May 17, 2010

NECS #1 - Glocester Grind

School has been pretty crazy these last few weeks, and I still have another month to go before the insanity ends. Junior year is rough; AP tests, SATs, SAT IIs (click the link, I know you are just dying to), the ACT (had to throw that in too) and finals (link to my school?...nah) are all super stressful and aren't conducive to staying in shape. So, my regular riding and racing has been neglected a bit. This past week, I had a break from the madness and decided to catch up on some bike riding, and of course, racing. I did a road ride up to New Hampshire on Saturday, which amounted to about 4.5 hours of pedaling. I figured that having not ridden for a while, I would be slower at the race anyway, so by riding a bunch the day before, I could use that as an excuse for not doing so hot the next day. I didn't have to resort to that though, as I actually felt pretty energetic on Sunday. I headed down to Glocester, Rhode Island, not to be confused with Gloucester, MA (note the "u"). Both host bike races, the difference being that in Rhode Island, they don't feel the need for street signs, so getting lost en route is inevitable. Luckily I had already gone through that in 2008.

The course is in someone's backyard, which happens to be a giant swamp (ie: mud) with tricky rock gardens everywhere. In 2008, the mud was deep and you couldn't see the rocks. This year, you could see the rocks, but they were just as dangerous.

The parking lots were full.

Cool timing system that posted results immediately.

The race went well - no crashing and no mechanicals. I, as well as most people realized that running some of the rock gardens cyclocross style was the quickest method. I like the course, but I can see why some might not. It is relentless and it is not easy to get into a rhythm. I had fun, though. Ryan was the only other junior. I had said at the start line "let's not kill it at the start, let's ease into it" because of the rock gardens that cannot be blasted through safely. He agreed, but when he fell back on the first lap, I felt as though I had just told him "go slow so I can get a gap." That wasn't my intention, anyway. I rode the entire race with one of the female pros who told me from behind about some secret lines through the rock gardens. We had fun racing together. For whatever reason, I didn't feel too tired at the finish, while others were trying to hold down their breakfast. My time was decent, about mid-pack. Hopefully once I start riding
more regularly again (more than once a week!) I can get back into the faster Cat.1 times.
I got interviewed by Colt from He is great to talk to and it is amazing how much bike racing has shaped his life. I learned that he missed 48 days of school one year for traveling to races across the country. He is on a seven year plan at Harvard, since he spends most semesters filming and riding.
Photo from Craig Mello.

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