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First Stage race: Fitchburg, a report:

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First Stage race: Fitchburg, a report:

Old 07-07-08, 03:52 PM
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ldesfor1@ithaca
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First Stage race: Fitchburg, a report:

Well, it's over.

After 8 weeks of preperation, countless posts on BF and much nervousness my first stage race is in the bag.

Here's the story:

After upgrading to cat 3 in early June, I was hit with the realization that i'd have the privilege of racing my first SR with much stronger and more experienced racers than I was used to.
With this in mind, I spent the 8 weeks leading up to the SR racing very little but training really hard (and recovering really diligently). I did lots of block training and much LT work and climbing intervals (to suit the demands of the course and to address my weaknesses). I did my best to get my weight down, but failed in that regard, coming into the SR at my normal 192 pounds. Here's how it all went down:

Day 1: Uphill TT. 6.55 miles.

I felt good physically coming into this race and nailed my wattage goals pretty head on. Not bad for my first TT. I averaged 394w for the first 16.25 minutes, all 5 miles of this were uphill. Then the DH started and i did a bit more coasting/tucking as I finished in 19:22, putting me in 51st (out of 110) overall.
A bit disappointing, but mainly because it was obvious I was out gunned gear wise for this event. I ran a 32 spoke rear wheel, normal helmet, regular kit, 20 pound road bike, no aerobars or other speed boosting goodies.
Ok, so not where I wanted to be, but nothing I could have done about it. Time to prepare for the RR. Rest, water, food, race prep and relaxation.

(That said, I'm putting a wheelcover and aerobars on order (and making a homemade aerohelmet) as we speak and will be using these new toys towards some late season TT's (should be a fun way to keep FT workouts going strong, no?))


Day 2: 70 mile RR, mountaintop finish and 7000 total feet of climbing. Raining very hard for the first 3 hours of this event.
Scary 55mph descent in the pouring rain with 100+ riders was not a great way to start.
The first 4 laps of this thing I was contemplating why I race bikes. I started to believe that my rear wheel was full of water based on past experience and also the feeling of tired legs as the race wore on. So, not a fun start. I was in a bad spot mentally, I would say.
But! I was climbing with the pack and staying well attached and within my limits. This was my goal.
I had no feed-zone personnel and the 3 lieters of water I had would prove to be 1 lieter more than I needed due to the weather.
The last 2 laps proved to be a bit better as I improved my position and even pulled the field (no real work here as everyone was content with a slow pace before the final climb) for about 5 minutes. It was nice to not have water and wet chamoises in my face!
I hung on until we reached the final ascent of mt. Wachussett where I just tossed it into the 34x26 and (relatively) easily finished the last steep mile of the race, thinking about tomorrows stage and the lure of some green jersey points.
I finished 45th and 2:02 off the race winner. I moved into 44th overall and 3:24 behind the GC leader.
Good stage for me. I got a massage, ate a ton and relaxed waiting for teammates. Hardest stage was over.

Day 3: 28 mile CR with a nice steep/punchy climb and a long and fast back stretch.
I came out today with great legs and and itch to sprint.
Sadly, i am a puzzy and couldnt put myself into good enough position for points on many of the Prime/Point laps eve though I had the power to contest. But, I did manage to take a second place in one of the Primes, and was quite pleased about that as it clearly forced the Green Jersey to work hard to keep me from taking the prime win. He was great sprinter though and really deserved that jersey.
With an AVS of nearly 28 mph, it was a fast and furious kind of race. Tons of fun.
I finished 30th, with the pack and gained a few more GC spots, moving to 42nd overall.

Day 4: 23 mile, 3 corner crit in downtown Fitchburg.
Fast furious and with one crash that nearly took me out of the race.
I had fun working the pack here and even took a solo (which turned into a duo) flyer that resulted in a 3rd place prime finish. I took another 3rd in a prime lap, somehow, too. Fun and aggressive bike racing... these guys are tough!!!
I finished 27th and ended up tied for 7th in the points competition and finished 39th overall.
Pleased!



Other highlights included meeting KP (great to meet you!) and Irishpat, again (upgrade, you monster!!).
My teammates killed it finisheing 34th and 84th in the 4's and my good buddy, roomate and future teamate wont the cat4 green jersey convincingly and won the crit. Great job, Ben.

I also hung out with 3-4 other Boston racers: Jordan, Jay, Matt and Eric quite a bit and the great guys from Cambridge Bicycle racing. Great to have you guys there.

well, thanks for reading and I look forward to other stories and some photos as they emerge.
A great experience and I'm not sure how I feel not that it's over... :/

-Leo
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Old 07-07-08, 05:04 PM
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Suzie Green
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Nice effort Leo! Had I been active here on the forum a bit earlier in the year, perhaps my husband and I could have acted as feeders for you at Wachusett, though it sounds like you made out OK without it. We actually got over there to the RR after the Cat 3's started, having ridden in the rain as well. Yeah, OK, 20 miles at 17 mph is pretty wussy compared to what you guys endured!

Maybe next year we'll get to say something obnoxious as you ride by...for inspiration!
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Old 07-07-08, 05:09 PM
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Nice report, well done!!!!
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Old 07-07-08, 05:35 PM
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Good job.

Stage racing is a blast. For me the whole thing turns into one mental blur where all I do is prepare to race, race, and recover from racing. In the end I'm left with blown legs and a messy place/car that resembles a exploded bike shop.
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Old 07-07-08, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
...the whole thing turns into one mental blur where all I do is prepare to race, race, and recover from racing. In the end I'm left with blown legs and a messy place/car that resembles a exploded bike shop.
That's February though September every year

Great job L!
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Old 07-07-08, 07:30 PM
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I shaved my legs before the circuit race- too much peer pressure.
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Old 07-07-08, 08:06 PM
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It was great meeting you all, Ides, java, KP-as always-I had a really fun race and met some great people.

BTW does anyone know the name of the rider or the team he's from from New York in the 2's that held a gap for about 3 hours, then got caught-he had one other guy go with him. I don't know if it was Friday or Saturday
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Old 07-07-08, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by irish pat View Post
It was great meeting you all, Ides, java, KP-as always-I had a really fun race and met some great people.

BTW does anyone know the name of the rider or the team he's from from New York in the 2's that held a gap for about 3 hours, then got caught-he had one other guy go with him. I don't know if it was Friday or Saturday
There was a long 2 man break on Friday's stage, but it was in the Pro/1 race. 2 guys were off the front for about 6 or 7 laps. One of my pictures had them, and one guy was #18 (Shawn Milne from Team Type 1). They had up to 4:30 at one point, then the other guy got dropped and he soloed from there until getting caught.
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Old 07-07-08, 08:44 PM
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Great job Leo!
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Old 07-08-08, 07:02 AM
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Awesome job Leo! I went on a group ride with Ben last night. He was wearing his Green Jersey and there was a party (with cake) for him back at Travis Cycle in Brockton.
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