Went over and did the first Root66 race
of the season in Middlebury CT this past Saturday. Figured I should get one race in to see how I'm feeling before heading down to TN for the Cohutta 100.
I had no plans, just wanted to ride and see how I feel. Entered my singlespeed in the Expert 19-29 class. Weather forecast was for 40-50deg and rainy. I was awoken to thunderstorms at 6am. Hmm. Going to be an interesting race. This race is typically cold and wet so it wasn't that much of a surprise.
As I'm driving over there the sun comes out and it gets super warm. Good thing I brought warm weather clothing. Upon arrival I ran into Ed Burgess and then found a parking spot over near Glenn and Becca. Throw the front wheel on my bike and ride over to registration. Turns out we're doing four laps, not the three I anticipated. Weather was getting warm and now I'm rethinking my 3-bottle strategy. Well, rethinking from the perspective of "I'm in trouble and have no backup."
11:30... race start. I line up with the 19-29s. Big group. Pushing close to 20 probably and I'm the only one on a singlespeed (all smiles). Saw Greg Montello behind me in the singlespeed group and Thom Parsons up front in the Pro/Semi-Pro. Hmm. Parsons on gears? Well, his GF Rig wasn't delivered in time..
Our turn to start and its a mad dash for about a hundred feet and then a sharp left. Seems like everyone forgot how to ride and got caught up in the hard left. Seeing as I started on the wide right and took that left turn wide I got a hole-shot and swung out in front. Leading the group past all kinds of spectators, on a singlespeed nonetheless, got me amped! Across the access road into a singletrack climb. Awesome! I can set my own pace up this hill without anyone bobbling infront of me (I later learned there was a huge pile up. Come on guys! We're expert riders and you still can't figure out how to ride a bike in a group?). Needless to say I lead almost half of the first lap and then quickly realized I can't sustain this kind of pace for four laps. So I backed off and tried to catch my breath.
My heart was through the roof. Hmm. This is not what I had planned. I put such a huge gap on everyone that I could afford to back off my pace a bit. Only a few people passed me on the first two laps. Going into the third lap I'm starting to feel the muscle twitchs. Uh oh. Still riding too hard? I went through two bottles by now and three gels. The tail end of the third lap saw some cramps in my legs. I was able to ride them off but it was a precursor to slight disaster.
Glenn caught up to me and passed me somewhere in the middle of the race. Leading the singlespeed group and I kind of felt like an idiot knowing he just bridged the 2min start gap between my group and his. My riding is on par with his. How could he have closed that gap? Hmm. I must have really blown up.
Going into the four lap I felt decent. Cramps subsided and I was able to ride a bit. Back and forth with a Coyote Hill rider and Brian Firlet (used to race with him a few years back before he went up to semi-pro). The three of us were all kind of suffering but hung in there. Middle of the fourth lap some of the climbs got to me and my legs were all locked up. Son-of-a! I'm not supposed to cramp my legs a week prior to a big race (Cohutta). It takes forever for me to recover. The determination inside wouldn't let me DNF. I was so close yet on the verge of messing things up for Cohutta. For what? To finish a short 20mile race that I didn't really care about?
Somehow I mustered to the finish line. pushing 2hours 21mins in 9th place... Expert 19-29. Glenn won the singlespeed field at 2hr 3mins (also pushing a harder gear than I). I didn't feel good. My legs hurt thanks to the cramping and I did something to my lungs. Lots of wheezing and coughing. Not good for Cohutta.
Spent the rest of the weekend through now resting. Going out on the singlespeed tomorrow to see how I feel. TimmyD and I are leaving for TN Thursday. Race is Saturday. Looking forward to seeing everyone again and getting a nice ride in. Not looking forward to the drive.
Until later this weekend...