Sunday, October 18, 2009

Riding, racing and eating

And not necessarily in that order. Saturday we hosted the Cannondale Midwest team ride and BBQ. The weather was kind of chilly at the start of the ride but we warmed up quickly as we headed out on the Lake Orion school trails and then hooked up the Bald Mountain north and south units before heading back. We were honored to have Jason Edinger, our Cannondale sales rep, make the trip up from Toledo to join us for the day.

After the ride everyone came back to the house and we were joined by those team members and family that didn't ride. Everyone brought a dish or food to share while I cooked up plenty of hamburgers, hot dogs, and marinated chicken breasts on the grill. On Friday Greg and I put up all the patio furniture, thinking it would be too cold for people to hang around outside. So where were most people? Outside of course.

It was nice to have a lot of the team get together in a social setting. For most of the year we only see each other at the races and even then for a short time. A lot of us will be together again in three weeks at the Iceman since we rent a big house for the team to stay in.

This morning I raced at the Lower Huron cyclocross race but used my singlespeed in the B race, which lasts 45 minutes. I found that two weeks ago I had fun racing in the geared bike class since I could usually find someone to race against. Unlike two weeks ago, this time it was a faster group where instead of competing for a podium spot I knew I would probably finish near the back and even stood a chance of getting lapped.

I lined up at the very back of the group, not wanting to get in the way during the long opening straight on the pavement where everyone would probably accelerate away from me before hitting the grass. Once we started I was surprised to find myself passing some riders as I was getting towed along in the draft. And once we got onto the grass and the turns began, I was passing a few more.

I slowly worked my way up for the first two laps before the ribs were causing enough pain that I had to back off some. I almost pulled out but decided to finish so I could get in the much needed intensity training. I could hear the announcer talking about the leaders and I knew they were getting closer. If they passed me before I finished my next to last lap I wouldn't have to do another lap. I managed to get through the finish line in time to go out for one more lap. Lucky me. But I did catch and pass one more rider during that lap so I guess it was worth it.

All told I finished ahead of eight riders in my race, even lapping one. I think my ribs cost me a few more places but at least I finished. More importantly I got in a good workout and had fun. Sometimes going into a race without any conception about winning is the best way to race. It is not about how you finish, but that you do and have fun. Too often the pressure to do well spoils the day, especially if you don't do as well as expected.

Today, and probably for the rest of the cross races, it is all about just going out and racing hard but having fun. I think I need to treat Iceman the same way, since I didn't do as many xc races this year or train as hard it is unrealistic to expect top results. The best race I had there was a few years ago when I raced the SS in may age group just to see how I would do. The whole race I had a blast and actually did better than expected. Something I need to keep in mind three weeks from now.

Next weekend is the LOHS race, hopefully we get a good turnout to benefit the Food Bank. I've seen a lot of riders up at the school so that is a positive sign.

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