General Classification: 43rd (goal was top 50)
Cat 2 standings: 8th
Best performance: Time Trial
The Nature Valley Grand Prix was quite a deal. Although I would have liked to have done better on the steep climbs the last two days, they're not something I've been practicing, so I'm really not that disappointed. The one part of the race for which I practiced specifically - the time trial - I did well (28th in the stage), and still have much room for improvement.
I am gaining such an appreciation for the TT. It requires one to know oneself and capabilities to a degree the other disciplines do not. Obviously, crits and road races can also be played better if you know your capabilities, but really they're more like that one joke....
Two guys are in the woods and they see a bear. The first sits down and puts on his running shoes. The other says, "What the heck are you doing?! You can't outrun a bear."
"I don't have to beat the bear. Just you," says the first.
In contrast, when TT'ing, you have no idea how well others will do, so every time you must give it your all. When I first did them, I thought they were boring, but now with a little more experience, I enjoy settling into the rhythm and feeling for the boundary between max output over the distance and anaerobic failure.
I also like road races over crits. The latter are exciting, but the drawn out game of the former hold greater appeal and seem to suit me better as does the stage race format. Despite not having done much mileage given that our team's schedule is primarily crits, I felt I held up pretty well over the week and if I were to alter my training towards stage racing instead of criteriums, I might be able to really improve my performance.
So, all in all, it was an excellent thing to have gone and done. Will I do it next year? I don't know. I would like to, but we'll see. I'd add more details, but I'm tired and have a lot of work to catch up on. Make it a great day - or not - it's your choice. (My son says that)