Yes, I know—I’m leapfrogging the Portsmouth Crit. I will get to that ASAP. But I think the VT50 has to take precedence because it has pictures. Lots of them.
The Vermont 50—a big ole mountain bike race/fundraiser/event—has earned a reputation in recent years for miserable weather. It was clear during packet pickup this year that, barring some freak, biblical-style flooding event, things would be just dandy as far as the weather goes.
This year’s start had been bumped back about 15 minutes, to allow things to wrap up in at least nominal daylight. I’m told the effort was successful, but the flipside of the equation was an even more abominably early start time than normal. I had the clock set for 3:45am, but having abstained from caffeine the previous day, popped 3mg of melatonin before my 10pm bedtime, I was fresh as a daisy the the marimba chime dangled.
Less awesome was the translucent, blue-tinted Pac-Man I found floating where my left contact lens should have been a few minutes later (there’s way too much uncorrected data outside my lenses to race off-road in glasses). Fortunately, the half-shredded lens still sat well enough in my eye, though unfortunately, it had a tendency to float around, blur, and itch mercilessly.
Driving the 30 minutes from Rudy’s House in Norwich to the race start was a bit of a challenge, since I had to make sense of blurry, itchy, headlight visuals against the absolute darkness, but the lens had mostly settled by the time I arrived in the parking lot. Prepping in the nowhere-near-sunrise was a little interesting to say the least—all the more so because this was my first mountain bike race in, oh, about half a decade.
The prepwork’s actually a bit easier than road racing—at least in the Sport category— since everything just gets shoved into a Camelback. With all the waiver/reg work taken care of the day before, all I had to do was give my number and listen to a fellow named Zeke explain that I should keep to the right on the roads, follow arrows, pay attention for X’s, avoid W’s and let runners know I was passing.
Despite the sheer darkness—especially during a brief failure of the lighting in the big registration tent—there was a tremendous line for portapotties. I couldn’t understand it, and judging from the steady coming and going of racers from behind the row the tupperware commodes, I was not alone in this regard.
The actual start of the race—Expert waves—occurred under a lightening, but definitely dark sky. Granted, the first few miles are on roads and in the open, but for the dudes without lights, my deepest sympathies. Things did begin to get lighter rapidly thereafter, so I think the earlier start really did work.
I was a bit distracted by live-tweeting the beginnings of the race, and wandered into my wave a little too casually. When announcer hollered “go”, it became clear that I was surrounded by people not racing, or at least saving it until 20 miles in or so. And riding a single-speed (while still registered as Sport—I tend to avoid separate SS categories), it was a near impossibility to make up ground on the downhill roads.
I do wish I’d had a cadence meter, to capture the 10 seconds all-out spin, rest, 10 seconds all-out-spin pattern I rocked until the first climb, but we do have heartrate and GPS data that shows me pinning it up to and past threshold on the first few climbs. Unlike GMSR, I was feeling pretty darn good.
I can understand why Colin—a “real” mountain biker—found this race so frustrating. There is a lot of dirt road and snowmobile trail, and even the first couple downhills are straight-ahead. I currently lack health insurance, and descended like it, but even if I’d been taking risks on Aetna’s dime, the Western-style dust clouds kicked up by the hundred some-odd dudes in front of me were a new wrinkle—and one that I’m still trying to pick out of my eyes three days later.
(via SkiPix.com—can you tell?)
Even with arid weather, the trails were holding up—I think I ran across one or two loose dirt sections, but they didn’t pose much trouble in terms of staying upright. I got one foot out on two occasions to avoid crashes, and lost a few spots on one or two fast downhill fire roads (32/18 ain’t gonna get it done) but was otherwise just drilling it and eating up places.
After skipping the first couple rest stations, though, the effort was all starting to add up. It’s rare that I put in more than 90 minutes at a time in on the MTB, and I’d been keeping pretty macho about walking as little of the course as possible. I’m also a bit older than I was when I decided to be a one-gear guy, and on one particularly steep, extended climb, I thought I could feel parts in my knee rubbing against each other that weren’t supposed to be rubbing.
So I took a bit of a breather at the 18.3 mile aid station—which is why you have the fantastic picture featured above. I lost probably 10-12 places, but it let me cool down from CX mode. I also realized, after barely being able to sip the aid station water, that I’d been just guzzling my Camelback and stuffing in energy bars on the road sections. The view you see above is the top of a long, sweeping descent and was a nice, chill intro to the rest of the race.
