Monday, March 13, 2006

If you're going to do something, make it epic...

And I really haven't. But I did ride like I said Saturday. Then raced Sunday. And thus, our story resumes with hardworking, perennially poor bike racer Mike...oh and beguiled, too...

I got up early and went to CT for another race. It was 55 and cloudy when I left my house. I got to Danbury and it was about 40 according to the thermometer I saw. Well, I registered, got ready, warmed up with a few friends where we discussed really nothing at all. It was only about 830, so give us a break. Finally I got over to the staging area for our race and of course, it started to spit a few raindrops. It happens every year, the rain shows up beforem y race. We went on a warmup lap and it bacame a steady rain.

Ok, I like rain, and I like riding in it and even racing in it. But there still is sand on the road even after sweeping and blowing, and when it hasn't rained in awhile all the oil comes up to the surface, making it really fun to be on. Imagine covering your shoes with teflon and running on ice... So the race started, I decided to be aggressive as it was my only race of the day, and a third of the way through, I got caught in a crash, so I ended up on the grass going over my handlebars. No big deal, it was a soft landing, and I got back on my bike, went to the pits at the start/finish, and got my free lap. (You get a free lap when you have a crash or mechanical problem in races called criteriums, usually until either 5 or 6 laps to go. You rejoin the race with no penalty.)

So at about half distance there was a crash right in front of me at over 30mph, and I went down again but landed on the guy who took me out. I think his collarbone or shoulder broke, as something made a snap when I landed on him. He didn't get back up. Again, I got up, went to the pits, and rejoined the race. By now I was covered in grime, soaked, and determined to not go down again. Oh, I forgot to mention I didn't bring arm warmers, a shirt to put under my jersey, and I rode without tights. I looked like I was out for a July ride except for the full fingered gloves I was wearing. So it was cold a bit. And March rain is never warm.

Well, I stayed out of trouble and at just over 2 laps to go I made a do or die effort. I bolted up the hill (here's a concession to technojunkies) in my 53x17 (a pretty high gear) and opened a small gap. I put my head down and hammered my pedals trying to get away for good. I got the bell for last lap and the ref yelled I had an 8 second gap. Less than a mile to go and I was trying to hold on to a real small lead. I was going 35mph, the pack was picking up steam and was probably going to hit 38 or higher in the last 1/2 lap.

Down the backstraight with a tailwind I was in my 53x14 going about 38, and I could feel the pack chasing me down. Fox and the hounds....?

Tune in for part two.....
Did I win?
What else did I do that was noteworthy Sunday?

2 comments:

LostInTX said...

I just can't seem to fathom you going 35mph on a bicycle. I guess I never realized that bikes could go that fast, probably b/c I just go on leisurely ride.. lol.

I'm excited about all this energy you have! Stop.. .not that. I mean going exploring or traveling.. it'll be so awesome.

Mike said...

Yeah, I can run with this comment you've made, but it is a family blog...