I had a good night at the Oval on Tuesday. 17th out of 32 riders. I'm pretty sure that's my best finish so far, and at no time did I feel like I was going to get dropped or lose sight of the main group.
I was a little nervous about heading down. I hadn't raced since June 24th and I was really worried that any sort of experience I had gained from the first few times racing would be long gone. I'm glad that wasn't the case.
One of the things that seemed to keep happening over the course of the race was that I would move to the outside to move up a little bit, get behind someone else, and then they would basically just stop pedaling.
At that point, I'd be stuck behind them and everyone on the inside (who I had just been trying to pass) would creep up past me. I was starting to think that there was a conspiracy afoot to keep me from advancing toward the front of the pack.
With maybe eight laps to go, I did find myself at the front of the group (not including the two or three other guys who were way further ahead of anyone else) for close to a lap, and as I expected, when we pushed through the fourth turn, and I started to get a little fatigued, almost everyone passed me by.
Even so, I was able to hang on and work my way back toward the middle of the group, which is about where I stayed for the rest of the race. I'd rate last night's race a pretty solid "pass". I never felt winded, never felt like I was going to die.
Of course, with all of this racing, I've started to wonder whether or not I should seriously consider getting an actual road bike. The Portland is a great bike, and as far as I can tell I'm not breaking any rules by racing with disc brakes (if these were UCI events, that'd be a different story), but I wonder if I'd get a tougher time with that if I ever moved up to the B races (not that there's any threat of me doing that any time soon).
I've been looking at the Felt F-75 and the Specialized Allez Elite Compact. They're essentially the same bike, as far as the build and all of that, and given that I really like the guys at Pro Bikes, I'd be more likely to get the Allez.
At the same time, it's not like I'm going to start winning races just because my bike is three or four pounds lighter. What I should probably do is just go take one for a test-ride to see if I can even feel any sort of major difference, and then go from there.
If I were to do something ridiculous like buy a new bike, where does that leave the Portland? Well, if that does happen, I'll most likely put the rack back on the Portland so that it can serve as the long-distance/utility bike.
The Portland will also be a great cyclocross bike, and cyclocross season starts in the fall. I would imagine that the Portland would also be better for the Dirty Dozen, with the granny gear and all. So it's not like I'd stop riding/using it. We'd just have to make more room in the garage somehow.