I found out that there was a Bike Club here in Iraq where I am stationed. There was an 8 mile road course race this morning. Five laps at 1.7mi per lap. There were four divisions Men’s/Women’s Sport and Men’s/Women’s Recreation.
I ran in the Men’s Rec, I really didn’t know how I would match up with the competition. I have only been on my bike for about 2 weeks. Some of the guys in the Sport Division ride 100+ miles a week. There was about 40-60 riders in my Division. There were a couple very good bikes out there. I really didn’t know how the Motobecane would hold up or match up.
I thought I had a very good start. I shot up to the front from the rear of the pack, and didn’t look back. By the time I hit the forth turn I had a hefty lead. I knew I would have the stamina (with my vigorous PT program) but I didn’t know I would perform that well. After the 2nd lap, the event organizer went over the bullhorn and called me a “Sand-Bagger” (for not racing with the “BIG BOYS” in the Sport Division. For a person who’s been on a CX for about two weeks, I didn’t think I would do as well as I did. That is an honest statement. So I finished 1st in my division. I think someone told me that I had the 3rd or 4th best overall time, including the Men’s Sport Division. Next race I will step it up, and race with the “Big Boys”.
As far as the bike, I really didn’t think I could get up to that kind of speed and maintain it with ease. As I stated before on one of my treads, I am a huge MTB’er back in the states, and road biking is so easy. I was able to keep my speed and pedaling consistent. I am going to purchase a pair of true road tires this week. I know that the CX tires did slow me down just a hair but they did perform above my expectations. I don’t have anything to complain about as far as the bike goes. Well one thing. I MUST GET A NEW SADDLE. Man-Oh-Man my tail is sore right now. I have heard some GREAT things about GEL saddles. I am looking into that this week also.
Thanks again to all who replied and answered some of my question.
I will keep you Guys/Gals posted on my Iraq Adventures….
“LIVE FROM BAGHDAD”
Last edited by BG2482; 06-21-09 at 11:21 AM.
Congratulations on your victory... Sounds like you had enough time to zip up your jersey and raise your arms high in the air before you hit the line - and still beat the charging peloton lined-out behind you... Allez, BG2482!
Most people end up swapping out the OEM saddle on their bikes. Manufacturers just slap on a seat that (usually) matches the quality of the rest of the bike and hope that it works... Saddles are highly individual in fit and comfort. One that's a torture device to me may feel like heaven to you. If your MTB back home offers nearly the same riding position - and you like that saddle - you might get the same model for your CX. Remember, riding position has a huge effect on the way a saddle interacts with your body. You can experiment a bit with saddle tilt - sometimes a couple degrees makes a big difference.
Bike shorts follow the same rule as saddles, shoes, and pedals. Highly individual choice - and a higher price does not necessarily mean greater comfort (although the manufacturers would like you to think so). As a starting point (no guarantees here) I'd recommend Performance Bicycle's Elite II Bib Shorts. They're cheap ($55), seem to fit a wide variety of posteriors, and Performance will take'em back if you don't like them. There are many other brands and styles out there... If I'm going to be in the saddle for more than a hour, then I'm wearing bike shorts.
Once again, congrats on the victory. Keep pounding those fluids... Can't let the desert get the best of you!
I have been riding as much as I can. I am averaging about 25-30 miles per day. I think I am becoming hooked to riding. I have found myself waking up at 0430 to ride for an hour before I do my daily morning PT. Then again for an hour after work.
Riding gives me a chance to get my thoughts together. It’s just a mind clearer. How about you guys/gals? Oh and by the way a very good way to start the day.
hbsyncro-- Thanks You
zonatandem— it has gotten better over the years. I was here back in 2005 and it wasn’t as nice as it is now. There are countless MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) events going on daily. There are almost 5-6 choices events per day. There is just about every sports event known to man here. From Football to Horseshoe competitions. You name it, it’s here. There is even an RC racing track, and a BMX bike park. Live here isn’t great but as close to great as you can get in a “Combat Environment”
You were on fire,,keep going.
Sounds like my first race around Lake Merritt Oakland in 1979. It was a weird staggered start with six groups one minute apart, non-USCF riders starting in the first two groups all the way to Cat2 in the back. Really kind of crazy in retrospect. I was pretty much all alone for the last half of the race when the pack realized I wasn't getting caught and they turned on the volume and shot by me 1000' from the finish. I could keep up a high aerobic pace but had no real speed.