Regular Readers know I make repeated claims that I'm into racing mainly because it keeps me in good cycling form. I got into Senior Games in 2004 as an adjunct to my club rides and touring vacations, and found it to be fun. The competition is healthy and friendly. My toughest opponent is also my team mate when we do teams. We like to win, but mainly we like to do well.
Which brings me to today's post. For the last year and a half I haven't been doing all that well, climaxing with a dismal last place in the USAC time trials. My leg strength was abysmal. Had I not been racing against guys my own age (within the five-year age category), I might have chalked it up to finally getting old. But they were ageing at the same rate, so it had to be me. I made some changes last November.
In February my first races in College Station went well. I felt some life in the legs, winning the time trials and also a surprise gold in the road race. In March, under very windy conditions in Dallas, I managed a gold and silver (also a bronze in the road race, but there were only three guys in my category, it was a very distant third). More importantly, the legs felt good.
Yesterday, the races in San Antonio were delayed an hour while a line of thunder storms rolled through. Apparently the threat of rain and with this not being a qualifying year for Nationals combined to reduce the field. The first race of the morning was the 10k time trial. The road was wet and we had a strong wind in our face going up the back-side hill. While not particularly steep, it seems to go on forever and with the wind I had to move all the way up the cogs. I took the corners gingerly, scrubbing speed and not leaning as much. But the conditions were the same for everybody. I came in over a minute faster than second place.
With the wind and now sunny skies, the course dried out for the second race, the 20k road race. I found myself alone in my category, so more or less noodled five laps. Mind you, I still worked hard but absent race tactics it was more or less a time trial without aero equipment. I didn't get lapped, and actually passed a few of the younger riders.
I measure success by how well my body moves the bike, not the placement in a race. Of course, winning usually means I'm in good shape. I'm looking forward to our vacation in the North Georgia mountains. This is where I'll know for sure if I have my legs back.