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  1. #2526
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    +1 to all of that.
    Ditto your post. My organization went to heck with the move and remodel. It's improving though, instead of forgetting my shoes I forgot my socks last race.

    AZ, good job. Sorry to hear some of my teammates hit the deck. No big surprise about the 45+ being fast, there's a lot of talent in there.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 03-04-12 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #2527
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    This is the Central Coast Circuit race course and it looks like it was a M Cat 4/5 group. http://www.strava.com/rides/central-...h-place-300754

    Note the number of laps. In a circuit race there is a time set for the race. Depending on the speed of the field, the officials decide how many laps and racers must watch the lap cards. This is all local knowledge so check with your race club for more details.

    I like to pre-ride the course days beforehand if possible. The Central Coast Course starts with a climb and there is a fast descent (the Corkscrew) back to the start. In my experience, the field is going to go hard at the start and kill the short climb. So a good warmup is a must. The descent will be fast so practice on the descent is a great idea. One has to know how the speed from the descent is reduced. I think there is a turn so practicing the descent followed by a high speed turn is also a great idea.

    Much like Racer Ex said, I treat low priority races much like hard training days. I do like to have a pre-race routine that gets me ready for the race. I do not want to have my legs experience a hard anaerobic effort on race day after two days off. When I trained with the Russians, we motor paced a couple of days before a race to focus on race effort at very high cadence and speed. Good luck.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  3. #2528
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Saturday - easy 1 hour ride with a few short efforts to LT. Decide which bike to ride in the race, the Giant CFR-Team, or the Look 566.
    Sunday - Race; watch, be patient, learn, and try to stay out of trouble (Cat 4 women)!

    Now, I am worried about warming up. I am notoriously slow at warming up. I can take 30 to 40 minutes before my legs really start to work and I relax. If I blow the warmup, I'm in trouble! I plan to get to the site about an hour and a half before the race and ride some of the roads around it. There are some climbs, flats, rollers, etc, and that (hopefully) will serve to get me going. Adrenaline will be in evidence, but it only goes so far with me.
    Only things I can add:

    Choose your bike now, so you aren't stressing about the decision. You want everything to be "settled" as you approach a race, especially your first one. If there is any wheel changing or tweaking to do, do it now.

    I started out doing warmups on the road, but I now do them on the trainer. It just works better. Using a trainer enables you to develop a warmup routine that is consistent, and not dependent on the surronding terrain. Some of my teammates warmup for as much as an hour to get things really functioning. I do 15-20 minutes, and include 2-3 ramp-ups to race power. Over time, you'll figure out what is best for you: how much intensity to add, etc. If you do add some intensity, be sure to also warm down for that for a few minutes. Trainers are one of the easier things to borrow, unlike like super-sized TT bikes. I think we cyclists are pretty good about helping and sharing, so long as others don't touch our bikes without asking. The next time this guy at work spins one of my pedals while my bike is leaning against the wall, I'm going to take his arm off. :-)

    The adrenaline thng can work against you, but less so in the CR than in a TT. My first TT, I thought I was starting out reasonably, but I looked down and I was at something like 450w. I said "whoa, I better cool it", and did. Looked down again and I was still in the high 300's. My first crit's, my HR was way up even before we started. Pre-visualize the start, forming an image of what your ideal way to get going will be, and run that through your mind a few times as you pre-ride the course. That should help keep you more relaxed for the race. Pumped up but relaxed.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  4. #2529
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    AZ, good job. Sorry to hear some of my teammates hit the deck. No big surprise about the 45+ being fast, there's a lot of talent in there.
    Obviously a strong and smart group of guys, and I hate to see mishaps dictate race results, even if avoidable, and I have no info on how this one happened.

    But in the "mishap dictating results" vein, help me out with something else guys. I was chatting with someone I've been gradually getting to know at the races, and he asked "Did you know Jay flatted"? I knew someone had flatted early lap 2, but didn't realize it was the GC leader. Another sign of my need for greater awareness. I was so focused on the two guys I had decided to mark, I missed the yellow jersey flatting, and also the winning break. Anyway, this guy, who was not a teammate, tried to pull the yellow jersey back to the pack. They didn't make it, and the guy lost the GC. Coincidentally, the lap 2 climb was the one where the pace was pushed, and I was almost dropped. And it was at the end of that lap, when folks were feeling whupped, that the break got away. Obviously the GC wasn't there to protect his lead.

