Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Know when to fold em'

It was very early in downtown Hastings
The first race of the year can be seen in many different ways. First off, it is an opportunity to see who has done the work over the winter to test your early season fitness. Second, it is a way to get together with say 3000 riding buddies and hit the road for a group ride. Barry Roubaix was the perfect way to do this. Downtown Hastings was overrun with cyclists from all over Michigan and probably the United States before it was all said and done. The pic above was taken about 7am. Notice the frost? It was still chilly with temps in the 20's so we were all hoping the ground would stay frozen to avoid a mud fest.

Photo courtesy of Rick Plite
Then it was time to get started. We lined up in an array of colors and started the race. Pros (and super crazy people) went first for the 62 miler....but I opted for the 36 mile race. I was happy that the course had changed this year to avoid some super sandy 2-tracks but it just meant a little more pavement. GO. The start was fast. I knew it would be so I just settled into my pace and found a smaller group to draft off for a bit. Didn't last long because the pace was really fast on the pavement. First hill...which was small...I got dumped and only a few riders were still behind me from my wave. That was ok....because every 3 minutes after that I was being passed by the front of the following waves. Good news...I never really rode alone. There was always someone around. Someone in sight to help me keep my sanity. The three sisters were after the first right onto the dirt. First one...not bad. Second one....here comes Jay. I was hoping to make it over them all before he caught me but he is really fast so I wasn't shocked. He disappeared over the third and I just kept chugging along.

Photo courtesy of Jay B.
About 10 miles in is where the story changes. I had a weird pain in my hip that hurt with every pedal stroke. I rode for about 5 more miles before I stopped and stretched to no avail. I climbed back on and slowly watched as my average speed dropped with every pedal stroke. Everyone I knew was saying "just keep going" and "do you need anything" but my mind was already working against me. At mile 27 I saw an aid station and threw in the towel. Thankfully it wasn't long before a SAG vehicle was there and I lowered my head and took the ride back...bailing out to save myself to ride another day. I was done. Mentally and physically. 

My team did very well averaging about 2:18 overall. It was awesome seeing all the people in that little town. It was fun for a bit...but my mind won the battle and I am glad I stopped. I knew there were 2 more nasty long climbs and I would have probably ended up with an injury. Just a bad day on the bike, but some had worse days. One guy was air lifted out due to a heart attack. He was lucky enough to have some immediate help from a doctor and paramedics that were riding right behind him.

Next up is Yankee.....just gonna do what I can. 11 miles should be way easier than the 27 I managed at Barry. It should be warmer too! COME ON SPRING!

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