I dropped a lot of roadie tactics on the uphills after this point, and just tried to keep the HR around 160. Feeding was cut back essentially to sips of Gatorade. Anything even suggesting it might be too steep got a hike, and I made up a lot of space just running the last few steps and cross-mounting over the tops of hills.
I generally don’t consider myself fancy on the bike, but had some slick moves through the woods—which were getting much more MTBish at this point—including one move where a guy in a Univeral Sports kit rolled up to a three-foot-high downed log like there was some magical way through it while I dismounted and vaulted past him and over the log in a pretty classic bit of CXery.
As the course got progressively twistier and more single-track focused, I found myself the victim of a dude running a Niner with a rigid carbon fork going the wrong way at an intersection (only a few seconds lost) and another guy who looked to be running some sort of Monstercross setup absolutely losing it on a steep dusty patch. After some more of this winnowing out, I found myself running across the same group of riders—dudes I’d lose on the bigger climbs or less-tricky single track, who’d pull me back on descents.
At about 35 miles in, the singletrack really made a transition from sweeping to tight and twisty, and I found myself forced to go with a 140bpm, low cadence rhythm, because frankly, that’s all my skills allowed. The trail was awesome—nice berms and rideable—but there was a lot of time to be had knowing exactly how hard you could corner and how little you needed to brake, and while I made progress, I was getting eviscerated by the guys who could really ride.
At this point, the physical beating was also starting to take a toll on me. I like my old, pieced-together hardtail, but the OEM Manitou Spyder came out of the box with 70mm of travel, and has only been losing spring since. Plus, even at a relatively svelte 165lbs, I think I’m exceeding the designs intended weight. My forearms and fingers were feeling really beat from the braking and pummeling, and the constant ache was not helping me relax on the technical stuff.
At about 40 miles, the trail became really masochistic. Not hard, really, but just requiring more attention as it rolled over big exposed rocks, around off-camber, probably-don’t-want-to-fall-here corners, across dips and rises just obtrusive enough that you had to put in a hard pedal stroke to get over them at low speed. I’d also been cutting down on the feeding—sips of Gatorade, occasional bites of bar, and was experiencing some fairly noticeable brain fade.
I had a rough near-crash where I ended up hugging a tree around a tight corner, and took a little break to get off the bike, eat a bar, and generally regroup. It probably cost two minutes, but only three or four riders came by, which gives you an idea of how spread out things were getting.
Fortunately, the trail sort of plateaued after this point, before a sensationally fun twisting descent into the foot of the final climb on Ascutney. Two riders—one guy on a full-suspension rig and another on a garrish, titsed-out, definitely-trying-to-compensate singlespeed—came by me, but at this point, I was pretty much on on “finish the race” mode and too engaged in enjoying the scenery.
Thom P makes the last climb up Ascutney seem awful, but in the dry, it’s really quite nice—if you like that sort of thing. It was definitely a grinder, but one I happily embraced. Basically, you get to this point in the race, there are miles-to-go-signs, and it’s just not a huge mental effort to just keep your butt on the saddle and grind out the biggest (or in my case, only) gear you can.
I gobbled up the full suspension guy and left him in the dust, and had the other singlespeed in reach at the top of the climb, but with a flat out downhill finish, I wasn’t going to be able to get enough distance to stay ahead of him. At any rate, I was having trouble holding onto the bars and didn’t want any excuse to do something dumb.
(more SkiPix.com. You can order this and then they’ll color correct and crop and everything).
I finished in 5:26, which was good enough for 5th in the Sport category for my age group. A suspiciously large number of Masters-aged racers in the Sport category went much, much faster than we did, leading me to think that once one is accustomed to sandbagging, one loses the ability to do anything else.
It was a little disheartening to roll in to a barbeque still-being-set up and no evident source of beer, but I wasn’t going to let that detract from the quality of the event. My legs did feel pretty awful afterwards, but a few minutes propped up against a fence and several slices of watermelon later, I was feeling good enough to hike back up to my car and change, before finally tasting the victory of a freshly prepared pulled-pork sandwich.
