No, I did not enroll in a new gym, decked out with a room full of lycra wearing MILFs riding spinning bikes. Instead, what I did was get schooled at picking the right gear on my single speed at a cross race. When you race cross on a single speed, the most important thing is gear selection. I learned this very clearly yesterday when I raced with a gear that was way too low, a 34x18 to be exact. I guessed that the course at the final Bike Authority Cyclocross Series Race in Copley, OH would be a mess from the snow and all that the weather forecast was showing. I planned to race with an easy gear on the bike, so that riding the snow would be no problem. Well, I guessed wrong. The course did have snow on it, but by the time the elite race went off it was hard packed and fast. Unfortunately, I also did not bring a higher cog along with me to the race, so I knew from my first warm-up lap that I would be doing a lot of crank rotations to keep pace with the other geared bikes.
I definitely could not generate the power and speed that I needed with the gear I had on my bike, but I don't necessarily think that this was a bad thing. Spinning that easy gear gave me a great workout, albeit a completely aerobic workout. I just didn't have enough of a gear to give my legs a hard effort type of workout. But, from what I understand, this should be a good thing going into Nationals next weekend. My heart and lungs were still tested and they did feel good, even after my nasty cold that is waging a good fight with me. At the same time, my legs did not have to really work too hard with all the spinning, so they should be primed for a hard effort at the Nationals. Another thing I noticed about doing 100+ RPMs during an entire cross race is that it does keep one warm on a day when the temperature is in the mid 20's at best.
Spinning like a possessed mad man, I was able to finish 6th overall and win the 40+ race in which I was entered. The 40+ win was enough to give me the overall 40+ series victory as well, so I guess the race was a success today even though I was not at the front of the pack like I would prefer to be.
I am flying out of PIT early Friday Morning for Kansas City, MO to compete in my final race of 2008, the 2008 National Cyclocross Championships. I am not too sure if I am more excited about doing my 40-44 masters race on Saturday or watching the elite men's race on Sunday. Both of these races plus many others over the weekend are going to be awesome events to watch. At last count, my race had 138 riders registered. Many of the guys in my class are the top master racers in the county, so my thinking is that a finish in the top 20 would be a good result. Of course, my plans are to do much better than that, so please do wish me luck.
I will try to give an update of the course, venue and the race atmosphere when I arrive there on Friday. I will also add a recap of my race, Andy's Race and Ernesto's race after the battle is done on Saturday. As of today, the weather has a Murraysville Cross Race look to it. Lovely! - Gerry