I did a local circuit race last weekend put on by the BOB cycling team in the town of merrimac, MA. Much like the turtle pond race, this course isn't hard, it's the race that makes it hard. For some reason the Brain Trust at BOB decided to have only one masters category - a 50+. This left me with no choice but to race in the senior 2/3. That's right, there were several riders in my field that were 25 years younger than me. No biggie, I've held on in P123 fields recently, so I wasn't to worried about this.
My team actually had a good turnout for this with seven or eight riders. Six of us were assigned actual functions by our captain, while the others were there for the training. New for the team this year is a cat 1 mtb/cat 2 road racer around 40 years old. In fact, no one on our team was _under_ 40. My job was to ride for the new guy. We also have new to the team a rather prolific break-away specialist, there was another good strong all around rider assigned to keep him in the mix. The other two were to help block in the case of a break or go for the field sprint.
Goal 1: get the new cat 2 or the new break-away rider into a break or keep the field together.
Goal 2: Set up team captain for the field sprint.
The race was fast - faster than most master crits I've done in the past few years - 27.5 MPH if you believe bike reg. I believe bike reg. It was fast.
6 laps, 7 miles each, rolling course, winding old-country roads, about 200' climbing per lap, nothing flat. The field stayed together with someone from my team either at the front or bringing it together. We rode very well as a team, I was impressed and proud to ride with them. There were enough other teams there that without the proper mix in the break, it wasn't going to stay away. Indeed, everytime something materialized without one of us in it, we brought it back. A break finally got established at the beginning of the last lap with our break-away rider in it. It didn't work out well, he ended up 8th in an 8 man break. I asked him who was in the break with him, and he said "I don't know, but I can tell you I was the only one with gray hair".
Since the merrimac race was so close to my house, I rode the 8 miles t0 and from the race, plus another 5 or so. Saturday afternoon I did 4 hours of yardwork, then went to a neighbors house for a cookout, where I drank too much and ate shitty food. The food was good mind you, but lets say that grilled sausage, potato salad, and lot's of dark beer aren't exactly good recovery food when you have a race the next day.
So, of course, Sunday I did the blue hills ckt race. I felt whipped from the gun. I never felt like I was going to get dropped, but I really had nothing I could respond with for the accelerations up the hill. Just like, Purtle Tond and merrimac, this course isn't hard, it's the race that makes it hard. Another 7 laps on a 6 mile circuit, but this one was quite a bit slower than the day before. Of course, it was a 45+ as opposed to a 2/3 race, but this race contained many local legends and luminaries, former pro/cat 1 riders, so it was still hard for an aging cat 3. I had no teammates for this race, so I just stayed with the leaders, followed moves I thought looked good. On the last lap I decided to give it a little dig. Randy Rusk (cat 1, arc en ciel) and Joe Rano (past winner of master 35+ fitchburg stage race, Gearworks) bridged up and we got a slight gap, but the field evidently didn't like that mix, and it was brought back by CCB. No big deal, trying to stay on those two wheels was the most pain I've felt so far this season. I don't even think they were working that hard. At the end, I gave everything I had to stay on the leaders for the finish but could only manage 17th. blech.
So this week was recovery. No plans for long rides or hard rides, just commuting. I managed to tuck in a 90 minute ride home plus a one-hour run on wednesday. I made a conscious effort to _not_ exert myself in the mornings, and kept myself below zone 4 as much as possible on the rides home, though I kept a zone four tempo on the run. Friday morning it occurred to me I had a Perfect Week, the first of the year. I didn't start my car the whole week, and I feel much better about that than anything else.