Sunday, March 14, 2010

Welcome Back

Well racing season 2010 is under way. The log's title is a little misleading since I no longer have the Delta Surveying Services team. Thanks to the the guys who raced last year, but the opportunity came along to join an upstart team with a lot of experienced racers, and I decided to join Exposition Wheelmen. Delta is also one of the sponsors. We spent the winter riding together whenever the weather was decent (if you call the low 20's decent) and have finally started racing together.

Cyclocross season ended with me feeling fairly satisfied with my results. I ended up 20th out of about 100, 45+ masters guys in the Verge series. I earned enough points in the smaller cross races to upgrade to cat 2 and I also upgraded to cat 1 (expert) on the mountain bike. I've been training pretty hard over the winter with some fairly simple goals for the season. I want to be "in the game" in mountain bike races, and would like to be able to get some high placings on the road. I need to improve my riding skills on the mountain bike, but that takes time. You can get yourself in good shape, but the technical skills only come by pushing the limits and really practicing the skills. It's really hard to ride fast on a mountain bike for a long time. It's super tough! On the road I have to learn to race smart. Road racing is really hard too, but on the road, if you ride smart, you can use the other riders to save energy, but you have to make it happen. You can't just pedal along anywhere on the road and expect to be successful!
Cyclocross is going to be my main focus. I want to get in the top 10 of the series next year. I know it doesn't sound like much of a goal, but most of the guys in the top 10 have been racing bikes for years and are really far ahead of the rest of the field. I love racing cross and am committed to training hard for that goal.
I've done the last two weeks races at the Bethel spring series, racing in the cat 3/4 field. We have the most team mates in that field, and the most experienced racers. These guys really try to race smart. Our team mate Aki Sato is the race promoter as well as good sprinter and long time racer. We're all racing for him. My job has been to ride at the front and chase break away riders in order to keep the field together. Last week I did OK for the first 10 laps or so, but after that I really wasn't very helpful. That was my first race with the cat 3's, so I was just seeing what it was all about. Today I feel like I did a much better job. I chased down 4 or 5 breaks including two riders who tried to get away with two laps to go. After recovering at the back of the field for one lap, I managed a pretty good surge at the finish to get up to mid pack. My main problem is just lack of experience riding in a fast pack and being able to remain calm in tight quarters and taking and holding a wheel. I'm not going to rush this. I want to get my fitness level up higher and let the experience come.
Enough rambling. I try to keep this short and will use it mostly as a diary to reflect on the races. I really don't think anybody missed reading about the number of intervals I did on the trainer over the winter. Next week, 4 of us head to North Carolina for a week of hill training before the big Battenkill race on April 10th. Later.