Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Saturday night lights

Although the weather is changing there are still a lot of races around to choose from. The local cyclocross promoter held a race under the lights this past Saturday and I wanted to give it a try. My ribs were still sore and I hadn't ridden much during the week but I needed to see how they would hold up in a race so I can make a final determination about doing the Iceman race.

Although we had rain most of the day, it was not raining at the race site and the course was dry. At the last minute I decided to race two classes, the C class and the singlespeed class later in the evening. I didn't have much time to warm up or even get a complete preride of the course before it was time to start. I as near the back of the 40+ group so that I wouldn't get in the way.

Once our wave started I found myself moving up very quickly before the first climb and worked my way into the top 10 or so. I was able to pass a lot of riders in the corners due to my being on a MTB combined with a lot of rider's inexperience with racing or technical abilities. The C class is sort of a beginner class but the racing is still just as hard, just not as long.

On the straights I was at a disadvantage to the geared riders so I would try to tuck in behind them to draft, plus try to stay out of the strong winds. On the secon lap I was behind a rider that had started in an earlier wave when another rider caught us. As he started to go by he told us not to worry since he wasn't in our class. Since there were only two classes racing he to be with one of us. I asked him what class and it turned out he was in mine.

We both passed the other rider and I decided to just stay with this guy that caught us. He was moving at about the same pace I was. HE was a little faster in the straights but I had the edge in the corners, uphills and barriers. I couldn't see anyone else from our group ahead of us so I just stayed on his tail.

I guess he didn't like it after a lap or so because I never went on the front. He started to do a weave to shake me and then did a brake check, a quick slowing to try and discourage me from following so close. I told I couldn't go any faster in the straights since I only had one gear. I mean,c'mon, he had at least 18 to choose from. I also told ho to be cool since I wasn't going to try and beat him at the line, I just wanted to stay with someone.

We did two more laps together where I would pull up next to him on the hills and then drop back on the flats. On the last hill and finish straight I just stayed behind him and didn't contest the finish, ending up one second back. Turns out he took the last podium spot which was good. After all he did do all the work. Besides, I would have felt funny being up on the podium in the lower class than I normally race.

After sitting around for an hour while the next race was held before mine, I went back out to warm up again. It didn't take long to see that my body was not up to another hard effort. The legs were OK but the ribs were stiff. I decided that one race was enough that evening. But it was probably the most fun I've had racing for a while. I think I may race in the next class up next time against the geared riders. I will be near the back but should have at least one or two riders to compete against.

Sunday I managed to miss most of the rain and went out for about three hours. I kept it on the rail trails to avoid the muddy roads and also to keep the bumps to a minimum. My legs felt good, the cross race the night before wasn't really that long to cause a lot of fatigue.

Now I need to try and determine if I will be able to race in the Iceman competitively. The past two days I have done shorter rides and while the legs are fine, I have a harder time while sitting over rough ground. The race is just over four weeks away so there may be time for healing but I also need to keep training to stay sharp. I plan on using this weekend as a final test before deciding whether or not to sell my entry. I only have about a week to do so. I would hate to find out too late that I won't be racing and have to eat the entry fee.

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