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I intended this to be my first "test" of the season and I wanted to see how my running training from the winter was translating into cycling performance. I hoped well but I had no idea. 31 miles later here's where things stand.
There were about 4 guys who were clearly Cat1 & 2 riders (I'm a 4). They went off the front after about 15 min and we never saw them again. They're on a different level then anyone else who showed up so I'm not worried about them yet. They're cyborgs.
Aside from them there were about 40 other people. It was my largest group ride sense the 2 crits I tried last summer so I had a lot to work on. In terms of moving around the pack I didn't do too badly. I didn't do anything too sketchy outside of the turns. I was patient with my attacks and confident about fighting for space in the pace lines.
About half-way we left the recreational riders and the women on our first series of short climbs leaving about 20 people. Then we went through some pretty twisting descents and I was WAY off the back of the group. It's harder when its your first time on a route but I am still not comfortable enough cornering hard on my bike to follow everyone else's line. I was pretty pissed with myself but tried to focus on improving my turns and I was able to bridge back up one things flattened out.On the next series of climb I knew we were getting near the end and I threw in some attacks. I've been working on what I call "cresting" - attacking off the top of a climb and I tried to do that as often as possible. We split the group a couple of times and they were able to chase us down till the climb on Upper Glencoe when we split and put some big time into them. From there it was only about a 10 min ride but we put a couple of minutes into our chase group. I was feeling pretty good this whole time.
I was with the final 3 guys with about a mile to go and working on my cornering as we were bringing it in and then my chain dropped!!!
I'm pretty sure I shook the county with my cursing on the side of the road as I had to stop to pull it back on. grrrr.
All in all it was a good ride. My friend Sterling from the Hopkins Team had a good showing as well coming in with the 3rd group (mine being 2nd to the cyborgs). Not miraculous but I was where I felt I should be. Afterwards I shot the shit with a lot of guys/girls. Nice people all around.
I'll end with some memorable quotes:
On a break with the last 4:
Manuel: "Do you have you're license?"Woman as she's driving off:
Me: Am I speeding officer?
Manuel: No I just don't think you're old enough to have your drivers license!
Me: I'm 23
Manuel: Shit, I'm 43!
"OK I'm going to go home and try to beat my kids to sleep"
Pulls away, stops, sticks her head out the window, yells
"...I mean get to bed before them"