Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm a Neophyte

Today was a full day to say the least. It started off with a trip to the zoo. The Austin Zoo is very small by zoo standards. It consists of rescued animals. It is a great place for kids because you can get up close to most of the animals. They also have a great petting zoo section where you get to feed goats, sheeps, lama, deer, etc. From there we went over to Zilker Park to hit the playground. The Bug had a great time.

Me hanging out with my the goats.

Tonight was my first race of the season which was also my first race ever. I raced Cat. 5 at the Austin Driveway Crits which are held on a go-kart racing track. It was a blast. I had a few goals. The first was not to get lapped. I failed at that goal. My little group of 3 got caught with 3 laps left. The course is about 3/4 mile long and we raced for 30 minutes. I proved my newbieness for sure. After about 4 laps the pack was flying and I wasn't sure I could hang with them for 30 minutes at that pace. So, I backed it off a bit and they got away. Then, they slowed down, but were too far ahead for me to bridge the gap. After 11 laps in a small group of 3, we got caught by the pack which was a good bit smaller than when I dropped off the back. Next week I will dig deep to stick with the pack knowing that they will ease the pace eventually. My second goal was not to come in last. I accomplished that goal, but I am not sure where I finished because of the mixed class. I will have try to find the posted results. My biggest problem is still my weight which has come down significantly over the past 3 months. However, some of the guys are still 40 or 50 pounds lighter than I am. They were able to accelerate out of the corners faster than me. I still have a long way to go for sure. All in time.

Amendment - I saw the results from the race last night and I did finish last in the Cat. 5. I guess the other dudes were 35s and juniors that I was hanging with. Oh well. Next week I will take a different approach.

My race number tonight.

The Cat 3/4, Women 1-3 race.

The Open 1-4 race. This was the peleton, but there was a break of 4 ahead of them.


Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

Congrats on your finish. Not last would be my only goal! I give you big kudo's for jumping in and trying it.
I have contemplated doing something like that but not sure I can really hang at those speeds for that long. The only regular race series here is on Wednesday nights at a 2-1/2" natural terrain road course (motorcycles, cars). It is a tough track with some sweeping turns and tough climbs and the pack is always flying. Fun to watch, but not sure I want to get in there and bump bars with even the "B" racers.
It is easier off-road just trying to avoid trees and sandtraps!

3/16/07, 5:02 AM  
Blogger oldmanandhisbike said...

I meant 2-1/2 "mile" course, not inches! Damn, I need some coffee this morning!

3/16/07, 5:03 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oldman - give it a go. I am sure you will not be the slowest dude there and you may even surprise yourself.

3/16/07, 6:42 AM  
Blogger chatterbox said...

Chris - Great job racing. Yes, the pack always slows down after the first 10 minutes. If you can stick it out, you will likely be OK until the last couple laps when things heat up again. Now, you've learned something for next week! The other cool things about your races is that they are only 30 minutes, and with the go-kart track, you likely don't have any 90 degree corners. If you don't have any tight corners, you should be able to tuck yourself in the middle of the pack and be more comfortable (thus conserving energy for the end). Also, look at your weight as an advantage in crits - it's hard to knock you over! :)

3/16/07, 7:46 AM  
Blogger lauren said...


yeah, i always forget that the pack will slow down. i tend to get it in my head that they'll continue with that crazy speed.

but they always do. and then you can rest with the pack.

good job! sounds like fun!

3/16/07, 8:41 AM  
Blogger Merkeley Bike said...

Congrats on your first race!! There is no turning back now ;>.

More than once I made the mistake of thinking I could catch the pack again if 'I just got a little rest'. It doesn't usually work and never did for me. Stay with the pack no matter how much it hurts. Ride for as long as you can and if you pop then call it a day. Eventually you'll be in the thick of it at the end.

3/16/07, 8:48 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

My one and only race was a Sport Class MTB Race. I got 2nd to last! My wife said she started to get worried when people stopped crossing the finish line...but then I eventually did show up. The guy behind me was 20 minutes back. He must've double flatted and broke his frame!

3/16/07, 10:13 AM  
Blogger CyclistRick said...

Are you still dropping weight? If so, you are probably in deficit mode which can help explain not hanging at the beginning. Of course you could always blame it on the equipment, right? Any, good job on getting out and giving it a shot.

3/16/07, 12:03 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

All - thanks for the advice and encouragement. I will let you know how it goes next week.

Cyclistrick - yes, I still have a long way to go. I am losing about 10 pounds a month.

3/16/07, 5:45 PM  
Blogger bryan said...

Some important info here, Chris. I've never done a crit before, so it's nice to know they'll slow down ... maybe.

3/16/07, 7:14 PM  
Blogger alicat said...

funny, i was gonna say what merkeley said. i guess that's why i like the guy so much.

i got lapped ALL THE TIME my first season. i will never forget the first crit when i DIDN'T get lapped. One great piece of advice I heard then was to try to never be the last person in the pack. If you're in the middle and you feel like you're gonna drop off, there's always a wheel behind you to grab onto. If you're last, make your goal to move up a few wheels and keep that as your focus.

Most of all...HAVE FUN!

3/16/07, 10:05 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

Chris - hang in there - we all got to start again somewhere - racing is the hardest and most rewarding thing - it's fantastic that you jumped in and tried it - most never have the nads to it - so I bow to you my man - you rock!

3/17/07, 9:52 PM  

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