After four long weeks of doing endurance mountain bike races, I decided to go back to road racing this weekend. This past Saturday, I raced in the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association’s New Martinsville RR. I find that by doing an occasional road race my body seems to recover quicker from the rigorous endurance mtb races that I like to do, but at the same time I still get in a race and a good workout. I think doing a combination of road racing and mountain bike racing is something every racer should consider. Both types of racing are hard, but they are hard in different ways. Mountain bike racing requires a hard consistent individual effort. Road racing, on the other hand, requires surges of super hard efforts, but often allows for periods of recovery. By doing both types of racing, I think racers gain better overall fitness and become more well rounded riders, which can be especially useful during the fall cyclocross season.
Ironically, most of the New Martinsville, WV Road Race Course was held in Ohio. Additionally, the flattest part of this course was the mile or two we did at the start in WV, which is also ironic because most people think of WV as being hilly and consider Ohio to be mostly flat. The New Martinsville Course was certainly not flat by any means and basically went up and down during the entire length of the race, which was okay by me.
After we crossed the Ohio River and headed onto the first of the two 25 mile laps of the course, things started climbing. As a matter of fact, the first climb on the course was 3 miles long and it pretty much was the main determined factor of the race. Fortunately, I was one of the few that made the early separation during this climb and the only master rider to stay connected to the lead break away group. Our break away group stayed together until the end of the first lap, when SteveO and the eventual race winner separated themselves from the rest of the lead group. The two leaders then rode the next lap together, while the group I was in, which contained about 7 other riders, attempted to chase them down. By the end of the second 25 mile lap, everyone was pretty shattered from battling the strong winds with 40 mph gusts and the constant climbing on the course. By race end, I managed to stay up front for the masters race win and actually finished 5th overall for the day.
For the next couple of weeks that lead up to the Mohican 100 NUE Race, I will probably be doing a couple more road races. I think by doing some road races during the next few weeks I will keep my fitness level high without wearing myself out too much for the Mohican. Of course, I will still be doing plenty of mtn bike riding during the week because playing in the dirt is too much fun to miss. So, if I don't see you on the dirt for the next couple of weeks, I sure do hope to see you on the road. Happy Trails, Gerry