RACE REPORT:Wednesday at Wakefield #1 2009

some photos by me
some photos by my wife
then some photos by Darren

it has been a while since I have raced
which means it has been a long time since I have posted a race report
brace yourself... these can be long


Wednesday At Wakefield Number One 2009

It had been a long time since I had race and even longer since I had ridden my Jamis Exile Single Speed

Monday evening I dropped by a friend's house to grab my single speed machine
my friend Matt had been good enough to bleed my brakes for me
managing a task that I am unfamiliar with... thanks Matt

this allowed me bicycle race options... the Single Speed 29er was going to be my bike of choice
Tuesday I commuted on the this old bike... the short ride to and from work was enough for me to figure out lever angles, seat tube extension, and that I needed to tighten my chain and swap out my pedals for ones that grasp my cleats

Pre race anxiety pumped through my veins the night prior as I packed my bags and considered the events of the evening to follow
I thought about the injury of the early season and how good I had felt on the bike months ago and how poor I felt on the bike at this point in the season
I thought about how little strength and speed I felt as well as my lack of confidence on the bike
then I got my head right... JUST RIDE YOUR BIKE

I took a deep breath and reminded myself to JUST RIDE MY BIKE


as I took deep breaths I reminded myself... it is not about winning or losing... it is about riding my bike
sure I planned on getting out there and giving it my all
but if there were people in my class who were more fit or faster... well... I would have to let them go
I could only do what my body would allow me to do

I was not sure how much energy I would have on the bike

I focused on breathing and relaxing
my little mantra calmed my nerves
prerace anxiety turned into excitement to ride my bike

the work day came and the events of the day did not allow for me to leave early
I rolled out of work and got on the bike and rushed home
as I rolled up 18th Street through Adams Morgan I tried not to think about how weak my legs felt

instead I just reminded myself to JUST RIDE MY BIKE

I thought to myself... sure I am in poor shape... racing is training and this is a training race
what are my options? wait until I am in better shape to start racing again?
who cares where I finish... being out there is the point of the game
it is about getting out on the bike
I knew I needed to get out on the bike
Wednesday at Wakefield is a great excuse to get out on the bike

I arrived home and pulled the Honda Element around the alley in the back of the house and loaded things up
along with my bags of gear and bike I loaded up the boys' bikes and
some food that Lisa had packed for dinner
the family was joining me
once the car was packed I went upstairs and rallied the kids... Come on boys... for daddy to m
ake his race we need to leave pronto!

the traffic started before I got to Mount Pleasant Street just blocks away
along with the traffic came anxiety

it was 5:35 and I needed to be on the line by 6:55
as the crow flies Wakefield is not far... but it can be a fight to get their at this time of day
that traffic induced anxiety continued... I went from radio station to radio station looking for a song as I fought to find progress in the early Rush Hour grid lock
as I drove Lisa and Dean tried to read and Grant slept

I banged the steering wheel... I cursed the inefficient... and I tried not to be the person that I hate
when we finally got onto Interstate 395 I reminded myself to breath... I reminded myself to relax... then with a glance at the clock I cracked open a can of Red Bull... ate a banana... then ate an energy bar

we arrived with enough time for me to gain composure before approaching the line
in my new DCMTB Kit on my body and my race number on my bike I joined the Clydesdale just minutes before Scott Scudamore released the Expert Men
there was no time for a warm up... which was fine... warming up is not really part of my routine

I scanned the group of over sized riders and was relieved that neither Greg P or Chris Redlack were in attendance... greetings were exchanged as I rolled up between Quigley and Marine John
then I looked at the others around me
in position to race I looked down at my bike

I questioned my decision to bring my single speed rather than my cushy double banger

as each class was released there was a pleasant exchange with the familiar faces
then it became our turn to start
Scott Scudamore went from friendly conversation to a surprise GO!

and we were off...
clumsily I tried to pedal forward and get into my clips
I was surprised by the start and feared that I was going to get dropped on the first hill

the race starts on a road that feeds up a short gravel hill towards the single track
not that the race is determined by the "hole shot" but there are some advantages
if not at least some psychological advantages
on the loose gravel I tried to find traction as I fought my way up this little hill towards
the race course
as I hit the crest of the hill I heard friend's voices cheering my name and I was pleased not so much to be in the lead at this point but to be on the bike
on the bike and feeling pretty okay

onto the single track I pulled back the pace
I am certain that the riders behind me were wondering why I had worked so hard to get in the front only to slow it down
but... I was on a bike that was completely unfamiliar to me
I needed to warm up to the handling of this unfamiliar bike
as well as knowing that there was a cluster of bikes just ahead
I knew it was senseless to sprint to the queue

into the woods and we were already catching the slower racers from the classes released ahead of us
just as I had to deal with the traffic driving to the race
I knew that I would have to deal with the traffic on the race course
Wakefield can be a lesson in passing and allowing the pass
sadly so many feel that it is also a lesson in fighting the pass... but no... let the faster racer pass... don't fi
ght them

one by one... two by two I tried to make polite and safe passes
for the most part people were good about allowing the pass
when I got stuck behind a long line of bikes I accepted things
understanding that they have a right to race as well
so I took these times to let my legs and lungs recover
then when there was a spot to pass... I took it

not sure of my competition I looked a the trail as it doubled back
always checking for larger riders following close behind
there were times when I saw the people I had lined up with... but this glance at the parallel trail is not always a good indicator of anything

I felt pretty good... it seemed that the Red Bull I had drank before the race was compensating quite well for my lack of training
in my water bottle I had GATOR-RAGE... a mixture of Gatorade and Red Bull that I moistened my
mouth with when I could

at the end of the first lap I was in the lead of my class and feeling pretty okay
at the start of the second lap I tried to find a groove
I was racing... but not at hypoxic race pace... trying to flow more... trying not to cramp... trying not to blow up... and trying not to crash
there were times when I may have been riding too casual

lap two much like lap one put me in line with an assortment of single track catepillars
there was much passing to do
for the most part people were pretty accepting of my request to pass
never would I ask anyone to slow and stop for me to pass
for the most part the skip of a pedal stroke or two would be enough for me to make the pass
but no... so often the Sport Men fight the pass... the move along at a less than race pace until someone gets on their tail... then they speed up... then when a pass is attempted they accelerate more
it can be frustrating and exhausting
it can also be dangerous

again... Wakefield can be a lesson in passing... passing is part of racing... Wakefield is about catching that set of tires in front of you and then passing them

at the start of lap three I cooled things down a bit... thought about SMART RACING... trying not to crash, cramp, or get a flat
I was confident that I had built a gap on the following Clydesdales and could tone things down a tad
the third lap had a few less racers clustered in front of me so I was able to try to flow through the course

half way through the last lap I smiled
I felt good about how my body was responding
I was soaked in sweat but I was not dying
not sure how much gas I had in the tank
but I knew that I had enough to finish the race
I rolled through the finishline and looked for my family
I passed friends and familar faces trying to find my wife and kids
then... there they were
they were not as excited to see me as I was to see them
to them it may have been just a hot evening standing around in the park
to me... to me this evening was many things

this morning I woke feeling refreshed
like waking from a dream
Wakefield served its purpose

the race was good enough that I plan on fighting Rush Hour Traffic a few more times to try and race again...
already looking forward to next week!

hopefully next week goes as well
and maybe you can get a better report