Monday, February 7, 2011

Ride Report: Haymarket Winter Bike League 2011

What a training series – the Haymarket Winter Bike League!!!

A lot of action was going on… at least for me – rain, 20 degrees, getting lost, chain drop, chain suck, flatted, bike bonking three times, Monika once….

Since I just found my passion for road cycling in July (I did some random road races before that but focused on Adventure Racing), I wasn’t mentally and physically exhausted yet after the season. After only three months of road racing, I was at a loss when Turkey Day was supposed to be the last race for a long time! I hate winter. What was I supposed to do during that time? After Charm city and Iron Cross, ‘cross was definitely NOT an option!

After some forever-lasting three months, January finally came around and the Haymarket Winter Bike League saved me from switching to another sport! I was so desperate to ride again that I didn’t care if it was raining (as in the first race), 20 degrees and freezing (second race), brutal (third race), or flatting 20 miles into the ride (last ride).

Summary of last HWBL:

I was so ready to ride the last HWBL. It was supposed to be sunny, in the 40s, nothing like the last three times. So when I talked to Erin the Friday before, I joked that something has to happen during the ride because the conditions for the ride just seem too perfect. Why not getting a flat…. Yep, I jinxed myself!

So Sunday came along and the weather brought quite a number of people out there! As usual, the first 20mi or so were easy-going. Just before we went onto Snickersville, my bike started bouncing and soon enough, I realized I had a flat!

Great, this has to happen right then when the “race” starts, what timing. So the SAG wagon and four guys stopped for me to change the flat. I declined the offer to jump into the SAG wagon because Snickersville is supposed to be the fun part of the ride. (I refrain from defining fun)

Having changed the flat, I rode a little bit with the four riders but then decided I might catch the big group at the rest stop at Bluemont and attempted a 10mi TT effort. I knew that no one would wait there for 10 min but just the idea kept me going. Of course, no one was at Bluemont anymore when I got there, so I told myself, I have to practice timetrialing anyway, why not doing it for another 40 miles.

But soon enough, on the way up Mt Weather, I found my carrot in the distance that made me speed up. Finally having caught up with him, Robert and I ended up riding together the rest of the ride.
Down Mt Weather and getting ready for the next climb, we surprisingly caught some people and became a group of six or so and we basically stuck together until the end.

We had some navigation issues in Marshall and for a second I felt like in an adventure race again. (I do miss it) We couldn't really follow the cue sheet anymore since we didn’t find a certain road. It didn’t matter because we certainly would hit the 80mi mark anyway. Burgers were only eight miles away!

Although I was disappointed that I got a flat in the beginning of the ride, the people, the weather, and the anticipation for the spring cheered me up!

The Winter Bike League was a perfect opportunity to get to know riders from other teams (not that I would know all 310 NCVC guys). Thank you, Jared, for putting this on!

I am psyched to race again. Maybe NC this weekend?

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