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Old 03-24-07, 05:39 PM   #1
zimbo
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Out Like a Lion (NC) Race Report

Let me start by saying that this week was a really depressing training week so I had little hope of a good race today.

I did a time trial on Sunday while suffering from a cold (I had committed to my neighbors that I would do the bike leg of a triathlon relay and really didn't want to let them down) and it sucked bigtime. By Tuesday my cold was gone but my sprint intervals hurt like getting stabbed; Wednesday my two measly FTP intervals were WAAYYY more miserable than they should have been; Thursday I was supposed to ride 2.5 hours easy but after only 1 hour I was wasted so I limped home feeling like total crap and very depressed about how bad I suck at high intensity stuff. To make matters worse, I got very little sleep and I had a boss in town to visit so I didn't get to do any sort of recovery (sleeping or riding easy) on Friday.

It should come as no surprise that my goal for the Saturday morning Cat5 35+ road race was simply to survive. I would sit in and do as little work as possible. If a break got away, someone else would have to pull me up to it or I would just let it go. When a group of guys at the front started a rotating paceline, I would hang back and refuse to take a turn. On rolling hills, rather than sprint to stay with the easily-agitated group I would try to steadily apply power even if it meant losing a few spots in line. I'm still learning how to figure out which way the wind is blowing, but where possible I would try to be smart about that as well. If I somehow ended up on the front I would softpedal and let someone come around.

With that strategy, the race itself was pretty boring. I just stayed near the front and sat in. The course was essentially rolling hills and turns so there were the inevitable anaerobic surges and since I'm still gun-shy after missing a corner in a crit last season and ending up in the hospital I tried to move up a few spots just before the corners to avoid trouble. With about 5 miles to go, the pace increased noticeably--especially on the hills--but the group stayed together.

With about a mile to go I found myself in about 15th place. I knew that the run-in to the finish was fairly technical for someone of my (lack of) skill, with a sharp left turn, up and and down a little rise, around a corner to the right and uphill to the line, so my feeling was that I would need to move up several spots before the left hand turn to be able to have any chance of finishing with the leaders. The last few miles had stretched things out single file along the left-hand side (i.e. the yellow line in the middle of the road), so I moved to the right shoulder and sped up.

My intention was to put in a quick burst or two and sneak into a spot where I could follow a wheel to the line but I instead found myself moving right up to the front much faster than I had expected. I hestitated for a split second and then decided that the best thing would be to try to get a gap on the field before the left hand turn and then hold it all the way to the line. Having the freedom to take the two last turns using my own line and without other cyclists was worth the risk of letting the train follow my wheel to the finishing straighaway.

I went with all I had, hit the left-hand turn as hard as I dared and glanced under my legs to see if anyone was behind me. Nope, I was on my own but the obvious question was wether or not I'd be able to hold the gap long enough to reach the finish. I went around the last turn thinking "just don't crash, just don't crash" and then tried to convince my legs to keep powering to the line. I glanced under once more and could tell I was going to make it across for the win. My breakaway effort lasted only two minutes at 460 watts but with a little luck and a conducive finishing run-in it was enough for the win.

After examining the ride file, I can see why there was an opportunity to get away. My normalized power over the last 15 minutes was about 325 watts even sitting in so the guys up front may have been somewhat gassed by the end. Or maybe I went early enough that nobody wanted to be the one to do the work of bringing be back in for fear of being too tired out of the sprint.

Or mabye it was simply that almost nobody saw me get away. After the results were posted I overheard a couple of guys arguing with the judges saying something like "but I thought I came in 4th?" and "yeah, I came in 5th, why do you have me listed as 6th!?" And the judges said "no, there was a Spin Cycle guy who got away from the field and was about 50 yards ahead of the pack at the finish line" and they said "no there wasn't, it was a field sprint" or something like that. I just hope the guy who came in 2nd didn't race both arms at the line. That would have been so very Boonen of him.

--Steve
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Old 03-24-07, 05:52 PM   #2
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Good job man

You should try to upgrade to 4 before the Tour de Moore, it's a fun race and they don't run a 5 field.
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Old 03-24-07, 06:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
You should try to upgrade to 4 before the Tour de Moore, it's a fun race and they don't run a 5 field.
Yeah, that one would be really fun but I had to give my upcoming race list to my boss (aka the SO) and that one fell by the wayside. I'm doing Meadowmont the day after, though.

