Monday, March 19, 2007

Another (Road) Race Report

Trade Zone #3 (for me) was a great day.

Let me back up... a few people have mentioned that I neglected to report on the finish of the past races. I didn't know what to say. After having thought about it I realized that the finish was the worst part. Not only because I was physically unable to do anything close to actually contesting the race, but because that had nothing to do with the experience for me. I ride my bike to ride my bike. Racing is just another bike ride with people I don't know that costs money to enter. I enjoy the riding.

And now, the 18 March race.

After hollering about the race for a few weeks, I managed to coax some of my fellow City Bikes/ team members to come out. Scardaville, MattyD and JoFo made the trip out to Kasa de Klasmeier for coffee and a 12 mile warm-up ride to the race. The boys were on time, the coffee was hot and the weather was COLD! I'm talking freezy-headache cold.

We were on the road at around 9:40 for the 10:30 race. Not too much time to mess around but not pressing. We had a solid Easterly wind that fronted as we rode. Wind does that. It was a good pace to get down there, pretty cold, but MattyD and I pulled most of the way down.

We lined up with the 30 or so other racers. Small field this week as there was a big race at U of MD later in the afternoon. We had over 80 last week. I had mentioned to the boys that I wanted to relax a bit more than I did the previous races but that we should all generally stay towards the front. Everybody was feeling the same. After the start and the upwind leg, I found myself near the front and ended up pulling through to lead through the start finish on the first lap. So much for relaxing.

After talking myself back into the pack, I relaxed for a few laps. I managed to find a good wind-shadow spot on every turn, pretty much, and got out of the pre-turn slowdown regime that helped me conserve energy.

The rest of the race is all about MattyD, Scardaville and JoFo. First off, you can't put mtn bikers in a pack and expect them to not want to lead. And lead we did. I think we lead or were close to the front or bridged on most of the laps. We all had steady, hard headwind pulls. Scardaville and JoFo pulled back a few 'breaks' on that leg. That wasn't easy. I went WELL away on lap 12 after mis-understanding a request from JoFo. I was at the finish line and looked back to see the pack just coming around the corner, about 40 bike-lengths back. Everybody at the start/finish looked at me like I was crazy. Or stupid. It was both, of course.

We all organized as best as we could for most of the race. Every time I looked around, there was a City Bikes jersey ahead of me unless I was at the front which is when there was at least one close behind me. I got some crucial pulls from the boys after coming off the front after hard pulls and I think I managed to be there for them in a few spots as well. All in all, we were all pretty strong, pretty smart and aggressive. It was a lot of fun, super-hard and a great (COLD!) day.

After the race, we hung out and a couple of people stopped to say 'good race' and 'way to work.' It was nice to be recognized as working hard even if we weren't actually doing anything structured. We kept the pace high and the pressure on. It was fun. We got back on the bikes and started to roll north on 301 with a pretty nasty headwind. We weren't hauling ass but I got a request for a 'back way' out of the wind. I pulled off at Gov. Bridge Rd and we got a solid 20mph tailwind, which was nice. We relaxed on the low-traffic road. As we came down to the bridge, I noticed a bit of water on the road. How about 10 inches of water! Also, a pair of jersey barriers pushed up against the bridge. Whoops. I didn't see any signs. Oh well, I rode through the water and everything was fine. The boys followed as I hopped the barriers, crossed the bridge and moved some caution tape. We laughed. It's nice to have a vehicle you can throw over your shoulder.

Most of the ride back was at least wind-neutral, if not helpful. However, the last 5 miles on St. Stephens Church Rd was a bit rough. JoFo and Scardaville were cold, tired and cramping. I was out of fuel, to be sure as I'm sure MattyD was but we managed to make it back to the house by 1pm. We were spent.

The boys were in a hurry to split but we managed to throw down guacamole, crackers, chips, sodas, carrots, hummus and rice. The final total was 59.8 miles with a race-max speed of 34.5 mph. It was a great day and largely represents the end of my racing season. I'll rock the RFK Crit that Bega puts on, but that's probably it for me. It's fun. I'll probably do it again next year for training. Thanks to Steve and Bike Doctor for putting it on. Here's hoping we can do a crit in downtown Annapolis next year!


At 3:20 PM, Blogger joe said...

for the record... there was no cramping, i was just dog-tired from my attempt at the 2nd preme and those pulls on the windy section of the course.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Family Bike Shop said...

Nice job guys. I wish that I could have ridden down and helped out this week.

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

Sorry Joe, Scardaville was cramping. We were all tired.


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