    1. Should we have soft-pedaled it for the yellow jersey? (I'm thinking yes)
    2. Is there an obligation to pull the leader back to the pack, the way the one guy did, or is that going to extremes?

    But I guess if you do #1, you don't need #2.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  5. #2530
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    1. Should we have soft-pedaled it for the yellow jersey? (I'm thinking yes)
    I would have if I knew he was going to get a wheel quickly and there wasn't a break up the road. Some guys would drill it however.

    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    2. Is there an obligation to pull the leader back to the pack
    Only if he's your teammate and you're actually racing as a team.

  6. #2531
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Racer Ex, Hermes, AzT, I can't thank you fellas enough. I'm validating my thinking by going over your experiences and I'm incorporating your suggestions. Great, great stuff.

    Hermes, I plan to pre ride the course on Thursday. I already know portions of it fairly well. It's a "chip seal" surface, a little rough, and there are some potholes here and there (it's not maintained). There is no "yellow line" rule in effect, so that will make things a little easier. Also, I want to thank you for that insight into how a CR works. I was wondering how the "timed event" was conducted.

    AzT, as for the bike choice, I'm leaning towards the Look. I'll make a final decision after I turn the stem over and see how it feels with the handle bars in the lower position. The CFR Team is a slightly faster bike because it is so much lower in the front, but it is slightly heavier and has a choppy ride. However, I think I can deal with that for an hour! Even though the Team is a triple and the Look a compact, both climb pretty much equally, there is no advantage there to either one. I don't have spare wheels - well, I do, but they're Fulcrum 7's and I wouldn't race on them. Also, the wheels can't be interchanged between the Look and Giant without changing cassettes (the Giant is a nine speed, the Look ten). As for tire/wheel combos, the Look has Easton EA90's with Conti Gatorskins, 700/25; the Giant has Mavic CXP-33 with Conti GP4000s, 700/23. Both are good to great wheelsets, both have their unique qualities, but they're not night and day different, at least not to me.

    AzT, I'll bring the trainer with me and spin that for at least thirty minutes before I go out. I'm pretty sure the field will go out fast, because I am quite sure that Cat 4 field (which might combine with the Masters 35+ field) will be comprised of young, fit women. I just hope I can hang on to a wheel! Hermes, no matter what, it will be a training race/ride for me! I couldn't look at a first ever race any other way.

    One question. Is a CR more like a road race, or is it akin to a crit?

    Here's the height comparison shot of the two bikes (the Look has tassels, yes - a girlfriend snuck those on there for my birthday)...

    Last edited by sarals; 03-05-12 at 10:14 AM.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  7. #2532
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I would de-tassle the bike before racing it. You will race in the drops to protect against hooking handlebars with another racer. You do not want anything that can tangle with another bike and plan on getting bumped. You probably will not, but expect it.

    A CR is more like a crit but the features of the Central Coast Coarse and due to its length will offer some features of both. The wind will play a significant role in the race. If there is a headwind on the climb, it will slow up the climbers and you can hide in the group. If there is a tailwind on the short climb, the climbers will make the race really hard or get away.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  8. #2533
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I would de-tassle the bike before racing it. You will race in the drops to protect against hooking handlebars with another racer. You do not want anything that can tangle with another bike and plan on getting bumped. You probably will not, but expect it.

    A CR is more like a crit but the features of the Central Coast Coarse and due to its length will offer some features of both. The wind will play a significant role in the race. If there is a headwind on the climb, it will slow up the climbers and you can hide in the group. If there is a tailwind on the short climb, the climbers will make the race really hard or get away.
    Hermes, those tassels are long since GONE! There was no way that bike was leaving my driveway with those things attached to it. I love my girlfriends, but...pu-lease!

