It was raining in the morning, and with the roads all wet I figured it would be best to take the cyclocross bike to work. It had cleared up by the afternoon, so I thought I would ride the TNR with this bike anyway, and see how it goes.
On the ride out, I could tell that this would be harder with wider tires (700×28 grooved) compared to my usual 700×23 race tires, but I’ve seen a few others on larger than 23 tires that do just fine so I figured I should be okay on these. We grouped up at Ringwood @ Midline, determined the route, and set off.
Midline starts with some slight ups and downs, and already I was having a hard time staying on the front. The main issue was this bike’s gearing. I’m used to 53×11 at the top end, but this one only goes to 46×12, which is quite a difference. I was often shifting into the highest gear on descents, and wishing I had another ring to jump to. On one of the rollers, I lost the front, and desperately tried to get back on but just couldn’t. I was still holding on though, not loosing much time, and thought I could catch up when we hit Hurd Rd.
Hurd is my painful enemy – a fairly steep and long hill that often results in me panting and feeling like I should just give up if I can’t stay on the front. I’ve bailed on Hurd in the past, from chain issues and blowing all my energy too early, so I was really hoping to stick to it this time. By this point, the front group had gotten far enough ahead that I could no longer see them, so catching up seemed impossible but I wanted to try. About 80% up the hill, I just lost all my energy, which I thought was because of the hill. When I got to the top, I felt really hot, and realized that after all that effort, I wasn’t sweating at all. Uh oh…
This is when I remembered that my mug at work hadn’t moved all day. Somehow I went the whole day without drinking anything, which is pretty rare. I remember drinking about 12oz right before leaving, but after wearing a layer too much up the initial Ringwood lead-up and sweating then, I was just out. On the cyclocross bike, I’ve only got one waterbottle holder currently, so I didn’t have a spare bottle with water either. I kept pedaling to the turn, and at that point I realized that this could get really bad if I kept racing. I stopped on the side of the road as a few racer passed shortly after. Where the heck the rest of the group was beats me… I think the tail really fanned out and was far behind the lead group of 10 or so.
I turned around to head home, but with no water I was taking it easy. Unfortunately, this was a bad night to roll home slowly since it was getting cold out quickly. Once the sun set, it was nearing 40F, and I stopped to put on my gloves, jacket and hat. I was freezing, but made it back to the office before grabbing a ride home.
It was a bad day for me to race, but I certainly learned a lot about my mistakes.