On Saturday I traveled to beautiful Kentucky for my 2nd race of the season. The course was a 25-mile loop with 2 pretty hard climbs. The first climb was about halfway through, and the second climb ended maybe 1/4th of a mile away from the finish.
In my first race I learned my lesson that I need to stay at the front of the pack right from the start. I was able to do this, and I even took 2 or 3 pulls at the front (since I'm such a nice guy and all). Not too long before the first climb I was right up front and I had a mechanical issue. I was shifting from the small ring to the big ring going down a hill and somehow I managed to shift my chain completely off of the ring. I thought I had the front der adjusted right (I've been riding on it for a week), but I guess I was shifting with more force or making a shift that I don't usually make. I think I have it adjusted right now, BTW. Anyway, I had to stop, grab my chain, and put it back on the ring. This should take like 15 seconds, but I guess I was nervous or something because it took me a while to get it right. Well, by the time I got going again everyone was out of sight. So there I was in no man's land trying to catch up for the 2nd race in a row.
The first climb was hard, especially since nobody was around to push me at the time, but not too long after it was over I started catching up with a few people. The last climb was a killer, and it helped me pass 3 more people right at the end. I caught 2 guys on the actual climb, and I passed another guy on the flat section right before the finish line. The map said there was a 2-mile flat section before the finish, so I was taking my time passing up the last guy, but not even 1/4th of a mile ahead I saw the camera and started hauling ass. The flat section couldn't have been 2 miles. They had to have made a mistake.
I ended up in 13th place, which I later found out was the first rider after the leading group of guys. I was pretty mad, because I was feeling good before my mechanical issue and I wish I could have been up front for the finish to see where my sprinting is. I'm a pretty good climber, so I feel like I could have had a good result on that course. My goal is to win a race before the season is over, and I think that if I don't make any stupid mistakes or have any more mechanical issues then I can reach that goal.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the top 12 riders get points for nationals (collegiate races), and I just missed that, which made me even more upset. The goal for the next race (2 weeks away) is to score myself some points.