How to have a 40 (or 12 or 60) mile road race on an island in the Great Salt Lake with only 4 miles of road: laps!
The first nice day of spring, I drove down to Antelope Island early Saturday morning. It's a little closer than Salt Lake City, and information on parking availability will come in handy this weekend, when there is a mountain bike race on the island. I expect more people at the MTB race, because mountain bikes are just cooler and it's also a event in the American Mountain Bike Challenge, Western Circuit series.
But the road course ran around the available 4 miles of paved road on the island, close to the lake on two sides of a rough triangle - the north end of the island is open to the public, that's where the roads are, and the majority is backcountry, home to a herd of buffalo and the mountain bike course. Which you can't ride except on race day (the course, not the buffalo). Up a bit from the causeway leading to Layton, around the dry-land part, down a bit on the other side, short and relatively steep climb to the finish, back down to the causeway.
The 4-5's race was 10 laps, as was the 3's race, while the 1-2's did 15. Start was at 10am, in the standard 1-2,3,4-5 order. A 12-mile citizens' race was held at 9am, and after it started the officials said anyone who wanted to race but didn't have a license could buy an on-the-spot cat 5 license. Which was what Peter did, it being his first USCF race and all. The women were fortunate enough to go with the 3's. Heh. Oh, and Tom was there to make a huge team of four for the good old UVCC.
Off we went, and I decided that I would rather be close to the front around the corners than get taken down by pack fill. I had no trouble staying near the front for 9 1/2 laps, either. Naturally. Terry was up in the front too, also not wanting to get gapped. Tom flatted on the third lap, and I was hoping Peter would not be poulling the pack around, so much for the teamwork. Around and around, we got caught by three 2's on about lap 6 or 7, and the last time up the longer climb I get dropped from the pack, which I discover as the nineteenth guy goes past is about 20 riders now; start was 50 or 60 I think, including Masters. I dangle off the back going back down the hill, almost get back on in time to watch everyone sprint up the finish hill. Terry said he had good position at the middle of the climb, a false flat, then everyone went around him. He ended up in the teens as I had a solid lock on 20th.
Hung around long enough to change shorts, then took off to beat the crowds of people bringing their kids to the beach. Remind me to get there early next time.
If I could just get that climbing thing down...maybe some training would help. Lately I've been averaging per week: one roller-interval workout of about an hour, an hour climbing, and whatever the race happens to be (1 kilo in the case of Beer-Bike). Plus two 1-hour swims, whatever that's worth.