    You made a great point by saying stay in the drops to protect the bars. I didn't realize there would be contact, or could be. That's something to be aware of. I am already aware that I do NOT want to get boxed in. I am cautious until I know what to expect, and that includes keeping aggression in check. I know you fellas won't like this, but I plan to be in the rear of the pack where I may be a little safer and where I can observe the race. I understand it might be harder to see "trouble" ahead of me (that's how I crashed last summer - I didn't see the obstacle that took me down because I was at the back of the line), but I'm going to do what I can to stay safe and aware.
    Last edited by sarals; 03-05-12 at 10:57 AM.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  9. #2534
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    A circuit race is like a short course road race, not like a criterium at all. There's nothing wrong with sitting on the back in a circuit race if you are willing to let the group split and not go with them, i.e. your priority is finishing.

    You would never start the race with those tassels.

  10. #2535
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    A circuit race is like a short course road race, not like a criterium at all. There's nothing wrong with sitting on the back in a circuit race if you are willing to let the group split and not go with them, i.e. your priority is finishing.

    You would never start the race with those tassels.
    NO TASSELS! They're G O N E!!!

    Seriously, it's an old picture, taken last month when I discovered the damn things on the bike. They were literally ripped off the bike right after that.

    Thanks for the info on what kind of race it is. By the way, my priority IS to finish. The only way I'd place is by default, I just want to build experience.

    Proof of NO tassels:

    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  11. #2536
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    OK, in that case then go ahead and sit on the back, but if you want to gain some experience racing in close quarters, try moving around in the back of the field. There's normally more space back there than on the front where it's either packed in like a sardine can or strung out like silly string. Try putting yourself in between two riders, ride for a bit, then back out. Then try it again with a different set of riders. try moving up in the field, and on each side (don't cross the yellow line unless the course is closed). Club rides and training races are best for this but there's no reason why you can't use a real race to develop skills.

    One thing I will warn you about the back of the field is, while there may be more space back there, there may be riders hanging on for dear life and thus may be making sharp moves. Just keep your head up the road 3-4 riders at all times and be conscious of who is around you. I ride on the drops 90% of the time in races because it lets my elbows keep my space clear and my hands close to the shifters, brakes, and in the position where I can grab a handful of bar and go. If you ride on the hoods your stopping power is greatly diminished and you'll have to rely on bike handling skills to avoid bad situations.

    Good luck and ride safe.

  12. #2537
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    AzT, as for the bike choice, I'm leaning towards the Look. I'll make a final decision after I turn the stem over and see how it feels with the handle bars in the lower position. The CFR Team is a slightly faster bike because it is so much lower in the front, but it is slightly heavier and has a choppy ride.
    IMO, that race will be decided on the climbs. You need to stick with them going up no matter what, then stay out of the wind and recover as much as possible going back down. Rinse and repeat. I'd match the drop of your look to the CFR, and go with the lighter bike. But do it now, so your riding this week is on the configuration you will race. Last minute changes are not usually a good thing.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  13. #2538
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    OK, in that case then go ahead and sit on the back, but if you want to gain some experience racing in close quarters, try moving around in the back of the field. There's normally more space back there than on the front where it's either packed in like a sardine can or strung out like silly string. Try putting yourself in between two riders, ride for a bit, then back out. Then try it again with a different set of riders. try moving up in the field, and on each side (don't cross the yellow line unless the course is closed). Club rides and training races are best for this but there's no reason why you can't use a real race to develop skills.

    One thing I will warn you about the back of the field is, while there may be more space back there, there may be riders hanging on for dear life and thus may be making sharp moves. Just keep your head up the road 3-4 riders at all times and be conscious of who is around you. I ride on the drops 90% of the time in races because it lets my elbows keep my space clear and my hands close to the shifters, brakes, and in the position where I can grab a handful of bar and go. If you ride on the hoods your stopping power is greatly diminished and you'll have to rely on bike handling skills to avoid bad situations.

    Good luck and ride safe.
    Many thanks, shovelhd!

    Okay, now I'll quit bothering you guys with the silly questions.

    Once again - NO tassels!!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  14. #2539
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    The weekend weather was outstanding for early March in NorCal. My wife and I decided to practice race pace TT efforts of 5K and 10K. We put on the Easton 58 mm carbon tubes on the TT bikes. The TT course was perfect and we did a warmup and surveyed the course. We did our first 5K. After a recovery, we did another 5K. As we approach the turn around, my wife was about 20 seconds ahead, she stops. I slow and immediately roll through some broken glass that was not there before.

