First, my hat's off to the twelve and twenty-four hour riders, and their crew. Cold and drizzle is no fun. Same to the six hour solo riders.
Continuing from the previous post, since I decided to switch to the road bike, several changes had to be made. While I really like my bomb-proof, fifteen year-old Rolf Vector Pros, there is no denying the Zipps roll faster. So, I switched wheels. But, if I wanted to stay in the big ring (more on that shortly), I had to also switch my 11-32 cogset to the Zipps. I lubed the chain but didn't bother cleaning the bike since it was going to get filthy anyhow. And, I went with Continental 4000's rather than racing tires. So my bike was ready.
Next, clothing. I packed all my rain gear: booties, helmet cover, pants, jacket. Given the forecast, I only expected to wear the jacket, but better safe than sorry. I packed four kit changes, four pair of socks, tights, four shirts for base layers, one of which actually was a base layer garment. Clif bars and a tube of Nuun, a gallon of water, one water bottle. Two of my kits were skin suits, two regular jerseys. I was hoping for maybe a dry lap, didn't happen. I was prepared for riding, not prepared for waiting. Angela brought her Snuggie. I wished I had one to bring.
On to the race itself. We're talking fifty degrees and more or less racing in a cloud. The road was wet, sometimes more wet than others, with sometimes drizzle messing with your glasses, sometimes not. A light wind, but you could tell when it was in your face. Lots of rollers, a couple of decent downhills. Jim and I decided we would do two laps then hand off. A lap was 6.12 (or .21 whatever), so we were looking at more or less twenty minutes for Jim and twenty-two minutes for me. I started.
To repeat, we were in it for fun and exercise, not that we had any expectations of placing well. There were folks who were really serious about their racing. That being said, I intended to give it my best. That didn't happen (body, yes, bike no). I knew last year that my shifters were beginning to wear out. The left one (front chain ring) sometimes goes walkabout when I hit it. Multiple clicks and cajoling might finally get it to switch. This is all well and good on a recreation ride, not so much when racing. That is why I left it in the big ring. Well, maybe it was the cold and damp, but the right one started acting up.
The start of the race tilts down then a big decent. I brought the cadence up to speed and clicked for the next gear. Nothing happened. Four clicks later it finally moved, but by then I needed three more gears. A whole bunch of clicking and swearing and I got it down, but by then everybody had moved away. And because this is a rolling section, I needed some more clicks to bring it back up the cassette. Then down, then up. Bah! Eventually, it started working right about 90% of the time. Even with the shifting difficulties, I managed the first lap in twenty-one minutes. And the second one, so I handed off to Jim after forty-two minutes.
I waited around with a pullover, getting chilled, for his first lap, but then went to the car and changed my base layer to a dry one. This was more of a chore than anticipated. I made a big mistake in choosing my old skin suit to start the race. It is one piece, with long sleeves. To change the base layer, I needed to wriggle out of the upper part. That accomplished, it was back to the pit to await my second section. An aside, being old and cold means an over-active bladder. Going in the skin suit was quite a chore.
Jim was right on time, I was not. I thought I was ready but had forgotten to take off my clip covers. We lost maybe a minute, not that it mattered. I thought my second section went faster than the first, but alas, I lost fifty-three seconds for the two loops. This time I didn't wait for the cold to set in, but took a change of clothes to the car. Picture this: sitting in the passenger seat, divesting a jacket, sweat shirt, rain jacket, then putting on a dry base layer and jersey, then removing the tights and replacing the shorts. Fortunately the parking area was devoid of people. I delayed putting on the rain jacket since it was wet inside and out. Anyhow, I missed cheering Jim on for his second lap.
He was a model of consistency. I thought my third go around had more wind and a tad heavier drizzle. In any case, I lost another minute. I was protecting my protesting hamstrings. Interesting enough, even given the cold and wet, I wasn't uncomfortable on the bike. I certainly didn't get overheated. I spent more minutes out of the aero bars on this go around, and my cadence slowed a bit.
Once again I changed out the base layer, but this time it was quite easy. I spent more time in the car with the engine running and heater blowing, and again missed Jim on his first lap. The ladies, Annette and Angela, decided early on that they would alternate laps, thus not waiting the extra twenty minutes getting chilled. I think my body needed the extra rest to recover. Be that as it may, I dreaded what it would do on the forth foray.
The hamstrings did not revolt, and I made it around, although losing another forty seconds. Still, I originally figured forty-five minutes for the two laps, and my slowest was under that. I packed up while Jim finished up, but managed to cheer him on to the second lap. Done.
I was more than done. The race finished at 6:00 pm and awards were to be given out at 7:00 pm. Refreshments were available, and a food truck. I didn't think my body could handle hanging out for an hour, then the awards, then the seventy-five minute drive home in the dark and drizzle. With apologies, I headed home.
I slept well, but I need to spend today loosening up all the very tight areas which were abused yesterday. All the knuckles on my hands are swollen. This afternoon I'll get my two bikes back to normal. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back riding.