This morning was the Tour de Frankenmuth. The race took place in the quaint village of Frankenmuth, Michigan. It's a flat course through neighboring farmlands and the wind usually plays a critical factor in the race. Not today, but we did have temps in the 50s with rain. Felt like what I imagine racing in Belgium is like.
The race was about an hour and a 1/2 drive form my house, so with a race start at 8:00 AM, I had to get up pretty damn early. Got to the race pretty damn groggy, picked up my race packet and waited the prerequisite 15 - 20 minutes to take a crap... Damn coffee and waffles... I swear, bike racing must be some sort of laxative or something, cyclists shit more than any one I've seen. Is it nerves? Maybe it's a hyperactive digestive system....
Any way, checking the air pressure on my tires and, pssssstttttt.... Slow leak around my valve stem. I only had one tube with me so I swapped it out and filled up the new one very carefully. I've been buying these cheap tubes ("Q-Tubes") and they suck. The valves are the biggest pieces of shit ever, I blew through two tubes last night and the one this morning makes three, just from faulty valve stems.
My tire/tube issues a thing of the past, I warm up for about 20 minutes and then downed a power bar (I learned my lesson from last week when I bonked like I've never bonked before - I need to eat). I stuffed an Enervit gel and cheer pack in my jersey and loaded up my water bottles.
Embrocation time - I used some impermeable stuff by Born, it's pretty good for this type of weather, it's like Vaseline but with a slight warming effect.
Lining up I was amazed at the sheer amount of racers - the Cat 4 race was at capacity and the Cat 5 race they actually split into 2 groups! Is this some type of cycling resurgence we are witnessing??
47 miles for us, three laps. Just as we rolled away from the start/finish it really started to rain. It had been raining on and off all morning but it really came down hard for a period of 15 to 20 minutes.
The course was pretty flat and on narrow farm roads which made moving around in the pack pretty difficult. I was feeling a little nervous for some reason and it took me longer than usual to get comfortable in the pack. I stayed put for almost the entire first lap and just hung with Pete and Mark from my team. All in all, pretty uneventful first lap.
Second lap - moved up a in the group a bit. got first hand experience of the benefits of a sports drink. I also discovered a new gel flavor that I like - it's "Cola" flavored gel by Enervit - it tastes like gummy cokes, which just so happens to be my favorite candy of all time. Yum.
Last lap - moved up to the front third of the pack. HUGE crash just to my left as we hit the second to final straight-away. I avoided it (thank god) it looked nasty. The funny thing with crashes is, you hear them before you see them. This one sounded horrible - tires popping, carbon snapping, the sound of grunts as bodies hit the pavement. I hate seeing crashes, it always freaks me out. This was no exception and it took a lot of the wind out of my sails. I left the final sprint to the braver souls as I took the final turn at a respectable speed.
Finish - 22nd
Kudos to fellow Flying Rhino, Rodney who won the Cat 4 race by a bike length!