It’s a great race—gorgeous, well-organized, well-marked, well-controlled, full of spectators and absolutely stacked aid stations. A lack of technical skill is really no barrier to entry, but at the same time (and unlike Colin) I think there’s plenty of fun sections where real off-road ability will score you time.
The urge to do it faster (because I definitely feel like I could) has me considering gears and parts made after the Clinton Administration, but I’ll wait until next summer before taking any serious steps in that direction.
So, realizing I’m like a mile behind on reports and have already done two races since this one with at least one more notable event upcoming…
The TT: Up a hill and then very light, hard-pedaling descent. Last year I rode the hill really, really hard but couldn’t seem to get into the really big gears afterwards. This year I took it easier on the climby part and still couldn’t turn the big gears—at max effort, my HR actually dropped. It’s kinda like every other TT in that I know where I’ll finish before I start. Fortunately, Matt did much better, and Patrick was saving things up for the circuit race.
Circuit Race: I thought briefly about trying some KOM-y kinda move at the beginning of the day, but it was immediately apparent that I had the most irritating legs of all—good enough that getting over the climb presented no immediate challenge, but bad enough that I couldn’t do much in the way of making the race. I will refer to them henceforth as “cheese legs”.
Fortunately, Patrick was going to be all about the sprints today, and I was happy to be all about the leadouts. First lap, two riders went clear on the back of an almost break-away proof (at least at this level) course. I did a bit of work keeping a lid on other would-be moves, and was ready to put the hammer down pulling the dudes back, but Patrick told me to lay off and let some other people work.
Our only challenge at the sprint line (this is for 3rd place, mind you) seemed to be a two-man NEBC train, who we took care of pretty easily. Patrick took 3rd, NEBC dude 4th. I recovered well enough over the gentle grades after the sprint, but cheese legs prevented me from trying anything clever. Drank, fed, assessed supplies pre-feed zone and decided to stay out of that mess.
It occurred to me, as I watched faster people fly away from my cheese legs as I cheese-legged my way past people going all out to survive over the climb with a similar ease, that I hadn’t seen Patrick in a while. I slowed up and took a look back, and saw him clinging on at the back of the field. The climb is followed by a big, fast descent, so he probably could have closed it on his own, but a little tow work from me wouldn’t hurt.
Sure enough, we rejoined, and with the day’s earlier move reeled back, it was a sprint in earnest for the line this lap. Matt came forward at around a KM to go, which was nice, but there was some miscommunication, leading me not to jump past him when Patrick wanted me to, and some Bikeman dude flew up the right side of the road. Making matters worse, Patrick was nipped for second by one of the two riders from the early break.
We conferred a bit after the sprint about improving things next time, but Patrick was wrestling mightily with blood sugar, and after I checked in with him again leading into the climb, it became clear that he’d be looking simply to finish today. I passed him a bottle and cheese-legged up back to the bulk of the group, made sure Matt wasn’t doing anything stupid, and did a little work keeping him out of the breeze.
A threatening GC group did manage to get free on the final lap, and the Yellow Jersey holder had to put in some serious wattage to keep them close enough that the sprinters and their teams would work to bring it all back. The group at the line was less than 50 riders, and as a result, it was a pretty safe sprint compared to last years’ carnage. Matt and I were both ST, and happy enough about that.
Road Race: This is a great course, made even more exciting by the addition of a moderate climb (the TT backwards, essentially) right at the gun. I was initially worried (ok—secretly hoping) that someone would attack it and all hell would break loose, but it was a pretty tame ascent and detour, with the first attacks going only as the group came through Warren Center.
There were a fair number of probing attacks along Rte 100, as sprinters/teammates tried to shuffle out a breakaway group that would be pleasing to all involved. As we began the long 1-2% climb at Granville Gulf, an NEBC rider drifted far enough clear that he might have soloed, but I decided that would be lame, and tempo’d the field back up to him.
Moments later, a group of four or five—including Patrick—got clear, and were joined a few seconds later by a similarly sized bunch, including Matt. I did the best I could to stay at the front and ride a false pace that would hopefully make the rest of the group think I really was trying to chase down my own sprinter and GC leader.
Somehow, probably with the assistance of the teammates of other breakaways, the ruse was successful. One or two other riders jumped away solo, but with the speed of the downhill leading into the sprint, if you weren’t there at the top, it’d take something miraculous to get there by the bottom.
