The Hensley Lake Road Race this weekend was an excellent event. An honest course which could have favoured a group finish, break or solo winner.
In the break. Attack the break because of its unfavourable composition. Get away two-up for 25 miles before getting caught by a chase group of 3. Attempted a solo move with 8 to go before getting caught 2 miles from the line on the final climb and succumbing to fifth place. I raced for the win, but came up short.
What was outstanding to me was the immovable object that I faced during the race: a rider from another squad. Let’s just say that our racer friend was a little on the negative side. There is an argument, albeit a weak one in my opinion, that racing is like that. Do nothing, let others work hard and take their success from them. Although I get the logic, I don’t see it entirely like that. Because that doesn’t take into account race karma.
Throughout the season you get a reputation based on your alliances, strength and tactical ability. The pack knows who are the best wheels to follow when trying to get out front. The pack knows who will work when called upon and who is worth trying to get to when they are up the road. The pack also knows who manipulates and makes excuses, knows who always has a teammate somewhere or another precluding them taking a turn and knows who simply has bad karma. Sure, ride by not contributing. Ride by not being honest. What goes around comes around. I’m not even saying do an equal share of work, just don’t tell false truth out on the road. Yeah, I get it- tactics dictate sometimes, but there is a fine line and all racers know, or more aptly, can feel when that line is crossed.
Sooner or later it’ll catch up to you. Then racing will be a very lonely experience, no matter how many teammates one has.
On an aside, our negative friend didn’t win the race either.