Monday, 12 April
130 miles of road racing for me this weekend. That’s a lot, for me. Kings Valley Road Race in Oregon, Olympic View Road Race in Washington. Similar, but not the same. 31 cat 1-2-3 women at KVRR, 29 I think at OVRR. 18-mile circuits; lots more climbing (and wind) per lap at KV. Pace was faster at OVRR, but at KV the field was lined out single file a lot more often.
Full disclosure: I admit I didn’t do much racing. I was mostly hanging on, getting in some "speed work." My average speed for nearly 3.5 hours at OVRR was about 25% faster than I ride on my own. But I also learned and observed.
Learned: Sue Butler is sublime on a bike. Most of us ride a bike; she is just there among us, effortlessly. You would not know she was pedaling to watch her in the pack. It’s beyond having a smooth pedal stroke. It’s being at one with the bike. A pleasure to behold. More practically, I learned from watching Tina how to get through the worst crosswind section at Kings Valley. On the first lap, that was a couple miles of hell for me, and I barely made it. Then I saw where and how Tina was riding, and by copying her example, the second and third laps went much better for me. My arms ended up being tired from the death grip I had on the bars to hold my position, but the legs were much happier.
Observed: A cat 2 team leader who flagrantly violated the centerline rule to get to the front to be with her peeps, apparently oblivious to the fact that others in the pack were commenting on her poor example. A cat 1 who forgot that you don’t cross the centerline into the left lane when you have a mechanical and expect service from the wheel car. A cat 2 who didn’t know where the finish line was when she started to sprint (and who was disappointed when her legs gave out before she got to the line). Cat 3s who can’t get out of the saddle and keep the bike in a straight line. A cat 2 with a pedal stroke that looks like her left ankle is unhinged.
Also observed: A lot of selfless teamwork. Active racing. And some new cat 3s who surprised themselves. Two days of good racing.
Oh yeah, race numbers. OBRA riders understand what the purpose is behind two jersey numbers. One is for the finish line, the other is for the official in the follow car. So at KV, one number sideways on your left side, one horizontal across the pockets. I wasn’t absolutely 100% certain the camera was on the left, and we got to the start less than 30 minutes before the first race went off, so I had just prepinned one number on each side. I was the oddball in the pack (OK, in more ways than one). Next day, at OVRR, I got my act together: one number on the left, one on the pockets. Everybody else had their second number pinned for the nonexistent camera on the right side of the road. We are stuck with the requirement for two jersey numbers because the officials want them, but that second number is just about useless when it’s pinned sideways in your other armpit. Sit in a follow car sometime and see for yourself.