Improving things immeasurably, our field was neutralized to let the Masters 40+ pass after the sprint line, leading to a massive pee break in which I went ass-over-tea-kettle underestimating the depth of the grass in a ditch at the side of the road while rolling to a stop. Further interference with the Masters field, and it was a fat four minutes up to Matt/Patrick by the time we started heading up Midd Gap in earnest.
Sadly, the legs didn’t realize how awesome this situation was. Despite being well-fed and watered, they weren’t really with it when Midd began. I averaged 170 on the climb—not exactly redlining it. But that was all I could get out of them—a full-on, excruciating, lactate-filled effort to hold wheels from the waist down, while whistling Dixie up top.
On the descent it became clear that things would not get better as the day rolled on. A flat portion near Breadloaf—albeit into a stiff headwind—almost killed me when I had to close a gap. Team wise, we didn’t catch Patrick until about the Ripton Death Spiral, which was reassuring—Matt must be way up the road—though it did lead to the revelation that he’d been forced to settle for second in the sprint.
Turning back onto regular roads in Middlebury, my legs felt decidedly starchy, like none of the lactic acid had drained or been catalyzed, but had simply cooled off, and was waiting for the slightest bit of friction from muscle contraction to whip back into boiling frenzy. Worse still, we caught Matt on a roller before even reaching the exciting part of the race. He’d taken a few KOM points, but been shelled from the leaders due to cramping. Bummer, especially considering the break was still well up the road.
Between Midd and App Gap and all-too-frequently overlooked are two short, leg-wrecking, gap-forming climbs, bookending a few sections of totally awesome dirt. My approach has always been to shred the first climb and get a good spot on the dirt, and hope maybe something race-deciding happens on this brief bit of classics-style riding. My legs were so busted, though, that while I made it up the climb ok, I couldn’t find the watts to hold position on the dirt.
Sitting in a not-great spot (20 riders down?) on the dirt I’d used to cause so much mayhem over the past few years was slightly karmic, I suppose. But other than battling sheer terror, the urge to brake, and the occasional *WHAM* of and out-of-nowhere pothole, it was also kind of fun. I saw one rider who simply did not have the mass to keep his tires on the ground miraculously pedal out of two rear-wheel slides that took him a good 30 degrees out of line with the rest of the group.
The second short, steep climb was scratched from this years course due to road work, and while Gary Kessler, the Race Director, said it would “not spare [us] from having a good climb into Bristol”, it was pretty tame. What was not tame, however, was the moving-right-along chase that followed along Route 116. Seems there was some GC meat up the road, and those left behind were driving it to keep the gap small.
As Route 17 turned off toward App Gap, I was feeling far more miserable than a man who’s had three bottles, three bars, a goo and a caffeine pill has any right to feel. Getting over Baby Gap—all 3.9% of it—was a serious investment of will power on my part. Even cruising along at 165 BPM was a massive ask from my shattered legs, and after the descent to the foot of App Gap, there was just nothing there.
Still, I managed to loose only 4:35 on the climb, finishing 42nd and even managing to beat one other rider who’d made it to the bottom of the climb with the bunch.
Criterium: Nothing to say here except I don’t like the way this stage is run. It’s one of the greatest crit courses in New England, but neutralizing the first two corners really ruins it. The faux-neutral start lets dudes without watts/handling skills get into the middle of the bunch instead of getting strung out to the back in the sprint off the line.
It also makes it so that the field takes up the full width of the road as the race goes live—into a series of downhill, 90-degree corners. Maybe the guys running this show have forgotten/never experienced, but a Cat 3 crit is terrifying enough when people are riding single file. Even good riders can only negotiate so many brake-humping, line-switching, non-pedaling doofers—and close the gaps they form—before running out of steam.
If the organizers think there’s too little space to spread out the field with the short uphill before the first corner, I think they should move the start line back down the hill a bit so the race can string out before the hole shot. Watch a ‘cross race sometime and it will become evident what I mean.
Anyway, I was 47th overall, and Patrick took our second Lanterne Rouge of the season (after my disaster at Catskills) in 65th—still an accomplishment, considering that 19% of the field failed to finish.
Six of us racing at GMSR, plus Darrell for feed zone help, extraordinary chef skills, and moral support.
The stage one TT was a pretty standard affair and the same course used in past years. Steady climb, then some flat/downhill/rollers, and a final kicker to the line. 5.7 miles.
