Thursday, June 4, 2009

To race or not

There are a couple good road races to choose from this weekend. I'm somewhat torn. With a great start to the season, I feel compelled to race more. I raced the Balloon Festival a few years ago and podiumed. The combined 30+/40+ field has only 27 riders pre-registered minutes from closing. I love racing in smaller fields. A few worthy contenders in there too. P(win) might not be that high, but P(podium) would be very high I think. The deal is Cambridge NY is so hard to reach from my house. It takes over 3hrs to get there. That would make nearly 7hrs round trip driving for a <3hr race.

In the other direction is the Lake Auburn race in Maine. It is only 2.5hrs away, also with a small field pre-registered so far. Never done this one. I don't think the climbs are anything like the Balloon Festival's climbs. Doesn't appeal to me that much.

So if I do an "epic" ride instead of racing, am I wasting my fitness? Some I train with would say yes, as racing is the primary reason they train or even ride at all. I train to stay fit. The level of fitness I maintain just happens to be enough to be competitive in certain types of races. It also enables 5hr off-road hammerfests or mountain centuries with over 10,000ft of climbing. I dearly love a long, hard ride.

A small crew of us will be heading into the Berkshires on Saturday. First up will be the freshly re-minted Greylock climb. The Greylock hillclimb time-trail returns this year after being shut out a couple years by the reconstruction project. I plan to do the TT this fall. We'll hit many other popular climbs in the area, all of them new to me. Climbing East Hawley Rd will be part of the ride, along with a descent on West Hawley Rd. I plan to race Tour of the Hilltowns for the first time this year, which integrates both of these roads into the course. Thus the ride will partly be scouting out race courses, partly epic fun ride. I should get about 6hrs of riding in for 5hrs of total driving and get to see a lot of new scenery.


rick is! said...

The lake auborn race is fun. I did it quite a few years back and had a good time. It has a couple of good climbs that favor pure climbers but no huge climbs.

Mookie said...

Maybe it's just me, but I honestly feel 6 Gaps boosted my fitness big time. I guess when you're forced to ride at LT (or beyond) for 20-30minutes (x6) over the course of 7+ hours, it's bound to do something of the non-dubious nature. I'm calling for a renaming of the series to NDTV.

plum said...

I agree. I got tremendous, tremendous TV out of 6 Gaps. It changed my perspective of every ride forever. Dubious, perhaps, in a physiological sense, but mentally you become unstoppable. Everything you will ever see in a typical race or a ride thereafter you stack up against what you see in 6 Gaps, and it gives you confidence that I don't think you can get anywhere else.

Mookie said...

Ditto on the confidence boost, plum. Mentally, I know the climbs that I do in NW CT aren't even close to what we saw up there. So now I'm hitting them faster than ever. It makes you wonder how much of this is mind over matter.

Dave said...

I wanted to do the Balloon race, but I spoke w/Spock and logically it didn't make cents for me. Besides, I can look at it as a recon mission for Hilltowns. See you tomorrow and thanks for driving - I will certainly help you out w/gas.

Big Bikes said...

Doug, as always your attitude toward riding and racing is inspirational.

Which MTB 100'a are you thinking of doing?


Hill Junkie said...

The last one, the Tahoe-Sierra 100. Reasons are:
1. I plan to sample cool trails in the area after the race.
2. It does not poke into the stratosphere.
3. It is pretty much all two-track (i.e. roadie friendly).

Dave said...

I was hoping to see you slay me at the Shenandoah Mountain 100. Course record is about 7:05.

Hill Junkie said...

Dave - the SM100 gives me the willies. Sounds like a lot of the terrain is just like the stuff on our end of the Appalachian Mountains. Real mountain biker skills might be required, and I don't know if my body is ready for that many hours of pounding yet. So I'm going for the low hanging fruit, hopefully build some confidence. I'm not completely ruling out the SM100 at this point. It does at least meet one of my requirements - not poking into the stratosphere.