Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sat, Feb 26

What a day. Got up at 6:30am to literally ride/rise to the occasion: the 26th edition of the Snelling Road Race. Snelling is probably only known to three groups of people: its residents (all 341 of them), the Google Street View Team, and the bike racing community. As a member of that last group, I headed out the door this morning to take that 100-mile drive to this little town, in order to participate in this 50-mile race. While earlier forecasts told about record-low temperatures and rain, we were actually blessed with low to mid-40's and sunshine the whole day. The race in the 35+5 category started at 12:55pm, with a neutralized ride of close to 3 miles. We rode through that little town, with people waving at us. It felt special, and without sounding elitist, nice to be recognized in a moment like this. Our motorcycle referee continued to guide us out of the town, and then the race was on. In the beginning miles, it started to feel like a club ride, as the pace was not as high as I expected. After a couple of miles, there were some inclines, and this is when I decided to accelerate at a climb. Nobody did follow me, so the choices were "wait" or "keep going". I opted for the latter, and went into cruise mode, and quickly I got a good gap on the rest of the group. It's normally only a matter of time in any bike race, until a breakaway gets caught, so I had no illusions about hanging on to that lead for the remaining 45 miles. The motorcycle ref pulled up to me at one time and said that I got a 20-second gap on the pack. With being by yourself in the wind, and not wanting to waste all your energy in the first of four 12-miles laps, I just waited until I was integrated back into the peloton shortly before end of lap 1. I was still feeling good after this escape. The following 2 1/2 laps were rather uneventful, except for another breakaway of 2 riders that apparently succeeded, until our race was kind of neutralized to let a women team pass, and shortly after, probably Cat1-3 men teams. The women ahead of us slowed down, and therefore us too. The ref neutralized our race to let the women advance. It took several minutes, where we just sat up and cruised, before we were let go just about 2km before the finish. At the last corner, with about 300m to go to the hill finish, I was probably among the top 10, and while I passed two other riders, more others flew by me. As of right now, official results are not available yet, but I think I finished among the top 15. As always, I thought that I should / could have done better, but I'm content with today's achievement.

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