My races the last two weeks have been unspectacular, but I did at least finish both of them, making it up to the finish line with the pack, albeit at the back (I just found out I got 14th out of 17 riders). Today’s race was the hardest of the three I finished; we were a little faster than the previous races, at 21.2 mph, and there were many attacks, lots of chases, and several near disasters as I fell a little bit behind and had to work as hard as I could to catch up, or, if I was lucky, had to stay on someone’s wheel and trust that she could pull me up to the pack. A racer whom I’ve talked to a few times at various races had fallen behind and gotten lapped but after getting lapped joined the pack again — she was riding along with me at the back on the last lap, and when we were in danger of falling behind she made a superhuman effort to bridge the gap up to the pack and I followed gratefully on her wheel. I thanked her for the pull and she laughed and said no problem. It’s fun to help each other out; I may not have been able to help this particular racer, but I know pulled along a rider or two, at least for a little while.
So now this race series is over, but I have another race at a different location (Massachusetts) in two weeks and a week and a half after that the Tuesday night series starts. There’ll be lots of racing coming up — lots of chances to suffer and sweat and try to get stronger.
And oh, my, is there suffering involved. It’s not just the cramp in my side as I ride or the fatigue in my muscles as I climb that goddamn hill for the 22nd time or the splitting headache I develop at the end of the race; this afternoon as I was sitting in my chair grading papers, I could feel a deep ache settle into my muscles that’s with me right now. I’m waiting for the Advil to kick in. Oh, yes, racing is fun.
And now I’m going to indulge myself with some fun reading. I’ve finished The Echoing Grove and am now ready to start something new. I’m not sure what it will be, but I’m looking forward to choosing.