Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First race in Minnesota - the State Road Championship

First, let me say that the cycling community here in Minnesota is super friendly and welcoming. It's so much fun riding here. There are a lot of open roads with little traffic, plenty of group rides and a variety of racing from time trialing on Tuesdays to track on Thursdays and road races on the weekend.

Last Sunday, I raced the Minnesota State Road Championships - 54mi race – three laps à 18mi. The terrain was partly rolling, partly flat with a nice 0.6 mi climb at the finish. It was super windy.

For me, it was a race with a lot of unknowns. I did not know the course or the competition (I knew though there were very strong women out here). The battery of my bike computer died so I also did not know speed or distance.

The first two laps were rather uneventful. We all stayed together. There were a few solid attacks but nothing stuck. With one lap to go, we again climbed up the hill to the finish and I rode a little harder to see what the others would do.

I looked back and there was a substantial gap and then it was all about keeping it that way. Without a bike computer to look at speed or mileage, I just put my head down and went all out not knowing what was going on behind me.

It was another 18mi to go with a lot of wind from all directions. I looked back quite a few times trying to figure out if the peloton came closer. The motor ref told me 30 seconds after a while, then 42 seconds and then "I dont know I dont see anyone". That got me worried because I had no time check anymore whether I go fast enough to stay away. Only on the last climb to the finish line I eased up just a little when I did not see anyone behind me. I could not believe that I held it. I couldnt ask for a better start for racing in Minnesota!

Next race will be in a month in Texas - collegiate Track Nationals. That will be interesting!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thank you and Good Bye MABRA

After almost three years being part of the MABRA cycling scene, I am heading out to Minnesota to study my passion – sports.
I really enjoyed the time in the cycling scene. I made some great friends and awesome experiences. A few random memories…

Crashing is nothing spectacular – Two months after the purchase of my road bike, I found myself getting stitched up in the ER after a crash at Hains Point. The club president visited me in the hospital. Soon enough, the doctor, a triathlete, and the club president were avidly discussing the difference between triathlon and road cycling while I got 12 stitches in my forehead. It must have been an interesting scene to watch.

Racing with the guys - At the Turkey Day 2010 race, I decided to race with the Cat 4 Men. I started with the goal to stick for one lap. I ended up 8th, first of my team. That was random!

A 10 day car and race ride with a teammate I had known for about 10 minutes sounded interesting right from the start. It ended up being a phenomenal experience racing Speed Week with Lindsay. Oh boy, what an intense week that was!

2011 Speed Week
A road race can change into an adventure race very fast. Example: 2011 Tour de Toona. Lost twice as the refs didn’t know the way. Adding a detour of 5 miles. Unfortunately, I did not bring my compass.

2011 Tour de Toona 

The road race which came closest to a cyclocross race was Liberty Classics when a crash forced me to run up Manayunk and a spectator furiously reminded me it wasn’t a running race!

A head-to-head duel with the second placed person for the Best-All Around Racer competition brought me to the velodrome the first time in my life. Whoever wins the track event would win the BAR. It was a close competition!

I guess I will miss Hains Point. I think I have never ridden so many laps around a golf course in my life. No matter what time, it’s crazy that you always will see someone you know.

It might rain, snow or storm so hard that even my parents in Germany hear about it, but that does not hold any serious MABRA rider off to join a group ride. The 7am ride a few hours after the huge storm on June 29, 2011 subsided was in full motion as nothing had happened. 80% of the riders were without electricity at home. A little CX action over fallen tree logs or electricity cables is normal business for the MABRA cyclist.

There are so many group rides in MABRA that the decision about the group ride was sometimes harder than the group ride itself …. the Italian Store ride, Wakefield ride, 7/10am, VDay ride, Muffin ride, Conte’s ride, Bicycle Place ride, Hour of Power, Tomahawk ride, Goon ride, NCVC ride, Coppi’s ride…and I probably forgot half of them….

What is next? Collegiate racing! Track! MCF racing! Some cross-country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding and what else is going on up there!