This past weekend I had been planning to head up to Whistler to attempt the Spearhead Traverse ski tour with Fras, Martin, and Markez, but after that plan was scuttled due to high avalanche danger, I decided instead to put some miles in on my road steed and start building some long overdue cycling fitness. On Saturday there was a criterium in Volunteer Park which is literally two blocks from our house, so with this being my new "home race" I decided I had better participate. I had just learned that I can race in the Masters division if I want to, since you only need to be over 30. This seems crazy to me as lots of pro riders seem to have the best years of their career in their early thirties, I think Masters should be 35+. However, rather than complain I decided to instead do two races, first racing the Cat. 4 race at 9:40am and then doing the Masters C/D race at 11:10am as an extra lucky bonus race.
I slogged my way to anonymous midpack finishes in both races, feeling fairly comfortable in the pack but not quite comfortable enough to move to the front and take charge of things. On that note, I find it a bit funny when people who are cheering yell for their riders to move to the front of the field. Do they think we don't know that we should be at the front? I know that I need to be at the front to win or do anything in the race, the problem is that I am racing against 80 other riders who all want to be at the front, which can make moving up a bit difficult at times. In both races I was caught behind crashes, but luckily stayed upright. In the Masters race someone crashed right in front of me as we were starting the uphill, I braked hard but rode up over his bike a bit, and then the guy behind me ran into my rear wheel and popped the quick release open. Luckily I was able to catch back on after a lap by hopping between groups of similarly affected riders. This was the first time I have raced as a Masters racer, and I found that I much prefer racing against older guys. Not because they are slower (they didn't seem that slow to me), but because they race in a more respectful manner, with fewer people pulling idiotic moves where they try and move up through the middle of the pack by squeezing themselves through gaps that don't exist and forcing others out of the way. This is probably because as you get older you have a better sense of your own mortality, or maybe just because older means wiser. Anyways, I'll keep racing as a Cat. 4 but it is nice to have the option of racing as a Master if the timing works out better. On the left is a shot of yours truly holding down the fort at the back of the pack.
I went home after my races and spent most of the afternoon working on home renovations (the bane of my existence), then Emily, Roanne, and I walked back to Volunteer Park to watch the Cat. 1/2s race. This was super fun, those guys are so fast and it is really fun watching them go flying by wheel to wheel through the corners. A guy from the Elite squad associated with my cycling club ended up winning, he also actually works at Synapse part time when he is not traveling for races, and he had predicted his win at the last company lunch meeting so it was good to see him make good on his forecast.
Sunday I spent the morning doing more home improvement duties, but it was an awesome sunny day so finally at 1:00pm I broke out of my cage and went on a good road ride. It ended up being my longest of the year at 125km with 4000 feet of climbing. I headed around the south end of Lake Washington, then out May Valley Road (awesome section of roads and I had a huge tailwind), then looped back and did three climbs up Cougar Mountain, then back via the I-90 bridge with a detour around the south end of Mercer Island. What a great ride! Below is a map and elevation profile (the distances are in miles, whatever those are).
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