Monday, March 7, 2011

Banana Belt #1 Race Report

It was pretty damn hard!

I know that's probably not a very astute observation. But what can I say. It's the truth.

I'm happy to report that I had no tire blowout on my car this time.  Unlike last time. I arrived with about one hour to spare before my race started. Having preregistered online (Which is really nice. Paypal makes everything easier.) getting through the line at check in was a snap.

I headed back to the car take the bike out, air it up and finish getting dressed.

It was cold (When I drove into the parking lot it said 31 degrees on my car thermometer.) So I was throwing more clothes on myself for the warm up. The area that I use for my warm up is the three tier parking lot for the boat ramp on the lake. It works pretty well because I can use the up hill to put some effort in and just cruse down the other side.

My teammate John joined my for a few laps around the lot. It was nice to jabber at him while I was doing this because it can be kind of monotonous by yourself. With someone else there it sort of feels like riding in circles with your friend's when growing up (Anyone else do that? We used to do it for hours...)

Then the race officials started walking around telling everyone that there was going to be a half hour delay for all races because of some icy patches on the bridges (I did notice some on one of the bridges on the way up to the starting area.).

So John and I continued to ride around a few more times until I ran into another couple of my teammates who were riding in my race.

Capitol Velo had pretty good representation on our race (5 guys.)  Tony, Tyler, Matt, Myself, and I'm sorry I can't remember his name (I'm terrible with names. Forgive me.). With the exception of Tony everyone else was using this thing as a training ride so in my mind it was Tony's show (If I can't kick ass than I want a teammate to.). And I told him I would do what I could for as long as I could.

The start time was fast approaching so I made one more quick stop to the bathroom.  Dropped off my extra clothes at the car. And headed to the line.

We were given the usual debriefing (Don't cross the center line, abide the race officials request, and look out for all the pot holes and cracked pavement.). I swear they should just make a tape of the same speech and use it at every race. It's always the same talk.

And we're off!

After the rise out of the parking lot we turned left (We were doing the course counter clockwise for this race.) and started to go down hill immediately. Which I enjoying much more than the other way already.

 Actually that's something I noticed pretty much the whole time. Everyone (Ok. Most people.) I talked to before hand said this direction was a lot harder. But I just didn't find that to be the case. Sure it has the "big" hill halfway through.   But the hard part of the hill is at the bottom and it levels out towards the top. Which let me keep up with the group fairly easily.  And then the rest of the time the down hill sections gave me a bit of a breather before the next rise would come around.

I had made a mental note to keep my nose out of the wind as much as possible. Which I was doing a fairly good job of. I did my best to keep my momentum going too. So if I had to slide up the out side at the base of a hill in order to keep moving it wasn't hard to do so.

The group we were in was a good group of guys too. Not many wiggy riders. Which really makes a big difference in the mood of the group. You don't have to be constantly worried that some dumbass is going to freak out grab a fist full of brake and cause a huge pile up. It always gets my spidey senses tingling the first few miles of a race when you there are guys like that in the pack. Ugh, makes Big E unhappy....

Anyway, the first two laps were fairly uneventful. There was one guy who tried to breakaway about half way through the second lap. But he just seemed to dangle out there a couple hundred yards. It didn't seem to me like he was much of a threat. But towards the end of the second lap a guy bridged up to him and they seemed to be giving it a go.

Enough of a go that once we passed the finish line after lap two that Tony and a couple of the other guys were viewing them as a threat. And so I figured I should help. Especially since I could feel in my legs I wasn't going to be in it for the finish anyway. So I went up to the front with Matt and Tony and we started to go to work. Luckily at this point we were in a down hill section. So I dropped the hammer. Within a mile we had closed the gap and had them back in the fold.

I was pretty spent by this time. Because the with in that mile we had gone up and down at least twice. So I just drifted to the back to try and catch my breath.

It being the third lap I was hoping that people would be saving themselves for the final lap up the large hill. But unfortunately that wasn't the case.

I think all the non-sprinters were figuring out that the finish hill wasn't long enough to create a break and if they were going to do something they were going to need to do it early.  And as we were about half way up the "big" hill of the course some guys attacked. And I just couldn't hang.  It was a classic case of if you can't catch up, you can't keep up. And as much as I buried myself to try and regain contact after the big hill. The damage was done.

I kept them in sight for a majority of the rest of the third lap but I knew it wasn't going to happen. *sigh* Sometimes it really puts your fitness in perspective. I was doing 24-27 mph for a while and I still couldn't bridge back up.

After a bit I hooked up with one of my teammates Matt who at some point during this also got shelled out the back. He had been doing a lot of work as well. Although I must admit to be surprised to see him back there I was glad for the company.

I wanted to finish the race so we continued along for our fourth lap. Which was a very painful affair. It's amazing to me how much I can shut out pain when I'm in the race. But once I'm out, the pain is just about all I can think about. It's weird how the mind works...

So Matt and I finished out the final lap together. And we just barely missed getting lapped by another field at the finish line. I'm not really sure which one it was but it made for a very painful final climb. After checking with the OBRA results page I came in 25th. Meh. Its not a very good result at all. But I'm happy with finishing, helping a teammate some and getting some good race miles in.

Next weekend will be more of the same. Although it sounds like my (step) son wants to race too. So I'm excited to watch him turn the pedals in anger.

Thanks for reading.

Rubber side down,

Big E


  1. The overused cliche comes to mind - it's about the journey. There will always be some guy in front of you - unless your last name is Merckx, or Indurain, or Armstrong. Pain will subside, and it's about the memory anyway. Cheers.

  2. Earl,
    "I'm sorry I can't remember his name" is Kevin, I flatted on the lap after the hill as I caught on with 3 team oregon riders. Wheel car took a minute or two to catch up to me and just from the pace after that hill climb couldn't catch up.

    Good to hear what happened in the rest of the race. Best of luck next week, I start up collegiate racing and will be back with cap velo in the summer.

  3. Thanks Kevin! I'll remember that from now on I promise! Good Luck in the collegiate racing!