    My wife has a rear flat. My tires appear okay but I check for glass. She is done but I have another 5 miles back to the car so I get another effort.

    We go back home and saddle up the road bikes to finish the workout. The weather was perfect but I get to change out a tubie.

    Sunday the weather was even better and we decided to ride to the coast. If I had to pick a reason to train hard and race it would be that I get to do this ride and enjoy the fabulous route, headwinds and long steep climbs through the redwoods and ride at a reasonable level of effort and still make good time on the climbs.

    Here is a map of the route. We start about 10 miles from our house with enough distance from the first climb to get a good warmup.



    We have to climb over Skyline and then go to the coast against a headwind. Here is the profile.



    The first climb is Old La Honda which is a very light traffic road through the redwoods. We generally kill this climb but today, it was a high z3 pace. Once at the top, we descend another twisty road with ocean views in the distance and we start to pick up some wind. There were no cars on this segment.

    We pick up Highway 84 and continue to descend but now we have significant car and motorcycle traffic. 84 has a gradual descent to the coast with headwinds so it is nice to trade pulls.

    We get to the coast and I took a couple of pics. You can get an idea of how rugged and hilly the terrain is along Highway 1.





    We head back via Stage Road which runs parallel to Highway 1 but is yet another climb to the top of a crest in Highway 1. We descend Highway 1 and are treated to more spectacular ocean views and a lot of wind. We turn right onto Tunitas Creek Road. This is one of the climbs used in the Tour of California.

    We leave the traffic behind and start back along a scenic road through farmland and have the road to ourselves. We enter the redwoods and I am always in awe of how rugged and huge the trees are. There is very little light that enters so it is darker and much cooler but perfect for climbing. It starts out easy and soon we are into the 10 to 12% grade. It just keeps coming but the trees and views are amazing.

    We get to the top and we saw one other cyclist and a couple of cars and a few motor cycles. We descend Kings Mountain road which is a twisty mountain road with some interesting switchbacks.

    Total stats for the day was 46 miles, 3:30, 4205 feet of climbing and 1719 kJ. I ate one bag of gel drops, two liquid Gus and two pieces of flat bread and drank a muscle milk when I got back to the car. Great day of cycling and if anyone is ever in the area and wants a great NorCal ride, this one is the best, IMHO.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  15. #2540
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Looks like a totally awesome ride, reminiscent of one I did in Santa Barbara, going down Hwy 1 along the ocean and then up around Lake Casitas and back to SB... but with Redwoods and likely not as hot! I need to start planning my annual "California getaway with bike and dog". The Santa Barbara Ridge is calling me.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #2541
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Forget the bike.

    The beach. I miss it.

  17. #2542
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm making a public strategy announcement, to ensure I don't wuss out. I have another heavy weekend of racing planned, then a two week racing break that I'll use for serious miles and climbing.

    Saturday is:

    1. A (55+) mass start hill climb up South Mountain. 6.7 miles and 1,200' of climbing. There are some steep sections; it is "the" climb in our area. I've done it in around 30', beating a Cat3 friend. The record is 18, and a woman coach I know has done it in 20!

    2. About 90' later, a 30' CR.
    Having spent the last few races learning I can now hang with the pack, but not outsprint it, it's time for some different learning. For the CR, I'm going to "Emulate Ex" and attack the pack into oblivion. I'm launching, and if I get chased down, launching again. I'll keep doing that until either the pack gives up, the race ends, or I explode into small pieces of quivering lung matter. Whichever way it ends, it will be one hell of a lot of fun!

    Sunday is a crit, and the 50+ is (finally) before the Cat 4, so I'll do both, and call 'em recovery rides. :-)
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  18. #2543
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I like the attack strategy for a couple of reasons. First, it may just work. Do not underestimate yourself or the lack of commitment of the field. The second and even better reason is that if you try, fail and get blown out the back, it is a much better story and you will feel better about yourself than if you drift to the back, get caught behind a slow guy and get dropped.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  19. #2544
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Looks like a totally awesome ride, reminiscent of one I did in Santa Barbara, going down Hwy 1 along the ocean and then up around Lake Casitas and back to SB... but with Redwoods and likely not as hot! I need to start planning my annual "California getaway with bike and dog". The Santa Barbara Ridge is calling me.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  20. #2545
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I would not underestimate what that hillclimb is going to take out of your legs 90 minutes before a circuit race.

