As promised earlier in this thread, my race report. Spoiler alert: some knowledge of offthebackistani required.
Turkey Hill Country Classic, Lancaster County PA. Several team mates signed up for the M40+ race, and convinced me I would be fine - so that's what I entered. 8 laps of 7 miles, each one featuring the Gamber wall climb. Considering the advice in this thread, I started with a good bit of trepidation. In pre-race conversation, my team captain tried to convince me to go with the first attack by local strong masters team (Thru-It-All), but I decided I needed to have at least two laps under my belt before doing anything but sitting in. As it turns out, those first two laps were pretty uneventful, not requiring any big efforts, so when an attack with a Thru-It-All member launched at the beginning of lap 3, I went along. I soon realized I wasn't going to be able to hold an extended effort, so I didn't mind that the break fizzed out before too long, and was happy to just move around the pack for the next two laps. At times, the pace got silly slow, so I did do a bit of pulling, but tried to limit my efforts.
First couple climbs of the wall, I'd stayed in the big ring, but on the second attempt, my legs told me the little ring would be better. Sure enough, the third and fourth ascent went well enough - my gearing allowed me to stay seated and conserve energy. For the fifth climb, I got to the front of the pack, downshifted as I started up the wall, and DAMN - my chain jammed. After the pack sifted around me, I got the chain on fast enough - but knew I wouldn't be able to clip in and get going on the grade of the wall. So I did the only thing I could think of: I ran up the rest of the wall, bike in hand, prancing on the front of my shoes to keep traction. Must have been some kind of sight... Of course, by the time I got up and going again, the pack was gone - turns out that lap was the fastest one of the race. I caught up with a few guys who had lost connection with the pack as well, tried to work with them - but they all dropped back, so I found myself time trialing the rest of the race, 3.5 laps worth (didn't want my first DNF), overtaking others spit out the back of the three packs racing simultaneously at regular intervals. Eventually, on the last lap, I was myself overtaken by the P123 pack which had started a few minutes ahead of our race. According to others who finished with the pack, I was about 5 minutes behind.
So obviously not a grand success - but I think I wasn't in over my head as much as some of the comments above suggested. Even if I hadn't had a mechanical, I couldn't have managed more than a pack finish. But I'm pretty sure I would have stuck with the pack, and happy with the way I rode in the pack for the first four laps. I don't think anybody had cause to yell at me (until I wasn't sure what to do after my chain dropped on the middle of the roadway), and the efforts were all manageable with my level of fitness. So I look forward to signing up for more masters races, in addition to Cat 4 races - I'll decide based on circumstances such as course distance and team participation.
good job plantrob. sorry to read a mechanical ended your day. i was in the P123 field, we passed the 40+ and the 3/4, we were going pretty damn fast today. sounds like your fitness is good and that you should have some good racing ahead of you this year.
Thanks MDcatV. You probably saw me briefly during your 9th (my 8th) approach to the corner onto River Rd. How did you do?
Yep, you guys were going fast. So much so, I was passing lots of blown-up riders with 500-series numbers on that last half a lap
Just noticed they posted the results. I got 37th place out of 43 finishers. The starting field was close to filled up (100), so that's a startling number of DNFs (which are not listed in the results). Two of my team mates apparently did not finish (they were gone by the time I finished, haven't connected with them yet). Worth a chuckle: I finished just two places behind mighty Ramon! Of course he probably finished with the pack, compared to my deficit of several minutes
Last edited by plantrob; 05-06-12 at 08:01 AM.