As I write this, I'm eagerly watching the clock tick down to 1700 so I can hop in the van, head back to the house, run my checklist 17 times, and wait for everyone to arrive so we can leave for Deleon Springs. I've been fighting a crippling nervousness that is frightening and exciting at the same time. I know it'll all melt away when I line up for the race, but until then, I'm gonna be jittery and stressed lol.
We'll be taking lots of pictures and video and will have plenty for you to look at when we return, so keep an eye out!
I'm excited for my race this Sunday at DeLeon Springs. Had a good workout this morning, will post stats later in this post. Sometimes I'm surprised I'm doing this, like waking up from a really long dream. Of all the things to try to do, bicycle racing. Geez.
Anyways, left the house, east on Beach to St. Johns Bluff, south to Town Center Pkwy, east to UNF, around the loop to Kernan, north on Kernan to Kensington, through Hickory Creek to Mathew Unger, north on Kernan to McCormick, east across the Wonderwood Bridge, U-turn to hit the Wonderwood going west, south on Girvin to Atlantic, west to Kensington, back to Kernan, south to Beach, west on Beach to home.
Total mileage: 29.45
Total time: 1:49:45
Avg Speed: 16.0
Max Speed: 35.7
Odometer: 612 miles
A couple of things are notable today. First, over 600 miles yay alright! Second, the max speed for today WASN'T on a downhill. That was my flatland speed in my run-up to the first part of the Wonderwood Bridge. That breaks my old record of 33.5 and gives me a little hope in my sprint for the race this weekend. The third thing is I did the Wonderwood Bridge TWICE. Back to back. That hurt. Really bad.
My average speed was a little low because I granny-geared it home after the bridge, and was fighting a headwind the whole time. Sucked.
In other news, bike is back from the shop (duh) and is performing great! Especially the brakes lol.
So this morning I awoke at the beautifully dark hour of 0630 to shower and pack for my first ride with the Velobrew guys. After dropping off some stuff at my mom's, I headed further into Orange Park and waited as the 0815 start time came and went. Thankfully, we did get wheels up right before 0830, and managed to get a couple miles in before I made a complete fool out of myself.
The guy in front of me signaled a right turn as we were descending a small hill, so I took my right hand off to signal. Well, I misjudged the distance between me, the guy in front of me, and the car we were pulling up to, so I panicked and grabbed a fistful of rear brake. Excellent. The rear tire locked up and the back end started to come around. In slow motion (doesn't it always happen in slo-mo?) I pointed my front wheel to the right of the guy in front of me, into the gutter. Still trying to brake with my front brake, the tire hit the slime in the gutter under pressure and locked up. So now I'm hauling ass into a curb, basically hydroplaning at 13 mph. I hit the curb and flew, still attached to the bike, into the muddy section between the curb and the sidewalk.
Before anyone could ask, I was on my feet, saying "I'm good" over and over. Damage assessment:
a) handlebars - tweaked ~40 degrees off center
b) front wheel - wobbling like a Jello square
c) rear derailleur - bent into my rear wheel
After some MacGuyver-ing, we managed to get back on the road and put in some good miles. Around 23 more, in fact. I managed to stay with the group on uphill sprints (and staying with a Cat 3 and Cat 1-2 isn't too easy... they must have been toying with me) and actually came from behind to pass two of the guys on a steep uphill, hitting around 28 mph in the process. Needless to say, I'm proud of myself.
One thing I didn't expect though: how much of an advantage drafting is. I thought it was all good, being second in the paceline and maintaining 22 mph behind the leader, when suddenly he waves his elbows (kinda like the Funky Chicken, which made me laugh). That's the signal that he wants to rotate to the back of the paceline and someone else should take a pull. I was already there, so I said, "What the hell. I got this." As soon as he pulled off, the wind hit me like a hammer. HOLY CRAAAAAAP. I managed to up the pace to 24 mph, but didn't last too long. That put me in my place, for sure.
So I called Champion on the drive home to ask if they had some free time to straighten everything out, and was asked "Is this the guy with the orange F95?" ...Okay. "Yeah, that's me" "DUDE! Of course we have time for you! Bring it in ASAP, we'll have you ready for that race!" I was taken aback. Well. I assured them I would bring it in later. I'm lovin' this VIP treatment.
Well anyways, my knee is a little tweaked, my legs hurt from the sprints, and I got a little scraped up on my side. My back hurts like hell, and I have a tiny limp, but I'll be ready. I'm feeling a little more confident now.
So, lots of news since last post, which I've mostly been posting to my Facebook in some asinine attempt at social interaction.
First, I am now a fully licensed Category 5 road racer and a Category 4 cyclocrosser. I joined up with a local club called Velobrew Racing, and I'm eagerly awaiting my first race, which is set to be in Deleon Springs, Florida on January 31st.
I'm excited, but also nervous about the prospect of hitting the roads once more, (hopefully) nestled in the pack, with the chains and cranks emitting the buzzing and whirring of a furious beehive. Normally I'd have the regular pre-race jitters and butterflies, but this time it's a little bit different. This time, I'm nervous about the course. Take a look at that, if you please. Of initial note is the ungodly hairpin turn after the first mile or so of the course. Second, notice the two turns back-to-back on the left side of the course. Does that look tight? That's because it is. Looking at Google Street View, it looks to be, oh, about 100 meters (or less) between corners. Can you say "Cluster Cuss"? I sure can. Further scouting on Street View reveals the sheer amount of sand on the course. Should be fun. Lastly, that hairpin again. SV shows that there is a second, milder turn in the middle of the fork. The problem is, there's a stop sign. Why is that a problem, you ask? Because cars leak fluids. A bunch of guys going 25 miles per hour on tiny tires through an oil slick isn't the best thing in the world.
But this isn't to say that it's all bad. A lack of real elevation changes and such mean I'm pretty well suited for the course. Furthermore, I'm not just nervous.
Excited in the sick, sadistic way any extreme athlete is when they eyeball a mountain or other obstacle and say, "Yeah, that's prolly gonna kill me. 'S all good, though."
Not going so well. Late nights and work conspire against me to inhibit my training days. Oh, and there's one other factor. RAIN. Last week we had two pretty rainy days, and today is another. Radar's showing 50 to 60 percent chance of showers all day, and when combined with the cold, makes for a Daniel that is sitting in his room typing out this blog instead of riding his bike. There might be a chance of a ride though. He's currently talking himself into it.
Commuting! It's actually cool now! I live just over a mile from work, and ride there and back twice a day, typically. I need a better light kit because Anders Rd. is a lightless death trap full of rednecks, wannabe gangstas and other crazy peoples, but it's still fun. Over 4 miles a day is decent for recovery days, and after longer rides, it's nice to hit a slow pace and just enjoy the bike. I don't get to do that all the time.
Which isn't to say I don't enjoy speed. I've been doing drafting runs with Bri lately, following her Civic until I run out of steam. Top speed so far has been 33 mph, but we can go faster. I've never been properly warmed up before our little runs, and I definitely need some better sprint speed if I'm going to handle these guys in Deland.
For now, adieu. I'm gonna go suit up and get hit with some cold rain.