Monday, April 11, 2011

First real pain for 2011..

Saturday was the Mountaineer Downtown Criterium in Clarksburg, WV. The race was hosted by WVU Cycling as part of their collegiate race weekend. However unlike in years past they had a public race that the rest of us to compete in. w00t! I got to the race just as the college A event was wrapping up. Man they were cooking out there. I set up the team area along the course so while we warmed up on the trainers we could watch some of the racing action. Baswell, Todd, Robbie and I warmed up and were able to cheer on Gunnar, Nate and Ben who were in a extremely fast Men's Cat 1/2/3 race. Watching that sure made the time on the trailers fly by. When even made the local news while warming up Hey look kids we're on TV!

Photo by Fred Jordan

When it was time for us to line up to race it was sure a very cool feeling to have four other teammates lined up beside me. However I was not prepared for how hard the guys at the front went off at the start. In the first lap my heart rate was pegged and snot was running out of my nose as I tried to hold onto the group. It was for sure my first extremely hard effort of the year and I forget how much it can hurt. A few laps later I looked down at my garmin and we were only 8 minutes into a 45 minute race. I was hurting and hurting really bad. I gave it everything I had but was unable to hold onto the main field of Cat 3/4 racers.

Photo by Fred Jordan

Minute or so later I was in a chase group with Ben Stephens and Ted McPherson. The pace was not much slower then the lead pack but it was just enough that I could just hang in there. Ted also did a good job of giving some of the guys on the back heck for not doing their share of the work in the group. As a group we moved around pretty well and even started to pick off one or two folks who also dropped from the main field.

Photo by Fred Jordan

Then with 12 laps to go the main field was getting really to lap us and as it did I was feeling ok so I jump out of the saddle and got on the back of it. Something was different this time. I was able to hold the pace of the field much better this time and sat on the back for 3 to 4 laps with them. Then as we came up one the start finish area with 8 laps togo I saw Todd, James and Rob all riding together and also getting ready to be lapped with by the main field I was with. I was of course already a lap down and my legs were once again just about cooked so I pulled in line with my teammates for the last few laps. We may have not been super fast but we got some good photos racing as a team, lol.. To be honest I really enjoyed riding around with them.

Photo by Fred Jordan

In the end I finished 19th in my first race ever in the 3/4 field. That field is for sure a lot faster but it definitely feels good to be racing in the faster fields now a days!