Race report by: Mike Burns
On a last-minute whim, we jumped on a groupon for Hilton Head this past weekend. Not a bad place to stay at all. The family had a good time, even though it was probably as cold as it gets there. When I saw there was a race in Hilton Head, I figured what the heck, signed up for the masters race and threw my bike in the car.
- When you register now via USA cycling it now gives a race predictor based on other races and your past results. Even though I haven't raced since the Roswell crit last year, I was predicted to win. No pressure there.
- The course was hilly by Hilton Head standards: It featured three rolling speed bumps. Seriously. Though to be fair, it was, in fact, a safe course around the public school compound, and the organizers ran a good race.
- I was told at the start line that I look a lot like David Sagat by Josh Barrett, who seems to be a nice guy. While David and I might share some Hungarian heritage and ruggedly handsome features, I do not share the fitness of his legs, as this race proved decisively.
- As I chatted with Josh briefly at the line, he pointed out the riders from the Subaru and the Robson teams, which if I understood correctly make up the A and B teams of his club, and importantly, made up 12, maybe 13, of the 17 riders in this race.
- Wind is not my friend
- Several attacks from the start, I tried to cover a few and/or chase down a break or two and about 10 minutes into the 40 minute crit I was remembering how much racing hurt. A break of three stuck and then a few laps later one of Josh's teammates bridged, but I was too gassed to hang on to his wheel. So that made four up the road. I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time on the front cause no one else would chase. I can't blame them; it was their teammates up the road. (See image and note the guys on my wheel.) I figured by that point I was out of the money so I treated it as training. More a function of their quitting than our closing the gap, the field caught three of the break with three laps to go. I later learned that it was NC masters powerhouse Charlie Brown was up the road for the solo win. Can't feel bad about his getting away.
- I had nothing left to chase the immediate counter and again got stuck on the front. I ended up leading the field for most of the last two laps. Entered the final turn third wheel, passed a guy but then got nipped for 5th and ended 6th. I had to get back to the family so I didn't stick around for the P/1/2/3 race an hour later.
- Overall, not a smart or particularly good race, but I felt that good kind of tired afterwards and I hope the effort will serve me well later this season.
- My "recovery" ride was a beach cruiser ride on the beach with the family into strong gusts, which at times felt just as hard as the race
- If you're looking for a getaway and want to throw in a race, I can recommend it.