2012 Lowell 50 Spring Edition (28 miler)

It was a cold, brisk morning for a bike race. Not quite freezing temps, but mid-high 30's. With a slight breeze and 13-15mph movement, it would seem lots colder.

I started my warm-ups cruising up and down Covered Bridge Road with my head sock on under my helmet but even under the light cadence, I was starting to heat up, so wisely I took it off before race time. There were many Wheelmen in attendance racing, both race team and regular club members, so that was cool - showing our presence in team colors. I'm learning (and retaining) a lot of names now.

I tried positioning myself near the front of wave two (28 mile riders) instead of near the back like usual. I guess before, with starting near the rear, I like to think I'm avoiding conflict and a potential crash. But I realized, it's actually worse back there. At the front at least you can keep up and get less slingshot/rubberbanding action of the peloton in regards to speed. It's a rush riding with (actual) fast riders for at least the first couple of miles. After the first climb I was passed by (seemingly) everyone. Again, like last week, at least I never got off the bike to walk even one step of the race. (I hope I can start soon to not make this an "accomplishment" and just a normal thing.) HA

Within the first 5 miles, I tried latching on to several pacelines in the first paved section (yes, it happens in mountain bike races too). I just couldn't hold on for the long haul. Kept getting dropped. So, like every other race I've been in, I usually end up riding the course by myself with no one, nothing to battle except myself and the wind. If anything, it gives me time to think, time to talk myself into pushing harder, time to take fluids/gels. I have a really hard time finding someone close to my pace of riding during events like this (slow with erratic periods of crazy-fastness).

I was leap frogging a guy wearing Freewheeler Bike Shop gear all day. We should have worked together, but we were still too opposite. He on a cross bike, too fast on the paved flats, me on my mountain bike too fast on the gravel decents. He walked up hills, I slammed the granny gear most of the time and every so slightly pulled away. Beat him by a minute or two. In the end we met up for a bit at the finish line, he told me he was trying to keep a hold of my wheel, but couldn't do it. That made me feel good at least. (And no, he wasn't some 350 lb gorilla riding a 50 lb steel Walmart bike!)

Overall the race was fun, so a couple of positives came out of the event. I certainly don't go out to win anything at these things, but to gain experience, fitness and friends through participating. Again, nutrition was spot on, fluids good. Feet and extremeties warm. Just gotta work on continuing to lose weight and eat better in order to gain speed. It's a daily battle for myself, really wish I could get that together. I don't understand counting calories, it shouldn't be that hard. Something I have to learn I guess.

I was around 10-12 minutes off my time in last fall's race, which I guess is not too bad considering I had 6 months of decent mileage and riding under my belt. Still more work to do. Lots of it.

Time to get in some road riding and mileage soon and will probably sign up for my first Time Trial on April 15.

Official Results:
18/22 riders, Men age 30-39

I had (actual) fans Saturday! It was great to have them there.
(sorry it was so cold guys.)

There was an actual finish line this time. Complete with timing chips, etc. I was pretty tired at this point. I had been hammering away for the last few miles straight hoping to finish strong. There were a bunch of photographers near the covered bridge on the way back that should have gotten some stellar shots of me rocking the Blue Bomber at high-speeds in aero-position. Hope they turn out.

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