Because it’s only a short drive from my house, I figured I’d suit up and ride a few laps of the Turtle Pond Circuit Race course in Loudon. Just to kind of see what it was all about, and whether it’d be worth getting up on Saturday morning to come out and race.
Yeah – no.
I drove a lap in my car, which really only gives you a general idea of things, but even that told me this was a fool’s errand. Upon finishing, I parked and immediately twate:
The course dips half a mile from the start into a half mile climb, where I see things shaking down very quickly (= this is where I get dropped like a hot rock). From there, you get a good 4 mile romp into town. You hit a 90 degree turn so nasty it should be sponsored by Blue Cross, and then slog through 3 miles of false flat before hitting a headwall on a twisty backroad. This discharges to a finishing stretch that you can easily solo at 30+mph in places, but then the whole cruel experiment takes a right turn and you do it all over again. Total lap is 11.5 miles. My group would be doing 4 laps.
Four! LOL. Sorry.
I rode three practice laps.
Lap one, low key reconnaissance pace.
Lap two, pick it up a bit, getting on it in spots, but saving some for the last lap.
Lap three, let ‘er rip. And did I ever. I was wailing, race-pace, mouth open, the whole bit. It was no doubt at race intensity. At this level of effort I would surely bonk before the race ended. I don’t even race Mt. Washington this hard.
Lap time for that third lap: 37 minutes. If I strung together four of those laps in a row, which is impossible but humor me, I would finish laster-than-last based on last year’s Cat 4 finishers. You’ve gotta be shitting me. Not only that, I would barely have finished not-last in last year’s Cat 5 group. Holy sh*t.
Great success! I can now sleep in on Saturday, secure in the knowledge that my very best effort would have been nowhere near enough. It’s actually a tremendous relief to know this ahead of time. Sometimes in the life of a stupid person, you make a wise decision and it feels like you just walked on water. Well call me Moses baby. I know there’s some adage about you can’t win if you don’t try, or quitters never something, or nothing risked is nothing something, or something something than never loved at all, but whatever.
It was an excellent training ride though.