This morning I went to Leschi and met up with the Recycled Cycles Racing Team, for their annual "meet the team" ride. I raced last year (my first) unattached - but I'd like to take things to the next level, and part of that is surrounding myself with people that know more than me about racing. (And of course people that can go faster than me too!)
These "meet the team" rides are slow/social rides around the south end of the lake that allow you to meet people and get a feel for the team. (All the local teams hold them in Sept/Oct/Nov)
I decided on Recycled Cycles for a number of reasons, mostly team size, race turnout rates, headquarters location, and frequency of team rides. Oh and the kit is pretty sweet too. I have friends on a few local teams, including this one, so that was also a factor.
After a few introductions at Pert's Deli in Leschi and a pre-ride talk, the group of 30 or so racers set off south on familiar roads towards Seward Park and beyond. A no-drop ride, though of course a few hotheads (including me) attacked a bit on that one little hill in Newcastle on the Lake Wa Loop.
I recognized one bike/rider in particular on the team, since he was rockin' down-tube shifters all last season (and sticking in until the end too). Though I forgot his name he'll be good company in the races next year for sure. And I was surprised to see a pair of full Honjos too - similar to SiR, this is a group that strongly encourages a fender/flap at least in the rear.
Talked to a few more guys on the squad, and they all seemed down to earth and eager to have new riders in the peloton. The team already has some strong 4/5's for sure - I witnessed some of them last year - and hopefully I can add to the mix next season.
Of course, I didn't see a ton of team tactics in the 4/5's last year, and in general "they" say you really don't see real tactics until the Cat 3's.. but still it will be good to ride with this group weekly - and get to know how they ride/race before we get into the mix.
What About The Big Rides? (brevets)
I'm sure everyone's on the edge of their seat to find out if this means I'm breaking up with big rides - rest assured I still plan on doing at least a brevet series (200k-600k) next year, and maybe the Cascade 1240k.
There are things I like about the rando rides: people, challenge, scenery, etc - and things I don't like: lack of sleep, and the feeling after about 20+ hours on the bike of "what the fuck am I doing out here?"
The nice thing about racing is that you can still get plenty of "challenge," just a different type of it - instead of trying to stay awake after 30+ hours on the bike, in racing the challenge might be clawing back onto a peloton going 28+ mph when you're already red-lining. Instead of an upset stomach from eating on the road for more than 24 hours, you might feel the burn of lactic acid being released in your thighs during a sprint - but you still push through it.
The same spirit of camaraderie and challenge is there - just in different form. So here's to the pursuit of challenge (or even fun), no matter what form you like it in.
I'll be sure to post pics of the full team kit (jersey, jacket, bib shorts, hat, socks, gloves) once I get my hands on it..
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Lately I've been riding slow, on purpose. The idea is to build up "base" for next year, and add intensity when it's closer to the beginning of the 2010 season. (Also to shed a few pounds between now and then)
It's nice since all spring/summer I was trying to focus on sprinting and intervals, basically the stuff that makes you gasp for air and hope your heart isn't going to explode.
So instead of suffering on the bike, right now I'm just tooling around and taking in the scenery. Dusted off the Surly Pacer (with full fenders), it's the perfect tool for wet & windy PNW fall days.
And they say "train heavy, race light" anyway right?
I like when the roads are wet and the skies are dry - with the full fenders my feet stayed nice and toasty. Ahh, fall!
I haven't done any distance-type riding since the 600k back in September, been taking a break from that too. I figure next year will be busy enough will a full race calendar, in addition to attempting to qualify for PBP 2011. Ride on.