First of all: the Friday ride is ON for 4/30. There’s a chance of some rain, but we’ll be rolling unless there’s lightning or downpour. Leave the shop at 7 AM, back by 9.
Second: I’ve done a little bit of racing so far.
Marian, cat 1/2/3: This was a primarily collegiate race on the roads around the velodrome. There was no separate cat 3 division, so I decided to take my chances in the 1/2/3 race. Ten minutes later, I rolled off the course in disgrace, having been dropped on the brutal crosswind back stretch. I felt somewhat less shamed when Adam Leibovitz, an outstanding Marian College racer, tweeted that the race had been really, really hard. OK, the less said about all that, the better.
Ceraland: This was my first cat 3 race of the year and one of my favorite race venues. You can tell by my race face:
The MOB Squad riders are Mario, me, and Scott Gramke. The Tortuga rider on the left with the salacious expression is Geraint Perry, the fastest Welshman in Bloomington, maybe all of Indiana.
The positive vibes of the race would continue. There was a bit of the usual "hold your line" bickering that comes with the first race of the year, but that quickly subsided and things got down to nice fast aggressive racing, largely courtesy of the Sustainable Cycling team. The mood and energy of the race was generally quite positive and energetic.
I’ll save you the suspense: 55 minutes into the 70 minute race, just as I was starting to feel like a late attack could succeed, both of my quads completely locked up. Couldn’t even make it up the hill. I rolled off the course, rested for 15 minutes, and felt totally fine. Kind of a weird result. I resolved to give it another go the next day at. . .
Mooresville, cat 3/4. This is the longest running race in the Indianapolis area. I had been wanting to do it for years and never made it, so I was stoked to test myself on the famous "pack splitter." What a great course! Fast, safe, sweeping turns, and a steady climb that was definitely a factor. I had decided to take things easy to make sure I wouldn’t have any more cramping problems. So of course I found myself off the front with a couple of hardcore triathletes five minutes into the race.
Oh, well–nothing ventured, nothing gained. After ten minutes or so of participating in attacks and counterattacks, things settled down a bit and I decided to be totally chill until 30 minutes had gone by. As luck would have it, the pack had just finished a spirited chase of a small breakaway, so I hit it hard and counterattacked.
I know I’m not the kind of rider who can just power away from the field for 30 minutes, so I had been hoping to draw out some like-minded folks–but nobody came. After 20 seconds I looked back and the field was completely out of sight. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew the solo breakaway was unlikely to succeed, but you can’t just sit up when you have that kind of gap, so. . . off we go!
12 minutes later the field got tired of toying with me and reeled me back in. I had done a good job of staying just under the redline, so after a few minutes I was ready for some more action.
Things stayed together until the final bell, and then a small group of five riders (including Isaiah Newkirk, who had won Ceraland out of a late break the day before) got a gap at the top of the climb. I knew this was trouble and tried to jump across, only to find the entire field on my wheel. No one else was willing to pull, so I took one more futile dig, got passed by the entire field on the downhill, started the climb dead last, sprinted past a bunch of people and wound up 12th. Two of the five riders from the break got first and second, and the rest got swallowed up.
Eh, not bad. I certainly could have had a better placing by sitting in, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun. Thanks to everyone in that race for making it hard, fast, and safe!