Hot! It's going to be hot today! 78 degrees is the forecast! I am so happy! So happy I did nothing for a couple of hours while I laid out on our deck in the middle of the day.
Afternoon or evening races are always a bigger logistical and timing hassle than morning races. If you race in the AM it's pretty simple; you get up at the crack of dawn, eat some breakfast, drive to the venue and do your best. In the afternoon or evening – especially when it's hot out – you have to time your meals, you don't want to be out in the sun too long and you kinda have to sit around most of the day not doing any manual labor projects so you are still fresh for the race.
I was excited about this race for several reasons.
1) I have not ridden this course in ages.
2) I was going to ride down to the race with some teammates (I LOVE riding to races, it's the perfect warm-up).
3) Today – finally – was my first day riding my new Mad Fiber wheels.
On the way to meet RC R, Greg K and Ryan D I decided to take a short detour through the Arboretum in an attempt to get these wheels up to speed and see what they felt like. No dice. I got stuck behind this guy on a bike doing at most 15 mph and all the cars were stacked up behind him.
ASIDE – what are people thinking riding their bikes through the Arboretum at speeds like this?! As a cyclist AND a driver I feel both parties need to respect each other and riding your bike on any road that has only one lane, no shoulder and no pull-outs is dumb. About half way through I snuck past the car and gunned it around the bike and got in a short stretch of 25+ mph. Frustration!
Everything was coming up roses. It was a stellar day, I didn't even bother to bring any extra clothes and when I hooked up with the gang I got the hoped for compliments on my new wheels. Hey, anyone that says they don't care what other people think after they drop serious cash on equipment is lying. We rode to Ballard and chatted, some casual tactics and some social catch-up stuff. Tactically we knew that Keller Rohrback and Garage Racing would have the numbers so our goal was to keep the pace high, keep trying to get away and hopefully get in every move. If it came down to a sprint we had a reasonable chance with Dave or Greg so all was not lost if the pack stayed together.
At the race Greg, Ryan and I checked in and when RC tried to check in we discovered that he had not pre-registered. D'oh...! The Masters race was sold out and man was RC bummed. I felt for him but what can you do? As it turns out he got in because some other racers didn't show. Lucky. While RC was fretting about riding the Cat 3 event Greg, Ryan and I rode out to Shilshole Bay Marina to warm up.
Originally the Masters field had a limit of 100 riders but since the organizers opted to combine all the Masters (category 1-5) and since there is a 75 rider limit for the lower categories our field ended up being limited to 75 riders. Still, 75 people sailing through turn 1 and 2 is exciting stuff so we all lined up on the front knowing that not only would a good start be key but that probably 20 riders were going to get dropped in the first 10 laps.
Of course everyone else had the same idea and the front row was crowded! I was practically touching handlebars with Dave H on my left and an Audi guy on my right. The Audi racer looked down at my new wheels and said, "You've got fast wheels, you can afford to line up in back." Nice. I was anticipating a royal cluster fuck when the gun went off so as the official was backing off of the road I was already rolling forward and technically I got a jump on the starting gun. But so did about 5-10 other guys so I don't feel bad. And it helped decrease the congestion.
Bang! From the gun someone takes off and since I have such a great start I am on his wheel pronto. And we have a gap! We last about one lap and even though we swap the lead this guy starts to fade so the next time through the finish I take off solo and I last another lap before the strung out pack starts to catch me. As they do someone else takes off and since I'm still feeling super I go with them and we have a gap again.
ASIDE – I sometimes dream that I am strong enough to keep doing this all day long and eventually I win off the front solo. Reality unfortunately hits hard in the form of the lap board dropping into single digits and I have to fight just like everyone else.
I did manage to kick one more time, drop the guy I was with and take the first prime. That felt good. Looking back the pack was really charging so I eased off and waited for them.
The next 25 minutes were pretty darn fun. There were plenty of people willing to go and both RC and Greg got into moves but nothing was sticking. With about eight laps to go (which as you will recall is right about when this kind of race gets hard...) a move went away and I had just expended some energy or had a moment of hesitation or something. Whatever, I did not get in it. Of course the winner came from this group.
With about two laps to go Garage started to amass at the front and on the back stretch I tried to move up but could not. On the last lap I did pass a couple of people in turns three and four but a couple passed me back on the finish straight and I was not able to lead anyone out. Greg was a couple of riders in front of me and I think Dave had a mechanical problem because people were saying he basically sat up. Andrew M did a super job of hanging in the break and then going away solo as they were being caught and had time to throw up the victory salute.
Turn one had a BIG hole in it. And it was in a shadow so if you took it wide look out! Turn two was fine even if you cut it and ended up on the asphalt instead of the concrete. Turn three was exciting as there was a raised section right in the middle with a manhole cover on top of the bump and the surface changed to bricks. Turn four was no problem.
One prime and hopefully two in the top-10. Not as good as we had wanted but none of us crashed, it was a super day and it sure was fun to make everyone work those first 10 laps.
There were a few sketchy moments out there. At one point this guy stuffed his rear axle into the front wheel of the rider in front of me. I could hear the spokes breaking and was very thankful no one went down. Another time Michael P smacked his pedal on the ground in turn three and again no one went down. And once Jim F (Keller Rohrback) moved me off of a wheel way more aggressively than was necessary. Jim has a tendency to do this and I guess we all just have different standards of what is okay. At least I am not a small guy and so just bounced to my left instead of falling down. All in all a very fun race.
After we were done a bunch of us headed to the Ballard Loft for beers and to spectate.
Finally, I went to the finish line to collect my prime and was told someone had already taken it...?! What kind of shmuck would steal a prime? I'm hoping it was a teammate and that they were just trying to do me a favor but so far no one has contacted me. Sucks.
Still, thank you summer weather! It's good to have you back. Oh yeah, and my wheels felt SO nice.
|Breakfast||6:30 AM – cereal|
9:30 AM – 2 bananas
|Lunch||12:00 PM – pita chips, peanut butter, cheese|
2:00 PM – yogurt, protein powder, jam, granola
|Workout Food||pre-race – HEED and nuun mixture|
race – water
|Time of Day||4:45 PM|
|Weather||mid 70s, sun, dry, light wind|
4 corners, 2 long straights, some cobbles, gradual uphill finish
|Distance||race – 18 miles|
total – 36 miles
won 1st prime
finish – 10th?
Mad Fiber wheels
|Clothing||bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt, short sleeve jersey|