The 2013 cycling season has officially started. As usual, the first event of the year is the Gravel Rouser, sponsored by Athens Bicycle. Some fun on the trails and gravel roads with some friendly competition thrown in. And, as usual, it is the same weekend as Shelly's speech therapy conference in Columbus. On top of that, the main Saturday ride out to Lake Hope and back with trails in the middle is the same day as Team Athens' OSRS #1 road race.
While Shelly was in Columbus, my mom kept Brock for me for a while so I could ride in the Thursday "stage" of the 'Rouser. This was (to be) a short ~6 mile trail race. Following the warm-up, which I went over the bars during, they set us off up the road towards the trail. Something didn't feel right and I yelled back to Ryan to see what my back tire looked like. Yep, flat. First race, first crash, first flat. Glad I got those all out of the way. Sadly I missed the remaining 3 Rouser events.
Saturday started early as I headed to Lake Hope with my truck and road bike for the Ohio Spring Race Series race #1. This year they broke the Cat 5 and 4/5 men's races up from the 3+. This meant I could race and still do SAG for the 1/2/3 men's group. I started in mid pack and tried to just ride along for the first bit down route 278 to get warmed up and get a feel for the group. It was cool and damp, though not as bad as the forecast which was for 80% chance of rain and 42 degrees. Still the road was wet so I was cautious. After turning off of 278, I slid off the back of the group knowing there was a steep climb coming. We hit the bottom of the hill and I proceeded to pass at least a half a dozen bikes as we climbed. Tucked in and headed down the other side at 40+mph. Turning on to 328 only revealed I was alone. No pack ahead and I had dropped the back of the field on the hill. Guess it is time trial mode. Did most of the remaining 13 miles by myself except for when a group passed me just ahead of the second big climb with the same result as the first. They finally caught back up to me about 5 miles later with 2km to go to the finish. At the base of the hill on 278S near the Hope Furnace I dropped a gear and cranked the hill leaving all but one from the last group. Brian hung on my wheel all the way to the end passing me with about 200m to the finish. Ended 19th out of 33. Not to bad considering how little training I put in over the winter and I was twice the age of half the guys racing.
Followed up the race with a french press pot of coffee and hopped in the truck to follow the Men 1/2/3.