Two weeks ago, somebody anonymously sent me a comment about my September 1st post: “Dude, you’re doing a WEEKLY TRAINING CRIT. Get real!” At first, I was taken aback by this, but it has had a couple of weeks to sink in now.
My objective, by writing this, is not to say anything negative about Holland Racing or the amazing, weekly event that they have turned The Driveway Race Series into, but rather put onto paper (does anybody use paper anymore?) something that I have been trying to avoid admitting over the last 2 weeks: the fact that The Driveway is still a weekly training crit. There, it is out on the internets and I can’t take it back. It kind of feels better to get it out.
Granted, Thursday night is bigger than almost all weekend races while being faster than most (where else can you race in a 90-starter field every week); a Thursday at the Driveway just can’t match the pure aggression of a full P/1/2 field that is racing with 100% tactical savvy. The stakes are lower. This week, a number of the racers that animate the race skipped in favor of making the trip to Philly to race the Univest GP. I thought about these as I circled the non-technical Speed Loop 27 times on Thursday night, seemingly in slow motion compared to other races. The Pickle and eRacign Stigma crits were fast and technical. The Chappell Hill road race was just wicked fast. I get a chance to dig deep, but I don’t get absolutely shredded just trying to hang on in the “A” race like I did in those P/1/2 races.
As a training race, like with any form of training, different people are going to approach it differently. Some need added intensity of a race to motivate themselves to come out and get a workout in. Some are just sadists that like to crush everybody with attack after attack every week, paying no attention at all to the result at the end of the night. Without a doubt, there are some that come out to the Driveway every Thursday fully kitted out for a full-on race. They are going to carefully ration their efforts while trying to make a conscious effort to improve their racing from week to week. I admit that I fall into this group. I don’t wear a skin-suit to train; I wear it to race.
Results at the Driveway are there as a weekly reminder that improvements are being made. When each weekend race offers a chance for me to get annihilated by the cream of Texas racing, any little sign of progress is welcome, even if it has to come during a “training crit.” One only has to look at a list of Driveway results from the year to get an idea of that progress: 6th, 7th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th. Those are just the top-20’s. Undoubtedly, there are a few DNF’s and pack finishes sprinkled in there from the beginning of the year when I was getting dropped from the P/1/2/3.
This week, my teammates from CREDO did well. Adrian, Michael and I finished 13th, 11th and 6th. Adrian won two primes and took home the mohawk for most aggressive rider while I got to haul a case of Honey Milk home with me in my backpack from winning a prime. I spent a couple of laps off the front, mid-race with Wenger in a break-away to get my legs warmed up for our second attempt at the “speed loop lead-out.” Adrian and I didn’t actually get to execute this week because he got pushed off my wheel during the penultimate lap, but it is better that we try and fail during a weekly crit than make mistakes like this one during a bigger race. While living in Corpus, I had to wait for weeks and drive countless hours in between opportunities to make up for mistakes that I made previously.
As the Driveway fits into my training plans, I will continue to try my ass off to pull around Phil Wikoff in the sprint while he is sitting up. Next week, Phil. Next week my 100% effort will overcome your obvious indifference to 5th or 6th place. I just feel fortunate that I get to race like this weekly.