Reflections on Tuscaloosa on the Eve of Hillsboro

Looking overconfident at the start in between Tom Gates and Robert Gregory

Tomorrow is Hillsboro, the biggest race in the Midwest when scaled by its payout. There will be 75 amped up 40+ masters racers on the line, and 75 more 50+ taking off 10 minutes later. I’ve done this race 8 times, going back to 2002, and managed to finish 5th twice, but I haven’t fared quite so well since my big crash. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. However, I need to get a grip and race smarter than I have of late. Sometimes I get a bit overconfident, and that was REALLY evident in Tuscaloosa. I didn’t know most of the guys in the race, that’s not my circuit and I’ve only raced in the deep south once at Athens, in a heavily depleted field because of the rain that day. Tom Gates and Robert Gregory were on the line, which was heartening. Tom did mention something a bit disconcerting on the line—that he got dropped in three laps the only time he’d done this race. But, I was feeling good and figured maybe Tom is more susceptible to the big power hills—which I tend to like. Yeah. Right.

Taking control.....for one lap.....

I proceeded to take control of the race from the start, not wanting to miss an early break, and I lead up the big hill on Lap 1 and most of the way through….On Lap 2, three guys squirted off the front and I tried in vain to bridge and then got stuck pulling through….On Lap 3…….POP Goes the Darren! I was off the back by lap 5, and relegated to chasing in with Tom and a several others. The main chase eventually lapped us finally giving us shelter. After the results came out I was a bit embarrassed. I was trying to take the race to guys who are WAY better than I’ll ever be or have been. Guys who win NRC cat-1 races on a regular basis, and who win national championships on the track and on the road. Oops. Gotta get a grip and race smarter. Had I raced smart,  I might have lucked out and made the break (probably not, they probably would have shelled me if I did). Or I might (more likely) have at least positioned myself to finish in the main chase and had a shot to sprint for last few money slots. Ah well, there is always tomorrow…..

Wait up! Slow Down! I'm supposed to win this one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: