Woke up again dark and early Sunday morning and was pleased to (not) hear any rain falling. Especially after the overnight storm which had woken me up. Got ready, bike in the car, etc and was ready to go. As I was doing so, the drizzle started. By the time I reached Peabody, it was pouring. Great. Another rainy morning. But then the yellow Mavic car got on the highway a few miles further along and the sky started to clear.. As Chip said, kind of poetic but it was a good start to my day.
Got to the course and the rain had stopped. Was running a little behind but did the usual. Picked up my number, got it pinned on (it was a day for the skinsuit), did a lap, cursed the beach bit and following 33 stairs, rode a tiny bit of the lap again, then went to staging. Warm up? Who wants warm ups. As we waited on the line, it started to drizzle again but it didn’t really get beyond that.
We started and I had something approaching a decent start. Not great. But decent. Was able to get going and moved up a little on the uphill paved section. We hit the grass and I started playing “don’t lose ground”. Did reasonably well at it and decided that the goal of the race for me was going to be to ride it smooth. Find the flow. Push, but not too hard. Ride within myself and ignore the rest.
Top of the staircase of doom, photo thanks to Roger Cadman
And you know what? It was a solid plan. I consistently picked people off. First it was Russ. Then it was Pat. Then it was chasing down the ECV guy with the bunny ears. And each time, I just kept it smooth and steady and was able to stay in front of them. Maybe the course just worked for me — it wasn’t super duper technical, although it had some spots. There was plenty of grassy power stuff which tends to work pretty well for me. In any case, I had a good for me race and ended up 45th of the 98 starters. 15 places better than the predictor said so can’t complain too much.
Flowing through one of the gentler turns, photo thanks to Roger Cadman
There was, though, still one problem. Mud was making it tough for me to clip into the Eggbeaters. I probably lost a few places due to that on the gravel-y power back section when I couldn’t clip back in to pedal hard. After the fact, I discovered that the cleat was actually loose on the right shoe which probably didn’t help. But I’m close to deciding to throw in the towel on the Eggbeaters and just go back to the SPDs and see if I can deal with the knee wonkiness on long rides with some cleat adjustments. We’ll see. This weekend is probably their last chance to be redeemed.
And yeah, it’s almost this weekend. Friday night. Bag is almost finished being packed. Bike is ready. And I head down to Rhode Island in like 7 hours. So time to go watch some tv and then fall asleep.