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Race Report: Palmer Road Race Cat 4/5 Open

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Race Report: Palmer Road Race Cat 4/5 Open

Old 04-29-07, 08:47 PM
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GuitarWizard
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Race Report: Palmer Road Race Cat 4/5 Open

Ok....will try to keep this one a bit more "brief"....

Carpooled with a fellow club member, who is a Cat 4. I asked him a bunch of noob questions and stuff, and got a bit better handle on what to expect at this race. Cool beans. Registration, pinning of the number, and warmup went MUCH smoother than last time; gotta love the whole "live and learn" aspect of things. However....my friggin' rear derailleur cable was all slack and was in dire need of adjustment....but Joe (fellow club guy) took care of that for me just before the start.

There was a neutral rollout of a few miles, which was nice.....got to get used to the group, got a little more warmup in, and in the swing of things. At first, I wasn't sure if I was in a race, or a giant club ride with numbers attached to our jerseys...

"Car up!"
"Slowing!"
"Pothole!"
"Flat!" (yes, someone flatted within the first mile or so)
"Hold your line through the turns!"

Ummmmmmm....ok. Joe and I were in the back....I don't know how large the field was, but according to BikeReg around 70 people pre-registered. As the race got underway, Joe started moving up a bit, and I hung out in the back 1/3 or so. We were cruising along, and man what a sound as the peloton is cruising down the road......it was my first time in a group that large, as this was my first road race....and it was pretty impressive I thought. The first 10 minutes went MUCH better than the first 10 minutes of my first race (crit) I did a couple weeks ago.

As we turned onto Rte. 20, which is a state highway, the wind picked up quite a bit....but fortunately I was still towards the rear so I was well-shielded. After getting shelled at the crit within the first 10 minutes, I pretty much instinctively shifted, got up and sprinted as soon as I got out of the corners in this race....and was able to fairly easily hang on in doing so. Actually....me and a few others began to move up along the right hand side at this point, as there was what seemed like a slowing of the peloton in the middle. It seemed like those of us on the outside left and outside right just sorta shot up the sides, and I soon found myself in the front 20-25 people or so. Riding was still pretty effortless at this point, and I was conserving as much as humanly possible.

For the remainder of the first lap, it was fairly uneventful - moved up and back in the peloton, and heard/saw a guy about 3 places up from me blow out a tubular....man was that loud. Sounded like a gunshot. As we got to the end of the first lap (out of 2), I was still in the peloton....

"Man...I actually feel pretty good....I think I might be able to...."

****in' A....about a mile after the finish line as we make a left turn and then the road starts to go upwards, a few geniuses decided to go for a breakaway. Well...at that particular time, I couldn't see them, but everyone started sprinting up this hill....WTF. This of course shelled us who were in the rears a bit, and I managed to hop back on, but I was accumulating a bit of debt....oxygen debt, that is. Man...I'm not a big guy, why am I having so much trouble on this dinky little hill? Oh....I know....maybe it's because we're doing like 22 mph up it. I'm not much of a power climber (not much of a power-anything at this point), and this definitely seemed like a course where power climbers would excel. I think the steepest grade was like 7%, and that might've been just after the neutral rollout.

So....as I'm yet again experiencing the all-too-familiar sight of watching the peloton drift away from me, I have a LITTLE solstace in that I wasn't the only one that was dropped; there were at least 3-5 others from that acceleration. Prior to that, I don't know if anyone was dropped earlier in the race, but the peloton didn't seem as large. The next 10-15 minutes were some more pure oxygen debt, trying to bridge to stragglers, and make some headway. We soon got a group of 5-6 of us, and I was friggin' dead. I was just barely hanging onto the back. As we got back onto Rte. 20 and more headwinds, I tried making a pull at the front at around 23-24 mph at one point, and I just had no juice in the 'ol legs. I resigned myself to the rear of the group (around 8-10 now), and stayed there for most of the rest of the race.

As we get towards the finish line, I started to almost feel good again....what the hell. I geared down a bit, and we began the "climb" to the finish, and I begin passing those in the group. I wasn't exactly sprinting, as I didn't want to look like an idiot sprinting for like 60th place or something (I have no clue what the results are yet), but just kept a steady tempo effort. According to my bike computer, I crossed the line in 1 hour, 39 minutes and some change. Approx. 2,000 feet of climbing in 39.xx miles, average speed of 23 mph.

Here is the time for the winner of the Cat 4/5 B race last year (was faster than the A race):

Category 4,5 B
1 Steven Edwards housatonic wheel club 1:45:18 Milford NH

So....I got my ass kicked (again), but our "slow" group, according to my computer, finished 6 minutes FASTER than the winner last year. I'm curious to see what the results are tomorrow, and am really curious to see how fast the winner was this year.

