Monday, May 05, 2008

Middle Ring Sandbag Contest

Mileage: 388
Days: 35
Remaining: 55
Average Daily Mileage: 11.1

This weekend I raced in GHORBA's "Big Ring Challenge" at Double Lake. I wasn't ever in my big ring. It was my first race in 11 years. Debi and Mary came along, lured by promises of paddling around the lake in a canoe. That didn't happen, but they hung out and did their best to become bike hippie-groupies. Here I am at the start line. I wore a normalish shirt (light blue) since I think bike jerseys look horrible.

The race was two laps of an 8-mile course. I raced men's beginner 30-39. It turned out that the most important part of the race was done on the computer. Those who pre-registered got to line up in the order in which they registered. Those poor slobs (like me) who registered same-day got to line up behind them. The first 700 feet were on pavement where you could in theory sprint for position. In reality there were 38 riders starting in my group so we mostly just tried to avoid hitting each other. Once on the trail it was like a giant paceline. I just ate the dust from the guy in front of me for 4-5 miles. It was a slowish pace, but I could see about 20 riders ahead of me so I wasn't in a hurry to pass. The trail was tight and there were few passing opportunities for the casual racer. After about 5 miles people began to spread out and faster riders began to come up from behind. Finally I finished my first lap, where I sprinted to pass two slower riders in the huge sand pit. They got bogged down but I shot right through (left).

The second lap was more fun. I followed some people, but it was much easier to pass and the course was less crowded. In the end I placed 19th out of 38. Not bad considering I've been riding for about 35 days!

Mary was convinced I had won the race. She told everyone I won, and I wasn't about to correct her. She was pretty heartbroken, though, when we didn't win a prize during the after-race raffle.

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