Made a last minute decision (yesterday) that I wanted to go ahead and get some racing in, so went down today to Plymouth to race in the 4/5 field at Charge Pond. The race is held in the same state park as the Myles Standish Road Race that was my first race of the season last year but it’s a month earlier, it’s a 4/5 field and it’s a much shorter circuit (1.1 miles vs 7-ish miles). Kara had class today, so I talked Kate into going down and she talked Jon into driving for us which was awfully nice — he also played the role of photographer for the day.
We got started early enough and pulled into the parking lot at the park right after 9 for the 10 am race start. I got out and registered and pulled on the appropriate clothing for the fact that it was about 35 degrees out. We went for a few laps around the course to warm up and also do a bit of recon work. Overall, the road was in good shape; there was some sand on the edges, but that was about it. The end of the course had a pretty good corner after a downhill that was a little tricky… it was even trickier in the pack as everyone slowed down for it (including me) — definitely need to work on cornering more.
As we lined up at the race, there were about 8 other Quaddies present as well as 4 other guys from the MIT cycling team in the field of 50+. So went in with a good number of friends in the field. The first lap was very very mellow. Not sure how mellow, as the one thing I left at home was my GPS/computer. On the second lap, Kenton came up around the outside and began pushing the pace. That set the tone for pretty much the rest of the race. Someone would go up the side, push the pace, and then things would pull back together. I tried staying in the front part of the pack to varying degrees of success but it was good to get back to riding in a pack.
With what ended up being seven laps to go (wasn’t sure, they weren’t showing lap cards yet), Charles decided to follow a guy up the road and tried to get me to go with him. My legs didn’t feel like they could bridge the gap, so I instead stuck back and tried to control the pace of the pack so that he could get away. It was successful for a little bit, but then Charles ran out of steam. Was fun to try to do, though. The effort sent me to the back of the pack, though, to regain something for the end
Coming up the hill on the back side of the course with just over two laps to go, the guy in front of me had someone cut in front of him and he then went down. I was right behind him and so had no choice but to slow down a lot and then basically go over the guy. I went over the handlebars but the only real damage was biting my lip, a little bit of skin on my left knee, a bruise on the right knee and the nose of my saddle coming off (that may have been from the guy behind me who also went over us). Shook me up a little, though. So I mostly got out of the way and tried to calm down until the race ended not long after. Then I did a cooldown lap slow and relaxed with Kenton and also to stretch out the muscles.
Overall, a fun time even with the jarring and unintended ending. The big positive is that my legs mostly felt pretty good keeping up in the pack, so hopefully that can continue and translate into having a good time the rest of the racing season. I’m definitely getting more into the racing spirit, which has been a little bit of a hurdle. Hopefully the new bike will help get me the rest of the way there.
I am though now looking at saddles to replace what I was using (a Specialized Toupe). I’d been thinking about trying something new so this seems like a reasonable excuse. Suggestions welcome. Right now, I’m trying out a Fi’zi:k Antares and from the two miles I did on it, it seems okay but the real test will come tomorrow when I put 50-60 miles on it.