In the first bike race of my life I got third place. And it wasn’t even that hard for me. I mean, I only got third because I forgot to sprint in the big ring. So I thought I was the man. But that, as Jet Li might say, was a mistake. Because I was about to get served. After “conquering” the D category—I’m sure the Romans defined conquering differently than doing well in one event—, I decided to cat up to C, where, I thought, I’d find some riders my own size to pick on. That’s funny because after two C races, I don’t feel like the man anymore. Actually, I feel more like a small boy. A small, quadriceps-deficient boy.
In both C races, I hung on—barely—to finish in the bottom half of the pack. I really shouldn’t have thought it would go any differently. It’s not like there’s some other, better league for collegiate cyclists in the Northeast, and the ECCC is where the scrubs compete: if you race bikes at the collegiate level, you compete in the ECCC. So naturally, the competition should be good, and it is. Which is great. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It should be hard to just hang on. That way, you're forced to race a smart race, because it is going to come down to who has five percent left for the sprint, and who doesn’t. This is something I’m learning, the hard way—I did not have close to five percent left for the sprint. Is it possible to have a negative percent left…?