The race I love to hate, but I will go back every year!
Title sponsorship was not found for this year’s event so it was down to only one day. Too bad. Grandview has always welcomed us. They really get into the race and make it a great atmosphere. Hopefully, next year we will see the return to two days racing.
If it’s Sunday, it must mean the hill. Tough course. The weather was not bad, a bit breezy from the west. Warm, in the mid 80’s, but humidty went down since a front passed thru right before noon.
I really did not go in with high expectations. My goal was to ride better than last year. While I was better prepared than last year in terms of riding more, I really havent raced as much this year as I had hoped. Crits.. Hate em. But it’s part of racing, which means I gotta do ‘em. (Gotta make that weekly crit series!)
I went in feeling rested. Legs felt great during the ride up and the warmup on the coarse. The hill even felt good! As usual for Masters, a strong field of about fifty riders. (I gave thought to racing in the 3-4 race. If there had been strictly a Cat 4 race, I would have opted for that.)
To say this was an interesting race, for me, is an understatement. At the start, I fumbled around getting clipped in (one reason I have to do more mass start races). Got clipped in and settled in at the back of the back, and was with them until the first climb. On a positive, I was able to stay closer to the field in this years race.
I was involved in a Tortise and Hare race, literally. There was a guy entered who was riding a relaxed street bike, upright bars, and bar ends which he had to take off to start the race.
Before I go on I have to say something about egos. Cycling is full of them. I feel I’m not taken serious, maybe for a good reasons beyond the $1000 bike I ride. But I do think some guys can be to judgmental. Here I go back to the money issue, but people riding $2000-3000 bikes (which I consider the average cost) can look at someone like me and say “Pack Foder”. And I have to say, I was thinking the same thing when I saw Mr. Tortoise (Tortoise, if you read this. I apologize for calling you this. I only do that because I don’t know your name. And I apologize for my ego issue).
On the second lap, the race began. I was on the flat, rough section on Goodale Ave, pushing 27 to 30 MPH, when Mr. Tortoise , with his unique riding style, came flying by me as we turned onto Broadview Ave to make the climb. As he was passing, I screamed “WTF!” I showed my frustration (I apologize to you, Mr. Tortoise, who’s name I wish I really knew. I have to say, on hindsight, it more out of respect than frustration. I also apologize to any families who might have had their kids in the vicinity)
I managed to beat him up the hill, but I knew what my race was. Forget the field. I wasn’t going to get back in it, and I had my own race. As for the field, it got pretty strung out. And there were a few more guys dealing with the same person I was. And I think there frustration level was way more than mine.
This was my race for the next 16 laps. I was thinking that for the spectators they were able watch a second race, and wondering who they were supporting. I suspect it was Mr. Tortoise against the aging and slowing Mr. Hare. (Actually I think he was older than I am). I could take him up the hill. Making the turn from Broadview to First, there was a pretty stiff headwind, which slowed me down. I could get some distance on the turns and downhill on the back side. But more times than not, I would see him fly by me on the Goodale stretch. There were a few laps where it did not happen, then just when I think I established a lead…here he comes.
As we came to the line to start out last lap, I had about 10 feet on him. I kicked in the afterburners and rode as hard as I ever had. I almost lost it on the downhill and turn onto Goodale Ave. That hill really hurt on this lap. But I wasnt looking pack, I was assuming he was on my wheel.
Turns out, I had about 20 to 30 yards on him. After I crossed the line, I soft pedaled wanting to catch my ole nemesis, and my new hero, to congratulate him on his race. I have to admit, if we had come down to the finish, and we were neck and neck like we were on so many laps, I would have had to relinquish and let him cross the line ahead of me.
I was pleased with the effort. I was in better shape than last year. I rode much harder (thank you Tortise… I salute you!). And that last lap.. I rode as hard as I ever rode.
Thanks to the promoters, the officials, volunteers, and the fine citizens of the great city of Grandview (thanks for the hospitality once again!)
Can’t wait for next year!