Saturday, December 1, 2012

Moving up a Category

(After the last race of last season in Baton Rouge)

I’ve been wanting to jump up from the most mediocre of collegiate cycling categories(D’s) to a category where I can at least have a little respect for myself( C’s). Today I went on a ride with a group that would probably race at the winning end of the C’s or middle of the road B’s. We had a wind coming out of the South which meant there was a crosswind for the vast majority of the ride. This is fine for people that were in the shielded side, but that didn’t happen to me. Oh well, I know I am a better windshield than most of the other riders there anyway.

So I’ve judged where I am physically compared to last year based on a vague sense of where I placed last year in all the races that didn’t record the official times of all the riders. There was only one race that gave an actual time, and I’m pretty damn ashamed of it. For the training I suppose it wasn’t horrible, but this year I know that I would beat the crap of my former self. To be honest the amount of effort that I put into that ride today would put me on pace to win any of the races that I did. I did 22 miles in 1:10:00ish which was much faster than the pace to win the D conference championship road race, and if I could keep that pace steady for 1:54:00 I would win the C road race by almost 4 minutes. The distance of the race is actually listed incorrectly for the C’s online interestingly enough. I’m not quite fit enough to win a race with that course yet, but I have two and a half months to really make a difference in my abilities. I definitely have the fitness to move up a category, but I’ll at least try to win a race before I do that. If I am toward the top toward the end of the season I will just move up a category and finish a couple C races with the pack. That means more to me than forcing myself to stay at the bottom category and winning.

Most of the D road races were 25 miles, but the final one was 36 miles including a 7 mile “neutral rollout.” I use quotation marks to signify that that was just as much part of the race as the rest of it. In fact we slowed down when we got on the actual race section. Nobody wanted to pull. I pulled for about a mile or two in that race before being dropped. I don’t want to dwell on that though, because this post is about how much I have improved. I should be able to move up with some of the new guys who really shouldn’t even be racing D’s. We have a rider who almost won the Cat5 state championship road race, and he is starting in D’s. I don’t know who is getting second in the first race of the season, but I do know who is getting first. He will probably move up within the first two weeks. I imagine with my current level I should move up after about 4 or 5 races. Riding for 25 miles at 17-18 mph average seems much more doable this year than it did last year. If I can improve the pace and distance a bit I should be just as impressive in C’s. It’s amazing what actually riding does for your bike racing abilities. Who knows, this year I might end up on a podium in front of that pretty building in Louisiana. 

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