Monday, April 26, 2010

Late April Randomness

Two months since I have posted much for any degree of dedication. Eh, whatever, right?

Last time I was whining about the winter, now it is time to whine about the wind. Been getting blown all over the place lately. But I'll take it with the temps in the 70s, sun, pollen etc.

And they may be getting closer to finishing the new additions to the Trinity River Trail in the University Drive area. I read, at one point, it was slated to be done in October. 2009 that is. So much for that. I understand this winter has been tough, but based on what I have seen, it seems progress has been quite slow. On the positive side, the University underpass is now open (usually) which means I don't have to do the University Drive version of Frogger on the bike. The Rogers road area is now pretty ripped up but there is a perfectly functional detour which I find quite scenic and don't mind unless it is really wet, and thus, muddy. Not that my bike has been anything close to clean lately. Unless you want to count...

The Great Mineral Wells Stage Race/Bike Wash a week and a half ago.
3 stages - a road race, time trial and then a longer road race spread out over two days.

Saturday was born in rain and proceded to continue with a range of light drizzle to heavy downpours at times, with a nice northeasterly wind thrown in for good measure. The latter caused much discomfort for me, as the crosswind was pretty rough in a few places, and being small, this meant tough times in the peleton.

As the first race of the season, I went in with low expectations and did not disappoint. Primary goal was to break in the racing legs and mentality, which went just fine however.

The road course featured a loop that started/finished in Graford, featuring one sustained climb that was long/steep enough to put the hurt on some and split it up a little. Normally I like climbs, as this is a good thing for me, but this one was a typical Texas power climb - not long enough to really thin out the herd. The type of climb a fit power rider can make it over in the lead group, not enough to make the big guys really pay the gravity penality. It did still manage to split things up, which left me stuck in a bind on day one, in mid pack, as the riders around me all began to fade and the leaders got a gap, leaving me in a no man's land at a precarious point - the point where we made the turn into the aforementioned cross/headwind. This was the part of the course where I suffered to most. We finished the race, me safely tucking myself away into the non-contender zone leading into the time trial in the afternoon. It took me an hour to start to feel warm after the thorough soaking in 60 degree temps.

The time trial was interesting. ~6.4 miles in an easterly direction. First 3.5 miles were basically flat and open, exposing you to the wind. The final mile and a half featured a climb that had a decent grade. I knew the wind would be a killer for me and hoped to simply minimize the damage on the climb, maybe claw some back. I went with my road bike and some short clip on bars as my only real aero addition. Wind was putting the hurt on but I was surprised to see my heart rate remained low. Notice that a lot in the wind, I can feel like I am dying a thousand deaths and yet HR indicates things are well under control...not quite sure about that.
So I suffered through the wind and then finished with a decent climb, damage done. Turned around and rode back to the HQ to change out of wet clothes for the second time in a day. At least I wasn't as cold as earlier.

By the end of the day I was really wondering if I was up for another day with a longer road race bright and early Sunday morning, flash flood watch rains continuing to fall and forecasted for the next day...

more on that in a later post, my music is done downloading.