Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Report: Corning Circuit Race 2010

Yay, I had my first race evar (unless you want to count the 2009 Cascadilla Hill Climb) and--important things first--I've completed 4 out of 4 goals!

Getting to the race

As announced in the previous post, I rode out to the race and back, which turned out to produce some minor complications. Somewhat spontaneously, my accomplice had decided to come to the race with me and cheer and take some pictures. So we and our bikes got on the bus to Enfield at 1:10 and arrived in "downtown" Enfield at 1:35. The race was scheduled to start at 4 and since I had planned to get there for the sign-up etc. half an hour early that gave us about 2 hours for the 35 km to The Glen. Well, complication 1 was that Enfield Center Road turned out to be not only a "seasonal access road," but supposedly also was completely closed. Probably we could've gotten through with the bikes, but Gunnar's 23 mm Dachshund-slicers (German bike slang for thin tires) aren't made for dirt and I knew there would be a parallel road just a bit further West. What I didn't take into account was the fact that this little detour would also increase the amount of climbing quite a bit--something absolutely not appreciated by the accomplice's legs. Thus, we ended up walking most of the way up Harvey Hill which was annoying and, more importantly, cost us quite a bit of time. The part of the ride to Montour Falls was very pleasant (I had ridden parts of it during my epic December 100k) and the pace was good. Nonetheless, there was still a big climb coming up out of Montour Falls, and it was already 3:30! At the bottom of the hill we therefore separated and I rode up the hill in a pace that was much higher than was good for me. I made it to the registration tent at 3:45 and was pretty exhaustedwell warmed-up. Fortunately, the race was postponed to 4:30, giving me a bit time to rehydrate and "eat" some gel and giving the accomplice a chance to make it in time for the race start.


About 25 minutes prior to the start we were allowed to get on the actual track for warm-up. The track was really great! Smooth asphalt, wide lanes, and wide turns--I guess just what you'd expect from a race track. Unfortunately, the course also included two short but kind of steep climbs, which would later turn out to be my doom. The warm up lap took me about 12 minutes, and the race organizers later announced that the Cat 5s would race a total of three laps. In the meantime, the accomplice had also made it to The Glen and I quickly did the obligatory pre-race bathroom run.


The Cat 4s started at 4:30 sharp, exactly one minute ahead of us. Since the track was a slight downhill, the field picked up pace pretty quickly. Because the track was so wide, the peloton was less compact than in your usual road race, making me feel rather safe. The downhill right turn was followed by the steep uphill bump, getting most people out of the saddle and hurting my legs significantly. I hung on with the field through the mostly flat parts and the long downhill halfway in the course. What goes down, must come up, and the less steep but longer uphill hurt me good and transported me to back of the field. I held on for a little longer but before the first lap was finished I had fallen behind. I assumed there would be a couple people behind me and in the course of lap 2 I was passed by a couple of them, making me think I was last. I made brief attempts to hang on with the people passing me but my legs didn't comply. During the final lap I saw someone maybe 300 m ahead of me and he seemed to be going at a pace similar to mine. This gave me glimmer of hope and tried to gradually come closer to him. By the time we were at the last turn before the finish line I was fairly close and I thought I might be able to take him by surprise in a final effort. I dropped some gears, got down in the bars and just pushed as hard as I could. The finish line came closer and closer and I was still behind him, but within meters of the line I finally passed him (I think, at least). Much to my chagrin, I then saw the guy's number and realized that he wasn't even in my category and maybe not even in Cat 4 but only doing an (illegal) warm-up. While my exhausted self was a bit annoyed by that and the conclusion that I probably came in last, I didn't care too much. I had achieved 3 out of 4 goals (no DNF, no crash, no crash) and riding the race track had been a blast.

The Way Back

After a much needed cool down and chugging like three bottles of water, it was 5:30 and we had to get going in order to make it back home before dusk. I (as it later turned out: incorrectly) thought the ride back would be a little less than 40 km, including one major climb out of Montour Falls. Well, major it was, but even though both the accomplice and I were fairly tired we made it up all the way. The road was a really nice back road with almost no traffic and great pavement. After 20 km we turned onto NY-13 and the accomplice, getting increasingly tired, spotted a sign claiming that it was another 17 miles to Ithaca. This obviously was pretty demotivating and we took a quick Gatorade break at the Dandy Mart. Fortunately, NY-13 was mostly flat all the way back to Newfield, but the accomplice suffered nonetheless. Once we were in Newfield all was good though and we thoroughly enjoyed the downhill into Ithaca. The 100k of race day were concluded with a big serving of poutine.


We're currently internetless at home and, thus, I could only look up the race results this morning. And, much to my surprise, I hadn't been last! Place 28 out 35 and therefore fulfillment of all of my goals. Even better.
Unfortunately, there are no more races in biking distance this season. 

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