Second race of the season. This time no major mistakes, except for maybe not being quite fast enough. But that’s a deeper issue.
Damn fast fun, though.
The “E” division is essentially for novices, and seven of us lined up this morning at 8 a.m. for the KY Crit. The course was about a mile, a loop around a business park near my office on the north end of town. Saturday, pretty much no one around except the security guard at the U.S. Forest Service building (“This is federal property. You can’t park here.”) and a bunch of grumpy landscapers annoyed that the “two-wheeled idiots” were making it hard for them to pile a bunch of rocks on a slope of dirt.
It was really a six-person race, with the seventh – a determined teenage girl – off the back immediately and riding her own race. After the debacle of the start three weeks ago on Route 6 (careful readers will recall I got dropped before I’d even started pedalling), my primary goal was to go out with whoever went out the fastest. That ended up being all of us, and we hung together as a clump of six for the entire race.
My secondary goal was to be cautious in the corners, not being an experienced racer. Every time around the course, we’d end up flying down the back straight (see map above) at close to 30 mph, then have to brake into a 90 degree left. Every time, I’d swing wide, fall off the back through the corner and have to hammer to get back on. Then another hard left, off the back, hammer into an uphill witih a wind. This was not optimal, but ended up working fine, and I ended up hanging onto the back the of the train the entire race.
A couple of times, one or another rider would try to attack on the uphill right before the “S” (I believe the bike boys call it a “chicane”), but none of the attacks stuck and we always ended up back together. Until, of course, the last lap.
I know when the attacks came pretty much everybody out there was stronger than me, but I just grabbed a wheel and went on the final run through the S, moved up into fourth place, but couldn’t hold it and ended up in fifth by half a bike length or so.
Average speed for the race – 22 mph.
I stuck around for part of the D race, then came home, changed, and took Mom and Dad out to watch the end of the C’s and the B’s.
The interesting difference was not so much the speed – the D’s were averaging perhaps 24, the B’s 25 – but the bike handling. We sat our lawn chairs on the inside of the second bend of the “S” on the front side of the course, and those B riders were flying through without even touching their brakes. The only slowing came when they backed off of the pedals. Amazing.
Your touching the brakes is also a function of the bike, John.
Those squirrely racing bikes have no trail, and you always have to think about rider input into the bike. Get on your other bike, the one that has a rake, and ride it soon. Feel the difference? Hammer into a corner. Did you think about it? Probably not.
You’ll be fine. You will always get better, not worse. Your next crit, take a turn or two with only one finger on one brake (a curve where you won’t take out someone else).
Go git ’em.
This is one area where doing some fixed gear riding really helps. 🙂 You have no choice but to pedal through thte corners, and you learn how far over you can lean without hitting a pedal. Turns out that it’s pretty darn far. I know, you don’t have a fixed, but when they put that track in, it will be time for another bike.