Monday, January 31, 2011

Early Season Racing....

I’m redlining….I told myself I wasn’t going to do this… I was going to take it easy, ride my own ride and not push myself into the red zone trying to keep up with anyone else…..

We started out as a group, Nick and I in the singlespeed division while Tracy and Paciano were starting 4 minutes behind us in the much larger group of geared riders.

In an effort to get a jump start on this year’s training I had gotten up at 5:00am on a Sunday morning to be here.  After showering and wolfing down a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, I was outside and waiting when the others pulled up for the two hour drive up to Granite Bay Park for the Early Bird MTB Race.  Luckily, the weather was totally uncharacteristic for a January day and we were looking at blue sky and temps in the mid 60s.

The race had started out according to plan.  I let the fast guys take off and settled in at a decent pace behind a young lady in a team kit with Nick right on my wheel.  I thought I’d be fine here for the first lap, but eventually realized her pace was just a bit slower than I would have liked and at the first opportunity swung out and went by.

The trails here were awesome.  Narrow swoopy single track that wove in and out of the trees, around and over granite boulders and up and down hills that, with the moisture from a wet winter, allowed our tires to stick to the trails as if we were riding on Velcro.

Unfortunately, after passing the young lady in the race kit, I realized I had no-one to pace myself against and had subsequently gone too hard for too long and now had to try to get my heart rate down and my pace back under control.  Which, I found is really hard to do in a race setting with young guys on geared bikes saying “on your left” every couple of minutes.

We had stopped on the way up at McD’s to use the restroom, top off our caffeine stores and wolf down a mcmuffin… a decision that I was starting to regret as my stomach was beginning to rebel against both the pace and the junk food.

As we headed in to the second lap I was actually starting to feel like I might even finish this race.  Every time I was tempted to slow down, the knowledge that Tracy and Paciano had started 4 minutes back and were probably even now running me down was enough to force me to push just a little harder.

The blood had begun to flow shortly into the second lap as I attempted to clear the section that had a large granite boulder to go up and over as well as a myriad of smaller ones on the backside going down….evidently I wasn’t carrying quite enough speed to clear the smaller boulders and as the bike suddenly lurched to the right, my knee became the pivot upon which I rotated around the rock….. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what happened since the risk of embarrassment should anyone see me laying there on my side caused me to literally bounce back up and on the bike barely even slowing down.

As we came to the end of the second lap, I practically flew down the hill and out onto the flats where I was easily passed while spinning out at about 120rpms by a geared cyclist who appeared to be out for a Sunday cruise….

The third place finish would have been much more impressive had there been more than 6 competitors in the SS masters division, but hey, I’ll take whatever I can get….

No comments: