Race report

My legs ache. I’m glad to be home, sitting in my study in the air conditioning with some ice water, catching up on blogging.

The race today was a road race back in my old neighborhood, run by my old cycling club. It’s a really pretty area, with beautiful countryside and great riding roads, which is the only reason I was sorry at all to move, 1 1/2 years ago. My new place is good for riding too, but it has more traffic and more hills.

Anyway, the bad news is that the Hobgoblin crashed again. The good news is that he’s okay (and we think his bike is okay too). I’m sure he’ll write about it, so I’ll leave it at that and let you read him.

As for me, I did just about as well as I expected, which is to say, I didn’t finish with the pack, but I stuck with them for a decent length of time. My race was 30 miles, 2 laps of 14 miles each and a two-mile straight uphill finish. The course, excluding the uphill finish, is only fairly hilly; it has some flat sections, but a few hills that are just long enough to cause me trouble. I’m learning that my weakness is hills; I can keep up with the pack fine on flat stretches and even short hills, but those long ones wear me out. I was feeling perfectly fine until a long hill near the end of the first lap when I fell behind a bit, although that time I was able to catch up at the top of the hill. Then, a couple miles into the second lap, I fell behind again on another long hill. This time another woman who had also fallen behind raced on ahead when we got to the top of the hill, and I was able to grab her wheel and follow her back to the main pack. So far so good.

But around mile 21, we hit another long hill, and that was that. So I was by myself for the last 9 miles and very tired. I was very close to skipping the final hill, but kept going anyway, and while I’m glad I finished the entire race, let me tell you that hill was no fun. I was going up it at about 5 mph in the worst parts, barely fast enough to stay upright. I was starting to get worried about heat stroke and thinking I might just fall over. Somehow, I didn’t, and I finished, and there were a few people cheering at the top, and I was glad it was over and feeling just fine about the whole thing. I was all out of water at that point, and no one had water at the top, so I almost immediately rode back down the hill and back to the car.

This will almost certainly be the last weekend race I do this year; after this point, the races are mostly too far away. I will still have the local Tuesday night races, however, and a new goal — to get ready for the centuries (100 mile rides) that begin in late August and continue through September. It’s time to start piling on the miles.

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