UNH Training Race #5

The fifth and final race of the UNH training series. It has definitely been worthwhile. Over the last five weeks I’ve really tuned up, suffered plenty, and tried to figure things out. I’ve also gained almost five pounds, wherever that seems to have gone. To get in a race every week for $5 a pop, you can’t beat it.

The final night of the series, and the last tune-up before Gloucester, so i figured I’d change up the gearing a bit, moving from 39×19 (a 4.0 gain ratio) to 40×22 (a 3.7 ratio). The hope being the easier gear would make things…a little easier. I’d run the 4.0 almost all season to this point.

On the 3.7, I spun like a propeller on the flats, to the point where it was just stupid. Sure, the climbs were a little easier. But its time to reflect a little here. Single speed cross isn’t easy. It isn’t going to be. It’s going to suck. If you want to do well, you need speed, and that means a gear that you don’t really feel like turning. It has to hurt. That’s the way it is, and I think last night I finally accepted it. So for this coming weekend, I’m actually putting on a gear slightly tougher than the 4.0 and giving a 38×18 (4.1) a shot. If it works for Bob Tutwiler, who runs the exact same bike that I do and whips my ass at nearly twice my age, I dunno – maybe I should try it.

I’m also sick, and that didn’t help matters much last night. I figured I’d at least get out there. Roasted again, I finished 8 out of 11. I rode the back of the pack for about half a lap, and then it was drop city. With 3.7 I had absolutely nothing for the flats. Plus about halfway through the race, I got mud directly on my right eye, making a dark blurry spot in my vision, which was a delight. I am looking for glasses. I should know better. Today my eyeball is burning.

So to recap, here’s how we’ve done so far this season:

UNH #1: 9/13
Amesbury: 49/71
UNH #2: 11/18
Sucker Brook: 50/70
UNH #3: 7/12
UNH #4: 9/13
UNH #5: 8/11

I haven’t honestly felt good since UNH #2. That was the night I crashed, spoiling any chance of a decent result, which I feel like was very possible that night right up until I went down. I’d say I need some time off. I’m just hanging on for dear life right now, at least that’s how it feels. A few days of rest, and then a really early day on Sunday. There will be coffee on Sunday for sure.

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