Boom! Just like that a 'can opener' ride turns into a hard workout.
The concept was to spin out the legs in preparation for the race tonight. Instead I kinda raced and then raced again.
On the up side I 'won' the race (read: ride) in the AM and then still had enough left in the tank to make the break in the PM. Proving once again that if you don't enter a real race on the weekend you are nice and fresh/rested for the training races mid-week. I know, sounds pretty backwards… gotta work on that.
I met the usual gang on the Mercer Island lid for the Tuesday/Thursday hot lap around the island and who should show up but Gentry M which pretty much guarantees the pace will not be slow. Of course the fact that I pushed the first hill hard and made every pull count has nothing to do with it. :) I guess I was in the mood today. Six of us rolled out.
Half way around the island we got to the hill (read: one-block rise) and Gentry absolutely drilled it. I had to sprint all-out to hang with him and decided to carry on past the summit as best I could. By the time we hit the next corner our group was down to four. :(
ASIDE - I sometimes feel like an ass for pushing the pace on these rides. Most of the guys that attend this particular ride do NOT race and I get they appreciate being able to finish in the bunch. You know that guy that shows up and blows apart your regular training ride? Right. I don't want to be known as that guy. Besides, no matter how fast you are, there is always someone MUCH faster and it's the bigger man that can keep the group together and let everyone have a good time. On the other hand I figure that Gentry is at least as strong as I am and does this too so I might as well get in my training… Obviously I am conflicted.
As we approached the finish I hit the front on purpose to try and get in one last pull and to lead everyone out. For a change there weren't any really fast guys in attendance so even after pulling hard I was still able to sprint and edge everyone.
ANOTHER ASIDE - if I didn't sound like an ass yet I probably rectified that just now…
Just as we slowed to a stop who should pull up but Greg K and Ryan D. Nice! I had seen them earlier and wondered if they would give chase and I guess they did. Everyone from the ride headed home/east so just Greg, Ryan and I flipped and rode back around.
Hello…! The pace was suddenly quite a bit higher than when this eastside bunch cools down on the return trip. We started out doing 20+ mph and the speed slowly crept up and up. Towards the end I opted for one last good pull and Ryan jumped me on the final rise. Greg went in pursuit and I managed to latch on too. Whew. As we hit the incline to I-90 Ryan led it out and I came up along side of him. Greg actually gave me a push so I got out of the saddle and finished off the effort.
Finally, it was time to take it easy and spin home.
At Pacific Raceways we were back to using one of the hills and today it was counter-clockwise down the escape road. Last week I had missed the break so today I wanted to make sure my head was not quite so firmly lodged up my ass and hopefully prevent a similar outcome. So mentally I was on but my legs felt pretty heavy… The warm-up (read: entirely non-effective act of riding in small circles at 12 mph on the flat) did little to help and so when Rory M told us to go I was sensing more than a little trepidation.
Lap one was calm. Thank heavens. On lap two someone went hard on the hill but I hung in and felt like my legs were warming up. Nice. Let's go.
We had Greg K, Steve O, Corrie M and Dave H in attendance and other than a couple of folks all the usual strong men were there as well. I'm talking Erik O (Cucina Fresca), Sean P and Mark M (Starbucks), Mick W (JL Velo), Nikos M (Garage Racing) and so on. Greg put in a teaser effort at the start and then went again a couple of laps in. I was looking for the right combo and it was not materializing so on something like lap three or four I took off myself to try and create it.
No dice. But I tried again. And again. And the last time it worked.
I went about as hard as I could just as we passed the finish line at the top of the hill right after Greg had won the second prime and who should go with me right away? My breakaway buddy from two weeks ago Nikos. Looking back I saw that others had separated themselves from the bunch too and were trying to bridge so I slowed just a little and let them catch up. Our group swelled to something like 10 but the pack was not that far behind…
We descended and started the climb and I went hard again near the top to try and break us up and this time it worked. I was joined by Nikos, Dave, Sean, Mick (after a loooong chase) and Tom H (Old Town Bicycle).
I pushed the pace for sure trying to establish the gap and by the time we got ourselves sorted there were still about seven laps to go. I recall turning to Sean with five to go and announcing this revelation - at the time it seemed like a long way!
With three to go we were truly gone and suddenly the pace dipped just a bit. Rats. I knew what was coming and honestly I do better when the pace is on right up until the end. If I don't get dropped then harder is better for me. Letting everyone else who is already a faster finisher than I recover was not ideal but what can you do? I did not have the strength to attack with three or even two laps to go (and make it stick that is) so I continued to pull through quick but not so quick that I was wearing myself out.
With one lap to go I knew we (the only team with two in the break) had to at least try so I launched myself at the top of the hill. In spite of my best efforts to go when Nikos or Sean were not on my wheel Nikos got the better of me right away. That guy is just too fast. So I tried again on the drag strip. Still no joy. Martin sits up.
As we rolled around the left hand corner at the top of the descent I pulled up to Dave and asked if he wanted a leadout. He said yes so I got on the front and tried to distract the others with some playful antics. :) It almost worked as they sat up and let me ease up the road! I looked back, saw the gap and went again down the hill but no one was going to let me go now and by the bottom they had me again. Oh well, nothing left to do but keep the tempo up and hope Dave was up to the task.
I pushed it across the flatter section of the climb and then accelerated on the last pitch. I was surprised by how short-lived my acceleration was! Probably no surprise but I was back in the saddle pronto and getting passed by everyone. I had a good view of the finish as Dave, Nikos and Sean crested the hill. I saw Dave try to pass on the left but then he exploded in spectacular fashion and faded to third. Nikos - who will probably win this damn series if he keeps showing up - took the W and Sean got 2nd. They both deserved it for making the break and contributing. Tom - one of the oldest, nicest and smartest riders out here - did NOT get shelled and finished super strong in 4th; way to go! Mick has not really been doing any high-speed race training and instead is just riding massive miles also did really well to hang in after chasing more than any of us just to get in the break.
Okay, so mission accomplished in that I made the move and perhaps kudos to me as well since I initiated it but winning these things is getting ridiculously hard as everyone chases me and I can't sprint. :( I know, pity me, right? Whatever. :) This series is a LOT of fun and I for one am very glad that the racing is animated and that these other guys show up. It certainly is going to raise my game.
Thanks to Steve for some excellent riding tonight and Dave as usual for being there when it really mattered. I did feel bad when I saw him fade but hey, he is 50 years old. You hear that Nikos, Sean and Mark? Take it easy on him already.
|Breakfast||6:30 AM - smoothie|
|Lunch||1:00 PM - bread, fake turkey meat, cheese, yogurt, water|
|Workout Food||ride - large bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 2 scoops HEED|
drive to race - large bottle with 3 scoops Perpetuem
race - gel at start, small bottle w/1 scoop HEED
|Time of Day||ride - 6:30 AM|
race - 7:00 PM
|Workout Type||intervals, race|
|Weather||ride - upper 50s, cloudy, dry, calm|
race - 70, sunny, dry, relatively calm
|Course||race - counter-clockwise down the escape road|
|Results||1st prime - pack|
2nd prime - pack
finish - 6th
Mad Fiber wheels
|Clothing||race - bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt, short sleeve jersey, cap|