I unfortunately missed the first W@W race this year since I was slacking on getting the Scalpel fixed up and only walked into The Family Bike Shop Tuesday night at 6:45 hoping to finally fix the rear brake on the Jamis... Tough luck in that the guys couldn't hang around late and the move to an Avid BB7 from my problematic Hayes Sole proved a bit more difficult since the two mounting brackets that came with the brake did not work on my frame. Things got sorted out the next day but instead of trying to rush to make the Sport race after work I rode at Patapsco instead with Bri and Cass.
Anyway, this week along with Darren and Mike I raced the Single Speed cat at 6. Got lined up in the back of the 20 racers began to wonder whether I'd be able to get by any of them before the finish of the race. My placement at the start gave me a swift kick to the shins as I got redirected by the traffic ahead into the gutter on the gravel road climb on the way to the single track. Eventually due to some bumping and brushing I even had to put a foot down and get going again about mid way up the hill. From there I took my spot, somewhere in the front of the middle.
Throughout the first lap or two I managed to pass a few other single speeders. I could feel the wear on my legs from the 20+ miler Tuesday at Rosaryville with Eric but still tried to pull out what my legs had. There were definitely times when I backed off and times when I didn't give it everything due to fatigue that could have been avoided, but overall I think I rode pretty well.
Kent came up on me pretty fast in his winning ride, followed shortly by Brian P. I saw and heard Brian telling me to keep moving and definitely picked up some motivation from him. We actually caught the SS guy in front of me together and as he let Brian pass I announced one more, though at that the guy grabbed Chris' wheel and didn't let me get around. For the remainder of the race I worked back on that guy over and over only to get dropped again, generally by my own doing by the way of sloppy riding though also some due to lapped traffic.
In the end I was all alone coming into the finish line, mostly relaxed knowing I wasn't fighting for any positions, just ready to be done. As I've said before, my technical riding skills are my biggest weakness since for the most part my fitness is there. Aside from my tired legs I never felt myself much at any kind of aerobic deficit but my cornering speeds and technical abilities were suspect throughout the race. I could definitely tell I've gotten faster and better technically from the last time I raced this race though 2 years ago so I am at least coming along.
In the end I finished in 10th place (out of 20 starters) though at least one person DNF'd that was in front of me (Darren dropped out after his rear hib slipped in the dropouts and caused his tire to rub constantly). About where I hoped to be, though after my terrible start I expected worse. Hopefully next week I can improve on this and actually beat Darren in a race we both finish. My goal for this week was simply to beat Darren... Mission (sort of) accomplished.
Congrats to Kent and Brian for going 1-2 in the Masters 35+ and currently standing 1-2 in the overall. Kent told me it was his first win there after racing W@W for 10 years. Pretty sweet; especially if he can hold on and take the overall in his 10th year as well.