Spring Series Round 1 - River Road

And bike racing is back on the menu.

Team Escape Velocity puts on a series of races every spring, the aptly named Spring Series. The first race is a nearly flat 4 corner circuit race in Langley. Specifically, this. Last year's race was marked by sleet and snow towards the end of it. This year, the forecast called for rain 'in the afternoon'. I don't want to give too much away here, but the forecast lied.

Let's start out with a quick overview of a lap of the course: Go straight with a tailwind. Turn right onto a slightly narrower road. Enjoy a crosswind from the right for a minute or so, then turn right again onto a yet narrower road. This is also dead straight, but undulates slightly with a dip down most of the way through it. Turn right yet again onto the narrowest road in the race, which is also entertainingly the worst pavement in the race. Be bumped and jostled and lose 10m or so of elevation and turn right one final time back onto the front stretch.

I should have remembered this from last year, but the C race at least plays out in such a way that positioning is very important. With the yellow line rule in effect, there consistently is only one good place to move up significantly per lap, coming out of turn 4, onto the front stretch. Generally out of the other three corners, there is the usual acceleration out of the corner, then it slows right down again. As soon as that happens, the pack bunches up and there is no room to pass. The front stretch is a bit wider and takes closer to a kilometer before this happens, so moving up pretty much needs to happen here.

As for how much? Based on the numbers I got from the race, there were consistent accelerations nearly up to 50km/h out of the corners. This slowed down to below 35km/h on much of the rest of the course. What this actually meant was that the accordion effect was somewhat mitigated. Even at the back where you slowed down for the corners, you did not need to hit it too hard to stay on as the field slowed down significantly on a regular basis.

As for my race? The plan was to tailgun for much of it, getting a decent interval workout at the back. If I could position myself well, then try attacking on the last lap or two. I couldn't position myself and a couple of crashes in the dying moments of the race did not inspire me to take further risks on the wet roads. Finished in the middle of the pack which did break up somewhat in the final metres.

All in all? I'm somewhat happy with it. It's pretty much the flattest road race of the year for me, which is theoretically good for me, but not terribly exciting. Next week is the Armstrong Road course, which is dominated by a fairly serious climb every lap.