This was our first Sunday race. We thought it'd be cooler on Sunday morning, but it was about the same or hotter! It was hard not to get dizzy out in all that sun.
Kristy had planned to race today, but upon arrival we found that no other girls were racing the cruiser class. Kristy told me I needed to race. I didn't have long pants or a long sleeve jersey though, so I didn't see how I could. As it turns out, Kristy had worn a pair of my pants so they'd be a little baggier for riding. She also had on a size large long sleeved t-shirt! We jumped in the car and swapped clothes. I was ready to race! Kristy went and signed me up for 36 - 40 year old cruiser class. The cruiser class allows 24 inch wheels and larger.
My son and I ran some practice laps together, trying not to get burned out in the summer sun. I'd run a few laps on Wednesday, and was starting to get the hang of the turns and jumps. I've found that it's best for me to try my hardest to keep the wheels on the ground. Not only can I keep pedaling this way, I don't get hurt either (sorry Chris, no throwing down 80's style...).
They posted the moto sheets. I would be racing 4 other guys and had no idea what to expect. They called my moto, so I lined up at the gate. One guy had a hard tail mountain bike, so I thought I might be able to take him. It's just not the right tool for the job on the BMX track.
My strategy for the first moto was to let the guys sort out the first turn, and then I'd catch them on the next straightaway. This didn't work out too well. While I missed the aggressive battle for the hole shot, I never caught the three guys in front of me. I'd have to get more aggressive for the next moto.
The winner of the first moto transferred to the main. He got to sit out the next two motos. It was down to four of us. I got a much better start this time around, and my energy bar was kicking in. I think I surprised the guys that beat me in the first moto. I caught the leader in the whoop section, and got along side him through the berm. We raced side by side to the finish line, and it was so close that I didn't even know which one of us won! I found out later that he beat me by an inch or two. I'd have to race moto three since they only transferred one rider to the main in this moto.
Moto Three. Down to three of us. The faster of the two guys I beat in the last moto got a jump on me. I followed him close all the way to turn two. I knew I'd have to step it up. But then the leader's front tire washed out in the berm, and I got around him! I was glad to back off a little and enjoy my first win of the day. The guy on the mountain bike and I transferred to the main, as they took two from the 3rd moto.
I was getting pretty tired by this time. So was Charlie. He had a great performance in his 1st moto, and tied for third place. The heat was getting to him for motos two and three though. He was running much slower than his initial performance. We took a break and prepared for the main event.
I was balancing up on the gate, looking down at my front tire. I lifted my head up to look down the track and got dizzy. Man, it was getting hot. I imagine the other guys were feeling it too. They had misters going in the tent above the moto line, but that refreshment had already worn off. The gate dropped, and I got a pretty good start. I just couldn't hang with the two guys in front of me though. I wasn't too far off, so that was good for encouragement. You have to keep on it in case someone screws up. In the end I got 3rd place, and I felt pretty good about that. Not knowing what to expect, it was cool to take home a trophy. When we got home, we put the trophy up in Charlie's room with his other trophies. I think it boosted Charlie's spirits some too. I think if we can keep it a family team, it takes some of the pressure off him. It's also good for me to know what racing feels like. I know how tired I was out there, and know what my son is going through. We can talk about each section of the track as equals.
So as expected, I had a few thoughts on things I'd like to change on the bike. Some lighter tires for sure. Many of the guys run clipless pedals, and today I saw why. Just like in mountain biking, it keeps your feet just where you want them. I found that if my foot wasn't perfect on the platform pedal, there wasn't much time to fix it. To fix it, you had to stop pedaling. Stop pedaling, and you lose! We're going to put some Shimano clipless pedals on for Wednesday night practice. Kristy and I both have the shoes for them, so it will be a good experiment.
There is also a lot of upper body fitness involved in BMX riding. From the sore parts on my upper body following the race, I now have a good idea which muscle groups I need to work on!