This year my schedule should allow me to race a bit more than the small number of times I lined up last year. After this weekend, I will have started more races that I did all last year.
Anyway, here goes a sort of summary. Last Saturday (4/6), I raced my team’s race, the JJ the Rooster Memorial Road Race. It featured a short loop out near the Shelby Forrest General Store where JJ (the Rooster) strutted around for as long as I been kicking around Memphis (back to 2006, for me) as group rides heading up that spent way too long on the deck outside. I am sure the history is longer, but I don’t know about that.
As a local race (and as our race), we had a good fraction of the field for the 1/2/3 race. In general, my role was limited to surviving and I was able to do a few small things that slightly affected the race. In the end, it was a good showing for our team although we did not take the win. I was able to witness the carnage, because I was shelled off around the 8th (or 13 4-mile laps). I put in a good chase for a bit, but decided to bag it after 10 laps (2 laps solo). I was thinking about racing the next day, which ended up happening.
The next day, Will and I drove up to Nashville to race the 3/4 and the Elite Masters (1/2/3 – 30+ age) categories at Cedar Hill. Even with my shorted race, I was feeling the effort of Saturday, but my legs came around and I was able to stay active throughout the race around the hilly loop ending up in 17th place in the end (50-55 starters). The hill wasn’t steep, but combine with the two corners, there was a lot of 30 second pretty hard efforts to stay with and move up. The Elite Master’s race, only 45 minutes later, was a tougher race and I only really just managed to hold on falling off the field in the last 1/2 lap for 30th of 55 or so starters. Neither of these results are much to brag about as results, but the race was hard enough that I felt that it was a good training day and got me a lot of good race time after effectively taking a year nearly off from road.
(The back story behind the race weekend last weekend actually started on Thursday night before. I had pre-registered for Ouachita Challenge 60 mile MTB race again this year. This race fills up in hours when it opens, so I paid up months ago and I was sort of looking forward to it, sort of not. In any case, when I got back from out of town on Thursday evening, I was going to replace the failed harddrive in my Apple Time Capsule. Basically, the Time Capsule is a white box that works with your computer to keep a time indexed backup of your computer. Anyway, the harddrive had died, so I ordered a replacement. I went bigger (1 TB to 3 TB) because, why not? Anyway, the bottom of said device has a rubber covering glued on over where the screws are. I was using a knife to remove this cover and the knife slipped and I stabbed myself. It wasn’t pretty. After the bleeding stopped, etc, I was left with a thumb that was not good for down-shifting Shimano XT mountain…. and Ouachita is hilly and bumpy. Time to bail on that, again.)
So this week, I actually worked an entire week at home, so I was able to recover and race the Memphis spring crit series, Tiger Lane Crits at the Liberty Bowl Stadium. The weather looked foul on Wednesday morning, but turned out okay, albeit windy. Again, Marx-Bensdorf showed up with numbers in the 1/2/3 race. I am not sure of the exact count, but lets say 13 of 22 racers (guess). My legs were still not pretty from Sunday, but riding from Cordova as a pre-warmup did help (15 miles or so). Andrea and Matt came down in the car to watch and take me back. As for the race, it was pretty much together for the first 10-15 minutes, but then it started to splinter and splinter again. I was left in the pack with 4-5 teammates up the road ultimately resulting in a 1-2 for our team and some more good training for me. I don’t know my final placing but it was towards the back of the remains of the field, probably 13th?
As I write this, I am waiting at the hotel for my teammates to come back from the 1/2/3 crit at Mississippi Gran Prix in Brookhaven, MS. I got a later start, arriving at the hotel when the crit was half over, so I didn’t go down. Also, for the first time in a while, I am not racing the 1/2/3 crit. I think I have done it maybe 3 times (didn’t race MSGP last year, so it was 2011, 2010, 2009). In 2008, my first year as a Cat3, it was rained out. The choice to race 3/4 is align with team goals to race some in 1/2/3 and some in 3/4. Overall, it works out as a better match for my state right, now coming out of a heavy travel fall/winter, a late cx season (master’s worlds), and lost season last year. Thing are coming around and I’ll get back.