I've got to tell you about a bike race I got into Saturday. Binghamton, NY has a bike race weekend called the Chris Thater, the amateur race for males up to age 18 and over 50 and all women was 11:30am. I got in this race and started at the back and at the quarter mile point there was an uphill. I figured I'd go up the left side on the hill and move up to people who were going my speed. I got to the left side and started to pass people and passed everybody in the race. I know sometimes bike races are casual affairs where everybody waits for the last lap (this was a 15 lap race) and then sprint to the finish. In fact I got in a bike race last year in Arizona and it progressed just that way and I just followed everybody to the finish taking eighth place out of eight. I think in my mind (it wasn't a firm thought) I didn't want to replay that scenario. So, I got in front of everybody, and I was going a bit faster than anybody else by passing them, and decided to just keep going ... I was going to break this into a bike race and not a technical exercise. I just kept pushing. I came across the start/finish line in the lead and the public address system blares out my name "and the leader is Jim Landis" (he read my number and got the name off a list I guess) and the assembled multitudes applauded. Wow, it was a whole new experience and a great one.
I got passed as I got to the hill again by about a dozen people and never again saw the front. But I was stronger than anybody else in my slower group on the uphill and twice I lead over the top only to be drafted by my group through the next half lap and then they would slingshot past. The lead group (mostly made up of guys up to the age of 18) passed my group on our 12th lap and slowly moved away. Now the race is over when the leader does his 15 laps, so my group just subtracted one lap from what we needed to do ... we had two left. When my group we was on our last lap and approaching the hill, I decided to see if I could catch up to the tail of the lead group and catch their draft and thereby loose my whole group and get dragged in by this faster group. I did break from my guys and halfway caught up, but halfway doesn't make it and I tried as strongly as I could to go fast but some guys caught my draft and slingshot past and ahead of me 100 yards from the finish. Three guys beat me by a second or less right there. There were six guys in my 60+ age group and I took first in that group by almost 2 minutes and would have taken fifth in the 50 - 59 with my finish, but if I could have held off those last three guys I would have taken second. I averaged 21 mph according to my speedo.
I guess you can tell I'm pretty excited about how the race went and through the rest of the day and for days afterwards I felt the euphoric. I told everybody I ran into whether they wanted to hear it or not. I went to church and during that time in the service when people can go to the microphone and say what is happening in their lives I told this story, the congregation applauded me.
Bike was a Cannondale 3.0 about 15 years old, but leading edge at that time.