Between various friends and sponsors (thanks Bill @The Bike Hub!), we had a nice armory of aero equipment at our disposal.
Jake and I both posted times that were fast enough for top 20 places in our respective fields. Claire was 8th in the Women’s 3/4. I was proud to see I beat a couple pros (okay, so David Veilleux missed his start by 7 minutes…).
In any case, we all enjoyed the nice, albeit hot weather and the pleasant company. A huge thanks to Claire and Patrick for putting us up (and putting up with us) at their lovely home in Stowe.
Posted by mattknichols
Despite the fact that Patrick raced on Saturday at the Concord Crit (and failed to properly fill out the team name on his registration), I guess I’m up next to write a race report. The Tokeneke Classic has been a staple of the New England calendar for a while now, and you can read all about it on their website. The important take-home is 66 miles, 6600 feet of climbing, and with a few brief exceptions, Roads that are certainly both Sweet and Open.
That said, the course isn’t really for the pure climber. The climbs never stop coming, but there are two solid “rest-up” descents, including a long, open one that can run upwards of 50 mph leading into the final 2.2mi, 5% grade climb. It’s really more of an endurance contest than a test of wattage/mass.
Like most races that have been around a while, it’s a pretty tight ship. Organizers did commit minor violations of III, X, (and possibly VIII), but the resulting inconveniences were not significant. Parking’s a bit far from reg, but it’s a bike race—put on your helmet and ride it. Swag was decent—gel, electrolyte pills, and some bottles I couldn’t find (possibly lost due to honor system distribution), all from Hammer Nutrition.
Got reg’d, pinned up, checked out the new finish (just past the peak of the climb, rather than on it) which I think is pretty cool, and went to the start line. Realized they were running ~10 min behind, hit the bathroom again, and rolled out. Course begins with a fairly long downhill broken by occasional risers, and people went slowly, minus one hero from umpteen-man squad Cheshire Cycles, who took off solo.
Plenty of jokes about “when do we go off neutral”, but after crossing the dam, chatter stopped abruptly. The first climb on Beach Rock Road, short, not too steep, but full of wrecked pavement, was a nice wake-up call, and despite idiotically battling up the windy side to get forward just before it, I felt pretty good. But when we kept the hard pace over the next few climbs, I’ll admit it made me nervous, and because I needed more problems, I dropped a bar trying to feed during a relaxation of pace.
Things got even worse for me on the big descent, which I usually find myself riding up on training rides. It’s repaved and smooth, but there are little stutter-waves on the pavement along center of the road; the sort of thing you’d never notice at 12 mph, but that can shake you up a bit at 50—especially when dudes are cutting across the yellow line to get past you.
Finally got to the bottom, feeling a bit sheepish about how wimpy I’d taken the descent, but also confident that I could make the places back up as things strung out on the climb—except that they didn’t. With a mixture of disappointment (more selective means better for me) and relief (46 more miles of hard pace would be, well, really hard) the pack sat up a bit, and we climbed shoulder to shoulder—minus a Targettraining guy who rode past about 20 people a good yard over the yellow line.
Second lap went pretty much the same as the first, but definitely felt a little nervousness creeping into the pack before climbs. Fortunately, the section through East Barkhamsted is a pretty regular staple of my training (I’m based out of Hartford) and I just sat on the freshly-laid right side curb—sure enough, as we hit the dam, a gap opened, and I slid right up to the front—even with a disabled RV appearing in the right shoulder.
We hit the stairstep climbs with some effort once again, finally catching the early solo break, but it just isn’t steep enough to open gaps. I even took a few turns when the suffering seemed highest, but there was just no way to get separation—too many people meant too many opportunities to close gaps. I rode the descent much more confidently, this time taking the right-hand side, but once past the low point, the final climb deteriorates very badly on that side of the road, and I had to give up a few wheels working my way back into the pack.
A little over a KM from the lap/finish, one of the guys driving the race made an attack. I saw it, thought about jumping on it, but decided I might be able to get up there with a little less effort. One or two riders bridged, most fell back, and a gap opened just ahead of the wheel in front of me—which just so happened to be the line-hopping Targettraining guy from earlier.
