racers over the next four laps; through the sand, over the barriers, and through the turns.  

I was passed coming up the long asphalt start/finish section and grabbed his wheel; I looked forward to drafting for a lap or two to let my legs cool down.  As I ripped through a fast grassy corner and was just starting to accelerate of the saddle my pedals stopped turning.  My rear tire rolled.  I ran with my bike for a few meters but, without a spare wheelset or bike I opted to watch the rest of the race.

I failed to adequately prepare to my wheels. While I’m disappointed in the outcome, the racing was an absolute pain-filled joy and I’m looking forward to being even more prepared for the next one.

I’m sure I’ve lost my front row call up.  Next race I’ll need to fight even harder to get back to the front.  Bring it on.