As we lined up for the race, I made sure to stay near the front to avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect. During the first few miles, I noticed two things; 1) my Kenda Kountach tires were simply the best tires ever, and 2) apparently I'd gotten much better at pack riding since the last race, I wasn't slowly drifting to the back of the pack as I usually do. Very nice. Other than that revelation, the beginning of the race wasn't very eventful, it started to pick up around the half way point though.
I was sitting around the middle of the pack, being very careful to remain on the wheel of an experienced rider (I didn't want to go off the back because of a dumb mistake), soon after beginning a climb, I heard the chase motorcycle accelerate, I looked back and the whole back of the peloton had detached! All my teammates were gone. A few miles down the road, Jeff made a reappearance, but not long after, he was gone again. I guess the two criteriums that he raced the day before had caught up with him.
The rest of the race went pretty well, we hammered up every climb, it was tough, I wished I'd brought more delicious Honey Stinger waffles. On the flats nobody seemed to want to pull though, I managed to bridge to an early attack but we were reeled in in no time.
Toward the end it started to pick up again, on the penultimate climb, I made a surge to the front and opened up a small gap, I wanted to have a cushion on the final descent before the last climb to the finish line, it didn't work out so well though. Soon after beginning the downhill section, another racer zipped by me, pedaling hard, I sprinted to follow him, but had to hit my brakes on the first turn, the other riders didn't have any such reservations, and opened up a huge gap. Upon reaching the final climb I gave it everything I had, and managed to pass four of the ten who had surpassed me on the descent, and finally in a state of dejection, I rolled across the finish line for a seventh place finish. All I could think about was what would have happened if I had managed to keep my position on the descent...
'Tri'ing a New Thing
Although Mapletown was my only road race in the past month, I also took part in a different sort of race, a triathlon; the Point Marion Sprint Triathalon, put on by Morgantown Multisport.
Being my first one, I didn't really know what to expect. I was worried about the swim because I'd never swam in open water before, I was unsure about the run because I'm bad at running, I was pretty sure I'd do alright on the bike section at least!
The swim was in the Mon river, I'm not really sure of the distance, but it didn't pose much of a problem, I was first out of the water by almost a minute. Then it was onto the bike.
The bike course was about nine miles, from Point Marion Park to Friendship Hill park, I did pretty well there too, and made it back to the transition area with my lead (apparently my Cannondale makes for a good tri-bike too). The next part, running, wasn't what I was looking forward to, I'm a bad runner, and it was 3.1 miles long.
As soon as I changed my shoes, I grabbed my CamelBak podium bottle and was off. From what I understood of the directions, I was to run to the first bridge along the rail-trail, and I did, but there was some confusion, and everyone else ran a shorter course. I'm fairly certain that I would have been caught during the run if we had all ran the same course though, some of the guys there run 16 minute 5k's, and I can't touch that.
I was happy with my performance, and was astounded at just how taxing a sprint distance triathlon could be, I'll surely do some more triathlons, but I think I should work on my running first.
Thanks for reading,