I just received a note from the organizer of this weekend’s race, the Page Valley Road Race, that they have a heck of a wait-list and are offering refunds for cancellations. Combine the facts that I feel like I was hit by a bus from Tuesday’s crash, and that my confidence in riding at speed with groups is shaken a bit, I accepted the offer, thus eliminating what was to be my final road race of the season. I was likely going to do some crits and maybe look for the odd race that wasn’t already on my calendar, but this gives me a nice ending point.
I’m still not sold on the road racing thing¹, but I’ll have to give it another shot next year to make a final decision. My tenth place finish in my first race had me fairly excited about it, a back of the pack² finish in the second race due to a tactical error showed me that I had much to learn, and then another tactical error in the third race put me in a bad position, which caused me to do something stupid/break my wrist and finish by running across the line for another back of the pack finish.
Stinks to leave the season on a downward trend and to have accomplished so little after those countless hours spent in the basement all winter and crushing it outside in the spring, but it is what it is.
I’ll now be able to focus on my training again (still not back to where I was pre-break), have fun, ride with friends or solo on epic long/mountain/fun rides, start packing (that announcement coming soon), and look forward to cross season in another place (again… wait for it).
¹ Road racing is a team sport. In Cat. 5, unless you’re on the team that showed en masse, it becomes a solo endeavor. A solo endeavor in which you must more or less position yourself in a way that tricks others to work for you as if they’re on your team. Too much tactical BS without the fun of working with friends. I can see how the upper echelons of cycling can be a blast because you do have that team component, but these fakey Cat. 5 and many Cat. 4 races? Eh.
² Back of the pack does not mean last place. Far from it. It just means you were with the winners for all but the last couple hundred meters of the race. That is unless there was a breakaway that succeeded, which rarely seems to happen in amateur road racing. You can be in the front of the pack and not on the podium, which means you were the 1st real loser of the final sprint or you can recognize you’re not going to win and back off at the final sprint/be middle or back of the pack. Back of the pack is typically for those who do too much work too early or crash out of the sprint, but still cross the line. Behind “the pack” are all the folks who got dropped by the group over the course of the race. That’s usually half the field in the races I’ve been a part of. Finishing with the pack is generally considered a satisfactory day. The pack is often known as the peloton.