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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Feeling proud

Okay, now that the Pacific Populaire times have been posted, I thought I'd take a few paragraphs to brag about the magnitude of my achievement, followed by a few sentences of proper humility.

You'll notice that me and Kristine finished with an official time of 2:55. I don't really know her, but we fell off the pace of the lead group at the same time, and paced each other home. Either of our times would have been a record in any other year, though this year's course was clearly much faster than the previous route. As it was, we finished 10th of 257 finishers, and 265 starters.

That's astonishing. Go look at the 2003 times. It's okay, I'll wait; I finished with a 4:07. So I cut more than an hour off my time in one year. Figuring a true course distance of 105 km (about right, but my bike computer was acting up so I don't have those stats), my average pace was 36 km/h. Which is stupidly fast. This gives me a lot more confidence than before about going into the Harris-Roubaix.

Now for the qualifiers. First, faster course. Second, I benefitted by a huge amount of pace-lining, and a lot of luck. I was dropped on the return trip over the Arthur Laing bridge, but managed to catch back on thanks to a well-timed traffic light. That meant I was able to draft all the way along Marine Drive before I dropped off, a huge benefit. The drafting pulled me well beyond my real abilities. Thirdly, several riders who might have stayed with the lead group had problems. EV rider Steve had a DNF for reasons I haven't found out about. EV rider and co-worker Brian had two flat tires, but posted a 3:21 without the same drafting that I got. And that's just the ones I know about. Fourthly, for all the mock-seriousness with which EV treats the Populaire, most racers ignore it. So when I say I outran the rest of the pack, most of the rest didn't even know they were racing. Because they weren't. This is, after all, not a race.

I'd also like to say hi to friends Ben and Daniel, who posted a 4:25 and a 4:31 respectively. But before you dismiss those results, think specificity: Ben rides 600 km brevets for fun. Daniel started riding last Fall and is planning to do the Seattle-to-Portland ride in one day, with a team from work. I doubt I could do a 600 k brevet (even a 200 would be a bit scary), and I know that I couldn't have ridden STP in the year after I started riding.

But caveats and all, I had an awesome day of riding.

Edit: I replaced "enormity" with "magnitude" in the first paragraph after keith pointed out the, ah, criminal implications of my choice of word. Kids: don't use it that way! And while I was there, I fixed another phrase that was bugging me in some trivial way.

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