For Earth Day they had a bike race and fun ride at work. Up until the morning of the "race" I was torn on whether or not to go. Getting taken out by a person pretending to race in something may not turn out to be an actual race would be a serious bummer. But at the last moment, I decided, "What the heck, it's free and when will I get another chance to bomb around Moffett Field ignoring all the stop signs?"
I showed up and found a ton of people there already. Some looked serious and some, well, they were set for having fun - good for them. The format was that the "racers" could go first and after the first five mile lap, the fun riders could begin. The race was only two five-mile laps (ten miles?! that's a warmup not a race!). Anyhoo, Pete Worden the Ames center director sent us off with a starting pistol (In years of doing hundreds of races I think that was the first time!) and away we went. It took a few minutes to sort out the slow pokes but there was -luckily- a guy with full on tri-geek setup hammering away at the front losing anyone who wasn't fast enough. After one lap, there were maybe twelve to fifteen folks left, still lined up behind tri-guy. There was only one double chicane corner that demanded any kind of bike handling skills so I attacked before that and went through on my own. I looked back and had a pretty big gap but didn't feel like I could solo away with the 15 mile per hour winds on that day so I sat up.
Going into the finish, two guys attacked and I waited for all the other wheel suckers to sprint. But they all just stayed behind the tri-dude. Eventually I got anxious and just went with a full 400 meters to go. I quickly caught one of the guys off the front and dug deep for my sprint but couldn't catch the other guy. So I took second.
Prize: braggin rites and no one cares!
Lesson Learned: Go for it! He who hesitates, loses. I'd probably rather have some guys come around me at the finish than just barely miss out on the win.
Other Lesson Learned: Don't judge the field by appearance. Despite expensive bikes and a few pretty fit looking guys, I could have easily won that race if I'd been a little more confident and a little less fearful of the appearances of guys who really had nothing when the hammer time came.