Saturday, September 6, 2008

My First Win!

Charles and I scored a big "W" in the Henderson Two-Man Time Trial this morning. I'll spare you all the details--here are the highlights: Charles, Julie, and their intrepid Welsh terrier Dublin rode down with me in the Pathfinder to Henderson, a delightful little town on the Minnesota River. We registered, warmed up on the trainer (literally, since it was about 55 degrees at 8am), and got to the start line. An assistant held us upright so we could clip both feet in, the starter counted down, and we were off:

Charles led off for the first 3 minutes or so, to set a good pace at about 28mph, then he "hupped" me (see last Saturday's post on Sparky the seal) and I took a pull. I have no idea how long each of his pulls were after that, but I know mine were almost exactly a minute. I tried to hold whatever speed he was going for as long as I could after each switch, and it was usually about 45 seconds. Then my speed would slow a little despite my best effort to keep it up. Then it was time for "hup" and Charles was in front again.

We went out 7.5 miles, bombed a gentle descent at 35mph, and had to almost stop at the bottom to make a U-turn around an orange cone. Then it was back up the hill and back to the start/finish line. I skipped one pull right after a particularly hard effort (a hill or something), because I was just barely holding his pace even though I was the one drafting. I was never more happy to take the final curve and see the finish line. I thought I was spent, but as any self-respecting sprinter knows, there's always 20 seconds of power left for the end of the race. I surged past Charles and sprinted us over the line:

We cooled down for a few minutes on the bikes, then coasted back to the car and some badly needed Gatorade. Unfortunately, my stomach punishes me for hard TT efforts like this one, so I couldn't eat anything for a couple of hours afterwards.

We ran into Linda Sone who said she thought we had won our category, so we walked over to the posted results, and sure enough, there we were at the top of the Masters 35+ list. Granted, the field was small, but we we beat them by a good margin.

This was the first bike race I've won since 1977. True, it was a small field, and true, my partner is one of the top Masters time trial riders in MN. Also true that I've had very good results over the past several years with a number of top 10 finishes. Still, the first win is sweet, and it doesn't hurt that we got to split the $40 prize money. Thanks to Julie and Dublin for the swell pictures.

I would love to see a Wednesday night time trial in the Saint Cloud area next year. It's too far to drive down to Black Dog for a 16 minute race every week, but it would be cool to ride to a local course as a warm-up and blast off on a 7 mile out and back time trial once a week. Bragging rights to the winner. Maybe I'll try to pull something together. All of a sudden I like to ride my rocket bike. I guess winning does that to you. Thanks Charles!

I've decided to try some cyclocross races this fall, starting 4 weeks from today in Orono. In an effort to be green, I'm only doing races close to home (or close to my in-laws). Here's my tentative line-up: Orono on Oct 4; Flanders on Oct 11 (near my sister-in-law's); Ham Lake Oct 18; Roseville Oct 25 (near my parents-in-law); Rum River Nov 2; either NCS on Nov 8 or Lake Rebecca on Nov 9; and the State CX in Crystal on Nov 15 (maybe).

I'm going to line up at the back of the 45+ race for safety's sake, and see who I can pass on the course. I don't feel like rehabbing my shoulder again...


Anonymous said...

Congrats Hammer! Not being able to hang on to a draft is a familiar feeling. Where is the Rum River race at?


Doc said...

Thanks cousin--the Rum River CX event is in Milaca according to the MCF calendar: