by Gary Schobel
It was an exciting weekend of racing with the members of my team as well as Coul Hill from the Montana spoke, Paul Boots and his son Ken from the Colorado spoke, and our friends from Tucson.
I was blessed by Doug Perry and Dan DeZess with a TT bike, wheels and an aero helmet. Now, I looked fast, I felt fast, therefore I was fast if only in my head. The distance was 20k and I finished in 34:14. That time was 3:57 off the first place. While looking at the results it was brought to my attention that I had entered the wrong category. I had entered into the men's masters 45+ category instead of category 5. I learned that the Men's Masters is made up of category 1, 2, and 3 racers that are no longer interested in being at the pro level so they fall back into the Masters category. I was probably the only cat 5 racer in this category. Looking at my finishing time If I had been registered in the cat 5 category I would have my first time on the podium. I would have placed third instead of 40th out of 57 racers. Oh well, I guess you live and learn. Little did I know that was the first of many times I was going to say that this weekend.
Gary about to start the time trial
Time for the road race and the second time for me to say live and learn. Since I was in the Masters category instead of a cat 5, I got to do two extra laps. 62 miles! How lucky was I... I did my best just to hold on to the group. I stayed in the pack for the first two laps. The last two laps I rode solo. Sure there were other groups that passed by, but per the USA Cycling race Bible I could be penalized or disqualified for jumping into another category of racers to draft off of and aid me with catching back up with my group. I finished the road race in 3:03:34. That put me in at 51st place out of 52. Definitely nothing to phone home about. Finished 19:12 off the leader. It was at this point that I felt God has really blessed me with some great team members. Encouragement was fantastic. They kept reminding me of the caliber of riders that I was racing against and to never sign up for Masters categories again. That was a hard day.
Gary hanging on in the road race
Here's something to make you laugh. I didn't know what the term "roll out" meant, but I kept hearing them mention it. As I was standing in the staging area waiting for my category to start the race I see a group of cyclists in this roll out line getting their bikes checked. I thought to myself, "I didn't have that done." I jumped out of the staging area to take my bike over to the line, only to find out when it was my turn to have the bike inspected the nice lady gently slaps me on my cheeks laughing and says really, you may think you're a junior, you may feel like you're a junior, but you're not a junior. With that I stepped out of line and back into the staging area. How embarrassing! Boy did I feel dumb. That has something to do with a gearing for the junior racers not a 46 year old guy.
The Crit! We got a chance to sleep in Sunday morning. All except for Ken. Cat 5 were racing at 7:15 and I was the next up a 10:55. The weather was perfect and the course was nice. But I already let the race get into my head. I knew I was going to get my butt handed to me. And I did! 30 minutes later I finished the crit. solo. The group left me with two laps to go. I finished in 51st place. Dead last! With an average pace just under 25 mph, it was obvious again that I registered in the wrong category. Of course I took the time that I finished in and compared it to the cat 5 times and I could come in the top 10. If only I had registered in the right category. Once again live and learn.
In closing, here are some of my take aways from the weekend.