Hi, started my season with a pretty standard CBR (California Bicycle Racing) Sunday. Even though I've ridden hundreds of races on this course I wasn't overly confident going into the race because: (1) I hadn't raced in over 4 months and my last race was a DNF at the natz crit; (2) My training has been sporadic in January with some very good days and some disappointingly missed days; (3) I had a small cold on Tuesday and Wednesday; (4) I barely managed to finish building my race bike yesterday. :twitchy: BTW, my annual first race goals are stay upright and don't get dropped.
40 minutes, 7:30a start! No respect for us older racers. :mad: Our race was wedged between the Cat 5A and Cat 5B races. I am not a morning person and even though I thought I got up early enough, by the time I got through registration I only had about 10 minutes to warm up on a relatively cold, SoCal morning.
One other thing that has been an issue this year is getting clipped in to my pedals. Two years ago I switched from "classic" Look Delta pedals to Look Kéo pedals. I initially had a lot of trouble with them but managed to figure them out. At the beginning of the year I switch to Kéo 2 Max pedals and I have been having a terrible time with them.
I had three teammates on the line and I was supposed to chase down dangerous looking breaks for our sprinter. We got the usual pre-race instructions and then the whistle. Fortunately I got my foot into the pedal without any drama -- good omen. The pace seemed pretty mellow and the accelerations at the front did not seem too long-lived. I got on the wheel of a big guy who has won a bunch of races and hung out there since he was close enough to the front that I could see what was happening. After about halfway, I moved up further and with 6 to go a good guy from a good team took off. His team was blocking and no one else was doing anything, so based on my role I went to the front and just started dragging the pack up to him. I closed the gap a bit and then pulled off. Of course, no one else wanted to pull and his teammates were happy to watch. So after a short breather, I went to the front again and closed the gap enough that finally some other guys felt like they could close the rest. Job done.
That effort was over the course of 1-1/2 laps and after that I started to drift back and I saw our sprinter moving up. I tried to stay near the front half of the pack but of course, a bunch of people figured they were great field sprinters and it was getting a little dicey up there with a people wanting to be near the front but not at the front. I rolled through the finish near the back. Our sprinter took 6th in the 55+. He thinks he was 7th overall. I was 19th out of 24 50+ guys and there were 19 60+ guys listed as finishers.
Masters 50+ 1/2/3/4
Now that I was awake and warmed up, I felt better for another 40 minute crit. The was about 30 minutes between races. Once again, I had three teammates on the line but with a bigger field and faster people, we had no plan other than staying upright. ;)
This time I had a little trouble getting clipped in but I was still about halfway up the 66 rider field. The race was faster than the 55+/60+ race but not exceedingly so. I kept trying to get to the front but with some of the newly-minted 50+ guys being pretty fast and my general lack of confidence and aggression, I never got there. :( However, for some reason, during the last three laps I got somewhere near the top 20 and was able to hold my position heading into the sprint. Somehow though I still have trouble sprinting hard for a place out of the money and I faded badly to finish 36th out of 62 finishers.
Masters 45+ 1/2/3/4
This time there were 67 guys on the line for this 45 minute race. I had one teammate (both of us were starting our third race of the day). I assumed I would spend the 45 minutes tailgunning the field but I think I was generally in the top 2/3rds of the pack. About halfway through my fastest race of the day, my legs started talking to me and I was generally starting to feel tired. This is where I start setting little milestones like, just make it to lap cards, just hang in until two to go, try taking bell lap with the field.
Amazingly(?), I finished with the pack. Didn't look at results but I don't think I was DFL. :o
Three races for a total of 55 miles in 2 hours, 8 minutes.
BTW, do as I say, not as I do. I finished building my new bike yesterday and rode it a total of 2.5 miles before racing it today. Fortunately nothing fell off of it.
Next week: Poor College Kids Road Race near Santa Maria, CA.