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Old 02-23-09, 12:38 AM   #1
Red Rider
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Race Report (by request)

Yesterday I rode my first road race of the season, the Snelling Road Race. It's quite a bit east and south of us, on the eastern side of the Central Valley, at the foot of the Sierra foothills. The almond orchards we drove and rode pastare in various states of flowering, some with the petals like snowflakes on the branches, other with petals on the ground, also giving the effect of snow. There are ranches, feedlots, chicken farms, and many kinds of fruit and nut orchards. The area is prettier than I thought, but certainly remote.

We picked up my teammate at 4:45 a.m. and drank coffee and chatted as cgallagh drove the many miles to our destination. We had an 8:40 start time, and the promoters were using chips, so we had two lines to stand in, three if you count the port-a-potty line. That, and my forgetting my pre-filled bottles (Chris scrambled to get me a freebie and Cytomax to fill it), left us with no time to warm up. Although overcast, it wasn't cold by most standards, maybe 50* at the start.

While we were lined up to start the official shared that the Women's Category 4 was so big they had to create two fields, a historic first for this race. The women cheered enthusiastically at this news. How cool that women are taking up racing in bigger numbers than ever!

So here's the line up:


We're sporting our new kits. The color is based on my bike's color, pistachio. You know how OCP I am:


And we're off:


Once we got underway I found myself in the middle of the pack, and not liking it. So I jumped on the wheel of someone moving up on the left side of the pack, and got to 4th from the front. I liked it there -- the pace was just right, and I had lots of room and could see the road ahead. I stayed here for about 6-7 miles:


Then we hit a sandy, gravelly turn for which I didn't properly prepare, and I was gapped, and ultimately dropped. Sigh. I briefly toyed with the idea of dropping out while saving face (riding over glass, for instance) but then decided to use the race for training. So for the next 5-6 miles I practiced time-trialling, and actually passed people not changing flats or waiting for medical help.


Just into the 2nd lap I met two women from my group with whom I could work, and so we did. One of them had an asthma attack and dropped out. The woman who was left was riding an Orbea Onix, had red Sidi shoes, was in her 2nd year of racing, and is 6 mos. older than I. We celebrated what we shared, as well as being the "old broads" on our team and worked well together. We picked up another woman on the 3rd lap and had a nice paceline going on for a number of miles.


On the last turn of the last lap, with 200 m. to go on an uphill finish, we hit a sprint and I thought I was going to lose that bottle of Cytomax I drank. My partners finished ahead of me by 1/2 bike length. My teammate said we weren't far behind her. I joked that I finished in the bottom 5, but really, I celebrated that I finished. There were many who didn't.

This was a challenge on several levels. My training for the spring classics is off, I'm carrying more weight than this time last year, my riding has been curtailed most of this month due to extra work commitments and weeks of rain. On the other hand, I had great fun: I learned I really like riding at the front (and so need to develop the skills to stay there), I got in valuable training and handling skills, and I made a new friend. I rode hard and hurt the rest of the day, the kind of hurt you get from major exertion. All in all, it was a terrific day. And since I've been watching the ATOC, I'm inspired to want the rest of the pack to enjoy this view the next time I race:

Last edited by Red Rider; 02-23-09 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 02-23-09, 04:12 AM   #2
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This is cool. I'm glad you didn't "run over glass". Later in ther year when you finish much higher, it will be determination learned along the way that makes some of the difference.
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Old 02-23-09, 06:51 AM   #3
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Great report. Sounds like you had fun and dealt well with all the (potential) setbacks.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:13 AM   #4
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One of the best stories I have heard in quite a while. Keep racing and sending reports. Wonderful!
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Old 02-23-09, 07:54 AM   #5
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Great story RR.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:06 AM   #6
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Sounds like a great day indeed. And as Homer Simpson might say, "MMMmmmm pistachio."
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Old 02-23-09, 08:30 AM   #7
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I'm jealous, looks like a lot of fun, but I'm far from fast enough. What king of speed to you average on these races? Anyway thanks for the report.
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Old 02-23-09, 09:05 AM   #8
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Hey I enjoyed that, especially the pictures!
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Old 02-23-09, 09:17 AM   #9
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What's wrong with you people. It's way below freezing and there is still three feet of snow on the ground. Cycling doesn't start again for six weeks. I think those pictures and all the video from the Tour of California were done on a sound stage. I refuse to believe that people are cycling at this time of year.
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Old 02-23-09, 09:21 AM   #10
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One of the better race reports I have ever read on here. Great pictures to go along with it as well. Good job and way to stick it out.
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Old 02-23-09, 09:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George View Post
I'm jealous, looks like a lot of fun, but I'm far from fast enough. What king of speed to you average on these races? Anyway thanks for the report.
I'm not fast enough either but I keep telling myself that I am.

My average was 17.7 over 2 hrs., 21 min., and that included the promenade. My average cadence was 87, meaning I was pushing big gears. My average heart rate was 158. I saw 174 every time I attacked a hill and pushed harder. A couple times while drafting I saw 148 -- made me think I wasn't working hard enough.

The first crit I raced, a month ago, I averaged 19-something mph. The suffering only lasted 40 min., however.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:08 AM   #12
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Good going Red Rider Next time you'll get 'em! You'll be even better!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
I joked that I finished in the bottom 5, but really, I celebrated that I finished. There were many who didn't.

This was a challenge on several levels. My training for the spring classics is off, I'm carrying more weight than this time last year, my riding has been curtailed most of this month due to extra work commitments and weeks of rain. On the other hand, I had great fun: I learned I really like riding at the front (and so need to develop the skills to stay there), I got in valuable training and handling skills, and I made a new friend. I rode hard and hurt the rest of the day, the kind of hurt you get from major exertion. All in all, it was a terrific day. And since I've been watching the ATOC, I'm inspired to want the rest of the pack to enjoy this view the next time I race:
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Old 02-23-09, 11:57 AM   #13
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great report
good goin on hangin in for the entire race.
lookin forward to readin reports as the rest of the season unfolds.
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Old 02-23-09, 12:15 PM   #14
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Congrats and great early season training.
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Old 02-23-09, 01:03 PM   #15
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Knew the report would be of interest- But didn't realise how interesting.

And like the new team strip- but I'd find another club before the heat of summer arrives.
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Old 02-23-09, 01:36 PM   #16
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You are fortunate to have your own personal photographer, too! Great shots that really add to the report. Nice going.
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Old 02-23-09, 01:53 PM   #17
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Good job RR - sounds like a good experience!!
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Old 02-23-09, 02:57 PM   #18
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Thanks for the report, RR. I'll be watching for more of them this season.

I love the new team kits....really looks good with your bike
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Old 02-23-09, 08:43 PM   #19
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bravo RR!!

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Old 02-23-09, 11:09 PM   #20
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Hi Red Rider,

The key thing is that you were out there. Good job finishing.

I had a 50 mile road race on the 14th and I DNFed. The race was in the high desert and there was snow on the side of the road at the top of the main climb. The last time up the climb on the last lap I wasn't generating any body heat so I figured health was the better part of valor and I turned around when my Garmin showed 5K feet of total climbing.

Not sure when I'll be racing next as I've been sick for the past week.
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Old 02-23-09, 11:29 PM   #21
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Bravo!
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Old 02-25-09, 10:47 PM   #22
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I like your new team kit - they are gnarly - and I like the match to your Orbea! Congrats on finishing and testing yourself.
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