Today I finally got out and officially started my 2008 Racing Season. First race for me was the Dam Road Race (a.k.a Perry Road Race). I was going to put in another long training day, but decided to go ahead and get things rolling for 2008. Besides I need to get some tires to Shad and wanted to watch him race.
I arrived late to race the Master's so I entered the Cat 3's. Good turnouts in both the Men's 1/2 and 3's. Even with two good groups they decided to combine the 3's with the 1/2's As I roll up to the line I am thinking "who's bright idea is this". I look around and see riders like Steve Tilford, Shadd Smith, Kris Tilford, Bill Stolte and Mark Smelser. I knew I was in for a world of pain today.
Race started slow. That lasted about 200 yards, then Kris Tilford and Joe Schmaltz took off like they were being pulled behind a truck. By the end of the first down hill they had a huge lead. First lap was fast, but I was o.k. That was until the big climb to finish off the 1st lap. I was hoping the first few laps up the climb everyone would go easy, but I was wrong as usual. I was gasping for air at the top of the climb well in back of the field.
As lap 2 began I got in a small group of riders that had also gotten dropped. We worked well together and were make some headway into bridging back up to the group. Then out of no where we get passed by Tilford (who had gotten a flat) and Katherine Walberg. Tilford was flying and I was lucky to get on his wheel. He lead for about a mile, then everyone in the group took one pull and it was back to Tilford as he did the rest of the work to get us back on. As I rode in a world of pain behind Tilford and Walberg, I thought it was cool to be riding with two current National champions as both of them won their respective championships at the National Cyclocross championships in December.
Lap 3 started just as lap 2 did. I got dropped just was we started to climb the big finishing hill. This time I did was not able to get on with anyone else and I basically rode the next 2 laps by myself. I was hurting badly, but kept the pace high and treated it like a TT. On the 5th lap I actually started to catch a small group of riders. I got on with them and finally could rest some. This rest paid off as I was able to finish ahead of everyone in my group taking 8th (basically mid-pack) for the day.
My teammate Shad took another win in the Men's Cat 4 class. He should have enough points to upgrade in the very near future. It will be fun to have another Cat 3 to race with.