I was going to write a race report but, really, it would just be an elongated version of: got dropped too early, cramped a lot, cried briefly, 3km before the Baw Baw summit.
Instead, I might address the issues of expectations.
I'm not going to lie. I had hoped for a much better result than I got. At first, the thrill of just finishing, of the whole ordeal being over, was enough to satisfy me. But now, the insidious creep of 'what could have been' sneaks in, and begins to alter your opinion of events.
My game plan before the race was to hang on to the main bunch until the foot of the climb, after which I would just climb at my own pace...which is basically your only option on a hill as steep as Baw Baw.
Of course it didn't pan out like that and, as a result, I spent a lot of the race coming to terms with my disappointment. First there's anger, then frustration, then sadness. You spend months preparing for these events (even if you're a muppet like me) and to have it unfold all so wrong from the very start of the race (I knew I was in trouble before the neutral flag was down) is really horrible.
Of course, I could just spit on the ground and mumble something about that being bike racing. Which is true. Sometimes you feel shit, and sometimes you feel awesome. You can't always tell how it's going to pan out.
A long time ago, Brendan advised me that, in training, you have to come to it with the notion that you have untold amounts of hidden potential, waiting to be unlocked. As he said at the time, that may not be the case but, then again, it may indeed be.
As I said on my own blog the other day (I'm in the whining mood), I've kind of been in a bit of a rut, in terms of inspiration. I still love riding my bike more than anything on the planet (except perhaps X files) but I am finding it increasingly difficult to convince myself that I have this hidden potential to unlock. Largely because all the evidence points to the contrary.
I've stupidly allowed myself to become so involved in bike racing that, slowly, it's begun to mean a lot to me. Once upon a time, I could have shrugged off this kind of lack of success. Now, with the passing of time, it has begun to eat at me.
Which, given my current level, and the relatively short amount of time I have been racing bikes, is ridiculous.
But there it is.
Of course, Bruce Dickinson would have no time for this self indulgent bullshit. He would tell me to get my head out of my ass, to realise I'm living in my golden years.
And he would be right.