Race report: the Housatonic Hills race defeats me again

Update: I got 18th place out of 35 starters in this race — not as bad as I thought.

No, I did not have a particularly good race today. Housatonic Hills is a god-awful road race with horrible hills that make me feel like I’m going to die when I climb them at race pace. This is the third year in a row I haven’t had a good race there. You might wonder why I keep going back, and the only thing I can say is that it’s because of pride. I wouldn’t like to skip a race just because it’s hard and I don’t like it. That sounds wimpy. Perhaps next year I can fake a serious illness??

The race promoters changed the course this year to avoid some patches of rough road that have caused trouble, and this meant that whereas before we had something like 7 miles of flat road to ride before the hills began, this year we had to start the race heading uphill. It was supposed to be a neutral start to the top of the hill, meaning that we would ride up it slowly and only start racing once we’d reached the top, but it didn’t work out that way; instead, since there wasn’t a car at the front of my pack to set the pace as there usually is, people rode up the hill fast, and I reached the actual start of racing already tired. We headed downhill for a bit and I started to feel better, but then we hit another hill, the pack split up, I ended up in the back half of the pack, the back half of the pack split up, and that was that — I was dropped and had over 20 miles left to ride.

It wasn’t completely horrible — I found other women to ride with and we worked together to keep a decent pace, and, of course, it wasn’t all uphill, but still …

I did have fun hanging out with racers afterwards — the social part is often the best thing about bicycle racing, I sometimes feel. And there’s also the feeling of accomplishment — I didn’t finish all that well (I’m guessing I got something like 30th out of 40 riders), but I did ride and finish the damn thing, which is more than most people will do. And I earned the big pasta dinner and ice cream I had this evening. And now I have another year until I have to race that stupid course again.


Filed under Cycling

7 responses to “Race report: the Housatonic Hills race defeats me again

  1. Sorry it did not go well for you today. I’ve had my share of bad luck, etc., there, and will be giving this race a pass for the time being, if and when I get hill-fit again. And plus, there’s a huge crit about a mile from me. More on that later.


  2. I think I’d definitely feel a sense of accomplishment just finishing (and not last!) a race like that. And at least there is the comraderie after and a good meal!!


  3. I think finishing and not even being the one in last place is pretty darn good. I’d be the one crossing last hours after everyone else had packed up and gone home, or more likely the one collapsed on the side of the road wheezing and begging for mercy.


  4. You are so brave and so tenacious, Dorothy! I would have died, no question. And I think you did really well – halfway through the pack is no mean accomplishment!


  5. Well, I admire this! It’s been so long since I’ve been on a bike that I can’t even imagine doing a race – with hills! Glad you had that pasta & ice cream treat afterwards.


  6. Fendergal — I don’t blame you for missing this one at all — and I’ll make sure to read about your crit.

    Danielle — yeah, there is a lot of compensation for all the pain, thank God! Otherwise I really might not be able to do it.

    Stefanie — thanks! There’s something to be said for being willing to go out and try it. I might very well have finished up hours after everyone else, except my race was significantly shorter than others, so I could finish up and then watch them struggle over the finish line — I’m glad it worked out that way!

    Litlove — brave and tenacious or stupid, I’m not sure 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the compliment!

    Iliana — thank you! Yes, good food makes the suffering a little more worth while.


  7. Better you than I. I have no problem being a wimp if not being one causes that much discomfort. If you want, I’ll help you come up with some sort of serious illness next year (something that involves terrible rashes and headaches when confronted with huge hills) to get you out of it.


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