Monday, August 9, 2010

3 weeks and 3 chances to inflict pain

I'm a bike racing whore. There. I admit it. If someone asks me to race - despite never having done an event - or a whole discipline - I'll likely say yes. Just don't try and get me into triathalon gear... yet. Such was the case a few weeks ago when a friend from the Velo de Mer group asked if I'd do a Team Time Trial. I had toyed with the idea last year, but never could get it on the schedule. This year I could - and did. I thought "hey, bolt on some clip-ons and don an aero helmet - and presto! I'm good to go. Well, our in house TT and Track pro, Mr. Jamie Ryan White would have none of it - and threw his tricked out factory KHS TT bike at me, and a spare set of wheels - as if the deep section front wheel and disk rear wheel with tubulars weren't enough...

So the day before the TTT I rode the crazy ass contraption around. All I could think was "WHOA - this thing flies!". Then I picked the gnats out of my teeth and got ready for the next days event. These machines are built to go fast. Sick fast. I was honestly taken aback by how fast it was! Comfortable? Not bad - but not a bike to be on for more than 45-60 minutes.

The event was the weekly ECV Wednesday Night TT - which every few weeks they throw a TTT in. All told about 11.5 miles - from the Hamilton / Wenham High School, up Route 1A, onto Route 133, then looping back on some steeper local roads. In the (1) pre-ride of the course we did, I thought it'd be a snap. Save a little for that last leg on the smaller / hilly roads, and presto! Done.

When our 4-man team lined up, and went off - things were fine. Well, for the first 5- minutes. Once out on 133, our 4th guy came off the group and I took a too long / too hard "pull". A few minutes later, at the limit, we turned onto the last leg and into a headwind and uphill. Now I detonated. All I could do was hang on and try and keep Shawn and Scott - two accomplished TT freaks - in sight. The problem was they NEEDED me to finish, as a teams' time was clocked when the 3rd guy went through, so we had to stay close. It took all I had - we did it, and was I cooked!

Of course, I want to do it again - and keep the team together and tight and be smarter...

Now, what to on the next Wednesday? How about line up with a field of stupid fast domestic pros and hammer head amateurs and race our asses off, around in 1 1/2 minute circles, in downtown Beverly? Cool! Sign me up. The Gran Prix of Beverly took place last Wednesday, and I lasted exactly 12 minutes before being "pulled" - which they do when you're so slow you are in danger of getting lapped. In the process I had fun - and pegged a 196 bpm heart rate. Yow! Haven't had it that high since 2005 when I did a maximum HR test with a coach... let's just say the race was wicked fast, the temps were scorching, and I was oddly juiced. The key is to survive a few more minutes than I did - then the survivors slow up a bit, take stock of the field, and race a more sustainable pace - until the sprint at the end.

Gran Prix Pic (courtesy ECV photographer - can't find link now)

The sprint at the end of "my race" - viewed from the sidelines as a spectator now - involved a big guy sprinting around a corner, clipping a pedal, and SMASHING a US Postal Service mailbox - bolted to a slab of concrete. He not only knocked it over - but sent it across the sidewalk! Good thing the ambulance was 25 feet away... Tim Johnson and a number of other local Pro's schooled the amateur group(s) and were fun to watch... in the end lapping the remaining field(s). So goes Criterium Racing...

Next up: Salem "Witch City" Crit this Wednesday, August 11th! Bring the beer stein - or the fast legs. I'll be riding down, killing it, then riding (limping?) home.


  1. That's two crits and a TTT in under an hour! You are way fast!

  2. LOL! No kidding. Fast as in rapidly approaching the old folks home...

  3. Not only that, but you looked cool doing it. ;-)