This morning I got a little glimpse into what Smoke Eaters did, or in some cases still do, when I tackled the last race of the season, the Diamond Valley Road Race. When I got home my wife crinkled – or wrinkled, you choose – her nose at the smell that permeated my clothes, helmet, you name it.
To my credit, for what that’s worth (I’m a knucklehead) I did check the AQI before I left. It was in the green here at HQ and in Alpine Village (where the race started) so even though it was showing over 150 in Diamond Valley I went for it. I thought the wind might be blowing east based on those two green readings but that was not the case; it was coming in from all directions.
I should have called for extraction but you know how that goes – I was committed, or more aptly put,
should be (committed that is)!
The season started on April 19th and due to the pandemic the first few races of the Alta Alpina Cycling Club’s (AACC) COVID-19 Social Distancing Race Series were slotted to be time trials. We had hoped, as many of you likely did in April, that we’d be so over this by now. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and so all of the remaining races (twenty in all) were done as time trials. Click here, by the way, if you’d like to read my initial post of April 23rd on this subject.
I should point out that the racing season doesn’t really end until this Sunday, and perhaps it will be extended if the smoke continues to be an issue. I was a minute slower today than I was back in April, maybe because of the smoke, or maybe for another reason…See the “What I learned” section below for more on that. Nonetheless, I could race the course again as I have until at least Sunday, but there are still many more racers to go, many of whom are FAST. So, right now I’m not too motivated to put that on my calendar; in addition to looking for work-work, I’m also doing the FulGaz French Tour (more on that next week), so this professional cyclist (as my brother from another mother calls me) is a bit busy.
What I’ve Learned
- For a nervous, have no clue what I’m doing first-time racer, this format was perfect!
- I was able to ride against the clock, as opposed to other, more-experienced racers, and so was less intimidated.
- I still had to race every week and so preparation, including rest, nutrition and hydration, was very necessary. BTW, I still need more practice on the prep. part.
- I have a tendency to go too fast and hard on the out-leg. I’ve really only been able to keep those horses in the gate for one race, the week 15 Foothill TT, and on that day I was 27″ behind at the turn but made up 42″ on the return leg. That discipline helped me beat my previous PR by 15 seconds!
- I have to think more strategically/tactically: One rider re-did the Luther TT a few days after he and I raced to a tie. He smoked me on his re-do and so earned more points for that second effort.
- I still need to cogitate more creatively. E.G., should I ride in the a.m., afternoon, or evening since weather and wind conditions do change? I’ve been paying more attention to what the big dawgs do so that next year…
- It was so fun and engaging, even riding solo!
- Seeing how others did, what they did and when they did it was cool (and helpful).
- Bragging rights (I did beat my nemesis ONCE) are part of the equation.
Here’s some other images from some of my races. Sorry but no snot-dripping, coughing up a lung, sweat soaked Mark photos. You’re welcome!
Looking forward to the official points totals and hoping I’m still in the Top 10. So honored to be put in the A group for my first year of racing and am planning on being even better next year.
Thank you to my fellow members of the Alta Alpina Cycling Club for helping me take my riding to another level!
Big thanks too, to the first responders who are out there on the front lines right now trying to keep us all safe from this uber-crazy year of wildfires.
Looking forward to a superior – and fingers crossed, a smokeless, no masks or social distancing required – racing season, next year.