I thought when I finished USAC State Time Trials that racing for the year was over and I could concentrate on the upcoming Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway ride. Then my friend, Tom, emailed me. The 60+ category in the Austin Criteriums was in danger of being scrapped for lack of participation. Would I please at least sign up?
This is a three day set of criteriums in three different venues. I had already agreed to ride with Amy, Barry, and Rick on Saturday, and was scheduled to be out of town on Monday, but I signed up for the Sunday ride, which happened to be at the Jake Pickle Complex only a few minutes away from home. The bike had just come back from getting a tune-up at the bike shop and was ready to roll. Only thing to do was switch out the pedals, remove the bottle brackets and saddle pack. I suspect I was the only adult racing on a triple crankset.
Sunday morning the wind was bad, then got worse. Our race wasn't until 2:15pm, with the temperature once again above 100 degrees. Us old guys only had to race for 30 minutes, so I figured I could do that, especially if I drafted the windy portions. Even drafting, I had to drop to the middle chain-ring. Of course, we were booking along at 30mph when the wind was behind us.
I apportioned my energy, seeing that each lap took about 5 minutes. Not much calculating to know that 6 laps would get me to the end. Unfortunately, since I don't do criteriums, once I calculated the laps, I didn't really look at the smaller "laps to go" board. I had begun strategizing how to handle the last lap when I heard the announcer proclaim "two laps to go." Bummer. Apparently, it is a 30 minutes to the last lap time limit.
At the bell lap, Tom pulled ahead, the other two gapped me and when we hit the wind, I didn't have enough oomph to get back into the draft. Oh, well. 4th place isn't so bad, and it was a great workout. Of the 37 minutes of racing, I spent 29 in Zone 5 (90% of maximum heart rate) and 8 in Zone 4.
Now all I have to do is re-set the bike for touring and get ready to do some cycling in the mountains.