Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching up, and what's new

So much to say...

If you've been following my twitter feeds or looking at my workout log, you'll know that I'm not running AT ALL (just about) these days. I've kind of become hooked on cycling. Case in point: So far this year I've biked almost 1600 miles and run a total of 207. In July alone, I biked 331.4 and ran 27.9 miles. And I'm getting faster as well. Now, I want to try my hand at cat 5 racing, just for kicks, to see what I can do.

In July, my family and I took a day to go to Bear Lake, where my in-laws were camping. I took my bike and rode the 50+ miles around the lake. I knew there was a half ironman that had this for its bike leg, but I soon learned that there's also a road race that goes along this same route. Well, I looked up the results of this year's race, and as it turns out, had my ride occurred during this race, I wouldn't have finished last. Mind you, I was going it solo, where in a race I would have had a group to draft off and pace from, etc., so I would have been significantly faster over the 50 mile loop. I think I could reasonably have finished in the first or second group of cat 5 racers.

As you may know, when I rode my century ride back in May, I was a little nonplussed at the thought that there was no clock or reason to do your best. It was just a ride with supported rest stops. I suppose there's a place for that in the realm of cycling, but having come from running marathons, I'm used to having that objective standard with which to measure myself against. I know I'm not going to win any marathons, but if there wasn't a clock and at least a semblance of competition, they'd be just another long run, and really, what's the fun in that? (Okay, long runs can be fun, but that's not the point here. You don't pay $60 or $70 or $100 to go for a long run...)

So anyway, I've been looking for bike races that would fit my schedule. I fully intend to do the Bear Lake Classic next year, but that's so far away. I really needed a fall race to focus on.

Enter the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series. For $10, anyone who wants to give bike racing a try can go down and race around a 1.3 mile circuit for half an hour + 3 laps. Last Tuesday (August 3) I went and watched the tail end of the Cat 1/2 race and the Cat 3 race (known in the crit series as "A Flite" and "B Flite"). After that there was the Cat 4/5 ("C Flite") race and the beginners ("D Flite") race. Watching the D Flite gave me a lot of confidence, thinking that I could keep up with those guys. It's hard to tell from a spectator's point of view, but it didn't seem as if anyone from D Flite really attacked at all until the final sprint. I don't know if there were any unsuccessful breakaway attempts prior to that, as I could only see about 1/3 of the course, but it looked like everyone was content to stick together and sprint it out.

In any case, I'm going to give the RMR Crit "D Flite" race a try, probably next Tuesday, the 17th (providing I'm in town), and I will gleefully report on it when I'm done. And then there's a race in September that I'd also like to do... more on that later (probably).

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