Each year on the 4th of July weekend, we the people of the Roanoke Cycling Organization do our USCF duty and present three races for your skinny-tired pleasure called ID3. The three events are the Mill Mountain Hill Climb and two crits, one Saturday and one on Sunday.
The days started early - barrier fence and barricades had to be set up, trusses had to be erected, course marshals put in place, and a million other things had to be done each day to pull it all off. I am amazed at the commitment of the folks who surrounded me throughout the weekend. I know I worked my tail off, but what I did paled in comparison to these other superhumans.
So the work part is boring...set stuff up, make sure everyone has a good racing experience...tear stuff down. Repeat. The racing is what was really exciting.
I jumped into the Mill Mountain Hill Climb (sponsored by Jefferson Surgical) on Friday and felt like someone ripped off mt legs and stuck them down my throat, making my lugs burn as if they were full of the fires of hell itself. Other than that it was fun. We will not speak about results. I don't like to make excuses, but when you've been riding stronger than you ever have all season and give it everything you have, you would expect that the USCF officials could get your time right as a courtesy. 'Nuff said..I'll shut up about that.
When Saturday rolled around I was excited to take a break from my duties and do a bit of racing myself. Since I'm still relatively new to road racing, I race as a CAT 5 (but not for much longer!)
The trouble with being a CAT 5 is that all the local boys who don't actually "race" (but are still fast as greased moose poop) show up. When I upgrade to CAT 4, the ability level of the racers will be a bit more evenly matched.
We assemble at the line, some jittery, some calm. The whistle blows and we hit it. With seven turns per lap, this was a very technical crit course. Yenski said "stay in the lead group", so I did. Gordon, Steve and I set the pace at the front for the first lap, then the second, then the third. We kept it up. Lapped riders started appearing in front of us as we blasted around the course.
I was very happy with my fitness as I was able to hang on and do a few pulls even late into the race. My trouble started with three laps to go when I chose to pass some lap traffic on the inside of a turn while the other fellas went high. I didn't make it and was trapped in slower lap traffic. I worked back a few spots, but was still tangled up too much to make a good run at the finish sprint. I finished at the back of the lead pack in 9th of 27 (although I think the friendly USCF officials counted at least two lapped riders as finishing ahead of me). Again, no complaints.
When it was over, I chatted with the awesome fans that lined the course and cheered their brains out the whole time! Thanks folks! You'll see me in more skinny-tired racing action this summer and fall, but there's still lots of mountain bike racing to go too!