The Top Step

I’d been struggling to recover all week, and the combination of a sudden upturn in work hours, and a large quantity of beer with good friends had meant that Friday evening came around sooner than I thought.

As I sat drinking one of above mentioned beers with good friends, I deliberated whether I should be racing my bike tomorrow. The Nedventure was still in my legs, and Bryan had done the same thing. All it took in the end though, was Bryan to ask what time we should leave. I internalised my conundrum and hastily agreed to a 10 am departure time.

The race was the ‘’Ridgeline Rampage’’ in Castle Rock, a mere 90 minutes drive from Boulder. Part of the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, a reasonably new race series that has made ground on the normal poor organisation standards of Colorado races. Advertised prize money for the Pros and watermelons in the feedzones are just two measures of a good race.

As we lined up to do three laps of the 10 mile circuit, a surprisingly large field materialised on the start line, and suddenly we were off. Bryan and I had neglected to warm up due to it being over 30 degrees outside. As such, the motorbike like pace of the first single-track section was painful, but I stuck with it.

Soon into the race I realised this wasn’t going to be a test of fitness. A small part of me was relieved, but another part questioned whether I wanted to use my brain and outsmart rather than out race Bryan. He has a lot more experience than me, and I wasn’t looking forward to working out how I would fox my way onto the podium.

The difficultly we were facing was the insane amount of traffic on course. Perhaps an oversight by the organiser, or maybe they didn’t care, but the beginners race started just 15 minutes before we came around for our second lap, hence the streams of people lining the narrow trail. Having the podium decided when Kelly Magelky, Bryan and I pulled away from everyone else meant that we weren’t in too much of a hurry to pedal any faster, and we progressed past the masses shouting ‘on your left’ every 3 or 4 seconds (seriously!).

Come the last lap, still passing people 10 a penny, I got lucky when Kelly bobbled on a climb. Down to two of us I had no choice but to give it everything. Less polite now, still passing people, I put a little bit of time into Bryan and scared myself into pedalling hard enough to stay away until the finish.

I’m enjoying a really good early season at the moment, and its great to finally step onto the top of the podium. Its my first one and its great to feel like the hours have paid off. A lot of people have uttered surprise at my hasty rise in form, but I’ve trained really hard for it and feel like I am where I want to be in regards to speed. Either way, I hope the momentum continues for the rest of the year!