I can hang with those guys, really, I can. At least some of them. As long as the course doesn’t entail a climb longer than 100 feet or so.
A couple of weeks ago at the second Camp Hilbert race, I passed my Tripower teammate Kevin midway through the first lap and might have held on if I hadn’t flatted my old tubeless front tire and DNF’d.
This week, racing the Walnut Creek Chimney Chase near Charlottesville, Kevin got a great start and put me away early in the climb intensive first half of the 11-mile lap. Two laps served up 2,300 feet of climbing and descending on a technical, root and rock strewn course. Kevin weighs 150, if that, whereas I hover around 190. I may have more power, but he makes it up those climbs faster because he’s so scrawny. Advantage, K-dawg.
Meanwhile, our other teammate Bill “Goat” Gilmer, who’s been sandbagging masters races this year, sailed away from both Kevin and I early on as he chased the leading elements of the 20-plus expert vet field. He finished 7th in the stacked field, while Kevin got 11th and I managed 15th. No idea what the times were, but I’m told I was about five minutes behind Kevin. Jerry “12-pack” Hadley rolled in a while after me in 17th despite his intensive hydration program the day before.
Sadly Chad Holm, who rode up with us the day before, flatted out early, but Liz Schleeper got fifth in the expert women’s field that was dominated by DeeDee Winfield.
My race started well enough. I was mid-pack early, but the wheel I followed on the early climbs thrice couldn’t make it up the steeps, forcing dismounts by both of us as other riders rolled by. I couldn’t get away from him for about a mile, but finally did. I soon caught Jerry, whom I distanced on two climbs, but charged up on my wheel on the next downhills. Lost him about three miles in on a longer climb. I felt better and better on the first lap and passed a handful of riders.
However, about a mile into the second lap, my arms and shoulders grew tired and I slowed to avoid an accident from sloppy handling. The climbs I’d spun up on the first lap, chewed me up on the second. Two riders I’d passed came back by me. I’d hoped to catch one of them on the second half of the course, which was more suitable to me, but he finished maybe 15 seconds in front of me.
After racing in the muggy Charlottesville summer heat, a dip in the lake at the park was a great way to cool off. Charlottesville Racing Club put on a nice race. Next time I need to remember to pre-reg and avoid that onerous $10 same-day fee.