Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Road racing

I started road racing again this season, mostly because my son is doing it and I hate to stand around for two hours waiting for him to finish. So I got myself a license and started riding. It has been over 15 years since I last raced competitively. It is quite an adjustment believe me. Although I have been cycling quite a bit for the past five years, the cycling I do is mostly triathlon-type time trial stuff.

Road races are not that way at all. No steady hard pace here. No slow warmup. Instead we go hard from the start and don't let up until we hit the middle. Then after a short breather, it starts all over again. At least that has been my experience so far. Since I am not well trained for these sudden accelerations and all that anaerobic stuff, -especially not when it comes at the beginning-, it took me a while to get the hang of it again.

I have been riding twilights with the San Jose bike club since the middle of summer, and apart from being unprepared for jumps, my rusty technique in the turns also showed. I was never one for crits and other technical riding and so I spent the first couple of twilights chasing the pack after every tight turn. That too has gotten better, much better. 

After a couple of races where I did so-so, I finally managed to stay with the pack for the entire race at Dunnigan Hills last Sunday. I raced masters 45+ open and, although I had some trouble initially, I was in the lead group riding a comfortable pace. And then, when everything was looking up, I had a flat. Four miles from the finish in a tailwind section, just as the pack eased up again, I had to stop. No support car in sight, so I started replacing the tube myself.

When I was about half way through, a car showed up and surprise, surprise, they had a Campy 10 speed wheel for me. I gave them my wheel, with the new tube hanging out, and took off. Even though the section had a nice tailwind and I rode my heart out, it had been too long of a wait. While I did manage to hold off the stragglers, but I never got back to the pack. Nevertheless, it felt good and I thoroughly enjoyed the race.

Another new adventure.

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