March 5th, 2017
“Turn left onto Poinsett State Park Road”
“Stay on Poinsett State Park Road for 3 miles”
Stomach. Butterflies. Nervous. — I never get like this.
It’s the first race of the Southern Classic Series and we’re back racing The Knot (loop) at Poinsett State Park in Wedgefield, SC. In previous years, this weekend has been rainy, cold, and anything but Sunny and 75. This year was comparable. (started out in the 50s, ending the day with mid-60s)
I spend the beginning of the weekend at Myrtle Beach. Pitcrewing for the 20th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon and getting some zero-elevation rides in on the coast.
0600: I depart from the shoreline; heading west towards the race. I arrive just before 0830 with enough time to visit friends I haven’t seen since last season and catch the starts of the Cat 3 races at 0900. From the CSRA area: Lydia, Keith, Chris, and Josh came to enjoy the day and race.
1000: Race time! After a quick warm-up, I arrive at the start-line among 15 other pro/cat 1 riders.
The first race of the season is a benchmark. Tricky. A time to figure out where you fit in.
Me: Coming to the end of a hard 2-week training block, i’m hoping I have enough juice to stay with the crowd was my hope
We head off the line, racing into the singletrack — A few make an infamous wrong turn at the beginning and i’m sitting in 3rd. The first lap (of two) closes and I get shuffled back a few, sitting around 6th place. I’m pretty cooked after the first lap, but still trying to hold my position knowing there are many behind me
Second [the final] lap comes around. I hold onto 6th place until half-way through where 1, then 2, pick me off. My legs are burning from the 4×4’s at 110% FTP two days earlier.
Finish line comes 1 hour and 34 minutes later (last year’s finish time was 1:39) with me sitting 10 back. Can’t say I’m disappointed with the race; but plenty of room to improve as the year progresses.
I end the day with some badass BBQ from the foodtruck — and my day is complete.
Two weeks off, then race #2 of the Southern Classic Series heads north to Sanford, NC. Ready for redemption