Friday, June 25, 2010

First Race Tomorrow!

My identity as a cyclist is definitely not that of a racer. Yeah, I like going fast and pushing myself, but
  • I'm not competitive;
  • I dislike the idea of depending on other people's riding (and potentially crashing);
  • I dislike the kind of macho crap that is very prevalent in the road cycling section of;
  • I don't want to drive to a ride.
But nonetheless I have registered for the Corning Circuit Race tomorrow. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, the race will take place on the Watkins Glen International Speedway, a Nascar track. Aside from it being a closed course and therefore presumably being safer for racing, I have a longstanding connection to Nascar racing. I love car games like Need for Speed, Colin McRae Rally, the Lotus series -- and I played the 1994 NASCAR Racing extensively. I distinctly remember not liking the Watkins Glen track very much, as it was the most difficult one, with all those crazy turns. When I moved to Ithaca the first time and saw that the town of Watkins Glen was very close to it, it took me a while to realize that it was that Watkins Glen. After all, the race tracks in the video games are very much disembodied places for a German teenager who had never been to the US. Long story short: I really like the idea of racing the Speedway. The second reason for racing is that Watkins Glen is in biking distance. I can take the bus to Enfield, and from there it's only 35 km (unfortunately including a bunch of climbing) to the Glen. The race starts at 4:30, giving me a comfortable window to get there and back. The way back after the race might be painful, but whatevs.
I have four goals for the race:
  1. no DNF due to mechanical problems
  2. no crash
  3. no crash
  4. not finishing last
As preparation for the race there is a bunch of things:
  • map out the ride and write a cuesheet (I left my GPS in a friend's car in California)
  • adjust rear derailleur
  • switch seat posts, so that the racing saddle is at the correct height
  • maybe buy a cycling cap to prevent annoying sweat-in-eye problems
  • go for a short ride to shake out the legs
  • study turn-by-turn guide of the track (just kidding)
  • maybe shave legs, in case I fail to achieve goals 2 and 3...
Keep your thumbs pressed (as the Germans say) -- race report will be posted soon.

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