--Steve
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Old 03-24-07, 07:12 PM   #4
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Congratulations!
Racng = fun
Winning = more fun.
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Old 03-24-07, 07:33 PM   #5
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The 4 race today was fun. Not too exciting, but a lot of the surge-and-then-sit-up thing that drives me nuts. A steady faster pace would have been enough to kill off a lot of the field. I took a flyer just for fun when the pack wasn't working and stayed away without doing much work at all for a good while, which shows how little work the field was doing. One of my teammates who has been good and strong lately took the win (his third win in a row), and I managed to close a gap coming to the line to get in with the five leaders and edge one of them for 5th.

Not a bad day overall. Most of us are headed back tomorrow for the crit, which should be fun. And by fun, I of course mean painful.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:06 PM   #6
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I rode the 5's race -34, today, a friend of mine broke away 5 miles to go and was able to solo for victory. I tried to bridge but had toasted my legs attacking earlier.

seems to -34 field averaged a little bit faster, we averaged 22.5mph which i believe was fast for a cat5 field, also our field shredded to pieces.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:16 PM   #7
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Awesome! Good racing and good job keeping it together at the end.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:29 PM   #8
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Hey Snuff, when is Tour de Moore? I once drove a wheel truck for that race. Someone backed out at the last minute and they asked me to do it in desperation just before the riders went off. How could I say no? So here am am following behind the peloton for a 50 mile race when I look at the gas guage and realize that the tank is practically empty. I won't tell you the rest of the story.

Usually that race is in April, meaning it will be too soon for me. I love that terrain over there. I used to go over there and train with those guys on Tues and Thurs nites and race with their club on weekends. That was a few years back.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recneps
I rode the 5's race -34, today, a friend of mine broke away 5 miles to go and was able to solo for victory. I tried to bridge but had toasted my legs attacking earlier. seems to -34 field averaged a little bit faster, we averaged 22.5mph which i believe was fast for a cat5 field, also our field shredded to pieces.
I heard about that guy. That's pretty amazing considering how Cat5 racers hate to ever let a break get away. My teammate was in your race. He was convinced someone else would do the work to bring the field up to that guy so he sat in waiting for it to happen--but of course it never did.

According to my PowerTap, my average speed for the entire 35+ race was 22.8mph. The last 3.5 minutes averaged 30mph.

--Steve
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Old 03-24-07, 08:49 PM   #10
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Oh yeah. I spent 25% of the race not pedaling.

--Steve
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Old 03-24-07, 09:27 PM   #11
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nice. 25% of not pedaling is probably why you blew everyone away at the end. So awesome. It seems like a lot of us do the best when they feel like they are just trying to survive. congrats. What is this your second win already? When are you cat'ing up?
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Old 03-24-07, 10:01 PM   #12
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Tour de Moore is the 28th of April.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamTheater
Hey Snuff, when is Tour de Moore? I once drove a wheel truck for that race. Someone backed out at the last minute and they asked me to do it in desperation just before the riders went off. How could I say no? So here am am following behind the peloton for a 50 mile race when I look at the gas guage and realize that the tank is practically empty. I won't tell you the rest of the story.

Usually that race is in April, meaning it will be too soon for me. I love that terrain over there. I used to go over there and train with those guys on Tues and Thurs nites and race with their club on weekends. That was a few years back.
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Old 03-25-07, 06:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by riskus
When are you cat'ing up?
I've only finished 4 races. In three other races I had one mechanical issue and two crashes within a lap or two of the start. So officially I have 7 starts. I've already signed up (i.e. paid my money via Active.com) for three upcoming races as a Cat5 so I'll request an upgrade immediately after that even though I desperately need more experience cornering at high speeds.

Since I like to sign up for races in advance, I'm going to probably have to sign up for my first Cat4 race even before I'm officially a Cat4 and hope the upgrade comes through.

--Steve
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Old 03-25-07, 08:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbo
Yeah, that one would be really fun but I had to give my upcoming race list to my boss (aka the SO) and that one fell by the wayside. I'm doing Meadowmont the day after, though.

--Steve
Yeesh, she must want to punish you

Tour de Moore is run though some really beautiful country, and there are plenty of opportunities to get into a break.

Meadowmont is designed to hurt
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Old 03-25-07, 08:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
Yeesh, she must want to punish you
Trust me, we've had that conversation. But seriously, it's all about trying to fit everything in. Some of you guys who can race every weekend make me long for the "good old days" of being single with no responsibilities. But of course back then I had no money and was struggling to get through school.

So I'll do my best to race once (maybe twice!) a month and be happy that my kids are old enough and my job is flexible enough that I can at least do that much. It could be way worse. I could be on the road all the time and be 50 pounds overweight (been there, done that, aiyee ah no!)

Besides, as far as beautiful views go, we're spending 6 weeks in Utah this summer and I am planning to do at least three scenic hill climb road races that folks living in Fayettenam can only dream about

--Steve
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