Tour-mented: Harsh lessons from the Tour of the Depot
From The Rev:
We are super stoked to add Mark Twight to the growing Big Ring Parrish. Why should you listen to and respect a newbie Masters rider? Quite simply because Mark is a bad ass of the first order. As cyclist we throw around phrases like “I thought I was gonna die” pretty nonchalantly when describing even a moderately hard ride. Mark comes from the world of high altitude climbing where such phrases carry a little more reality. His credentials are legit. The thing that is great about Mark is that he is not afraid to learn. He is approaching cycling with the open mind of a beginner. That is what separates the men from the boys. A man wants to learn.
Here is what Mark learned at the Tour of The Depot:
I’m still a beginner. My bad decisions began yesterday. I didn’t realize it until this morning. Yesterday I thought I was doing OK in the Masters 35/B field (3rd in the TT, not too far back in the circuit race). But the fine print showed that our group was combined with the Masters 55 field. I saw that over coffee and started the day further behind than I thought.
I should have chased one break that went up the road in the circuit race but didn’t because I didn’t think Dirk was in my category. Today I realized he was, and he started the road race a minute up on the field. Then, out on the road, once the wind switched from head to cross the attacks began. One of them stuck. I was in it. My teammate (Kracht) wasn’t. I didn’t know what to do. I sat up and waited. I knew there were a couple of strong guys behind and I figured we could work together to bridge up to the leaders. It didn’t happen. Once the leaders saw the gap they drilled it. And the group behind was behind for a reason: some were caught out by bad timing, but a lot of them were just too weak. They could not contribute to the chase. A few of us killed ourselves on the front but we got nowhere. And Krachty got spit out the back of that group too. I guess he went too hard yesterday or didn’t recover well. The French call it “un jour sans”, a day without. Oh well. I stayed with the second group for a while and then sat up again to ride with him to the line. It’s a carryover from climbing and its partnership that teammates don’t get left. But I need to get over it because out on the road it happens all of the time.
MFT’s lessons from the road:
1st) Know the rules
2nd) Follow Dirk, do what he does (he’s been racing for over 30 years)
3rd) Listen to Ken, (also racing for over 30 years, when he says “do this” just do it Ken is also BMC Pro Jeff Louders dad)
4th) If you can’t do the first (Dirk is strong) then fucking-well do the second
5th) And most important, ride it to win it or don’t bother. It’s the Big Ring attitude. Over lunch, the Reverend Big Ring told me I had just as good of a chance to win today as anyone, including my teammate. “You made the split. you shouldn’t have dropped back to help. He might have been unlucky or he might have been having a bad day. You couldn’t know. But no one could bridge back to the leaders in that wind (if the leaders were organized and working).” OK, from now on, devil take the hindmost – especially if it’s me!
So, knowledge is power. And ignorance is not just a lack of power, it’s far more destructive. Know the rules. And the way. Read the race bible before the event begins.