Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sun, Feb 13

The 2011 Early Bird Series in Fremont wrapped up today with an actual race that counts towards your ranking. This series of training crits and clinics, held throughout the first several weekends every year, provides both newcomers and more experienced riders alike a refresher on racing skills. We rookies certainly benefited from the various drills, and today was the day to put everything learned into this final race.

The turnout of Pen Velo riders in the 45+5 category was bigger, compared to prior weekends. We had six riders in the somewhat smaller than expected field of 24 competitors. Before the race, my team mates decided behind my back (how could they ?) that they would support me and another team mate at getting a shot at the podium. Bike racing is a team sport, and often, you have to sacrifice your ambitions for someone who might have a better shot at placing well. So it was lucky me today. As "usual", I tried to stay close to the front, and actually spent most of the time in the top 5, with one team mate pulling at the front for several laps. Last lap, last turn, I saw two other team mates zooming by me. I guess I was in awe for a moment too long, before I latched on, and tried to stay in contact with that lead train. Maybe a gear too low, I was pedaling at probably 250rpm (at least that's what it felt like ;-)), and was passed by few other people. These two team mates went on to place 1st and 2nd, while I hung onto 10th place. Goal accomplished, although in hindsight, I should have done a little better. But no complaints, as it was another crash-free race. Only one other team mate in the earlier 30-44+5 category hit the street, after a rider behind him touched his wheel, which took him out. A bent wheel, road rash, torn lycra, and the statement to never race criteriums again, were fortunately the only outcome. It can always be worse.

The next race is in two weeks, the Snelling Road Race, a 48-mile race in the middle of nowhere. This will be a new experience, after mostly racing criteriums. New experience, new fun. 

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