I stayed behind him for a good while—why stop him from eating the wind?—and even tried to psych him up, joking that he’d probably get across easier if there were a yellow line to jump. That got a look back, but no uptick in tempo, so as a Nor’East guy surged across, I lept onto his wheel. We were a group of about 12, and even got a bit of a paceline going, but there was never any serious separation, and everyone sat up on the easy portions at the front of the final lap.
After that climbing effort, though, I was starting to get some real fierce stomach cramps, and things were definitely getting dark around the edges upstairs (too bad about dropping that bar earlier). But the weather had been surprisingly cloudy and cool, even some droplets, and with solid hydration, I was feeling—minus the belly pain and tunnel vision—pretty good.
I again passed the Beach Rock Road test, plowing a lone furrow through the potholes and pinecones to the right of the road. The successive climbs felt less good, and even through the legs were still solidly there, I drifted back to save a match or two. The ref, who’d neutralized us earlier for a break, came through to slow us again, for another 2-man Masters escape. Not sure the slowdown—vs. just parking himself at the front—was necessary, given how much faster they were going, but I generally trust the discretion of the moto. Generally.
A few minutes later, the ref brought the pace down again, hard enough to elicit angry shouts of “slowing” and a squeal from the breaks of a few brave carbon-rimmed souls who refused to put on cork pads. I could not believe my race-blurred eyes when a pack of ~20 Masters, moving at a speed negligibly faster than our own, rolled by.
I’ll assume that, that as a bigger field, we were stringing out on the hills, our tail slowing significantly in comparison to their head on each stair-step. But this was insanity: we’re moments displaced from a 50 mph+ descent, 40-strong, young and invincible with nothing to live for, all together, all fighting for the win. There’s maybe 20 of them, their podium is up the road, and they have day jobs and children—and the ref thinks they’ll go faster than us?
But hey—the descent, if stressful, is a full aerobic rest, whether we do it at 50 or 15. If he keeps us neutral all the way down, the Masters will get enough gap and we can contest the finish without our fields colliding in a catastrophic mess. Sure, some guys will catch back on who’d have been otherwise out of it, but they’ll be too charred from chasing to factor.
Yet again, though, the moto ref let me down. As soon as the master’s were past, he let us run, full tilt, to the bottom the hill, chomping at their 35+ heels the whole way. After crossing the bridge, we were on them—surely now they would be neutralized to let us pass?
No. Moto ref man hung there, silent, saying nothing, giving no instruction. Was he waiting to DQ people for crossing the yellow? For illegally drafting the Masters 35+ riders? For disobeying some other order lost to fog of war? I sat in, cranking threshold and waiting for something, anything, until I practically ran into a wall of huffers and puffers with 300s pinned to their backs.
By the time it became clear I could safely get to racing, I’d lost the front of our field in the chaos, riders were smeared out along what seemed like the full length of the climb, and any hope of any respectable placement was utterly lost. I just started cussing quietly and cranking forward as quick as I could.
I wasn’t fresh as a daisy when I crossed the line—allegedly in 28th, :56 seconds back, but who can effing tell—but I had plenty left to give (I was much faster up the climb on the second lap than the finish) and I’m highly skeptical about being “st” with anyone—Green Line Kyle had a couple bike lengths on me, and the last rider I passed was a Master with a clean set of wheels.
That’s racing, it happens, and the truly strong riders on the day probably weren’t hindered by it. That said, for my entry fee, the man on the motorcycle is there to avoid these problems, not to create them. He may have adhered, verse-and-chapter, to the USCF guidelines for referees (I honestly have no idea—that seemed to be the gist of the official I talked to afterwards) but that still doesn’t mean he did it right. The jury’s there for rulebook pedantry; the ref’s job is to control the race.
I am happy to report that after bringing up the issue in a calm, respectful fashion following the race, the officials were very receptive and understanding, and seemed like they took the feedback to heart for their post-race meeting. Likewise, the race organizers were happy to hear what I had to say—it’s a problem that they’ve occasionally encountered before, but they’re always working on new ways to try and avoid it next time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives when things go pear-shaped, but outside the finish, it was 64 miles of satisfyingly tough (if not tactically taxing) effort. In the occasional moments spent not focusing on the wheel in front of me, I even got to enjoy some nice (if ever-more-familiar) scenery, and never really felt at risk of getting dropped. Better, I suppose, to be without good luck than good legs.