Another successful year of racing completed! I certainly don’t judge success by the number of times that I won (only a few) but more about that I was able to race most weeks, mostly with improvements from week to week, and without crashing and burning.
I joined the Tuesday night races (TNR) a few years ago, and have been a solid “B” rider for a while. The gap between A and B was rather large last year, but for 2012 several of the races started as just one large group, if not split into mostly As with a smaller crowd of Bs. The races alternate between the flats of Brooktondale and the hills around Ringwood every other week, and I generally tried to mix up which group I went with.
On the flat 8 mile course, I would do the first lap with the A group and was often able to hold on around 10th – with one surprising finish in 4th on my best race. The As usually then go for a second lap with no break, so I wait up for the Bs on the second round. On the hills, I alternate between As and Bs each week, since the faster group drops me on the first major climb typically, and it’s just not fun to get dropped every time. Of note, I had a second place finish one day with the Bs on the new steel bike, loaded to about 35lb!
For the final race of the year, a coveted Pink Slipper gets signed by the winner, or a Brown Birkenstock for the B group. I had previously won the B group a few years ago, so I went with the faster guys. I was able to hold on until Hurd Rd, until the typical split happens when I can’t climb quite so fast for the whole hill. A small group of us formed and chased after the leaders now out of sight. It was a tough push to stay with this second group, and then a third bunch mixed in and a new split was formed. I was able to keep up reasonably well, and found myself in a good position going up Snyder. But some sneaky racers were catching up, and seemed to have fresher legs than me, so I slowed up to match with them and save up what I could for the final climb.
Jeremy and a newer racers whose name I don’t know formed a small line, and I kept on pushing with them. When the newer guy could no longer hold on, I blasted with everything I had left to try to stay with Jeremy. We both sprinted hard uphill, and I was able to hold on just a tiny bit longer. I think my overall place was around 8-10th, but hard to tell since I don’t know how many were in the lead group.
The race bike now gets put down for the winter, and the steel horse will be my steed for the winter. Until next year!