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  1. #1
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    Check your legs RR post race report

    40* and raining Such were the conditions I raced in today, and I felt like a drowned rat. I did decently well although I'm really frustrated right now. Allow me to explain.

    The race course was 2 loops around a 13 mile course with some decent climbs and one absolute monster, so about 26 miles total. Feeling more confident after how I did in my last race, I figured I'd stir things up a bit today. The first 4 miles felt super slow considering we were only going slightly uphill, but I sat in the pack chatting for a bit. When we hit the first climb, I moved to the front of the peloton and got on the back of a really weak break that got brought back in within a minute, but I continued to stay out front a couple of seconds ahead of the rest of the riders. After a minute or two of that, I figured I'd try to start another break, and jumped hard hoping to get some guys to bridge to me. But, nobody did so I sat back and let myself get caught. I wound up sitting right at the front for the next 3-4 miles, until I saw another break forming and got myself into it. He too was pretty weak though, and he wound up dropping back. For the next few miles I stayed 10-15 seconds ahead of the peloton waiting for someone to come to me, and finally one last guy did. "Let's make this one stick!", I said. I wound up dropping him in about a minute.

    So, I spent the rest of the race in a solo break. I gave myself a major gap when we hit the false flat, by the end of that 4 mile stretch I had what looked like at least 1:30 on the peloton. I'm pretty sure I widened it a bit more when I hit the first hill, since I spun up it in 53-21 (my computer didn't work so I worked with gear ratios instead). I was feeling pretty damn good, and every time I'd look over my shoulder there'd be nobody else in sight. But I still felt like a rabbit being hunted down by a pack of wolves. My team leader always says let other people do the pulling, and here I was out front almost the whole race. Because of that, I found myself feeling kind of nervous and not all that confident, and because of that I tried to push the pace quicker.

    whoops.

    I hit the monster climb, which felt like 10% for 250-300ft elevation gain a little fried from trying to go faster than I should have. Half way up it, I looked over my shoulder and saw the peloton reaching the bottom, but at this point I was feeling so crappy I was weaving all over, I stood up a couple of times and stopped pedaling, all the things you're not supposed to do. My HR was above 190, but I did get to the top. I figured I could gain back some time since it was relatively flat up there. But, my stomach was really, really upset from the hard effort. The powergel I had before the race tasted so bad I almost puked, which in retrospect I suppose probably meant "Don't eat me!" Sour Apple- don't ever get that flavor!!!

    So I found myself up at the top of this climb dry heaving and softpedaling when I should have been putting the pedal down and flying away. I wound up having to coast a few times and softpedaled for what seemed like forever, but eventually I was able to get my stomach feeling decent and I started going again. There were a few more rollers left, and the rest was downhill. The rollers I handled alright, but downhill sucks when you're alone against the pack.

    I kept watching them get closer and closer to me, and I kept pedaling harder and harder to hang on just long enough to reach the finish line in front. We hit the final turn, they were right behind me. My legs were on fire, I turned the cranks harder. .25km to go, I kept a small gap. 150m left, one of them was able to bridge to me. 50m left, he was right next to me.


    I spent the whole race off the front for second place.

    Now some of you will probably say the lesson I should learn from this is that I should let other people for me, but you're all wrong. Well partially. If I had stayed with the pack, I probably would have won in the final sprint. Believe me, I've taken that to heart. But the real lesson I learned today is that to win, I simply have to get faster! No more of this peloton catches me at the last second BS, I'm riding them off my wheel and they're staying there!

    Oh, and don't eat the sour apple power gel.
    Is trick from science!

  2. #2
    so whatcha' want? bigskymacadam's Avatar
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    Great Job P!

    You said it in you last paragraph. All will be well when you get faster.

    Great finish though!

  3. #3
    Devourer of souls Dead Roman's Avatar
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    man i cant imagine doing all that for second. If it came down to that kind of finish it wold be first place or going out in a blaze of glory having a heart attack and my head exploding to win.

  4. #4
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    For the love of God don't rub it in!
    Is trick from science!

  5. #5
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Good effort man, sounds like a memorable race

    What cat are you racing this year?

  6. #6
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    I'm a 5 right now, but next weekend I race my 10th mass start and get to upgrade.
    Is trick from science!

