Damn, it has been over a month since my last update. What a crazy stupid month it has been. I have had a TON of crap going on, at home, at work, etc. The only thing I haven't had was time to ride my bike.
So I head to Pando, last CPS race of the season. I decided to dabble in the Expert 30-34 category. Mostly for the mileage, but also to see how well I could hang with the "fast guys." I have been ridin the Expert singlespeed category for quite some time, and could finishe near the top, but shifting is a whole new animal.
I got to the start much earlier than I am accustomed. Racing at 10 is a lot different than starting at my usual 12:30 or so. Finding a parking spot was easy as pie. Mmm, pie!
Since I was racing in the first group, I was able to do a lap of the course during my warm-up. It didn't hurt that one lap was only 4.5 miles as well.
As the time began, I wasn't really feeling excited to start, make a 180 degree turn and head up the ski hill for my first time that day. The start wasn't too bad though, I ended up having to move out of the good line to plow my way through the grass up the hill, make a u-turn and come back down before making another sharp turn on wet grass.
The group of riders wasn't hammering as I expected. Sport racers seemed to go out faster. I am not sure if this is because of the shorter race lengths, or lack of experience. I hung in on a group of about 6 guys and just kept in line with them. I knew we weren't the front group, but I was happy to not be dropped.
About halfway through the first lap, there is a root right after a sharp left and I messed up on it. I don;t know if it was nerves or what, but I lost momentum, became unclipped. In a panic I moved over and let the whole group by. Then another pack or riders (presumably from the class behind mine). By the time I got remounted, I had lost quite a few places.
At this point, I was just going to ride my own pace, finish and see how I come out. The Pando course isn;t particularly nice. It seems the only time you get some speed going, you have to slam on the braks, make a sharp turn and head back uphill.
Lap 2 wasn't much better than the first. I was so worried about the root still. It was stupid, as I easily made it over (and did so for the rest of the race). However, there was a loose, short climb that as I was ascending, I lost traction in the rear and again moved over to let a pack of following riders past. I really need to replace that tire this winter.
After these two flubs, I finished the race with no other major issues. Each lap as I came around, I had Team Kahuna come out and cheer. It was enough to push me up the hill each time (7 in total).
In my typical multilap fashion, I lost a bit of time after each lap. However the final 4 were remarkably close in time, so maybe there is hope.
After finishing, I checked the results and saw I was in 11th out of 17. Not bad for my first attempt. Not DFL at least. A while later I was down to 13th. Not sure how I got passed by 2 riders after I finished a mass start race, but whatever. I ended up 13 out of 16 racers that finished. Not terrific, but show I have room to improve.
I don't know what I am going to do next year. I would be moving up an age group in sport. Do I try that again, or just keep swimming with the big dogs, or fish..whatever.