This weekend was the start of the DINO series at Winona Lake. Since I am trying to put a little more effort to this season, I had planned on making this trip. It had been several years since I have made the trip up there for the race. Other than the race, I have only rode there one other time. The weekend was very busy, but I was still going to make it for the race. Well, I thought I was going to have some issues with all of the road construction and even a road closed with a detour. I really need to update my GPS and I will spend less time with the car looking like it was in the middle of a field.
I did feel better when I finally pulled in to the lake road. I knew I would be able to find the trail from there. After I signed in, I went to get ready. That is where I found my next problem. It seems that I forgot to pack my shorts. Good thing someone helped me out with an extra pair they had. I may not have looked as good as I should have, but at least I was racing in bike shorts and not cargo shorts.
We did get out for some pre-riding. I didn’t have time for a full lap or want to put that much riding in before the start, but it did help with a few sections. It also was good to get a little riding in before the race started. The only thing I could have done better is ride a little harder. What I did helped, but I didn’t get my engine warmed all the way up. I didn’t do bad on the start. I went a little hard to stay somewhat near the front, but not all the way at the front. I thought I was going good, but with some riders in front of me struggling, I needed to pass quicker and I was worried about going too hard too soon. This hesitation just might have caused me to do what I didn’t want to happen.
As we hit a few sections that were tight and had some climbs, I was working harder to stay behind someone then I wanted too. He was not going at a speed that I should have been going. I started to feel my heart rate going up and this made me even more worried about passing some guys. I let some pass me in places that I should have passed the guy in front of me. After a few went by, I ended up passing him anyway. I am not sure if I would have been more aggressive on the passes if I would have been stronger or not. I did back off for a little bit to let my heart rate settle down some or I would have been worthless for the rest of the race.
There was a section that flowed a little better and I could turn up the speed and just let the legs turn pedals over. This section really helped me settle down and at the same time move along pretty good. All of this road riding I have been doing has me really liking this kind of riding. What I need to work on more is all the start and stops. The short bursts of power are not what I am currently strong at. Once I started to feel better, I could put more power too the ground and keep my pace good.
I felt as good as I would have liked for the rest of the race. I reeled in some riders and didn’t let too many more pass me. I could not keep the speed up that I would have liked, but I was doing as good as I could expect. When I was passed by the Women’s leader, I jumped on her wheel and really moved along good. Not knowing the trail really was not good for this race. The corners were very tight and it was hard to go full out and not sure if I could make the next turn. When she was in front of me, she was showing me the way and I was feeling good. This worked for part of a lap until I could not pass a rider she got by. I tried, but the opening closed before I could get by. I did pass him shortly after, but she was gone already and the legs were feeling heavy. I continued going well for the rest of the race and even passing a couple people very late in the race.
The official results are not posted yet, but the TV had me listed in 23rd for the age group. I felt like I might be a little farther up than that, but not knowing how many were at the line it makes it hard to judge if that was good or not. I do know I was about 10 min. down from the top 4. That is a number that I was not happy with. I guess the feeling of racing good may just not be good enough to actually be racing good. Overall, I am still very happy with myself. I had not rode much this week and was behind on sleep the week leading up to the race. I now know a few things I need to keep improving on and try to keep riding like I have been a day or so a week. That will be hard with the season started and I will have a lot of weekends scheduled with races. Maybe I will be able to race in to shape the rest of the way. I am looking forward to racing a trail that is not as tight or one that I know a little better than this race.
Only time will tell if I can actually figure something out, but it will not be long before I will be able to test the legs again. This weekend is the rescheduled date for the Fort Duffield race. I had planned on racing the SS for this event, but now I am starting to have second thoughts. I have some work to do on the SS before I would even be able to ride it. I just hope there is some time this week to get a few things done and squeeze in a ride or two. Hope to see you on the trail or at the next race.