  7. #7
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    I wish I knew whether I was ready for Cat 5 or not. I did 50 miles today at 21.7 mph, solo with no stops. It was a fairly flat ride, but I just get burned so badly on hills.

  8. #8
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tekhna
    I wish I knew whether I was ready for Cat 5 or not. I did 50 miles today at 21.7 mph, solo with no stops. It was a fairly flat ride, but I just get burned so badly on hills.
    You should find a group to ride with that has racers in it, get used to peloton manners and whatnot - you should be strong enough going by your posted mileage. Just need to learn some of the finer points of riding with others in a racing environment...

  9. #9
    "Uh-uh. Respek Knuckles." hypersnazz's Avatar
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    D'oh! Bet you're kicking yourself a little. One thing to keep in mind, something a far more seasoned racer than I pointed out...even if you really *are* strong enough to tear these guys off your wheel and race way off the front, you paint a huge target on your back by showing it to them. Instead of at best working with you and getting a good strong break going or at worst just ignoring you as pack fodder, now every strong rider is going to take a turn at the front to help chase you down and wear you out.

    His suggestion was a series of weak attempts...never show your true strength, but draw the strong riders out. If you can lead them to believe they have a chance against you in the sprint, they're going to help you instead of working together to beat you. If some guy just shows that he can rip me off his wheel again and again, I don't want to try my luck against him in a sprint. I want to let him solo and use the peloton to chase him down then watch him pop on a hard climb or lose it right before the finish, where I can maybe sneak by if I'm still strong.

  10. #10
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, I'll try it next weekend!
    Is trick from science!

  11. #11
    "Uh-uh. Respek Knuckles." hypersnazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenguinDeD
    Thanks for the advice, I'll try it next weekend!
    I wish I could say it was my own! I made a similar mistake at my last race, salvaged a 5th (my worst finish yet). My next race is a 17m climb, turnaround, 17m descent...I know I'm a strong climber, I'd planned on seeing how big a gap I could open up and then hoping I could hold onto it and get a little recovery in during the long descent. But now after talking to this guy for a bit (just a random dude I met on a group ride last week, of all people), I'm thinking about modifying my strategy. I'm also pretty confident in my sprinting ability...my second race I sprinted from the back 2/3 of the peloton to take 1st, and this last one managed to hold onto 5th with nothing left in the tank after pulling and soloing for more than half the race. Might be more to my advantage to throttle back on the climb, let the hill do its dirty work wearing everyone out, maybe get a couple guys I can roll with and motor a little way up the road so we can smash the descent, and save a fresh helping of afterburner for the finish.

  12. #12
    Theodore Roosevelt's idol TheKillerPenguin's Avatar
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    Its hard as hell to descend alone when the pack can take turns reeling you in. Even though you're going downhill, it seems like you have to crank harder instead of rest, as you can be caught up to pretty quick. If my race today had been the same length but without the downhill section, I would have had it no question.
    Is trick from science!

  13. #13
    Thor's dad Odin's Avatar
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    Must be the season for it 'cos I went on a solo breakaway in my last race as well (55km hilly RR)... not sure exactly what sort of gap I managed but I didn't see anyone for quite a while.
    I eventually caught up to the next higher grade (or Cat) and then backed off not knowing whether to pass them or not (we have a rule in our crits that you can't pass the next higher grade)
    One of the other guys bridged up to me, so I asked him if we were allowed. He said yes so we decided to go for it just as a few others managed to bridge. No-one else managed to come with us as we passed the next group so the two of us worked together to get away.
    After the second turn around, another guy joined us and we worked pretty hard to make sure no-one else would.
    I'm more of a sprinter but these two guys were mountain goats... it was all I could do to sit on their wheels on the steeper climbs but I knew that if I could keep with them, it'd all come down to a sprint (not either of their strengths)
    There's one killer hill 3km from the finish where they both attacked really hard, but at the top, when they turned around, I was still there (just)...
    Downhill almost all the way to the finish where what I'd planned worked out perfectly.

    When I went out on my own, I was starting to suffer a bit but having the other guys to work with made a huge difference, and we managed to pull something like 7 minutes on 4th place... and I didn't attract too much attention to myself as a future target. (well not as much as if I'd gone solo the whole way)

    Solo breakaways are fun but like hypersnazz said, it's not always a good idea to show it to them.
    Contrary to popular belief, the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'fact'.

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