Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Flinging and Rocking the Parkway!

This past weekend marked the beginning of the racing season for my household. Ashley raced her first Half Marathon distance event for the year, at the KC Rock the Parkway event. She has done some races leading up to the event, but this one was circled on the calendar. Her reward was a 3rd place finish in her age group, out of 200 plus women in her division. Her time was the best she has ran a 1:35, not a PR, but pretty awesome considering the training conditions we have had here this past winter. It makes me think that she will be burning up the streets at a certain Half Marathon this Fall in KC!? She has been really ramping up for a great season this year. Running races are very good at giving away cool medals! She has another one for her collection and it is one of the better looking medals for her ever growing collection.

I pulled together a pretty solid Saturday of racing myself. I only had time to race 3 of the 5 Spring Fling events in Lawrence, KS this year. So, I had to make each race count in order to have enough points for one of the top 5 spots in my division. This was the last of the series races and I was sitting in 7th place in points for the Open Master's 35 plus race. (This is a combination of all categories 35 and older, yes, older guys, but most Cat 3 and above with years of racing experience) I knew coming into this season I wanted to get back to my Roots a bit and do some road racing to get my fitness up to speed prior to racing in the dirt. So, this was a great primer for me along with the intensity, the prize list for the top 5 was pretty descent!

I have not won a road event in awhile, actually close to 5 years! I thought coming into today, if all went well, I could pull off enough points to finish in the top 5 and possibly win the last race of the series. I would need to be in every Sprint to make that happen.

Going into the 1st of 3 sprints, I came into the last corner in 2nd place, got around the 1st place rider and hit the accelerator! I was so amped up I won by a pretty good margain, but probably spent a little too much energy on the 1st sprint. It felt great getting those points, pretty sure that I would be in the top 5 even if I did not get anymore sprint points and just finished the final sprint in the top 6. So, some of the pressure was off, for the moment!

Coming into the 2nd Sprint, I was way out of position. Cycling is like a chess match at the front when it comes to Sprinting. Sometimes, just being in the right position will place you well at the end of the race. In my case I had to get around 2 guys in order to be in the top 4 for any points. I started to go and I was not making up the ground. So, I pulled up and now was not so comfortable with my point situation! I knew that 2 riders in the top 5 got points on that Sprint, that is how quickly this game can change! This is the part of cycling you do not see on TV. People always ask me how is that guy winning? He did not finish acrossed the line first? There is always a race, within the race when it comes to bike racing. Not all races are like this, but the Spring Flings give you and reward you with opportunities for points during every race. Not just how you finish on the final lap. I still had some work to do if I was going to finish the series in the top 5 overall.

The third Sprint was much like my first sprint. I nailed my positioning on the last corner, actually went into the corner in first place and almost held it to the line. I was nipped by a half a wheel. But, I got the 2nd place points and now I had one more to go, the final lap! Before we could get to the final lap, there was an attack by two Bike Shack Riders who had zero points in the series. It actually was perfect for me to let them go and see how the other teams reacted. They stayed away for the last two laps. As we came into the last corner, the field sprint was for 3rd place. I could see the Bike Shack Riders only a few seconds up the road from me. So, I just let it rip around the corner and chased them to the line. I finished 3rd on the final sprint. Total points for the day, Lucky 13! That was enough to move me into 3rd place overall for the seris and winner for the final race of the series!

All together we had an awesome race weekend and celebrated at our favorite restuarant and one of my sponsors, SPIN! Pizza! If you have never tried the food or experienced a dinner out at SPIN! you will love it! It takes a lot to balance work, family, and a two racer family! But, when it all comes together like it did this past weekend, you have to go out and celebrate it, who knows when the next win will be? Hopefully not 5 years!

Now, the season will be in full swing, hope to have more reports about my racing Bike Life soon! Now get out and ride!