Wish I could see myself as some others do

This weekend is the French Broad River Classic.  It is a race in Asheville, North Carolina.  It is my plan to participate in the road race.

This year is supposed to be a pretty tough course.  There are supposed to be several climbs of over three miles.  The course covers about 40 miles.

I’m not thinking that much about it.  I’ve kind of changed my approach to racing.  I had started out the year trying to arrange my riding schedule around the races.  Now I am being less strict with my riding leading up to a race.

The reason is because I was starting to lose the fun of riding.  I’ve always tried to take the approach that I race to ride – I don’t ride to race.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to win.  It does mean that for the amount of time I ride, it doesn’t make sense to spend it worrying about the few races I attempt.

So, Monday night I put out my effort on Paris Mountain.  Tuesday night I jumped in for several laps in the 25.5 mph A group for just under 30 miles.  Thursday I want to ride with my pals.  Friday I’ll head up to Asheville and do some spinning there.  Then Saturday I’ll give it my best shot.

I’ve had plenty of people asking me if I was planning on doing the race.  They keep saying that I’ll do very well – that it is “your kind of course.”  I’m not sure how to respond.  It has been so long since I have participated in a road race, I don’t know what is going to happen.

It is more fun to think about last night’s ride.  It was a hot night at Donaldson Center.  I figured I would give it a good push for the early part and then pull off toward the end.

Things got started early.  In the first lap a group attacked.  I was coming up behind Kirk Flinte and since he had Tweeted earlier that there wouldn’t be anyone getting away, I joked with him that they were getting away and he needed to go get them.  Well, he did!

I got on his wheel with several other riders.  Kirk pulled us for a massive amount.  Then I rotated up to the front and pulled us to the tail end of the breakaway.  The usual suspects came through and I jumped on their wheels.  Not smart.  I couldn’t hang on.

I ended up helping to pull back two more breaks in the first two laps.  In the third lap I started to slip back through the field and crossed the start finish near the tail end.  Then I just took a final lap to wind down.

The way I plan to approach these Tuesday night rides, I’ll get up there in the front and try to stay with the Cat 1 and 2 riders as long as I can.  Sure, I’ll get dropped, but each time I may be able to stay up there a little longer.

Besides, it might make those Cat 4 road races seems a bit easier.