Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Road Noise

Birchwood Cafe Road Race

I have expanded my bike racing to include road. I'm really just trying each kind of racing, Crit, Cross, Road, Mtb, ... Alley Cat .. Bandit.. Whatever

 We are gearing up like we would for a mountain race. We don't know anything about road racing. They shave their legs and all their gear matches. Mountain racers just get it done. We go out with gear we need or have and just kill ourselves to catch the guy in front of us without crashing into a tree or going blind with sweat. Roadies carry 2 water bottles and get new ones from a feeding station and throw the empty so the helpers can pick them up. My buddy Blake and I being total knobs didn't know this and packed on the water and Sports drink we need to ride hard for the listed 48 miles race. Well, to say everyone knew we were clueless. The one thing Roadies underestimate is how much harder Mountain racing is. We can go out and ride fast on a road and look like dorks in our hydration packs and still stay up front. I don't see any one of them out in the woods. It sounds like I'm beating up on all roadies but we race Cat 5 (the worst) and everyone that snickered at our packs was Cat 5 and had nothing on us when it came to the finish line.

 This is the starting line. We get a motorcycle lead out to pace like Indy Car

 Blake and I are near the back. We find the riding very easy but we don't have any clue what to expect and we don't want to waste energy and fall off the back and ride poorly. So we do what we know, hide out in the back and watch what's going on.

 Everyone is close but it's not bad. One crash takes two riders to the ground about 22 miles an hour. It sounds horrible.  The motorcycle (Ref) is still behind us helping direct traffic if needed and he sees to it the riders get help. I got rubbed twice, once from behind. A rider touched me and was able to pull away without crashing himself and anyone else. The other touch was close to the end when the sprinting was getting punchy. All the riders are starting sprints and feeling out the other riders' speed and willingness to chase. On one sprint we are going about 30 mph and it's handlebar to handlebar. I move 6 inches left to avoid crossing wheels with the rider in front of me. Wheel to wheel is maybe 8 inches and we'll hauling. I hear "MIDDLE!" so I know I'm closing the gap that rider wants as he moves up. I didn't know he was filling in a gap during the sprint. We touch shoulders and I roll off as soft as I can. When you first touch, both of you lean on the other, you have to roll off and re-balance without over correcting and crashing into someone else like the first two riders to crash. Same thing happened to them but they didn't roll off well.
We all make the sprint to the finishing line. It's line to line riders and zero room to pass. I nose in and get 6th place by 200th of a second of 32 riders. 13 riders cross the line in 1 second.
Blake got blocked and can't move up. I got blocked from a full charge that could have put me higher.

Road is just a fast group ride. I may not do any more. I'm looking forward to Cyclocross racing so all this experience will help. Crits are a blast so I'll do those from time to time.