Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lean, mean racing machine

My next bicycle challenge is this Saturday when I enter the Opie’s Buick-Chevrolet McKinleyville Criterium.

This will be my first real race, not counting what I did a couple decades ago in the previous millennium.

I’ll be entering the “men’s beginner race,” which starts at 8 a.m. You circle around a flat .67 mile course for 20 minutes “plus a lap.”

Mighty Panasonic, ready for racing

In preparation for the race, I stripped down the Mighty Panasonic, as you can see in this photo. I removed the fenders, bicycle rack, Mickey Mouse bell and even the kickstand.

It’s now a lean, mean racing machine.

Well, maybe not. Compared to some of the fancy bikes I see on the road, the Mighty Panasonic is kind of old and clumsy.

But after putting so many miles on it, and tinkering with it, taking it apart and putting it back together, I have a fondness for my trusty steed. Eventually the Mighty Panasonic will be put out to pasture, but I think I can squeeze a couple thousand miles out of her in the meantime.

Having spent the last five months training for a 100-mile ride, I’m not sure how to even approach a 20-minute race. It’s kind of like the difference between a marathon and the 100-yard dash.

Frankly, I think the 20-minute race may be a lot harder than the Tour of the Unknown Coast – at least for me.

With the tour, I could fall back on my strength – endurance. I may not be the fastest rider, but I can keep on going and going and going. Since finishing the TUC was my only goal, this worked to my advantage.

But a 20-minute race is damn near a sprint. You need to pedal as fast as you can – for 20 minutes straight.

I tried this the other evening for 15 minutes. I pedalled as fast as I could while riding in the Arcata Bottoms.

It was tough and very challenging.

If I had time, I would train for this race by doing a series of timed sprints on my bike around the Airport Business Park.

I would do five-minute, 10-minute and 15-minute sprints three times a week over a period of a couple months.

But, hey, that ain’t how I roll.

So I’ll just show up and see what happens.

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