|Views like this or ride my bike? It's a toss up.|
So the time comes for Cherry Roubaix, which served as the Michigan State Road Race Championship. The course is a fun one, with several climbs over the 15 mile and change loop. This being my first Cat 4 race, I was excited to race around "less sketchy" people; however there were still 60+ in my race. This made for some nervous situations as I attempted to stay in the front part of the race. The weather was great, right near 70, partly cloudy but with a very noticable wind.
The first lap was mostly uneventful as I was stuck in the middle half of the field. A few people tried breaks, but were reeled back in rather quickly. I just sat in and waited to see how it panned out. Second lap was more of the same, with some good efforts up the hills and then lallygagging around. The field wasn't breaking up and it was apparent everyone waits around for the sprint in Cat 4 as well. On the third lap I decided I would try to get a break up the climb by Sugarloaf. After all with a field that big, there would be SOMEONE that would want to go with me. As we turned left I put in a solid effort to get to the front and catch up to one guy that had gaped a bit. As I went by him I said, "let's go." After a few seconds I looked back and he had sat up to let the field catch him. I decided to push on solo and made it up the climb with a few hundred meter gap. The gap grew for a bit, then they pulled me back in about 2-3 miles later.
After that the field was soft pedaling. I sat in, near the front for a while to recover and a guy went off the front during a section of rollers, but was chased down. As it was apparent everyone wanted a sprint finish, I was thinking "screw that" and decided my best option was to just keep trying to ride off the front and maybe get someone to work with, despite there being only 5 or so miles to go. A couple times I gaped, but no one went with me and then I was reeled in. The last 3 or so miles were downhill with a tailwind and I was on the front hammering. At one point I gaped the field, but had to sit up as there were slow cars ahead (not that I think it would have affected the result)
I was on the front until the last left turn, which left about 300m to the finish. I was pretty spent and wasn't about to contend a sprint finish. Besides the fact that my sprinting abilities are nothing to brag about, they also make me nervous in a field that big. So as everyone pulled around me on the final turn, I sat up and pedaled in, finishing somewhere in 25th ish place (I have yet to see the full results). Not what I was hoping for, but looking back, I doubt anything I could have significantly changed.
Doing this race just reassured my my slight ill feelings toward road racing. Don't get me wrong, they're fun; but I hate the BSing around and everyone being pu**ies and waiting for the sprint. Sorry if that offends you, but that's how I feel. To me it feels like a "less glorious" win. A feeling that I can only compare to Pre and Bowerman and the "front running" debate in "Without Limits". Or the classic "getting High Schooled". What it means that I either need to get a team or other people I know to work with; or just work on my Sparticus TT abilaties and be able to ride away from the field. Just more learning experiences for next year I guess.
On another note it was cool to see Dave Ide (a 55+ Master's stud, who puts the hurt on me on the Tuesday "Fast Guys" ride) sprint for the W. It was also cool to see my lil sis Mara (more commonly known as Road Weasel) do her first road race. Although it wasn't a super enjoyable experience for her as she rode solo for most of the race, if she keeps riding she'll be able to hang in there. It was also fun to have Daemian, Ben D. Ben P. and James participate as well. (Yes that's 3 Bens if you were counting)
|The Road Weasel cranks to the finish|
My plan now is to take a week or two off, to let me knee healing catch up as that is still bothering me somewhat. Then I'll hit the MTB training and hopefully get a cross bike and get some experience in that this September. We'll just have to see.