Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Seward Park Race 6/18 - Nth Place

(This post is a few days late, e.g. it's about the race from last Thursday)

After doing the big 600k + commute over the weekend, I was tentative about doing Seward only five days later, but also excited. I felt about as fresh as I could after a 425-mile weekend and a few days off the bike, and just wanted to see if I could do it or not.

One thing I noticed on the way down, was that after de-converting the Ciocc back into a race bike (remove fender, lights, dynohub, B17 seat) I realized I forgot to move the seatpost back up. Weird how much taller a Brooks B-17 is compared to my Bianchi race saddle. That 1cm of space gone was noticeable, but I didn't feel like messing with it so I let it be.

The Race

The race got off after the usual pre-race talk, with the usual jokes ("Please don't make aggressive moves sideways, only forwards. Some of you will attack off the back, and that's OK." Something like that, I'm not doing his jokes justice!), and a reminder that "this is not the world championships." Apparently some people forget that it's just a training race that doesn't even count towards upgrading. So all that's left is to have fun, train, and compete a little while you're at it.

Right off the bat an unattached rider (I think it was Jordan, who I just met last week) went off the front, with a vengeance. Before we knew it he was almost 1/2 lap up ahead of us, but nobody gave chase. With 14 laps to go it was only a matter of time he'd be caught, I figured.

Nothing wrong with going off the front early, especially in a training race, that's what it's for. I think it'd be fun, but I'm not sure I could recover enough to get back in the pack after an effort like that. I've ridden the course solo and it feels way slower without the draft, then again I didn't have 40 people chasing me.

He stayed off the front for another four laps or so, with each lap we could see him slowly getting closer and closer, reeling him in. Another unattached rider bridge up to him, but once the prime lap came I think the upped pace and the rider who bridged (was that Mark?) was barely beat at the line for the prime. But nice job on the attempt! Makes me tired just thinking about going off the front.

After the group was together again, it was relatively smooth sailing from there, though on the second to last lap (or was it last?) I got stuck behind a slowing rider and had the whole pack come around me.. By the time I realized it I was sitting at the back, at the bottom of the hill! Dammit, that's the worst place to be if you want to move around people on the climb. I seem to be able to move up on the climb, as long as there's room (which there usually isn't).

A pic of me (blue helmet) hanging in the pack, thinking about how I'm glad this isn't a 35-hour ride, just a 25-minute one!

The surge went a little earlier than I would have liked (what else is new?), and I wasn't in a great position when it happened (e.g. behind 10 or so riders). Still, I went with it and pushed as hard as these little legs could, passing a few riders on the uphill, and one or two more as they sat up near the line. At some point it doesn't make sense to even try to get 10th as opposed to 9th, but at the time you're just thinking of doing the best you can.

Here's a shot of the winner - I'm somewhere just behind this little pack that broke away from the main pack for the surge:

And then there I am (blue helmet, black/white jersey) sailing in for 8th or 9th. It might as well be 30th place, but it was a great workout.

Lots of pics from the 4/5 race (and the other ones too) on smugmug, thanks to Beki.

David from the PI's Velocity blog captured some video snippets from the 4/5 race - from looking at the vid I think I got 7th. He also shot vids of the 3/4's & 1/2/3's.

Talked to Rob after the race about our Ciocc bikes - pretty rare to see that brand, especially in races. And his is actually a classic (straight-tubed) model with lugs and everything, nice! He was at Ballard a few weeks ago as well, always fun to share war stories and different views of the epic crashes that we witnessed.

No comments: