Monday, May 08, 2006

I'm getting old

Well, I raced in Williamstown, MA, yesterday. I had an ok race, since I had no real warmup and wasn't sure if I was going to get into my first race at all. But I did, and I made the best of it. I got 15th from 37 starters. Ok, but still not too impressive. I was in a chase group of three and lost the sprint to the two other guys. That was a wakeup call.

Let me explain something about this race course, of which photos will be put up later. It's beautiful. Which means it's dangerous and tough. Like potentially fatal. Any race where they tie mattresses to trees and signposts at certain corners is a good thing. I think so, anyway. I know of someone who will now never let me return to this race... Well, back on track. It's a very technical course, in that I mean you need to be able to really throw your bike around, dive into super tight corners and not be afraid to hit your pedal on the ground or clip a curb. There is no place on this course where one can relax even for a second. It's exhausting physiacally and mentally. NO daydreaming here, folks, or you're on the deck or in a tree.

The two worst corners are the two fastest, of course, and take quite a bit of courage to get through. One of them is really tight and really fast, and the other is really tight and really really fast. But on with my races.

Since I wasn't warmed up enough, I wasn't able to ever get up to the front. Eventually the pack split, and I wasn't there where I needed to be. But I kept riding as hard as I could, and began to get into a good rhythm, and started to catch people. Eventually, it came down to the lead group of 10, 2 more guys about 1 1/2 minutes back of them, and my group. I kept getting dropped and chasing back on, and kept returning the favor to the other two guys who were with me. So it was definitely some good racing amongst the three of us. Of all things, the other guys had problems matching me on the climb (half of the lap) and we were equal on the descent, just on the windy flat section they were able to reel me in again and again...

Well, when we were told we had one lap to go, the other two guys decided to sit in on me, which means they rode in my draft and refused to pull through. A very well used tactic. So I rode a hard descent, tried to shake them on the flat, then on the climb I went all the way over to the left so they got minimal protection from the wind. I also slowed way down so maybe one of them would come around me. Nope. I had really no options but to try and catch them by surprise. I kind of did when I jumped really hard before the last corner, but it wasn't hard enough.

We came out of the corner and I forced them to go around me on the right side, but I guess I should have gotten one gear higher, I'm not sure. I gave it all I had, but the other two guys got me, though I did a great bike throw at the line to make it close. Well, after the photo review I got 15th.

Ten minutes later I lined up for my next race. Well, remember the ankle pain I had? The cool thing is it's gone, and Sunday was the best I felt in days. But not far into my second race I felt a tinge of pain, and discretion being the better part of valor, I quit. I feel a little guilty, but I didn't want to risk my leg. That might risk my season, or worse, make moving in a month difficult at the least. Besides, I have some races I want to do when I get to TX. Woohoo!!!!

5 comments:

LostInTX said...

I know you love this sport and it's part of your lifestyle but is it necessary to race when there are mattresses attached to trees? That just screams DANGER to me and you're right.. this is definitely one person who would not want you going back to that race. It seems a little nuts but I'm glad you had fun and survived. :)

Mike said...

Two years in a row I survived, Honey!!! Plus it's a really pretty town and a nice place to spend a day. But a bit of a drive from TX next year...:(

Capybaras United said...

Sounds like a fun race you can be proud of!

The turns sound scary though.

Caloi-Rider said...

Hey, it's good to have those people watching out for you--even if you both have different ideas about what constitutes "safe", right?

Mike said...

Caloi, that is true. I agree this race pushes the envelope, but it goes back to races I remember doing 15 years ago. Mentally and physically exhausting, much like older Formula One tracks in the 50's and 60's.