Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Race City

If you are going to have a race, what better place than Race City, USA. AKA Mooresville. Of course it's called Race City because almost all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are based there. But it's a nice place for a bike race too. The course covered four city blocks, so it was a nice rectangle, with four 90 degree corners. Slightly downhill from the start line to the first turn, then a little more than slightly downhill all the way to turn three where all of the downhill suddenly turned into a 5% uphill grade. All of the descent was gotten back between turns three and four.

Here is the start of the men's Cat 4 race

Cat 4 men going through turn one

The start of my race.

Since almost all my riding is on open rural roads the only 90 degree corners I get to take at speed are in Fogleman Acres. They are part of every ride I take. There are four of them and they are taken at around 23 mph. Getting through the corners of the race course didn't pose much of a problem, but not ever riding in groups meant I wasn't comfortable going into at least the first one in the pack. So, I simply went to the back at the start.

Me being drafted

At the end of the first lap me and a couple of other riders were only about thirty or forty feet from the back of the main group. Thinking I could get to that group on the downhill back straight before they got any further away, I passed the two riders in front of me. I was wrong. Worse than that, now I had my main competitor for the win on my wheel. After a couple of laps it was apparent that he was happy to stay there. He also told me he didn't think he'd make it at that speed. I didn't say anything, because I was breathing too hard to talk, so I knew for sure if I did make it, I'd finish second. If he could talk and I couldn't three laps into the race, I was a sitting duck.

Now, I pay attention when I watch the races on TV, so I did the only thing I could. I started slowing down. I had to get him in front of me so I could rest a bit. It took a couple of laps, but finally I almost stopped at the top of the climb and he didn't really have any choice but to pass me. Finally I had a chance to get my breathing and heart rate back under control. I stayed behind him for two laps, then halfway down the back straight I accelerated, went all the way to the other side of the road and passed him one more time. When I looked back, which wasn't until I crested the hill leading onto the front straight, I had about a ten foot gap. From that point on I pulled away. It turned out I had made the move at exactly the halfway point in the race. I am not sure how big a gap I had by the end, but I think it might have been the entire length of the straight. If I had known that during the race I'd have slowed a bit, but now I know I can go at maximum effort for a full thirty minutes.

Anyway, I won.

And I'd like to do it again....

1 comment:

Glenn_in_MA said...

awesome race...way to go!!