Each time I come home from a race, I take my numberplate off my bike, write the details and results of the race on the nameplate (e.g., Draper Race, 05/08, 1st place - sport), and attach a ribbon to the numberplate if I placed in the top 6. I had them all hung up in my old garage, but since we recently moved, they are sitting in a box. Over the past year or so, I've been accumulating quite the colorful collection of ribbons while hanging out in the Sport class. This Saturday at Sundance, I decided to make the jump to expert. Let's just say that I expect my numberplate collection to be a lot less colorful for the next while. But like my buddy Ryan said about his move to expert a year ago, "who cares about another ribbon."
I certainly don't feel like an "expert", but I figured the sooner I made the jump, the sooner I'd start adjusting to the new level of competition. I lined up at the back of the group, which seemed huge after racing against 10-15 sports each week. I was getting a few looks from other riders, and they may have just been eying up the new competition, but I'm pretty sure the looks were because they didn't like the idea of a non-leg-shaver infiltrating their class.
The race started and I was immediately surprised by the fast pace. I'm not sure if it's this fast every week, or if it was faster this week because of the 1-track we were heading to that makes it tough to pass. I noticed that I was at the very back of the pack, with only Mad Dog Scott (my old pal from the sport class) behind me. I tried to step on the gas, and managed to go into the singletrack with 4-5 guys behind me.
There's not a whole lot else to say about this race, other than that Scott and one other guy passed me during the first two laps, and I passed one other guy just as the 3rd lap started. I was able to put 3 minutes between me and the guy I passed during the last lap, so I was glad to see that I had something left for the last lap.
*I finished behind about 75% of the expert class. I guess that's probably about where I should start after just moving up, so I'm not disappointed. I have a long way to go before I'm hanging with the top guys (3 minutes per lap, which seems like a ton), but if I can just shave 1 minute off per lap, I'd be finishing mid-pack.
*In a way, this felt like a 2007 sport race - 2 minutes behind Scott, 4 minutes behind Carson.
*About 2 years ago, I moved from beginner to sport, and I remember feeling the need to hold back on lap one just so that I could have something left in the tank for lap 2. If I didn't, I'd seriously end up soft-pedaling for a while during the race just to finish. By the time I decided to make the move this past week, I was able to push hard for the entire 2 laps (but felt dead by the end). On Saturday, I noticed myself holding back again on laps 1 and 2 because I was afraid I'd blow up if I didn't. Hopefully it doesn't take another 2 years before I can push it for 3 laps.