Backing up a bit, February went by in a blink of an eye. I had jury duty and to my surprise was put onto a jury for a long trial. As one of the trial lawyers joked (later on, when it was over), the jury is full of people too stupid to get out of jury duty.... Guilty! Jury trials are one of those things that lawyers find fascinating (even paper pushing non-trial lawyers like me), and I'd often thought it would be interesting to serve on a nice short jury trial. But not a long trial! Well, I got a trial of decent length-- predicted to go 6-7 weeks, the parties settled after we sat through about 4 weeks. While there were interesting moments, on the whole it was surprisingly tedious and often sleep-inducingly dull. And we skipped the most interesting part of all-- jury deliberations, where the jury would finally talk about the evidence and issues we'd been considering for the last many weeks but were forbidden to discuss! I was glad it wrapped up early, but would have been very interested to deliberate for sure.
Anyhow, the combo of jury duty and continuing to do a fair bit of work work (ie, my job) left me pretty drained. I didn't get in a whole lot of riding, though I did work out at the gym a bit and rode the rollers a couple of times a week (love the rollers! so much better than the trainer). I skipped the Snelling Rd Race because I was exhausted and had the beginnings of a cold. But the trial settled last week, and I'd pre-reg'd for Menlo Park, so off I went this morning.
The course is in an office park, completely flat, 6 corners (with 1 sweeper and 1 chicane). I got a decent start and managed to stay in the middle of the group for the first lap, but fell back in the pack during the second lap (can you see where this is going???). In the third lap, I was near the rear and the folks in front of me slowed nearly to a stop during the chicane (left-right turn sequence). When I came through the turn, a gap had opened up ahead of the folks immediately in front of me. After some time trialling (and some work with another rider, who took a monster pull, thanks!), I'd caught up with another gapped group, but the pack was quite far ahead by then. I pulled out at this point, not feeling enthusiastic about riding off the back for the bulk of the race. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed in to practice riding hard, working with other riders, etc.
Lessons learned: my fitness needs some work! Also, more comfort in the pack and a willingness to go hard to keep my position would help. I tend to go out sustainably hard, and this wasn't enough for me to keep position at my current fitness level. Sustainably hard got me yo-yoing in the rear, then an inability to move up and popage (pronounced pop-age, not pope-age :) ie, popped, spat out the back, etc). Anyhow, lots to work on and thankfully, daylight savings time has started and I can get a little more riding in on weekdays.
In other news, I went mountain biking again on Saturday (Ok, probably not the best thing to do before a race day, at least for me). It was super fun, even if I had to walk some of the technical stuff. I am working on getting a mountain bike and have signed up to do Dirt Series, a two day training clinic in April. More on this later.