Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Road Bike
Out of all the bikes I own, I probably ride my road bike the least. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-road bike or roadie. I like road bikes, but I spend most of my saddle time on the my SS Selma 29er mtb because it is what I race the most. I also consider my SS 29er to be my all purpose, do anything bike. It seldom has any issues and is just one efficient pedaling machine.
Even though I spend most of my time doing long mtb races every year, I also like to do a handful of road races to keep my speed and fitness fresh. After the last road race of last summer, I put my road bike away until Thursday of this week. With no close mtb races around this weekend, I decided it would be a good idea to do a 35 mile local road race in Amity, PA. Since it had been awhile since I was on a road bike, I figured that I better ride it a couple of days before doing a race on it. I must admit that I forgot how fast a road bike is over riding a wide-tired mtb.
Since the Amity race was pretty much just a training race, I also figured that I might as well maximize my effort and ride to the race, which worked out well since the race started a little later in the day. I ended up riding 55 miles to the race and got there with about ten minutes to spare before the start. When I arrived, I registered, gobbled down some food and water real quick and then off we went.
The course was a 5 mile loop with about 2 miles going up and the other three miles going down. I like courses that go up. Climbing and I just seem to get along well. Since I am an old guy, I did the 40+ race. The 40 plus riders were mixed in with the category 1-3 group, since there was not a real big field of riders at the race. After a couple of laps up the climb on the course, things started to split up. I was right there in the move with the initial break, but decided to fall back because there were no other 40 plus riders in the group and I thought the move was just a bit too early. I definitely knew it was too early for me to work hard in a three man break after my ride to the race anyway. It was kind of discouraging to see that the break would probably stick a little later in the race, but I made the most of riding in the pack.
The pack seemed to quickly dwindle in size after each of the 7 laps up the climb and I knew this is where I would need to make a move if I wanted to finish well. I wondered if my legs would have enough snap in them to go clear from the remaining riders with 85+ miles in them, but I gave it a go the last time up the climb. Somehow I got a gap and was able to maintain and even grow my advantage by the top of the climb. I was hurting bad though and knew that the fast ride down to the finishing line was going to hurt me bad. By putting down every last drop of energy I had left in me, I did manage to make it to line first with a small advantage over the fast approaching field sprint. It always feels good to win even when it hurts bad to do it.
After the race, I did two more laps of the course to end my day of riding with 101 miles. It was certainly a good day to be on a bike and it was a lot of fun to race on the road again after my long hiatus off of my skinny tired Salsa Podio speedster.
Happy Trails, Gerry
Thanks to Fred Jordan for the photo.