Bicycle races feel a little bit like motorcycle races, only with less stuff, less expense, and more pain. The Golden State Race Series Circuit Race was in Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento, in a blocked off business park. A circuit race is like a crit, only with a longer course.
I got up early and met up with Jill and Vanessa from Team Tibco II. I warmed up on trainers with them and Adrienne, right next to the speaker that was blasting race announcements and music and in front of the course where we could watch the racers coming around the last turn.
About thirty minutes before the race I had a bite of a bacon, egg and rice cake that I’d made from Allen Lim’s The Feed Zone. They’re super yum but even just a couple bites might have been a bit too much before what I was about to do. We got started at 9:30 and were going to be racing for 40 minutes. From the get go the effort level was intense and I tried to stay up near the front, in the middle, but girls in the back kept charging forward on either side, round and round, “the washing machine effect” as Jill called it. We all just spun around through the pack as we lapped through the business park.
I was nauseated. I caught glimpses of Vanessa, Jill and a pretty chunky girl who had a serious motor on her. Every time a girl charged around the outside towards the front, I’d jump in behind her, pretend she was on my team, and try to stay with her. There was a chicane before the finish line, and I somehow had the mental capacity to decide what side of the pack I wanted to be on going into the tight turns, and it worked out well but I didn’t start sprinting soon enough or stay on a wheel.
I finished 5th of 17 Cat 4 racers, and around 15th of 37 combined 3/4 racers. The tight, close racing in the pack was pretty exciting, a decent replacement for the adrenaline rush of racing a motorcycle. I like the extra calorie burn, and the decreased wallet burn. It’s so much more impressive to me when someone is fast on a bicycle, because you can’t just buy more motor, or take off your skirt and go faster, both of which you can do on a moto. You have to put the time in. And be blessed.