Well, Tour of Washington County was...interesting, to say the least. My weekend started off with the Kick-Off Crit on Friday in Downtown Hagerstown, MD. I didn't know what to expect going into it. After just 3 days of riding prior to this race, my legs were no where near race-ready. So, at the start I was really just hoping to not get dropped and get some good time mixed in with the pack.
I did a lot better than I expected. A break of 3 got away and pulled off a deserving win while I pulled out of the field sprint in 5th for an 8th overall. It was a good start for sure. I made some money and got some of the racing-edge mentality back.
The highlight of the weekend was Stage 1, the RR. The pace was tough at times, but every time we would climb I felt completely on top of my game. I was feeling really good with a mile to go, and luckily I had a great teammate, Patrick, who was feeling just as good. He let me know that he was going to be leading me out for the sprint up the final climb and he did, perfectly.
I had to apologize to him in the end though, because I didn't come out on top as I should have. The wrong choice of gear for the hill-sprint finish left me with too big of gear to push and I got passed at the very end by .2 seconds. After 16 days of being off the bike though, I think 2nd is a pretty good way to start the racing up again.
The surprise of the weekend came on Sunday, 30 minutes before the final stage Criterium, when I was told that I needed to go see the officials before I could race. I got to the officials tent and found out that I had been DQ'd from the entire stage race. The reason was cited as "coaching a rider across the line" in the TT.
What ended up happening was I got a flat halfway through my TT effort. After a 15 minute wait for the SRAM wheel car, the Cat4's had begun their TT's. On my way back I pulled up along side a young GamJams rider who looked like he was hurting bad. I started to yell at him, motivating him up every hill and into a bigger gear on the flats and downhill sections. I was helping him out and I was attempting to be kind.
After crossing the line he shook my hand and thanked me greatly for the extra mental push I gave him. However, the officials were not as happy, and they dealt with it accordingly. Its unfortunate I wasn't able to race that Crit. My form was really coming around and I was looking for a strong finish for that final stage. Lesson learned though, another eventful learning experience to put in the books.