Bike Jam (05/23/2017)

Bike Jam returned to Patternson Park in Baltimore this year. As always, it’s great to have a local race in the city. Our teammates turned  out in great numbers and with much enthusiasm. To quote our long time friend and super racer Ezra Khan:  “Local races are like a Tomaguchi, you have to feed them or they die!” Here are some repots from our teammates:

David:

I had such a good time racing this weekend, I thought I’d write a race report. Spoiler alert: I did not win.

My preparation for this race was – how shall I put it – unorthodox. I managed to avoid riding my bike for 12 days prior to riding it in the 4/5 Men’s race Sunday. My previous ride was TNTT nearly two weeks ago, and that was the first ride for me since two weeks prior to that. To ensure maximum physical condition for this afternoon event, I spent the morning straining my back doing yard work. In other words, I was as prepared for this race as an arm wrestler is for a gun fight.

But that was my advantage, see. I knew exactly what I was going to accomplish well before the race even started. I knew I would eventually be spit out the back like a greased watermelon seed – it was just a question of when. But I was NOT going let anyone else decide when; that was my decision to make dammit! And make it I did.

I hung with the pack for 3 laps, and on the fourth I grew tired of the bunching up on the back side of the course, which was slightly downhill and pretty fast. So I slowly passed the pack on the left – it was easier than I thought it would be – essentially moving up from last to the very front. And when I got to the front I said “hey look, I’m in the front!” and kept going. I knew I was burning myself up, but that was my plan. So I went all in on the second half of lap 4, led the pack up the hill and across the finish line. I was in first for a whole half a lap and that was the best time I have ever had in my entire (now 3-race-long) road racing career.

Happy with my effort, I pulled up to recover and the entire field promptly passed me in a blur of pretty colors, and I could not catch back on. I was toast. But not burnt toast. I kept riding as hard as I could, picking up riders along the way, including Ross and Ted, and pulled anyone else who wanted to jump on my wheel. I just time-trialed the last 10 laps, got lapped by the field on lap 11 or 12, but still finished and felt good with my effort.

If anyone is offended that I did not take this race seriously because I did not go into it trying to win it, too bad. I knew where my lack of training and fitness put me and I just wanted to mix it up and have fun. I accomplished everything I wanted to do in this race: I rode in a crowded field at a high speed (for 4 miles on really poor pavement); I got comfortable passing and getting passed in close quarters at speed; I got to lead a pack for at least a little while; and I finished! (I was really afraid I would get yanked from the race and am glad I did not.)

I also put so many of the lessons I learned from my teammates that kept running through my head in all the situations I experienced: keep your elbows loose in the pack, pressure on the outside pedal in the turn, look up through the turn, protect your front wheel… Thanks for all the good advice – I used it.

It was really fun to have teammates there both in the race and on the sidelines (I heard you cheering – thanks!). I do hope I can get my training ride schedule to better coincide with race season some day. In the meantime I can offer this advice: I don’t recommend anyone train for a bike race by using garden tools.

Grace:

David- this is amazing! The attitude, the writing, the ability to get this freaking race report thread stared. Excellent.

I fear my report will not be nearly as fun to read, but you asked for it!

So, if we’re being completely honest, I was a tiny bit anxious about going into this race after hearing about its reputation and thoughtful nickname of BikeSlam. I’ve spent the past few weeks training for the Killington Stage race and breaking something the week before would be a real shame. But I love racing bikes, and the 1/2/3 field had some pretty reputable chicks in it, so of course I had to race too!

Alright, so here we are at the line, I scooch myself in between colavita and a mathlete on the front row (because if I’ve learned only 1 thing from Damon, it’s to never sell yourself short when self-staging!) and Sue Mcquiston takes the lead while I stick to her wheel like glue. Then of course things got shuffled, and people try to make stupid early breaks and we drag them back in, no problem. That course feels like it’s 75% downhill so I’m pretty unsure of my own plans of a break, and then I notice my right hand’s gone numb from the absurd amount of shaking it’s being put through on these “roads” (read as: trashed sidewalk/gravel). But I determine that I can still successfully shift and that’s all I wanted from that hand anyway.

Michele Scherer makes a promising effort on the uphill finish w maybe 10 laps to go – chased her down cause I figured that match would be worth it, but a couple girls came with me and we were soon consumed. So now I decide to just hang out, position myself in the top 5 w 3 to go, and prep myself for the group sprint. BUT as fate would have it – one of the Colavita’s totally miscalculates the laps – surges ahead w 2 to go (to everyones confusion) and puts her arms up on the finish as if she’s won! lol. We are just now starting the last lap. ABRT uses this confusion to their advantage and Dori rips away from the field immediately. I chase her down knowing if anybody could make that stick it would be her – and to my surprise it’s now just the two of us! But omg now it’s just the 2 of us and there’s a pack chasing us down w less than a mile and we are laying it all down just to stay away. And it hurts. And one little brain voice is like “cool! you did a thing! great job, lets go home” and another, much louder, voice is like “If you quit now you are NOTHING! This is Carl Dolan again and you will NOT be 2nd!!!!” (which is a little dramatic, looking back, but effective!) And then we hit the uphill finish and the voices are gone and I’m just doing what I can to salvage some kind of sprint. And it did the trick, my first 1/2/3 win! Made even better by seeing/hearing some rad teammates at the finish! Thanks for the cheers!

The end.

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