Saturday, June 19, 2010

Going in Circles

This week I decided it sounded like fun to go and ride my bike in circles. (fun for me, that is. you can decide your own way to have fun!) To do this I went to the local weekly criterium workout. For those of you loyal readers who aren't sure what this means I give you the following definition. 'A criterium (also called a crit) is a bike race held on a short course on usually closed off streets. The length of each lap is usually less than 5km and the length of the race is determined by time, usually one hour. The average speed and intensity are high and the winner is determined by the first rider over the line who has not been lapped.' The local crit is more a workout than a race as far as I could tell. It is held in a giant empty parking lot. To say I was nervous, would be a slight understatement. After all, all the real roadies show up for this and they go HARD. I wasn't concerned about being dropped or lapped, that was a given. I just wanted to make sure that I was out of the way when the inevitable happened. I got myself there, despite the numerous reasons I had to not go, the front runner being I had just washed my hair and it would get sweaty. I contemplated taking my mascot off the bike for fear that the roadies would send me packing but I needed her constant reminder to suck it up and not be a pussy.

Riding westwards in giant parking lot.

There was a chance to do several warm up laps and I impressed myself with my tight cornering ability. Seems a lot easier when there are no gullies to drop into, giant rocks to go up and over, and more than 6 inches of trail surface. While I was patting myself on the back I may have gotten passed, hard to tell what that sucking wind feeling was;) After a warm up, everyone congregated and then we started. A clock was put out and we were told to ride for 50 minutes. The first few laps were to be warm up laps. I guess the guy on the front did not get that memo, I refuse to admit that his warm up pace could be my ovaries to the wall pace! Luckily, this was not a race and I am not a professional cyclist. I made a few tactical errors early on and got slung off the back of the second pack.

Imagine if you will the ever present conga line that forms at some point at every wedding reception. You know how there is always some guy with no rhythm that inserts himself into the middle of the line. As the line picks up speed and the moves get more intricate he is off time and before you know it loses contact with the person who's waist he has been clinging to. Now, the rest of the line behind him is also slung off the back. In this particular conga line I was the drunken uncle with no rhythm. As the people behind me scrambled and closed the gap I was left lurching and flailing to my own beat! Luckily, for me, the line came back in my direction and I was able to scramble back on. When I would start to feel contact slipping through my fingers I knew that if I took the next corner tight at full speed that I would get right back into the bunch. At least that is the line of bull I kept repeating to myself, and I'm sticking to it!

View from off the back

Turns out that when all you can hear is the pounding of your heart, and you are focused on following the wheel in front of you that an hour can fly by! It was the most fun I have ever had at a threshold effort. I wish I could have taken more pictures, as much as my hands free riding has progressed I'm not sure that the group would have celebrated my abilities! I hope to be a regular at these workouts for the rest of the summer, with the goal of making it longer before being- A) dropped by the second group, B) lapped by the front group. I now have a new song for my play list as well. Three Dog Night must have done their weekly criterium. Why else would they have sung 'Going in circles,  don't really know, Where I have come from, where I will go, Going in circles, been here before, Dumb to the sorrow, Numb to the pain, Going in circles'.

1 comment:

  1. I did a crit last year. It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Great workout though.