Thursday, June 30, 2005

more suffering

bike race number 4 was this past Sunday in the 90 deg heat and super high humidity.

where: Putney Vermont
terrain: rolling with no flat sections, not too technical, just a lot of climbs
race category: took a stab at the singlespeed class
finish: 3rd out of 4 for my class (all ages)

logic: For some reason I didn't want to race my geared bike and decided to see how I fair in the Singlespeed category. What is that? It is a class where you are only allowed one gear ratio on your bike. The rider chooses the gear ratio beforehand, hopefully one that will allow them to negotiate the race course with ease (or great difficulty). You can choose whether or not to have front suspension (I chose yes).

outcome: I took the singlespeed out for an easy 2hour ride around the west hartford reservoir saturday at noon. I had a headache and wasn't too happy about the heat but felt good. Knees didn't hurt so I figured I'd be O.K. for Sunday's race. I cleaned up and then took a nap Saturday afternoon in the A/C'd house.
Sunday: Woke up with my left knee in a lot of pain (a chronic problem this season. I'm working on getting a 2nd doctor's opinion) and had a splitting headache but forced myself to drive north the 1.5hours to the race. Sat around in the heat for almost two hours waiting for my race to start while continuing to drink a lot of water.

Race: Go! It was superfast from the getgo but I seemed to be holding my own with the three other guys in my class. I think i was also the youngest. We had to finish 3 laps with each lap covering about 4miles. A third through the first lap Tim took off and disappeared. I later caught up with him after the race (he finished 1st, 15minutes infront of me). I was in 2nd place with 3rd place right on my back wheel and 4th place about 50ft behind us. Halfway through the first lap we came across a very steep section. I couldn't ride it so I walked/ran up it and the guy behind me did the same but rode the last 30ft. He put the gas on and disappeared, fn' local. I'm sitting in 3rd place finishing lap 1 with Bob, 4th place, right behind me but bob wasn't feeling well. I put on the gas at the beginning of lap two to try and hold my own in 3rd place (never saw Bob again until about 20mins after I finished).
The climbs became even more difficult on the 2nd lap. I downed about a waterbottle and a half each lap trying to say hydrated while also taking a gel packet each lap to try to avoid lactate threshold. My gear ratio was a bit too steep for the terrain. It hurt in my arms, lower back and knees as I muscled up the hills. What kept me going was all the other racers cheering me on as I followed them up the climbs with only 1 gear. partly because no one else had the guts to race this course on a singlespeed (or the stupidity depending on how you look at it). Lap three hurt even more. lactate was building up in my knees and it hurt. I decided not to muscle up the hills like I did on lap 2 but just get to the finish line. I knew I couldn't catch 2nd place and 4th place was pretty far behind.

I finished 3rd place and proved to myself I can race Mount Snow on my singlespeed (the terrain was very similar). I'll just put on a larger rear cog and that should make it easier to pedal Mount Snow in August.

I'm doing well so far this season:
16th place
5th place
3rd place

Next up is another singlespeed race in New Hampshire on July 16th and then I'm racing up the Mount Washington Auto Road on July 17th.

If I keep this up I might be able to obtain that sponsorship I'm aiming for next season. That'll mean free bikes and clothing :)

Lap 1 right before I crashed riding over rough terrain while trying to put my waterbottle back in its cage. (that is 3rd place behind me)

Lap 2: Halfway up the 1/4 mile climb at the end of each lap.


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