Long Run Race Report. Rob Smallman

Filed by Rob Smallman

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

     Eliot wasn’t much of a cyclist…but I digress. Athletes have a wonderfully fickle sense of self-importance. In the fall millions of cyclists will drag their bicycles into the house and ride the trainer. They will train alone in the basement during winter. Their training is fueled by the warmth provided by some decent results. The dead land of last season has suddenly sprung lilacs of victories and strength. The brain will begin to work, to rationalize, to dream, and, worst of all, to make racing sound easy. As snow falls, the athlete will forget the suffering, the losses, the competition. The setting for such cruelty is early spring. Denizens of hopeful men and women will toe the line armed with months of trainer time, convinced that they worked harder than everyone else. The rude awakening that the first race brings is a simple one, a necessary one. Racing is hard. To win, you must be talented, skillful, lucky, and be willing to suffer. On the rollers you may have imagined you were beating Moser or Contador during every single interval; but your peers are not the Lollipop Guild or Care Bears. Every race there can only be 1 winner.  These early “pop-quizzes” serve to show who has done their homework during the winter, and who was covered in forgetful snow.
     Long-run was hardly as apoplectic as the poem suggests, 60 degrees and sunny. But regardless of the weather, this was the setting for battle. Thomas Walsh, myself, and 80 other familiar faces lined up against an army of Texas Roadhouse riders. The current Texas Roadhouse squad features three types of riders: pros, former pros, future pros. Their most current elite level alumnus, Rob Bush (some French Pro Team), fresh from racing against Thor Hushovd was also in attendance at Long Run. Breaks flew, carbon squealed, the air smelled of burnt cork brakes and fresh Mastik. Eventually I found myself chasing Burdzilauskus (TRH) and was soon joined by another TRH rider, Eric Anderson (Riley), and a poor forgotten fellow. Feeling the faint glimmer of hope that the TRH presence provided, we proceeded to work. We worked well, but breakaways require luck. Caught and unable to immediately latch onto the counter, I found myself in the pack. Thomas Walsh launched an impressive bridge and during his heroic effort, Adam Leibovitz (TRH) leaped from the pack to catch the break. I’ve never jumped onto a freight train, so I couldn’t fault Thomas for not catching that one. He was caught, and finding myself with nothing to lose I jumped and bridged to Depasse (Nuvo/Giant/Bissell) and Cody Woods (Upland). Working hard, we caught some remnants of the lead group ahead. Eventually the group ahead contained 9 and our group swelled to about 11. Long story short, Leibo won the race, Depasse won our asinine sprint for 10th, I finished the same sprint 16th, Thomas finished comfortably in the field. I’m happy that we had a presence within the race with only two people, and I’m relatively happy with my finish. As Tom said numerous times, “It’s a long season”.