Riders Ready!

A few Spidermonkeys were down in Calumet Park racing on Monday evening.

Congrats to Dan and Keith on entering the fiery world of road bike racing! Sorry guys, there is no going back! Your life will now be consumed by this sport…

Here’s Keith’s race report:

As many of you know, this was my first foray into bike racing, so there were a lot of firsts and surprises. The first surprise was how quick the race started. The whistle blew and we were off. By the time I clipped in, I realized that this was not going to be a race to slowly dip my toe into the water and get used to racing in a pack and bombing corners in a group. This was going to be an actual race. And a fast one at that.

To set the scene a bit, the course was a counter clockwise loop in Calumet Park. The wind was pretty stiff, with a 20 to 25mph headwind on the homestretch. 46 riders took the start line.

As I mentioned earlier, the race started fast, and I had to go full steam from the whistle to keep up with what I knew was going to be a pretty quick split in the field. By about the fifth lap, the selection had been made, and luckily I managed to make it. The rest of the race played out like a broken record. Rest/Recuperate in the tail wind, then bomb the corner into the headwind, go all out, then succumb to the wind and settle into a fast, but manageable pace.

The wind nullified any potential breaks, and anyone that went up the road was brought back pretty quickly, so the pace was pretty consistent throughout. I spent most of the race in the back half of the front group, taking full advantage of sitting in the slipstream and slowly becoming more confident taking a corner at 26 mph in a group. For once, being short was a huge advantage, as I positioned my diminutive 68-inch skeletal frame in between bigger riders and made them do most of the work.

As the race went on, I became more confident moving up, and even ventured up to the front of the group a couple of times. At the bell lap, I was able to work myself up into a good position for a sprint, but the confidence to fly into the final corner at 30mph was not there quite yet, so I played it conservatively, which set me back toward the middle of the front group coming into the last 200 meters. I unleashed my meager sprint to the line, and breathed a huge sigh of relief that race one of hopefully many this season was under my belt.

At the finish line, I counted seven guys in front of me, but the race official said they were only scoring the top seven because that’s all they could see. The official results have a top 10 today, but it was full-on night by the finish with no street lights, so I don’t blame the officials for not catching all of the numbers at the finish. All in all, it was a great race and I had a blast. This was definitely the low-key entrance to racing I was looking for to test the waters.

Can’t wait to give it another go on Wednesday and Saturday.