Sunday, April 22, 2012

Without a great finish at Lincoln Park, I thought about letting this race report go. I’m out in Los Angeles on The Avenue of The Stars for a conference this weekend. Since I’m stuck here with no time to race (just a run in the morning and spin at Equinox in the evening), I might as well recall and record the pain I tried to endure last weekend.

Going into the weekend I was excited because I was going to get two days of racing in. Since I haven’t figured out how to place in a bike race yet, my best chance at upgrading to Cat 3 is to do as many races as possible with the hopes that I’ll get into better shape and figure out bike racing more. Leland Kermesse on Saturday proved to be painful. My heart rate was in Zone 4 or 5 for nearly 3 hours during that race, and when I got up on Sunday I realized my legs had been there too. Molly and I drove down to the race, while Chris was just going to let his son race (smart man), and Ruggles was going to ride his bike down to the start (really glad I didn’t do that). It looked like a great day, but Chicago often looks that way. Then you step outside and realize it’s bitter cold with ferocious winds.

My first race (Cat 4) started at 0830. I was lined up in the second row, and at the start the guy in front of me couldn’t get into his pedals (rookie). I was patient (super rookie fatal flaw) and after he finally got into his pedals I fumbled just long enough to find myself alone. Yeah, 5 seconds into the race and I’m off the back. I hammered for the next 35 minutes and got a great tempo workout in, just to finish 52/55. I saw fell ACC rider, Omar Patalinghug at the start, but since I rode alone the entire race our opportunity for team tactics was shot.

Molly did her race, and although she had been dropped too, she was able to out sprint a competitor for a nice finish. Sometimes we have to settle for the little victories.

My second race (30+ 4/5) started right after Molly’s. It was becoming windier, and my clothes were soaking wet from the first race. I was shivering at the start. Shivering is a great way to use up your glucose so that it’s not available for the race. The start was good, but I could only get my power up to about 80% of what it was in the first race. Fatigue was setting in quick, and I found myself off the back again. My finish was only slightly better than the first race. Again, I saw Omar at the start, but didn’t get a chance to work with him.

Third and final race finally came at 1230 (40+ 1-4). Ruggles showed up to go for the $50 bonus offered to the first finisher that also completed Leland Kermesse. I figured it must be getting a little warmer, and my clothes were soaking wet, so I decided to take off my windbreaker for this final race. First lap in I rolled out of the 180 degree turn into the 30 MPH headwind and realized two things. I was exhausted, and I was frozen. Why did I take my windbreaker off? Did I want to do 43 more minutes of this? I didn’t even want to do one minute. I rolled straight up to the truck and jumped in. Pathetic? Yes, of course! There really is something to learn from each race.

Ruggles stuck in the pack and did pick up the $50 bonus. I was much happier once I changed out of those wet clothes and got to watch a great finish. Oh, and Chris’s son did win his race, so there was another victory for the Activator Cycle Club. We may need to build a junior team.