I really need another solid year or so of riding in my legs....either that or I'll just never be "fast".
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Old 04-29-07, 09:13 PM
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this was only your second race and a totally different one at that so dont be down on your self. These are two very different races in which you learn different things. It really sounds like you didnt do to bad for your first road race. good job. you will get faster
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Old 04-30-07, 06:07 AM
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Nice report. I thought you did well for your second race.
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Old 04-30-07, 06:16 AM
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It's amazing that at one minute, you can feel pretty good, and literally the next minute, you're watching the pack ride away....
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Old 04-30-07, 06:47 AM
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I heard that some of the races that day were crashy. Any crashes in the 4/5s' ?
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Old 04-30-07, 06:53 AM
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Yeah...but it was well ahead of our "chase group" from what I understand.
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Old 04-30-07, 08:56 AM
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GuitarWizard, who do you race for? I was probably in that small group with you. Same sad story. Was sleeping when the field jumped on the last lap coming out of town, burned a whole bunch of matches getting connected again, foolishly eased-off when I reached the back instead of suffering a little more and finding the middle of the pack, and was dropped but good when we hit the rollers. Eventually found a small group to work together for the last ~10mi.

First RR. I think I learned a lot. Great fun.

I ride for NCC, btw.
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Old 04-30-07, 09:45 AM
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I was wearing a plain red jersey w/ some black in it, and the Assos bibs (said "ASSOS" in big letters on the thighs)....I was in the back of the chase group for the most part, with my mouth gaping open, sucking wind. I was barely holding onto the back of the group for awhile....once we got off of Rte. 20, I started feeling a little better, but was still fried. I didn't start feeling "ok" again until the very end of the race. Kind of annoying.
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Old 04-30-07, 09:53 AM
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Fellas, you showed up, pinned a number on, and finished upright. Good job!

Don't sweat getting dropped. Once you have the basic race fitness, you'll see that knowing where to be and when to be there is going to be the key in finishing well. You'll develop these smarts, along with the ability to safely move around the pack, with each race. So keep it up!
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Old 04-30-07, 09:59 AM
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+1. Tis only your second race, good on you for finishing.

As a sidenote, Palmer was pretty ridiculous when it came to trying to move up in the pack. 150 guys squeezed into one lane made for very tight riding. Probably a good portion of why there were so many crashes as well.
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Old 04-30-07, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin
As a sidenote, Palmer was pretty ridiculous when it came to trying to move up in the pack. 150 guys squeezed into one lane made for very tight riding. Probably a good portion of why there were so many crashes as well.
Yeah, it was pretty silly. There were actually some riders trying to avoid the sand, water, frog bodies, etc which made for some interesting (heart stopping) moments...

Oddly, Sturbridge the day before, didn't have the yellow line rule, but had way more crashes...
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Old 04-30-07, 11:51 AM
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Thanks. I definitely feel like I met my goals. Sterling!
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Old 04-30-07, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bitterken
Oddly, Sturbridge the day before, didn't have the yellow line rule, but had way more crashes...
That was a little mystifying...I think a lot of people have just internalized the yellow line rule, so it led to a lot of confusion in the pack (and even on the part of the officials...on the first lap of the afternoon races, the 1st left-hand turn was marked with cones AS IF the yellow line was in effect. That was sure fun to deal with). That doesn't really explain the open-road pileups, however.
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Old 04-30-07, 07:31 PM
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Out of curiosity, does anyone else wonder why the hell they're racing when in the severe pain zone, and swear they're never going to do it again.....only to think to yourself at the end (when it's over), "well, that wasn't toooo bad...."

So 92....did you see me in the group?
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Old 04-30-07, 07:37 PM
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Results are in....finished 41st out of 65 starters. Interesting to note that the winner finished in 1:38:53 and I finished 3 min 59 seconds behind that according to the results....however, my bike computer (which I reset at the beginning) said 1 hr 39 min. and some odd seconds....

At any rate....my 41st place was still a few minutes faster than last years' winner, so I feel kinda good about that. Looks like the group I was in was the first chase group behind the peloton, and there may have been a couple other smaller groups and some stragglers here and there.
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Old 05-01-07, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
Out of curiosity, does anyone else wonder why the hell they're racing when in the severe pain zone, and swear they're never going to do it again.....only to think to yourself at the end (when it's over), "well, that wasn't toooo bad...."

So 92....did you see me in the group?

Now I'm less sure. I think you were in the group ahead of me.
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Old 05-01-07, 07:20 AM
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Yeah....according to BikeReg, there was an NCC rider in my group, and then a couple more in a group a few minutes back from our group
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Old 05-01-07, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
Out of curiosity, does anyone else wonder why the hell they're racing when in the severe pain zone, and swear they're never going to do it again.....only to think to yourself at the end (when it's over), "well, that wasn't toooo bad...."

So 92....did you see me in the group?
not the same kind of racing but yes for me, I always ALWAYS stand at the starting line and say.. "what was i thinking?" and no matter the pain, I always get to the finish line thinking, that wasn't THAT bad!

congrats btw! I read your first report as well.. well done
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