So I have been training fairly hard this year – 500 miles on the trainer over winter, 800 outside miles already, and riding 15-20 pounds less than last year at this point. Why you ask? So I could feel confident enough that I would not embarrass myself if I got back into racing at 50 years old… wrong.
There were two crits this weekend – the Waukesha “Chiro” Crit - basically straight up a 6% grade (according to Map My Ride), turn, and go back down the other side. Four miles from my house - I have ridden this Crit route training. To make a long story short, I felt like crap Saturday morning after being out till 1 am the night before - which was enough of an excuse not to race, but I did go watch the 4/5 race. I thought “tough hill”, but I could do this!
Today the Crit was around a business park in Sussex. What the hell – I thought it would be flat, and it was, except for a medium hill leading to the start /finish line. So I enter the Men’s 4/5 open race – line up for the 45 minute race, and we are off! Me and 30 other skinny little 20/30 somethings (you know… what I used to be when I raced in college!).
First lap I stay in the back of the pack – hardly pedaling at 23-25 mph –easy I thought! Not. As soon as the pack hit the base of the hill… Holy Crap! Sprint to the top. I hang on and the 2nd lap speed increases to around 25-30. No problem – still playing it safe at the back of the pack. Make it up the friggen hill. 3rd lap same thing, but hitting the hill I did not accelerate fast enough and fell off the back slightly. Starting the 4th lap I burn a match and catch back on… until the bottom of the fu$#@n hill again.
This time I did not catch back on. So around I go by myself, then finish the lap up the g’dam little hill. Think of just pullin out – no can’t quit – daughter is there watching and taking pics, and I’m no quitter. So I ride solo for the rest of the race. Not killing myself, but a good steady pace – and of course saving myself for getting up the #!*&$@% hill at the end of each lap. Oh – and trying to earn a little respect by looking good going up the hill for the spectators!! So, I was either up out of the saddle, or spinning a good cadence.
By about the 8th lap the field caught me (ummm that means I got friggen lapped), and I latched onto the back. Until… ya the hill. Finally, the end of the race – I did 11 laps; 13.5 miles at 20.5 mph average. Basically a fast training ride pace for me, but obviously not good enough for a race.
So here is what I learned/observed today:
1. I am to old to race against 20 somethings
2. More hill work!
3. Lose more weight-I am likely stronger than everyone else out there, but I am also bigger and carry 40+ more pounds up hills (of which 15+ could be shed)
4. Be towards the front of the pack leading into a hill, not the back… (this may be lesson #1 actually)
5. Don’t loose the pack
6. Find a crit with no hills!
7. Little kids love ringing cow bells for the old farts OTB
8. And finally, daughters will give you unconditional love!
So now, I am at a crossroads – can I ever get good enough again to race at even the lowest level, or do I just give up this silly idea and just enjoy me recreational riding? Advice?
You did great! To just hang with the 20 somethings is an accomplishment. Keep in mind that although you may train yourself to be as fast as they are, you will not heal as fast. There are plenty of masters out there (30+, 40+, 50+) that will happily kick your butt without rubbing shoulders with you through every turn.
Nice job. Hope I got a photo of you.
(edit: just to be fair, watching the 3's race via this bike-cam shows that the riders here are quite safe and I'm seeing some real nice bike handling. But there was a nasty crash in the 3's ... you'll see shortly)
Nice job. Always tough to come back to racing. I did 2 today - 4 and a 4/5 masters. Both averaged over 25. Flat crits are faster. That and the accelerations are brutal as everyone has to lay it on heavy to try to break when there is no hill or technical feature.
Remember it's power to weight. Not just power. Not just weight. Find the right combo for you.