Good morning and happy Monday! I’m on my way back home after spending the weekend in Erie, PA where I did my first triathlon (recap coming soon!) and finally caught up on some blogging!
Today I’m sharing a recap of a ride I did two weekends ago in Richmond called the Anthem Moonlight Ride. When I did this ride back in 2012, I said I would never do it again due to lack of organization and safety on the course (it was an open course with very little police/volunteer presence at the intersections). Two years later, I got an email from Sportsbackers advertising their upcoming races, and to my surprise the Moonlight Ride was being advertised “now with a closed course!” I clicked on the banner, and saw that 1. The course was in fact closed to traffic-the entire course and 2. the price was right. I asked Tyler if he wanted to try it out again and of course he said yes, so we signed up.
The Moonlight Ride covers two different distances, 17 miles or 8 miles through Richmond, has some rolling hills and as you may have guessed, takes place in the evening.
We arrived at Sportsbackers Stadium on Saturday evening around 5pm after picking up dinner to eat in the parking lot. After the last time we did this ride, we made sure to arrive with plenty of time to find parking, do packet pick up and line up to get ready. We probably arrived a bit early this time, but better early and relaxed than late and rushing around.
We went to pick up our packets and we were in and out of the line in no time. We actually had time to look at the other vendors, including the 2015 Road World Cycling Championships tent (click the link—it’s going to be awesome, and if you’re local or within reasonable driving distance you should come!).
We headed back to the car and got ready for the ride, and eventually lined up. Before you could even get into your corral, there were police officers checking to see if you had lights on both the front and back of your bike. Once you were checked you could get into your corral.
In the minutes before the start of the race, there were some safety reminders:
- Slower riders are to stay on the right
- Faster riders need to call out when they are passing, for example saying “on your left” prior to passing another cyclist to ensure they have been alerted to that someone is coming up to pass them and they have enough time to get over
After the National Anthem the race started at 8pm with a mass start. There were corrals A, B, C and D, but we all started at the same time, causing a lot of congestion that thinned out within the first 10-15 minutes or so. I think this definitely could’ve been avoided with a wave start (like 1 minute between groups—there were only 4 after all). Tyler and I stuck together and lesson learned for future Moonlight rides—start in corral A (we chose B this time). We caught up to a bunch of “A” riders about midway through the ride and passed them.
To be honest the ride was uneventful—which was a great thing! There were hills, but they seemed effortless to climb and our speed was faster than I normally ride. All in all I was very happy we decided to sign up!
We finished back at Sportsbackers Stadium, 17 miles in 1 hour, 4 minutes, with an average pace of 15.9 mph.
Although there was bike parking, we took our bikes back to the car before heading into the post-ride party where we treated ourselves to a mini ice cream sandwich. We left shortly after to avoid traffic.
I am so happy I decided to give this event a second chance. The ride was definitely more organized and there were indeed police officers and volunteers at every single intersection, so I felt that was a huge improvement from 2012, and I plan to do it again next year as a training ride.
Have you ever given a bad race/ride second chance?