Monday, March 14, 2011

Pulled on my big boy pants and went racin'

Well, I finally decided to pull on my Swiftwicks and big boy pants and go race my bike on Sunday in the ABRA Amity Training Series. With the temps hovering around 40 degrees and no sign of the sun, we rolled down through the twisty valley in Amwell Township towards the start of the 2011 racing season. I’ll admit, I was a little chilled from the cold but as soon as that whistle blew, the cold left my body in a rush and was replaced by the shear excitement of a new year.

The first lap was pretty neutral and rolled along super easy. The break may have went then, I really can’t remember, I just remember no one was willing to chase at that point. Anyways, as we cruised along, midway through the second lap the pace began to pick up. Before I could think about what was happening, I found myself in a five-man chase that was clipping along quickly. After making sure we were well established and away from the pack, I looked around to see who was with me and found myself alongside teammate Derek Clark. We chatted for a minute about how we felt after the ride on Saturday where we both hit it pretty hard with fellow teammate Scott Benson for 54 miles. After that short chat, we got down to business. The pace was not terribly fast but was fast enough to keep your head up. The laps buzzed by and, in no time at all, it was the final lap with 5 miles to go.

As we approached the final and only substantial climb of the day, I knew what I had to do. I knew there was no way my skinny butt could beat the others in the group in a final sprint. With that in mind, I stood up, spun the gear up, and took two more gears from the rear cassette. I put everything into that short, steep climb and, once I came across the crest, I continued to hammer across the top flat section towards the downhill. Looking back as I began the descent, I noticed one rider had managed to keep within about 100 yards of me off of the climb. As we zipped down the hill, I kept my eye out over my shoulder through every turn watching my competition gain small but significant ground. At this point I cursed J.R. for not making this a hill top finish. I can climb and descend fairly well but I knew in a final sprint across the flat I couldn’t hold off my competition.

As the race entered the final few miles of flat, I started to really hammer on the pedals but, about a mile from the finish, realized that I could not hold out for second place. My competitor grabbed my wheel, hitched a ride for about 10 seconds, and then rocketed around me and was gone. As I came across the line, I was slightly disappointed given the effort I had put in on the hill but not too upset given the fact that I just finished 3rd in my first race of the season.

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Posted by Todd L.