Friday, June 25, 2004

Thursday Night at Seward

Last night I went down to Seward Park for their weekly Thursday night criterium. Adding the 25 minute race to my ride home adds some good race training to my commute and brings the total ride to about 40 miles -- not bad for a Thursday evening. Unfortunately I haven't done as many of these as I hoped.

The course is a teardrop shape with one hill. The direction of the race switches every week and the direction definitely impacts the difficulty of the race. As we rolled off I realized we were going in the same direction as my very first race. I also remembered how the hill in that direction killed me. It made me a bit nervous, but I was still hoping for the best.

After the race settled into its pace and a few laps passed I realized I felt fine. I had no problem staying at the front of the pack and could move around the group as I wanted. This was a huge improvement from my first race.

As we started the final lap I was still with the front group and figured I could probably get a top 10 finish. As we rounded the back side of course and headed for the final climb to the finish the group was really flying and everyone was fighting to be in the best position for the sprint. We approached the bottom of the hill at 30+ mph to find 2 lapped riders in the middle of the hill. Riders in the group started calling out "riders up!" to let everyone know we were (very quickly) approaching lapped riders. Unfortunately the two riders didn't see us coming. People started yelling for them to get out of the way, which they did, but it was too late. As the sprint began the group swallowed the two riders and I heard that horrible sound of bikes and bodies hitting the ground. I hesitated for a moment caused myself to fall out of the top 10. Fortunately, I think everyone was ok.

Since I haven't raced in that direction since my first race it was a great reminder of how far I've come. I was thrilled to have seen a definite mark of progress.

There's no races on my schedule for the weekend. Some people are heading down to Oregon for the Elkhorn Classic. I'd love to participate, but this race is definitely out of my league. Most road races for people in my category are in the 30-50 mile range. This stage race includes both a 70 and 100 mile race, in addition to a time trial and criterium. Sounds fun, but I'm in no shape for that. Instead, I'll be doing the Flying Wheels ride with some friends.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will be able to do it next year. Go ahead and book your room at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City so you can hang out with your teammates in style. -md


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