my first bike race

Wells Ave 2010-05-02

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 cor­ner­ing.

“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.

Wells Ave 2010-05-02 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!
circa 1992

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 year rocks!

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.

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May 23, 2010 May 23, 2010 cycling by Scott [permanent link]