Friday, May 02, 2008

Road Rage

I enjoy road racing, especially with the P/1/2’s, but racin’ on my mountain bike is so much more fun! One thing that I’ve definitely noticed in racing with the P/1/2’s is that I feel the likelihood of my body skidding across the pavement is considerably less than it was when racing with the 3’s. I’ve had a few close calls in the P/1/2’s this year, but was pleasantly surprised at how much better P/1/2’s are at handling their bikes in precarious situations.

Kennan sure loves her goofy, ball headed uncle!

My plan for the weekend was to drive to Iowa City, do the road race, continue to the Quad Cities to celebrate my little niece’s first birthday. Then head back to Iowa City and do the crit. As I was cruising down the freeway, I was passed by tPod and JJ. I noticed them at the last minute as they were kind of a blur, they must have been pushin’ about 120 mph in line with a bunch of other cars. They kept right on going as I don’t think my Jeep is capable of going quite as fast as they were. About 20 miles later, I see tPod’s truck on the side of an off ramp. He and JJ are standing at the front and rear of his truck with their winkers hangin’ out taking a nature break. I kept on going and they eventually caught back up to me. We caravanned the rest of the way and arrived at the venue about 30 minutes before the start.
I got registered and dressed with about 2 minutes to spare before the start. The ref blew the whistle and the pace out of the gate was absolutely crazy. The first stretch was a cross wind, and within minutes my HR had soared into the 170’s. I started drifting towards the back of the 60+/- racers and was OTB. We hit the tailwind and I about blew myself up trying to catch the tail end of the main group. I finally caught back on just before we turned right into another short cross wind. Not exactly the best way to start a road race. I had to turn myself inside out a few times to catch up.
At the end of lap one, we turned right into the same section of cross wind that sent me OTB on the first lap. Guess what? I was near the tail end of the group and got my stupid arse OTB again! I hit the tailwind section again and started a frantic, cross-eyed chase once again. About five of us regrouped and continued to chase the main group. Once again, I put myself into to bowels of the pain cave to catch back up to the main group. Our group of five eventually caught back up to the main group about ¾ of the way through lap two… just in time to hit the cross wind and potentially go OTB once again.
Not this time, when we caught the main group I continued up near the front of the group and stayed there. We started lap three and it was much easier being near the front. About midway through the tailwind section, my crossed-eyes finally straightened themselves out and I could feel myself beginning to breathe normally again. By this time, a break away of four or five had gotten away and they were gradually increasing their gap. When we were riding into the headwind section on lap 4, one of the cats on the Bianchi – GP team asked if I wanted to help chase the break away down. I took a look around and saw Grand Master Lou and tPod. Even though my mental capacities were partially incapacitated due to the blurring effects of LT in my cranial cavity, I was able to recognize that Rassy’s had no presence in the break. So myself, tPod, two Bianchi GP guys and one other dude traded pulls at the front and we eventually reeled in the break away with one lap to go.
We started the last lap and the attrition was such that there were about 30 or so cat’s that had survived the slaughter. A couple of guys took flyers off the front that were reeled back in. We hit the headwind section and it was evident that it was going to be about a 20 man field sprint. As we approached the finish line, it seemed inevitable that some carnage was going to occur. I was perfectly content to sit back and enjoy my front row seat view of the action! The first man jumped and all hell broke loose, Grand Master Lou got boxed in by a couple of Trek – Midwest guys that decided to sit up in the middle of the pack sprint. I could see everybody around him slamming on their brakes. One dude on the Nova team rode into the ditch and did a superman over his handle bars. I’m not sure who won, don’t really care. I was just happy to finish!
The next day, I drove back over to Iowa City and during the drive I went back and forth as to whether or not I would do the crit. I decided that if I got there soon enough, I’d do the 40+ race. I arrived about ten minutes before the start… too late. I stuck around and shot the breeze with my fellow cycling brethren and over the course of two hours, managed to talk myself out of doing the P/1/2 race. I was at the end of a recovery week, so I used that as my excuse. I didn’t really feel like doing it anyway and if my head isn’t into it, experience has told me that it’s best to stay away if you’re not feeling the love.
My main objective in doing these crazy roadie events is to get some good quality training in and finish with the main group while keeping it rubber side down. If the opportunity to help Grand Master Lou get a good finish safely presents itself, I’ll gladly help out. I got an awesome workout in and managed to keep myself off the floor… mission accomplished.

A quick word about my equipment. The Orca… the more I ride it, the more I love it. Race weight is right at 16 lbs, which is a huge help in how responsive it is. The stiffness of the frame also contributes to the responsiveness. I hit the throttle and the bike almost squirts out from under me! High speed cornering is like a thrill ride. The frame is so well balanced that I get no sensations of discomfort while flying around corners. I also got hooked up with a sweet pair of Louis Garneau CFS-150 shoes. I had to bake them in the oven at 150 for fifteen minutes and then wear them for another fifteen to get the custom fit. I decided, while baking them, that I would garnish them with a couple pair of my dirty cycling socks to further the custom-ness. Not sure about you, but it’s the first time that I’ve ever had to bake a pair of my shoes in the oven! After a few break-in rides, the shoes are the bomb! No hot spots, no sleepy feet, super light weight, comfortable and Grand Master Lou, the fashion king, told me that I’m starting to look like a true roadie. If I’m starting to look like a roadie, I can assure all of you that it is purely by accident.

Next up is the first dirty double of the season. Psycowpath #2 at Swanson, always a big race, on Saturday. Followed by IMBCS #2 at Camp Ingawanis on Sunday. Stay tuned for the 411 on both.

Thanks for reading,


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