Just 99 miles to go

Monday, July 16, 2007

I don't think I'm cut out for racing. Fairhill Classic

First, I'm so psyched up right now.
I left the race yesterday feeling down and unhappy as shit.
I thought I had come in last , or real close to last in my class Vet II 40-44.
I found the results online a few minutes ago. I was 19 out of 30 riders in my class and I only came in 6 minutes behind the owner of my LBS who was in the 35-39 class.

This was my 2nd official race, 1st official as a sport rider and a solo race.
I've seen the raced advertised in the past and wanted to try it. It seemed pretty tame, non-technical and a do-able distance, 23 miles.
I thought about doing it as a beginner, only 1 race under my belt, I could get away with it but the beginner race was only 12 miles. I wasn't paying $28, another 9 in tolls, and driving for 2 hours each way to ride 12 miles.

The sport division is set to start at 11:00 , I get there 90 minutes early. I scope the riders around where I'm parked. Half looking for any familar faces. I don't see any. The only person I know that I know is going to be there is Chris, the owner of my LBS.
Watching the other racers and listening to them talk about trying to podium or make top 10 just helps this clyde feel more outta place. What am I doing here? I don't see 1 other person who would fit in the clyde class.

I make my way down to register and pick up my number. I do run into Chris while registering. Ok, I know 1 person there.

Back to the truck, get changed and put the number on the bike. I take a small bottle with some sportslegs in them. I figure I gotta pop atleast 5 of these things an hour to ward off cramping.
Fill the camelback, almost freak when I temporarily can't find 1 of my gloves, and then head down to the staging/start area.

Everybody was hanging out on tree covered gravel road ride before the field where we would start. Nobody wanted to sit in the sun and bake. I missed the whole pre-race speech. Hope they didn't let us know anything important. I make my way up through the crowd of master racers who aren't in any hurry to the starting area.
All of sudden I can't remember if I'm a vet I or II racer.
I watch one class take off. They all look younger than me.
I look stupid and start asking other riders around me "How old are you"
Finally an older rider who had a resemblance to Jesus (long hair and beard)took pity on me and told me I was a Vet II.
Just than they called Vet II is out next.
Everybody's lined up in single file except for 2 guys behind. I get next to them, I don't wanna be in the way of the hammerheads.
The whistle blows and we all take off.

After we get outta the field we end up on a dry dusty dirt road which turns onto dry dusty single track. I'm in the back and hating life. The dust thats thrown up by 29 bikes is ridiculous. I couldn't see shit. It was all I could do to see the rider who was 20 feet in front of me. I would try to watch his motions and anticipate obstacles that I couldn't see.

Finally we get to the real single track, the dust settles and the I can see whats happening.

10 minutes in I get to pass my first rider. He blows up while trying to keep up with the pack up some hills. That was the exent of me knowing who was in my class. A few minutes later I start getting passed by the hammerheads who started after us.

I'm not into the whole competitive "racing" thing.
I'd hear guys come up behind me and pull over and let them pass when I didn't really need to. Once I evan ended up on my side from a bad pull over. I didn't try to pass alot. Unless someone was really going too slow, I'd sit back and enjoy the ride until we came to spot , usually in a field, where I could pass nice and easy without digging into my energy reserves.

The course itself was nice. No hills I couldn't ride, no large obstacles to get over, and a nice twisty flow. A little too twisty in some spots but I did a good job at taking stuff at speed.

Not alot stood out during the race but a few notes,
-I had to bail off the bike ride at the beginning of an ascent cause I couldn't down shift. My hand had gone numb so badly that I couldnt feel the shifters. I gotta do something about that.
-The last 3rd of race I finally ate my pride and used the small chain ring. Things went so much nicer after that . I wasn't blowing up on climbs and didn't need to recoup after climbing.
-when a volunteer offers to douse you with water, find out first if its iced or not. Damn I wasn't expecting freezing water to come outta that water bottle.
-its worth the time it takes to pull over and down some energy gel and electrolytes. 5 minutes after I downed my only GU during the race some energy came back and my whole outlook changed.

After the race I didn't evan bother going back and checking the results. I was pretty sure I was in 2nd to last place and didn't need to see it on paper. The only rider I remember passing in my class and not seeing again was at the very beginning.

Although 19 outta 30 won't impress alot of people I'm thrilled with it.
If I known I would have done that good I could have easily tried a little harder and gotten better than mid-pack.

I don't think I'll be doing any more of these races. Maybe some team events or endurance type stuff but these high energy , pass, get passed events just aren't that fun.
With me its all about personal achievements against myself.

Who knows.
The more time that passes the funner it seems to have been.

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