Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Race weekend

We just finished up Memorial Day here in the U.S., which meant a 3-day weekend with lots of barbecues and special events going on all over the place.

The events of the long weekend really started for me on Thursday, when I participated in a friendly competition with coworkers at our Boulder office's 3rd annual Flagstaff Rider/Runner Challenge. The idea is to see whether it is faster to run the trail or ride the road. It was a lot of fun. I came in first amongst cyclists and second only to my friend and colleague Jim, who ran to an overall first place.

On Saturday and Sunday, I participated in the Superior Morgul Classic. I had originally planned to only do the road race on Sunday, but I got a package deal on Handlebargains for both the crit and the road race (plus some socks and a t-shirt).

Start of the crit, SM4 category.
The crit ended up being more of a non-event for me. I dropped my chain shortly before the end of the first lap, got it good and twisted up, and took forever to get it untangled and back on the chainring. I managed to get a few more laps in before being told by the race official to pull out before the main field lapped me. It was disappointing, but that kind of thing just happens sometimes. The family was there to support me and we had a good time anyway.

Sunday I woke up and, with much apprehension after the previous day's mishap, I headed out for the road race on the famous Morgul-Bismarck circuit. The weather was somewhat dreary and cold, but after warming up, it wasn't unpleasant for riding.

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My category did three laps around that loop, which actually amounted to four climbs up "The Wall" where the finish line is. We had a neutral start on Coalton Road, and racing began after the first climb.

I had better mechanical luck, though there were a few close calls. I nearly ran into some cones on the road, almost flatted out when I hit a seam between concrete and asphalt at the roundabout on McCaslin, and went over a dropped water bottle in the feed zone. But I made it through unscathed. It was much more my type of ride anyway, and I came in 13th in a field of 66 riders. I felt like that was a perfectly acceptable result for my first (completed) race.

Finish line at the road race.

My family almost made it out to see the end of the race, but children and complications come hand in hand. Jim was there at the finish line, though, and I caught up with my wife and kids back at the event coordination area.

That left me with one more day for rest and recovery. On Monday we got out our bikes, trailer, and tag-along and rode up to the park for some play time. I had every intention of spending the afternoon grilling some kabobs and drinking a beer. But there was no beer in the fridge, and the wind, which picked up mightily after we got home, blew out the flames on the grill. I finished up the cooking inside, and we had a great Memorial Day meal nonetheless.

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