One thing that's nice about this race is that it is different than triathlons or running races, which start at the crack of dawn, in that, due to my category (the bike groups leave according to category), my race didn't start until 11:10am. Woohoo - no waking up at 4am to get to the race site for registration! This was a nice change indeed. And luckily Lenny's group left just 10 minutes before mine. Score.
So Lenny picked us up at the late morning hour of 8:30am, and we headed out to Sutton for the big day.
|Anxiety @ the race start|
Webb: I'll just add this series of thoughts: If you have never done a cycling race, it is an anxious affair for first timers and seasoned vets alike. Indeed you must race as a beginner a minimum number of times before you move up in categories simply to gain experience. (This also means the most frightening race is the beginners' race because most don't know what they are doing.) Most people have the fear of crashing or, more importantly, causing a massive pile-up. When you are riding in a pack with other cyclists at 15, 25 or 35 mph, it can get a bit tense. As such, a number of rules and protocols have developed over time to ensure safety. You can ask 20 cyclists for tips and receive 200 pieces of advice. At some point, you just have to get out there and race.
|In lieu of Purgatory photos,|
a pic from Escape the Cape
|Rolling in, post finish line|
@ Purgatory Road Race
1. Don't crash
2. Don't come in last
|Lap 4: Lenny gives a 2-finger salute|
Webb: I thought this would be a good first race for Elle because it afforded her a lot of opportunities. She would get to ride in a peloton. The hills would likely break it apart, so if she was dropped she would probably get to do some pace-line work with a chase group. Even if she ended up riding alone, it would be valuable to her as a time-trialing triathlete.
I absolutely envied watching Elle and Lenny race at Purgatory. I did the race 2 years ago and have ridden it several times since. Knowing the race and the course, I know Elle did a fantastic job. She didn't get down. She soloed and she worked with others. She had the complete experience. I wish I had been able to get better photos of her. The best photo of the day had to be Lenny letting me know how his day was going.
Elle: There were some supportive spectators at key points on the course, especially at the top of the big hill. After one of the laps, someone shouted out, "Great job, you just got to the top of a beast of a hill!"
I wanted to laugh, but I didn't have any oxygen to spare. I thought, "Yes, this is a really tough, tough hill. But it's no Beast!"