After my run/ride on Sat morning, I was busy on the computer for a few hours while Karel took a little nap on the couch. After I finished training plans and nutrition write-ups for my athletes, I took Campy for a long walk and before I knew it, it was time to head to Tampa.
Karel drove alone to the race so that he could get in a good warm-up. My parents, Campy and I went down to Tampa 20 min later. For some reason (although I'm not surprised) I was super nervous for this race and my tummy was tingling. I find it so funny how nervous/excited I get for Karel's races... and I'm not even racing! To think, my parents spent almost 8 years watching me in swim meets and now they have triathlons, running events, Ironman's and cycling events to watch. I just think it is so special to love someone and to support them in whatever makes them happy. For Karel it is cycling and for me it is swim-bike-run.
Because I know how much Karel loves cycling, it's not about racing for money. Sure, it is nice when he comes home with a little extra grocery money for us, but he isn't a full-time Professional bike racer like many of the other guys in his category. I guess you could say it's about the glory and to be the best he can be. But you know what, at the end of the day, when the race is over, it doesn't matter what type of athlete you are (newbie, veteran, cyclist, triathlete, spin enthusiast, walker, etc.) you have to find joy and satisfaction in your sport/exercise of choice. Exercise is required for a healthy life. However, no one tells us we have to do triathlons, cycling or any race. It is choice and a choice that can be quite addicting.
As you know, triathlons are my lifestyle. For Karel, cycling is his passion. Therefore, regardless if he is an "on" day or "off" day, good race or bad race, if he comes home uninjured (no crash), in my eyes, it is a successful day.
Have you ever finished a race where you wished you could do it all over again? Or maybe you wished you would have done something differently? Well, Karel had one of those races on Sat.
He said he felt great but the race didn't unfold like he wanted. With 50+ guys in the Pro 1,2 field, there were too many large teams for the race to come down to the fastest, strongest or most powerful guy.
Right from the start at 6:30pm, the pace was fast on the .6 mile course. Karel LOVES night races, especially when they are in a downtown area. I was super excited to have some of my friends come and watch and they also loved the race. Thanks Joan + family, Terry + hubby, Andrea, Jen (who did her first triathlon that morning!), Gearlinkers (who raced earlier that morning) and my parents for cheering for Karel!
The course was a bit technical with zig zags on cobblestone and tight corners. There was only one crash so it was overall, a safe race for the Pro's.
About 20 min. into the 1 hour and 8 min. race, there was a 3-man break. About 10 min. later the break went down to 2 guys (Yip from Zmotion and Raul from Santo cycling team). Karel and several others mentioned that the pace of the race was "kinda" easy because no one wanted to chase to two leaders. You may be thinking, wouldn't 50+ guys be able to ride much faster than 2 guys in the front? Well, that's cycling for ya.
Because Zmotion and Santo had several team members in the race, there was no point to bring the chase group to the leaders when one of the two guys could possibly win the race. Therefore, when Karel would make a move, no one would go with him to chase the leaders. Because Karel can't (and wouldn't) want to chase down the leaders (later in the race, the leaders had a 30 sec. lead from the chase pack) alone, whenever Karel made a move to bring the chase group closer, a zmotion or Santo team member would just slow down, thus causing the chase group to slow down.
Now, when I say "slow"...this is very relative. The guys were going really fast and Karel was working really hard. However, overall it just wasn't the race that Karel could cross the line and feel like he did the best he could. He said he felt awesome but because of the team tactics of the other teams, there was nothing Karel could do to get in the front.
As far as the finish, which was just a 100-200 yards or so from the last corner, he said the he didn't get in the right spot for the sprint for 3rd place.
Well, Karel was able to still land in the top 15 and finished 12th. Because there was a $1999 total payout for top 20, he still ended up with some money for his finish.
Oh well. Plenty more races to come and Karel is super excited for this weekend. Webster Roubaix (which is similar to Paris Roubaix for the "real" pros) is on Sat. This is one of the hardest and longest races in the entire region. The riders will be tested over a 15km loop that includes 2km per lap of hardpack limestone and dirt. Let me tell you, I've seen this race once and it is the dirtiest race I've ever seen. Plus, Karel races for 180K!!! Triathletes - that's 112 miles!
The best part about the Tampa race was all of the great pics that were taken of Karel. Thanks Dad, Terry and Tyler for GREAT pics!
*I wonder what/who Campy is about to bark at???