Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tulsa Tough

Raced cat 4 on Saturday and Sunday.

Had a blast.

Day 1.

This is my 5th year of racing but i've probably raced less so far this year than any other year except my first. X and i started looking for a house in Feb and we bought one in May and moved in shortly there after. That takes up a lot of time.

But i've been determined to ride throughout all that.

I will ride my bike.

And thank god for that because when the race official mentioned, as i was on the start line for Saturdays race, that we would be racing for 55 minutes... i did a double take. 55 minutes!?!? That's long for a cat 4 crit. Plus there are a 100 guys in this race.

I was worried but in the back of my mind i knew i had been riding consistently since Jan 1. That has to count for something. Plus, and this has turned into a big plus recently, i've gotten a lot smarter at racing. I still make stupid mistakes but less frequently.

Perhaps the smartest thing i did all day was line up on the front row. They were forcing all 100 riders to stage and enter the course thru one gate about 3 ft wide. Instead of doing that i lifted my bike over the barrier then hopped over. It worked and i easily rolled to the front row.

I felt like crap all race and knew the most i could hope for was a pack finish. I almost quit around minute 25 but felt a little better after i got thru that bad spell. Later a crash forced me to hop the curb and ride the grass for a second and that really winded me. All race i was totally focused on being out of the wind and riding as smoothly as possible. i never put in any effort that i didn't have to. Not glamorous but it's what i had to do. A few times a gap would open up but i just kept it steady, hoping the group would slow or i could use a corner to catch bath on. That was kind of fun, trying to keep it just under the red but clawing for every last bit.

With one lap to go i got dropped. maybe i could have really pushed and finished with the group but i was at the very end of the pack and was already satisfied with my race. plus i personally witnessed three crashes and i didn't want anything to do with that.

finished 42nd, 42 seconds behind the winner.

drank some beers at the sound pony, great spot.

Day 2

got a 2nd row starting spot but took forever to clip in and was at least halfway down as we hit the hill. i'll blame that on new pedals. Proceeded to pass guys every time up the hill and slowly improve my positioning throughout the race. i was climbing pretty well. Missing that pedal was killer because the acceleration around the last corner was hard and im sure it was much easier up front. At one point i crested the hill just in front of Pot Pie, that was reassuring since he is riding way stronger than me.

climbing is my least worst cycling skill and it was on full display today.

A quick note on climbing cry baby hill: it's totally awesome. Even though we're slow cat 4's there is still a decent crowd, music blaring, water spraying, people yelling.... it's unlike any other climb (or race) I've ever done. And you do the climb like 15 times! Just thinking about it now puts a smile on my face. I had a bunch of folks cheering for me, that helps.

With 3 laps to go i was sitting around 20th and feeling okay. Then on the last lap i made a stupid mistake and let a gap open up as we approached the hill. I decided to drop both my bottles for weight (one was an insulated bottle filled with ice water that i was pouring on my neck every lap, felt great) and i was too casual about it because thats when the gap opened up. I hit the hill fast and tried to big ring the whole thing to make up for it but i kind of blew up at the top and lost any chance of catching the back end of the pack. i bet a lot of folks big ring the whole thing but at the moment im a spinner, not a masher. I did out sprint two dudes who took a horrible line around the final corner but also got out sprinted by another straggler at the line.

Finished 29th. 12 seconds behind the leaders.

This was my 4th attempt at this race and my first finish.

Tulsa tough is very very fun.

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