Written by Steve Morse Saturday, 08 April 2006 00:00
The green and yellow/red flashing blobs on the doppler radar should have been enough warning before I left that morning that it wouldn't be in the cards to race bikes, but I still thought there was a chance it might clear up. It didn't.
I warmed up on the trainer under a little wooden picnic gazebo to stay out of the steady rain. There were about 20 other guys with the same idea. Once the call came for our cat. 3/4 race, we headed out onto the course to do a lap and then line up. When I did my lap (which only took about 3 minutes) and got to the line, I was already completely soaked to the bone. After a short, chilly wait, we were off for an hour of misery in the "liquid sunshine".
I hung out at the back of the group for most of the first half of the race, just trying to stay warm and out of the wind and driving rain. The pace was pretty tame. I finally felt loosened up well enough head to the front and see what I could do up there.
A few guys broke away, but as we were chasing them down, they both skidded out on a wet turn, and both crashed out. It was a strange way to see a breakaway end up the road like that.
Racing with the cat. 3's is mostly safe and great. Everyone picks good lines, and the pace stays pretty even most of the time. Not like the 4's where its all slow and then there is a huge nervous acceleration out of every corner with everyone taking stupid lines. When you factor in the rain, the safety consideration becomes that much more important. This is why I'm in such a rush to get my cat. 3 upgrade.
The last few laps, the pace started to pick up considerably, but so did the precipitation. By the end it was a total downpour, and the field sprint was like being in a mosh-pit in a swimming pool. Seriously, there was so much wheel-spray that you couldn't see anything at all, and you just sprinted in a straight line through the mist and hoped that there was a clear path in front of you.
I finished 23rd, (3rd out of the cat. 4's) so I think I did OK considering how crappy it was out. I was glad to have just finished without hitting the deck, or getting hypothermia.
First race of the year is in the books, and the legs felt pretty darn good!
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