No win, but the race went well. On Saturday, Care, Tsali and I drove a couple hours to Greenville, SC for my first road bike race of the season, as well as my first Cat 4 race. I upgraded from the 5s late last year. The weather was nearly perfect, with just a bit much wind (12 mph). I think the temp hit 73 and I got sunburned. Yep, sunburned in February. This race is one of several which make up the Spring Training Series put on by George Hincapie. George is the professional cyclist I like most. Originally from NY, he has made his hometown Greenville, SC.
Anyways, we met up with the C4 team (Matt, Jim, Shawn, Dave and Tyler were also racing/had already raced earlier that day), got registered, set up the trainers and got warmed up. Lots of people there! I remember looking at the registered list on prereg.com and thought how cool it was to see that people were coming in from several states away. By this time it was definitely over 70 degrees and we kept talking about how much the race was going to hurt.
We Cat 4s lined up behind the P123 group and headed off around 15 minutes after them. I was glad we only had 35 miles to put in; they had 56. Of course I couldn’t get clipped in when the race started (story of my life), but I put the hammer down once I did get in. I was able to catch Dave after the first turn. Then there was a pretty intense sprint and I gained a few places (moving up to maybe 55th haha). I saw Shawn WAAAAAYYY up ahead, but new this race was young; there was another app. 34 miles to go. The first lap was pretty eventful, but the course was outstanding. Other than a railroad track crossing and a few potholes, this is one of the nicest road race courses I’ve been on. There were only a few short rises, no traffic and views of the distant Blue Ridge range at one point along the course.
I had brought 2 gels and a bottle and a half of sports drink. That ended up being plenty. Around the midway point of the race I finally caught up with Shawn, who looked to be about 20 or 30 back from the leader. It was around this time that the referee on a motorcycle rode by and told us to go neutral. We slowed (not much) and the Pro,1,2,3 breakaway comes past. Who is in that breakaway? None other than George Hincapie? In a few months he’ll be riding in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France and I was sharing pavement with him. Epic.
The last lap was tough. I felt a couple minor cramps coming on, but nothing major. Got up to 39 on one section. The breakaways were going faster on this lap. By the way, the theme for this race was sketchy. We would speed up to 23-27 and then slow to 14 or 18. It got old. It was unbelievable how much slowing there was! I think I yelled slowing every 5 minutes. Close to the sprint line (read: near the end) all hell broke lose and I just pushed the bike through the crowd as well as possible, finishing 8th of 63. Average mph of 23.2