I headed down to Plymouth today to take part in the Myles Standish State Park Road Race as my first race of the season following up on racing last fall in Jamestown, RI. Kara and I picked up Kate and John on our way down to help keep things a bit more exciting. A stop at Starbucks in West Medford and we were on our way. Made reasonable time on the way down, though the park was a bit further from the highway than we expected so we didn't get there as early as I would have liked.
Took my bike off the rack and managed to have my first slight mis-step of the day. In the process of pulling the bike off, I somehow managed to snap the plastic for my speed sensor — oh well, I can go by feel mostly. Then, I went to top off the tires and the valve of the rear tube blew out. Not the way I wanted to start things out. Changed the tube out without any problems. I do think that I'm done with the Conti tubes, though — this makes two of them that I've had valve related problems with. Between this and getting down a little late, I ended up not having as much time as I really kind of wanted for warming up. Did a quick warm-up around the parking lot just to mostly make sure everything was feeling good with the bike and with my legs. Then, we started staging. Where we sat on the line for the better part of 20 minutes. Which would have been great for getting warmed up.
In the Cat 5 under 35 field, there were about 25 people. From Quad, there was myself and Kenton. Given that we're both relatively new, we had a pretty simple plan for the race — “try to stay with the pack, if we fall off, try to work together”. As we started off, the pack got going at a pretty good clip, especially considering some of the potholes and upheavals in the pavement. But we managed to stick with the pack for a couple of miles. And then, someone decided to pick things up even more. I was pretty much at my limit and ended up falling back a bit as did a number of other people including Kenton. Of those that had fallen off, there were about five of us and at first, we did an okay job of working together, although everyone did pulls that were too long. As we got through the first lap (~ 5.25 miles), two of the five fell off the back including Kenton. I stuck on the wheels in front of me, though, and the three of us kept going for another lap or so. Then, one of the guys took off leaving just myself and one other guy. This was pretty much my “pack” until the last two miles when another two guys caught up to us and helped to get us energized again. Coming across to the finish, I managed to pull out the tiny bit I had left to keep from being passed by both of the two who had caught us.
I ended up in 18th with a time of 1:00:06 which I was pretty happy with for a course that totaled somewhere between 20 and 21 miles. And I managed to both have fun and learn some things for future races. Things to keep in mind for the future, even if they're a little obvious
- Leave more time for warming up. Yeah, I had to deal with some unfortunate bits, but leave time for those. My legs hurt for too much of the first lap of the circuit because I hadn't had a good warm up.
- Try to stay together better to work as a team better. And alternately (or better, in addition), try to get better cooperation with whoever else has fallen off the back. The latter sort of worked, but there was some lack of understanding on working together (I had a nice wheel, the guy I was riding with kept not drafting)
- If you lose the pack, it's really hard to catch back up. I didn't see them again.
- Come up with a more consistent training schedule so that I can be stronger and more consistent in a race.
- Racing is fun!
Kara took a lot of good pictures of the race as well — link to come later once they're up. We then stuck around for the women's race (since Kate was in it) and thus also watched the 3 and 4 men's races. Kate probably had the best day of the Quadies coming in 6th in the women's race, which had 11 riders. The Quad riders in the Cat 4 race also were looking good. All in all, a good showing for Quad and a fun day for me. Now to figure out what race I'm going to do next…