Sunday, May 11, 2014

Race #1

My goals for the MRA Round 1 race weekend were to finish the race, learn as much as possible for the next race, and best of all, finish ahead of at least one racer. In the first of two races I entered (LW GP class), all three goals were reached: 24th out of 25. The second race I entered (Colorado class), where the racer fits in a lot better, was cancelled due to snow (No kidding!).

The bike is still better than I am. I'm still rolling off the throttle too early, braking too soon, and apexing the corners too slow. But I am trail braking less to the apex and rolling on the throttle both earlier and more than before, which is helping the bike track better and making the tires wear more evenly. Speaking of tires, my choice of rims (Hey, they were free) limits me to Dunlop GT501s. They sure aren't race tires, but they are sticking  better than I expected. Neither end slid the entire race by intent or mistake. The bike has the potential to go faster.

The bike launches like nothing I've ridden. Unfortunately, that doesn't do much good from the back of the grid when I'm not sure which line everyone else is taking into T1. Playing skittles with the other racers makes for amusing video but is generally frowned upon by both the racers and the starting line marshalls. Whenever I can work my way ahead in the start grid, hard launches should be a lot of fun!

After the (Dismal) start, I had a blast blowing past people on the back straight. After that, it was obvious that the better skilled riders (22 of them...) were faster into the corners, where the speed really matters. I was more interested in crossing the finish line safely than being a rolling roadblock, so I "Settled down" and somehow managed to drop my lap times for each lap...until the red flag came out. The cooldown lap was surreal after that, followed by cruising back to the pit with lots of waves, thumbs up, and enthusiasm! Nothing like the post-race high while loading everything back into the Rat Van and heading back to Denver while replaying the thrill of racing in your head! And then somewhere near Byers, thoughts about all the mistakes, hesitations, and misjudgements take over! Well, I've since found out that is typical Racing On The Brain syndrome and it all balances out before the race weekend. It's why we go back to the track. Round 2, May 31/June 01.

Oh yes - as far as anyone knows, this is the first recumbent (Or Feet Forward, as my British friends call them) roadracer ever entered in a sanctioned roadrace. Thank you for all the support and patience from family, friends, and fellow enthusiasts!

Photos 1-3: Margaret Oliver, Colorado Photosports. Photos 4-5: Jim Browning, Rocky Mtn Photos.