I plan to ride the course on Thursday with a much stronger rider. I had to ride it to determine my status. Having the confidence to do it again is lacking even if I think I may actually be in better physical condition and my new bike is about 4 pounds lighter. Tough decision, but I'm sure I will make the right one.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Well it is that time of year again. Here is Nemo before riding in the Joe Martin Stage Race last May. I must say that I certainly bit off a little more than I could chew, but I did finish the first two stages, the time trial, and the road race and moved up 5 places because 5 guys didn't finish the road race. Just to finish was an accomplishment. I was dead last but had to ride alone in a bad head wind with about 2000 feet of climbing in all that day. It is the same course and it seems every year is different weather wise. It isn't so much the pain of the hills, though they are very hard, but the wind on the top is always difficult.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Well, Swedie did her first race. Coming off a severe respiratory infection, I tried to re-con the course on Wednesday after doing a 6 hour stint at the factory. The ride started in a very strong head wind with 30 mph gust and 51 degrees. My throat, lungs, and bronchial tubes were screaming with pain as I tried in vain to catch the rest of the group after blowing up on the first long incline accentuated by a little steep section on chip and seal. The group either stopped or I caught them after six miles. I rode aways and caught them again after stopping to blow my nose and get some water. I was in such great pain, I had to tell them that I was turning back. I rode back with a fierce wind at my back which was a nice reprieve. I later chased down the group in the opposite direction in my car on my way home. I had to go home. My friends thought that I might be catching pneumonia as I was totally wasted at dinner time. I stayed in bed for the next few days until volunteering for the race setup on Saturday. Race day arrived on Sunday. My lower back was somehow tweaked from moving tables and then standing in one spot filing race numbers. It seemed my body was out to get me. It had rained heavily the day and night before and the temperature was 33 degrees at the start of the Cat 5 30+ race. I was determined to ride. We all noted the flakes of snow and ice pelting us as we left. Knowing not to over do it on the first section, I didn't try to kill myself to be with the peleton heading up the long grade. I watched as the entire group seemed to stall at the little incline at the end. I tried to get into my own rhythm. After completing the first 6 miles I rode at my limit trying the catch the rider ahead. At one point I was blocked by a farm truck that was either trying to not hit a rider or a rider was blocking him. He kept slowing down almost to a stop as I waved at him to go. Finally he started moving and took a right turn into a drive way. I was close to catching the rider ahead until the truck blocked me. I tried in vein to catch the rider ahead and he was always just ahead of me, but just out of reach. The strong head wind lasted for half the distance of the race and I hardly noticed the freezing temps as my body heated up from my efforts. I rode in the drops most of the way trying to cross the gap. Either I didn't notice passing a rider or what happened, but after climbing the steepest hill in the race and going at my limit to the finish, it turned out that I wasn't last after all. I finished 43 out of 46 people. Two riders didn't finish, and I must have passed one rider not noticing. It was a day to suffer with the cold, the wind, rolling hills, and one nice steep hill at the end. But, with all my uncertainty, I completed my first year's goal. My bike worked flawlessly. It was rather glorious really. My biggest challenge is to get in the pack and hang on. My last two races, I have had to go alone. The race before the spring classic, 5 guys didn't finish, and this race, 2 guys didn't finish. Progress is the name of the game and enjoying the experience. Thank goodness for my bicycle. :-D