From the way I see things, she was basically telling me not to race my bike. I’ll explain.
This past weekend was the Snelling road race. The race was aggressive from the start with numerous attacks and small gaps. It being my first road race of the year I was eager to race and make it hard on myself and I did just that. I found myself in every threatening move and eventually made it into the winning break of 8 riders. We all worked to initiate the break and at that point I knew I had to back off. I was cramping and if you’ve never experienced such a thing, just imagine being kicked really hard in the leg. The difference with cramping is that the feeling could last for minutes and could easily be repeated. I was trying to avoid ones that last for minutes because if that happens, there is a no-pedal-policy and your body strictly enforces it.
Anyway, I knew I was going to have to do less work in the break, recover and stave off the cramps, if I was going to be in the mix at the end. I played it smart and skipped the odd pull. I also knew that the one pro on Colavita was a World class Time Trialist aka: Super-fast-solo-effort kind of rider, and was half expecting her to try and break away, but she didn’t. Instead she focused her energy on yelling at me to pull through and work. She barked out orders like “If you want to be here, you better work!” Let me remind you, the break was already long gone, never to be caught by the field. At that point the race was between us, the leading 8 riders. I never said much but I did tell the pro this “You can bully me to work all you want but I’m doing what I can. I’m cramping and that’s that.” Approaching the last 15ks of the race, she then went on to tell me, “You’re not allowed to sprint!” bahhh haaaa! I was actually in so much shock, I had no response. In my mind, she was telling me not to race and that she really didn’t want to race her bike either. Instead of her attacking or trying to get away, she insisted on convincing me not to race my bike and to pull out now.
The worst part about the whole thing is that she is a “pro” as in a “professional.” She leads by example. Other riders in the break truly believed that they should do as they’re told, work until they have nothing left and never even attempt to win. WIN! It’s a race for goodness sake!
In the end, the pro went early and I hesitated. I hesitated because I could feel my legs wanting to go into a full blown seize. I followed a couple others and surprised myself, I blew by them, caught 2nd and before I knew it I was closing in on the first rider. It was so close I had to throw my bike. She got me by a hand.
As nice as a podium spot between 2 pros is, I wanted to win so badly. It was hard to keep my composure but I feel that it has just added fuel to my fire.