    Attacking is fine as long as you commit. Don't look back for at least 30 seconds. Then look, see if you're just stringing out the field, and if so, then pull off, and try it again.

    One thing that drives me crazy is when somebody attacks for 10 seconds, looks back, and sits up. That's a total waste of energy and just makes the pack nervous.

  21. #2546
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I loves me some Tunitas Creek.

    Did I mention I totally dropped Greg Lemond on that climb? Why yes, yes I did. Buried him.

  22. #2547
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi Sara, good luck with your race and don't stress the preparation too much. I've found that the races that I do more "casually" are those that often yield my best performances. Certainly you can maximize your performance with a good lead-in week, but if you over-think it you can also hamper your performance. Race hard and have fun.

    AzTR, sounds like another great learning experience and a fun 3-day stage race. Maybe I'll try that one next year too. Regarding your upcoming races, I try to do the hammer until you blow approach with some frequency though not as often as Racer Ex and certainly without the frequent good results from trying. However, I believe it's better than being completely anonymous pack fodder.

    Hermes, I wish I would have the time to do that ride when I'm up there in a couple of weeks, but I won't. I need to figure out how to get some vacation time up there for some different training routes.

    shovelhd, agreed about the 10 second thing. What's worse is when you go with someone like that and then they sit up even when I say get on my wheel and I put through reasonably. what was the point?

    As for my weekend -- Oy! Rode with my club Saturday morning. Promoted my club's track omnium Saturday afternoon into the night (left my house at 1:45p and got home at 8:45p). Got up early to race 3 criteriums: 55+, 50+, and 45+. It was hot: 80+F! Did the attacking thing several times in the 55+ race with nothing to show for it. Too bad there wasn't a prime at 2 to go. At least some fellow racers said I looked strong. Rode near the front for most of the 50+ race but haired out over the last 2 laps. Used the 45+ race as motorpacing and was completely cooked when they amped up the pace on the last lap. Hope they still scored me as a finisher.

    Skipped my wife's concert in the afternoon to take a nap because after she got home we had a quick dinner and drove 70 miles in our Prius to see the documentary, Revenge of the Electric Car. It was good and I got to get a good look at the Chevy Volt. Got home and passed out.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
    "Real men wear pink."
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  23. #2548
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I would not underestimate what that hillclimb is going to take out of your legs 90 minutes before a circuit race.

    Attacking is fine as long as you commit. Don't look back for at least 30 seconds. Then look, see if you're just stringing out the field, and if so, then pull off, and try it again.

    One thing that drives me crazy is when somebody attacks for 10 seconds, looks back, and sits up. That's a total waste of energy and just makes the pack nervous.
    Great point. A hill climb is usually a lower cadence, constant high torque event which really fatigues my legs.

    I suggest right after the hill climb that you spin your legs out on the trainer and try to get rid of the fatigue and do not let them tighten up.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    The hillclimb, for me at least, would be a double edged sword. It would open up my legs nicely, getting them ready for the road race ahead, However, it would deplete a lot of the anaerobic stores in my muscles, knocking down my peak power, and the ability to respond quickly to attacks. There's no way to recover those stores in time. I would eat something sugary between races like a gel or two with sports drink.

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    Cleave, wish I could have made the track race, but it was a stretch logistically and mostly my coach put the kibosh on it. It turned out I clinched the TT series cup already, so I sent him an Email asking what he thought I should go with over the weekend. DH? Track? TT?

    He sent me out on the TT bike for several hours Saturday, then to the hills for a hard 3 hour ride Sunday.

    Got within a mile of where it was all downhill to my house on Sunday and they had the road closed. Car went over GRR and 600' down the mountain. They were pulling the car and body up. Would have been a hard 45 mile reverse...pleaded my case and they let me through.

    Pushing tight up against deadlines to get fast and lose some weight before I give Gila one more shot. Twice second in the 50+ to a guy with WC stripes...6th and 7th on GC for the Master overall. Got as high as 3rd going into the last stage the 2nd try. Always had something big go wrong and had to fight from behind both times. Not getting any younger and there's no 55+.

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