Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My First Road Race

I don't know how short I can keep this, but I managed to race in my first road race last weekend. The Trade Zone series sponsored by the Bike Doctor crew is put on about 12 miles (ok, EXACTLY 12 miles) from my front door. Jonathan from Family Bikes lives around the corner from me and we had his family over for dinner on Saturday night. We both dismissed going to the race despite proud stories of races past.

So, when I got a cup of coffee in me after the kids had breakfast, I looked at the clock... 9:15. I thought 'Hmmm, that gives me 15 minutes to get ready and a solid, slow hour to ride down there... I'll call Jonathan.' So I call him and he's getting ready and says he'll be ready and I should meet him at his front door. After running it by Susan and asking her to bring the kids down, I FINALLY get out the door for the 10:30 am race at 9:55. I call Jonathan as I push the bike out the front door.

If I was smart (I'm not), I would have jumped in the car and drove to pick Jonathan up. Since I'm not smart, I HAMMERED over to his house. I was running late. Jonathan was just stepping out the front door when I got over there. We didn't even say anything but 'damn, it's windy' and we started around the parkway.

It's a scenic 10 miles down route 3 to rte 301 to the race venue. We had half the time we wanted and twice the headwind. We traded pulls and got down there pretty quickly. We rounded the corner and the field was lined up and the official had her hands in the air preparing to start the race. Jonathan and I yelled at Ernest and Steve from BikeDr and they held the race. Lori pinned on our numbers, I literally handed Steve a blank check, we rolled over to the line and they started the race. I didn't even come to a complete stop and we were off.

Nothing like racing to get over your fears of racing.

The wind was fierce, the goofyass roadies were sketchy on the bikes and I was having fun. I managed to pull a few half-laps on the front and ended up in the middle of the pack or the back, depending on how I entered or left a turn. I found the wind shadow for each leg and basically used the time between turns to jockey for prime position. 20 1.25m laps.

I got yelled at a few times when avoiding others and coming off my line. I realized that I could have done better had I, oh, you know, paid attention. I didn't. At all. I was riding and having fun. Jonathan cramped at the top of the hill before the finish and I dropped back to see if he was ok. He recovered and I looked ahead and realized that we were on the last lap. I didn't even know the race was over! That would NEVER happen in a mtn bike race.

So, for $12 I'll go out there again. If weather permits, I'll be there the next two Sundays and try to pay a bit more attention. Actually, what I'll do is sit back, relax and just hammer the last few laps out in front, if possible. Who knows. It was fun. It's something that I wanted to do and this format was a lot easier than a REAL road race. So, actually, this was my first criterium. I'm glad I tried something new. I'm also glad that I am a mtn biker at heart. People take this road racing stuff pretty seriously... I think that's what makes it more fun for me...


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