Saturday, September 26, 2009

Victory is Mine!

Grappling with the elements and a field of 100+ riders, today, I was finally able to claim that elusive top podium spot. As this is my first win ever, I'd like to give a more detailed account then I typically provide of the circumstances that led to this amazing victory.

The weather was damp and in the mid 50's as I gathered up my clothing and gear for today's ensuing ride. I had to choose wisely, since the temp was supposed to get into the low 70s and I didn't want to overheat. I decided to go with a short sleeved base and jersey, bib shorts, arm and leg warmers, a cycling cap under my helmet and "Belgian Booties". With weather more befitting a Spring Classic in April than a late September ride, I mounted my trusty road bike and headed out. Little did I know what I was in for.

My plan was to ride to the start for a warm up and just see where my legs took me from there. As I arrived at the start, I noticed two things immediately. First was the overwhelming size of the field. There must have been at least 100+ riders. Second, that I must have missed the start since some riders were already well on their way.

With no time to dilly-dally, I picked my way through the main pack and set my sights on the two break-away groups up the path. There was one group of five, and then, further up, another duo of riders. As I slowly reeled in the first group I was amazed at how great my legs felt. I was turning over my 39x20 like it was nothing! The speed was high as I looked down and saw the "30" flash on the screen of my cyclo-computer. Then I remembered it was set to kph not mph... Nevertheless, I was nearly on top of the group of five and, with the speed I was carrying, I knew I would just blow right by them. As I neared the last rider in the group, I thought about jumping in the rotation to recover from my effort, and just as I was almost on his wheel, he pulled off the side of the path!! Then the craziest thing happened, the remaining 4 riders did the same. I just chalked it up to them "answering the call of nature" but there was a woman in the group too...

Oh well, no time to dwell, I still had the 2 lone leaders to chase down. I would catch glimpses of them as the path twisted and wound among the foliage, and I could tell I was definitely gaining. I upshifted to my 39x14 and really put the hammer down. I'm not sure what got into me but I was gaining on them like they were standing still! As I approached, I slid the bike over to the left, seeking out the portion of the trail where the opposing traffic had worn a path and flew by them. The man in front looked at me with an inquisitive glance. As I looked back, I noticed he was about 70 years old, I must have caught up to the Masters group...

As I turned my gaze up the trail, I noticed the finish line. There was no one in front of me! I had a good 30-40 seconds on the group of two behind me so I adjusted my jersey and held my arms aloft in a victory salute as I coasted across the line. The promoters had a refreshment table set up at the finish but I by-passed that and instead opted for a cooled down. Victory has never tasted so sweet. I almost need to repeat it to believe it's real: I finished first in the Clinton River Trail Fall Classic 10 Mile Fun Ride. And it was all by accident that I happened upon these cyclists admiring the fall colors, but as a wise man once told me, every ride is a race. Victory is mine!

No comments:

Post a Comment