I get to Albemarle and it's a buzz. Riders are everywhere. I had slight trepidation because of what happened a couple of weeks ago and the simple fact that I'm always racing without teammates. I get ready, roll around and see a ton of Charlotte Sports Cycling members. I start to introduce myself and eventually run into an older gent that is racing my category. Great.
We talk strategy. Since he’s been racing mountain bikes for years, time trialing, and under a coach’s supervision, I figure I better listen and listen good. After all it’s my third race – ever. So we go warm up, talk, meet others, hydrate, and top of the porta johns.
Eventually it’s time to line up. Our group is at least 70 deep. OMG! The chatter in my head is loud. “Look at the size of the group.” “Look at all the young riders.” “You’re going to get laid to waste old man.”
The announcer walks over and says that he’s splitting the group: 34 and younger and 35 and older. Thanks be to God. The youguns roll first. Us old guys start making fun of ourselves and I pipe up and say, “Remember, we have jobs and families, let’s keep it clean.” Many others agree and my nerves settle a bit.
Off we go. The terrain is rolling with a few steady, small hills to make your legs work a bit. Oh and everything my teammate says went in one ear and … well, you know the rest. I’m so far at the back I barely see him. But he’s there up front like he and I are suppose to be. But the dang pack is snaking and slowing and sprinting all over the place like those crazy dragons they have in the parades. I’d get close to the front. Then eventually shuffled back to the rear. Move to the front again, and have to slow because of a hill and a slowpoke in front of me. (The yellow line rule is in full effect so I didn’t want any reason to be dq’d) Second lap. Halfway through we come to a terrible spill from the younger riders. Apparently – and what I heard later – one of the riders crossed the yellow and a motorcycle that was pacing with them ran him over and drug him down the street a bit. I pray he’s OK. Third and final lap: I’m loose and feeling pretty good. I’m doing everything to move up. Slower guys are soon getting spit off the back. Our group is still all over the place speed-wise. We’d slow then sprint, then climb, then sprint, then turn, then sprint. I’m hating myself for being so far back as I keep seeing my fellow teammate up front in a perfect position. Then our final turn comes. I’m on the outside about 15 or so back. We hit the turn and the inside group slows for some reason. I stand on the peddles and pick off 7 or so guys from the outside and sprint for the finish. I wish it was further away because my legs felt great and I know I could have picked off more bvecause I was closing on some before the finish line. Oh well: I placed 8th.
So three races:
1st - 27th
2nd - 14th
3rd - 8th
4th - ?
Last edited by substructure; 03-24-07 at 04:51 PM.