Monday, May 21, 2012

And now for something completely different...

To steal a phrase from Monty Python, "And now for something completely different..." another race blog!  I have had mixed success this year, but with more highs than lows lately, which is always encouraging.  Living 2 hours southwest of Morgantown, I don't have the luxury of attending a lot of the social functions and normal club rides that almost all of the team gets to attend.  I try to make up for this by reading all of my teammates' blogs, Facebook posts, or e-mails back and forth and adding a "great job!" here and there.  I have been taking on a wide variety of races this month, including a masters race (Sadly I am happy to have turned 35 yesterday so now in Ohio, I can race Masters!) as well as my first time trial of the season and a local rail-trail race to support the fight against cancer.  After my not-so-courageous DNF at the last ABRA series road race, my form has improved with the weather and I have picked up a few wins for the team.  First, there was a Parkersburg area rail-trail race that consisted of an out-and-back course on the North Bend Rail Trail, which runs all the way from Parkersburg to Clarksburg.  If you are in for an adventure, come down to my area and tackle the rail trail.  It actually includes 10 original train tunnels that are not lighted, so be sure to come prepared!  The race started and ended at WVU-Parkersburg, and after a mile on paved roads, we hit the trail.  Not knowing many of the riders in the field, I did what I normally do - hit the front and drive the pace.  After a few miles, I realized that I was off the front with two other riders!  After talking over some tactics, I did what I am also notorious for - throwing down an ill-advised attack early in a race (shocking, I know!)  For whatever reason, though, this one actually worked and I rode solo to the turn around point - the entrance to one of the tunnels.  The volunteers cheered me on as I turned around and headed back.  I saw a large group of chasers 45 seconds back and just buried myself the rest of the ride.  I ended up winning by just over 2 minutes and had a cool little write-up in the local paper!

On my birthday, I decided to get up at 4:00AM and drive 2+ hours to Northeast Ohio for a time trial!  Who says I don't know how to live, right?  Billy S. talked me into doing one of this series' races last year - the Eastern Ohio Time Trial Series, and I loved it.  This year, I actually have a TT bike, though, so I am stoked to test myself against the area's finest against the clock.  The course suits me pretty well - never flat with long, gradual climbs and descents.  My goal for 20k was to simply beat my time of 29:51 from last September.  I got in a decent warm-up with my new team skinsuit fitting just right and headed for the start ramp.  Looking at the 5 racers to start ahead of me, I shifted my goal slightly - I wanted to pass all 5 of them...a tough task but a lot of motivation for me!  I rolled down the ramp with Billy's wife yelling "Happy Birthday" to me, which elicited cheers for the people at the start house. I quickly found my rhythm and was in a groove.  I caught and passed 8 riders on my way to a 29:26 and a win!  Now I just have to wait patiently for the next race in June - man I love my TT rig!





Now it's on to Tour of Tucker County - I wonder which future star will show up for the race this year?  Let's see...we've already had Matt Busche and Joe Dombrowski...who's next?


Thanks for reading,

Ben