26 March 2011

Independence Valley RR

Sleep 7
Waking HR  
Body Weight  
Body Fat  
Breakfast 5:45 AM – yogurt, jam, hot cereal
7:30 AM – cereal
drive to race – banana, PowerBar, pretzels, Coke
Lunch post-race – the rest of my race bottles,2 hard ciders, pretzels, water
Dinner 7:30 PM – greens, red sauce, cheese, breaded eggplant, water, piece of pizza
Workout Food 1.5 large bottles each w/3 scoops Perpetuem, gel
Time of Day 1:20 PM
Workout Type race
Weather upper 40s, maybe 50, some rain, some wind, warmer and dryer as the race progressed
Course 19.5 mile rolling loop with two hills
Distance 60 miles
Results Masters 30+ Cat 1-3
official results
Equipment Road Bike
39/53, 12-25 – this gearing felt good
Clothing Sugoi shoe covers, knee warmers, bib shorts, Craft long sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, wind vest, think long finger gloves, cap

Two years ago it snowed at the top of the hills during this race and last year it was wet and cold from start to finish. Yesterday was a beautiful day but of course the forecast turned south for today. It's like a tradition.

Then when we arrived there were holes in the sky and I could see some blue... We were all panicking about what to wear, one minute we had on three layers and a raincoat and then it would warm up and everyone was talking vest or no shell at all. One minute people had on winter gloves and the next fingerless. Ah, the trials and tribulations of bicycle racing.

In attendance were Greg K, Ryan D and Dave H who had tried to race earlier in the 50+ event but got a flat on the first hill and so was unable to finish. I was selfishly glad. Our field was about 24 but it felt bigger? Masters racing is warping my perspective.

I worried about the first hill in the loop. I have been climbing like crap and am still heavier than I'd like to be so was piling the stress on myself. On the other hand I was getting slightly more confident in my ability to chase back on after getting dropped. :) As we rolled out I got to the front and decided to just stay there as the pace was not fast (19-20 mph) and this way I would be at the head of affairs when we started to climb. It worked the first time. I faded all the way back and gritted my teeth over the top and rejoined just before the descent began.

On lap one the descent was very wet. We exercised caution but I still coasted by other riders and was in 10th or so by the time we got to the bottom. I stored that piece of information away for later.

As we rounded the corner at the bottom there was an acceleration which Ryan followed. All of a sudden he is summersaulting into the ditch! DAMN. He was our climber and appeared super motivated today, this is not what was supposed to happen. As we zoomed by I saw him sitting up so was hopeful that his injuries were not too severe. In the confusion Dave snuck off the front and no one followed him.

Here are some highlights from the next two laps.

  • Greg and I went with anything that looked promising/threatening.
  • Todd G put in some strong efforts and pulled the bunch around some.
  • I almost got dropped on the easy hill and then really almost on the second hard hill.
  • For some reason I was in the front group the second time up the easy hill and we had a gap on half the field...! We should have exploited that.
  • I tried an attack rounding the corner at the base of the descent from the second hard hill to no avail.
  • The course got drier and drier as the weather got warmer. Nice.

As we approached the hard hill for the third time I was worried. I started in the front but it was not enough. Everyone went by me much sooner than I wanted them to and suddenly there are two groups up the road and I am riding in second to last spot well behind the second group. I managed to catch Alex R (Garage) over the top and Andy L (Cucina) and Andrew M (Bikesale.com) came with me. The four of us chased and managed to catch back on after maybe five miles. Whew.

For the last half lap or so I had caught occasional glimpses of Dave up the road which was not good news and sure enough, just before we caught the pack the pack had caught Dave. And not two miles after we caught the pack the official car pulled us over and neutralized our group so that the Cat 3 peloton could get by. I guess they had made up five minutes in the last 50 miles.

I barely made it up and over the last hill. I suck.

But I did and then there were some attacks. I went after one and we passed the 3s back and pulled the entire masters field with us but finally the officials asked us to sit up and let them go ahead and this time we slowed long enough that there would be no catching.

After that Andrew took off a couple of times and so did Alex as did Greg A (Apex). I went with Greg and we had a gap for a bit but it didn't last. When Andrew went again no one responded. I hesitated for a couple of seconds but was near the front so finally launched myself up the right side of the road and managed to get away clean. I managed to bridge fairly quickly and we immediately fell into a rhythm and our gap grew.

ASIDE – for some reason I actually felt better off the front with Andrew than I did in the bunch. No idea what was up with that.

At one point I looked back and two riders (Mick W and someone else) were trying to catch us up but I kept the speed up as waiting for help is risky when the pack is not far behind.

With about one or two miles to go I tried to attack Andrew but he got on my wheel pronto. I could tell he was super tired and I should have gone again right away but unfortunately I was pretty damn tired too. As we neared the finish I kept pulling hard and eventually chickened out and lead out the sprint. Andrew came around me easily and won by a healthy margin.

I'm very happy with this result. I could have DNF'd several times and didn't and instead kept looking for opportunities. Congratulations also to Greg who got 2nd in the pack sprint after Alex managed to escape close to the end. He also encouraged me on the climbs.

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