Day 2 of our epic weekend didn't exactly start as planned. The first event on the agenda was a 10k for Angelia at the Hottest Half & 10k. This was a big event for her but she elected to skip it. Why? Well, here's a clue .... when she got out of bed and made her way to the kitchen she was wearing sunglasses. Not a good sign. She had a wicked headache and every sight and sound meant pain.
While the 10k was a lost cause, the rest of the family still had the Rockwall Criteriums to look forward to. The itinerary included my first ever race at 10:55am (35+ 4/5), the Kids Showdown at 12:20pm for the boys, and another race for me at 3:30pm (4/5). Have you ever tried to prepare yourself for a race while trying to keep two hyperactive boys from screaming constantly, and thereby adding to your wife's pounding headache? Not easy. In fact, I failed miserably at managing the situation. The one smart move was enlisting the help of my dad as Angelia still wanted to watch me race and the boys needed to get there with their bikes.
Men 35+ Cat 4/5
Unfortunately, I got ready a bit later than planned, took a big longer to get my number and pin it than planned, and before I knew it I had practically no time to get warmed up. Ideally for a short intense race like a crit you want a nice long warm-up. Instead I rolled up to the line in the back of the pack with only several minutes in my legs.
|Don't bother looking for me. I'm in the back.|
|Taking a short pull before recovering and|
finally dropping these 2 guys for good.
After watching the Womens Cat 4 and Juniors Cat 4/5 race that occurred after mine, it was time for the Kids Showdown! The event was changed up a bit at the last minute and both the big and little kids did 1 lap of the mile long loop. For the big kids, this was shortened from the expected 2 laps. For the little ones it was suddenly much more challenging than the 1/4 lap they've done in the past. This race story is best told in pictures:
|Julian gets caught in a chaotic start.||Lining up the little ones.|
|Looking like a future cyclist.|
|Julian challenges for 2nd at the finish.||Connor up the final hill in a clear 2nd place.|
|First cycling medal!||3rd for Julian and 2nd for Connor|
Unfortunately the race wasn't much different. I did stick with the pack a little longer but it wasn't in an efficient manner. A couple of those laps were spent "tailgunning", getting gapped every straight and closing it each turn. Eventually I failed to close that gap and it was back to soloing in the wind. There was no help this time around. There were others popped off but the gaps remained. This became a gruelling hot workout and not much more. Just like in the morning race, I was lapped 20 minutes in. I tried to hook on to the pack but no such luck - missed the train. The solo laps were a struggle but eventually I was able to close a gap on another dropped rider that had consistently been 300m in front of me. It didn't seem like he wanted to work together but he grabbed my wheel and I just couldn't find the energy to shake him. After a while I started pulling a bit to the side and letting up hoping he'd pull ahead of me. He would slow as well and made an obvious comment on how totally cooked he was. Translation: No way in hell was he pulling. That bugged me enough that I found the small bit of extra oomph I needed to finally shake him. By the time the race ended I was 2 laps down. Heck, I didn't even realize when the race was over!
|No-one around me. Not a good sign.|
I was a bit more disappointed in this race. I thought it would go better than the first one and I was shocked at how slowly I was going towards the end. I realize that was partially the product of the heat and wind which definitely picked up throughout the race. In fact, towards the end I had a close call thanks to a swirling wind. There were 3 of us, all 1 or 2 laps down, and you could see a swirl of leaves to the inside of the course just after turn 2. That swirling mass of leaves started moving right for us and when it hit, all of our bikes were moved sideways. The only thing that kept it from being a disaster was we all saw it coming and were able to space out and brace ourselves.
With that, the day's racing was over. Both boys were happy with their rides and medals. Connor absolutely loves racing and getting bling. Julian was a bit bummed about the shaky start and the shortening of the race but was pleased with how he rode, especially the sprint up the final hill. Meanwhile, I got 2 official races under my belt, albeit with significantly less pack time than I hoped for. There's a lot of work to be done before my target event in 4 weeks. Connor gave me a tip that should help me get to the front of the pack though .....
"You know what you need to do better in your next race, Daddy?"
"What do I need?"
Connor rolls up the right leg on his shorts, points to his quad, and proclaims,
Good advice little man. Good advice.