Yesterday I rode in my first road race, the Minnesota State Championship in Plainview, down near Rochester. It would have been a humiliating experience but for three things: one, I am used to being dropped (left behind) when I ride with serious cyclists; two, I was hurting too much to really care about how I looked riding all alone for 55 miles, the peleton in the far distance ahead of me; and three, everyone along the course was so supportive and encouraging that I only felt a little like the fat boy huffing and puffing to try and keep up with the other kids in gym class. This hill was where I lost my group. It's a mile long, and we had to climb it four times. Brutal. Coming back down into the valley, however, on a steep 40 MPH winding descent, was a thrill that almost made up for the rest of the pain.