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.