As I have
mentioned, I’m trying a new sport for 2010: bike racing.
For this reason, I enthusiastically took to April’s NEBC Spring Racing Clinic, even
when that meant renting cars every Saturday and driving all the way
to Fort Devens. While the pace of the class was a little uneven, it
was completely worthwhile. Two drills took me most outside my
comfort zone: the water bottle pick-up drill and high-speed
“Graduation” was participation in the Wells Ave
Training Criterium on May 2. A criterium
is a short race involving many laps around closed-off streets. This
format is ideal for spectators! For us beginners, the total
distance is only 12 miles (15 laps), and it goes by fast! My bike
computer recorded an average speed of 23.6 mph. The classes
prepared me well, but I also followed the last-minute advice of an
experienced bystander: stay to the front and the outside to avoid
crashes. Good advice, I think, because there were two pretty bad
wrecks. It’s difficult to resist the temptation to look at
them, but there is too just much going on when you’re nearly
rubbing handlebars and wheels with a dozen other people.
I was getting excited about being near
the front, since by the penultimate lap I had worked myself up to
3rd or 4th place. But suddenly, the guys who I had been following
dropped back, and I found myself leading the last lap—with the
wind in my face and legs starting to tire, not a great situation to
be in! After a surprise last-minute encounter with a car on the
course, the finish line came into view, and suddenly 5 or 6 guys
slingshotted around me. I started my sprint. It was too late to
catch the guys who passed me, but I manage to get my speed up to 36
mph, fast enough to keep the rest of the pack from passing. This
left me somewhere in the top 10 (out of 39), close enough to feel
like a success but not high enough to appear in the race results.
As we were finished, an ambulance showed up to attend to the two
crashes. One was caused by overlapped wheels, and another guy had
been stuck on the inside of a corner was trapped too close to the
curb. A little scary!
Before riding home with another Rapha-clad blogger-friend named
Scott, we stayed to
watch the first half of the B race. The speeds are a little higher,
but most importantly, they looked so much more orderly! I have much
to learn. So I’m motivated to find a team. And to keep
training for my big race in August, which I will write more about
in a separate post.
Also: it is confirmed that the Igleheart road bike I got last
I recently found this picture of me at age 12. It’s funny
that it took me so
many years to discover this sport, since apparently I’ve
always had some enthusiasm for it.