Sunday, April 18, 2010

Having teammates who Drop me...

I have some great ones.  I lucked along into a local team based on the fact that on the first group ride I went with them on, they Dropped me but didn't leave me lost in the woods.  And I mean dropped with a capital D.  It was nearly two years ago, and it was pretty much the whole team.  These guys were destroying me.  I had no idea you could go that fast on a mountain bike, let alone (in some cases) a single speed and at an "advanced" age.

Really rather serendipitous... racing for LSV has been great to me - I've bought bikes, borrowed bikes, gotten cheered and learned a ton from teammates... and, one of the guys suggested I try cyclocross.  I'd have never guess that I possibly love racing a bike with drop handlebars better than its fat-tired brother.

Thursday night, I hit the woods with a few of the fast guys - prepared to be Dropped.  I was, but not with a capital D.  Until we were about an hour in and hit a steeper climb.  I have some fitness to catch up on this year, but I was pretty pleased that at least one of them was sweating, and they claimed they hadn't been waiting long every time we stopped.

Today, a few of us headed out to Gambrill for some rockier terrain - a bit of a mental warmup for the upcoming Michaux painfest in two weeks.  We were in it for social riding today - but I hung in for the most part.  What fun to go out in the woods, ride my bike hard with/behind other guys who race, and then inhale some pretty decent mexican food on the drive home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

... and we're back...

Mountain bike season is officially here.  Between a lot of days on snow, work, and my general despisement for riding a bike to nowhere in the basement, I didn't exactly spend a lot of time on the bike this winter.  I've been trying to catch up for the past few weeks - I rode a couple of days while in Utah, despite some pretty good leg fatigue from skiing the big terrain.  And last week, the weather was amazing, so I spent more time at higher intensity on the bike than I should've.  So much fun, though.

I had no serious goals this weekend.  A very easy day on Saturday to loosen up, a proper warm up and mostly remembering how to eat for racing Sunday morning.  At Fair Hill, there was an AWESOME women's field!  Nearly 30 sport riders showed up, split into the young'ins and the not-quite-as-youngin... I'm still in the former for another couple of years.  I was racing against some friends from cross as well as a few chicks that I mashed it up with last year in the Beginner classes.

After a mellowish mountain bike race start, I was third into the woods, with the top 5 of us in a little line.  I spent some time encouraging the girls in 2nd and 3rd intermittently to not let whomever was in the front take off - I was there for fun and it's always more fun to race against someone you can see for at least a couple of miles.  Eventually, the winner gapped us, and I was happily trotting along in 3rd without seeing anyone in my category for the next lap and a half - a few of the (faster) not-so-youngin ladies passed us with ease.  Slowly picking off guys that I was using as rabbits, I worked my way up and was surprised to find the 2nd place woman in my sights about two miles from the finish.  We both bobbled a few times on weird little rocks, but I managed to get past her and push the pace - it was hurting to do that, but I wasn't about to let her win the sprint easily. 

When I got to the field where there's a grassy, uphill finish, I was geared up for sprinting.  Stood up... uh oh, not much there in the legs.  At all.  Thankfully, my work in the woods had gapped her, so I held my position to take 2nd. 

Then I nearly fell over in the finish chute.  My heart rate moniter seemed to think my max heart rate was 199.  I almost believe it.

Happy with the result, but my lap times weren't as fast as I was shooting for. 

On a side note - the new timing chip system didn't seem to work perfectly as it took nearly 2 hours for results to be posted.  But, when they finally did the podiums, they (for once!) did the women's podium first, which mean instead of getting to choose from the dregs of a prize table after all the men's categories (many of which went 10 deep for prizes), we got to choose from a whole table of loot - I scored a sweet new pair of Tifosi's for my efforts.