The last thre weeks have marked my transition from my “base” period, to my “build” period, which means I should be lowering my training volume and raising intensity. Since March 1st, I have spent 21 hours on the bike, ridden 321 miles and raced 3 times.
Here are my race reports:
Race 1: New York City Spring Bicycle Race Series Race 1; Central Park; 4 laps.
The first race is always a little exciting and scary. The first part of lap 1 was a adventure. I got stuck behind a crash going up Harlem hill. After slowing down just enough to avoid hitting the tarmac myself, I put my head down and buried myself trying to get back in the mix. Unfortunately, just as I was reaching my top speed, another pair of riders went down (same climb) and I had to slow down again to make it through.
By this point I was 50 feet off the back, I found myself in an ever-changing chase-group, dropping weaker riders and picking up guys from up the road. We worked well and eventually got within 4 bike lengths of the pack. At this point it was every man for himself as we all took turns heroically trying to solo up to the pack. My hopes dashed, I road a couple laps on my own and stayed to watch my teammate take 6th place in a sprint that should have been neutralized.
Race 2: Grant’s Tomb Criterium, Morningside heights, 45 minutes.
The Grant’s Tomb Criterium, presented by the Columbia Universtiy Cycling Team, is the first criterium and the first real test of the season. A criterium is a race on a short, technical course and typically favors powerful riders with good handling skills. Position is paramount, and being stuck in the back of the pack usually means one will be sprinting for 40th place.
The back of the pack is exactly where I ended up. I could not get myself to stay in the mix on the short circuit. That being said, I had a great race. I had little problem taking the tight corners at speed or powering up the one short hill. In the end I finished 46 of the 115 cat 4s.
Race 3: Prospect Park Duathlon, Prospect Park Brooklyn, 5k run, 14 mile bike, 5k run.
I had not run a step in 3 weeks, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I finished the first run leg in 12th place overall with a time of 20:27. My transition, while unpracticed, went rather smoothly. I was completely unprepared for how hard it would be to start biking after a hard 3 miles. By the top of the first hill I was ready to pass-out. The rest of the bike was not bad as I was passing riders left and right. I finished with an average speed just under 23 mph, in 5th place overall going into the second run.
The second run was hard. My first mile I felt as though I was underwater and stumbling through at 7:40 pace. I picked it up a little bit as the next two miles progressed and finished in 22:50 for a 1:21:20 total time; good enough for 9th overall and 3rd in my age-group.
Overall, my hard work is starting to pay off. I feel “fit as a fiddle” and absolutely excited for my next string of races.