Race: 35+ 4/5 A group
Started using the Training Manager and planned on taking two easier days on Thursday and Friday. Managed to crack two molar crowns on Wednesday so had to go to an emergency dental appointment on Thursday and never got motivated to ride farther than the post office on Thursday and Friday did one sprint and a short vo2max interval so my TSB on Saturday was 15, the highest it's been this season. Supposedly -10 to +10 TSB is about neutral but above that one can expect to be feeling fairly fresh and my CTL going in was 120 so hoped for good results, given my low FTP.
Used 50/34 with 11/23 cassette - could have gotten away with a 12/25 and never used the small ring, as it was, I found myself in the italian turbo 50/23 a couple of times.
Got to San Ardo a bit early after a little less than two hours ( the way 101 lets people turn left from the left lane near Soledad is pretty scary in the dark if one doesn't drive there often, this often entailed going from 85 to 20 not a few times.) How do I know I am getting old? My bum knee hurts just from driving for two hours...
Had time to scope out and ride the finish route a few times. The center line rule was going to be enforced except after the finishing left turn up hill so position in a large field was critical. It was about one mile from the staging area of the start to the finish line with one small hill, a downhill, then slightly uphill the rest of the way including going under 101 and the finishing left straight into the wind. Probably not hard enough to break up the field so if it came down to a sprint finish I planned on attacking just before the last turn.
Most of the harder hills in this race occur right after the start and continue for five miles, then it's more gently rolling with one small hill then pretty flat for the run in to the start area. The other times I've done this race I really did not like being behind too many people on the descents because of the excessive braking required so I made an effort to be near the front on the peak of every roller or hill so I could bomb down the descents.
At the gun, a big EMC rider and a big Alto Velo rider set a high pace. I wasn't sure if they were planning on sag climbing or were seriously considering going solo for 63 miles but went along anyways. After the underpass it was just the AV rider so I hitched a free ride for a bit. Then he punched it again on a steep bit, I looked behind and the field was not that far behind so I did not think it wise to waste a bullet here and eased up and let some other folks pull him back.
At this point it became apparent that the strongest riders showing their cards in the race were the large EMC rider, a rider with a tan kit from SoCal, a Winning Wheels rider that got top ten at Fort Ord, and a rider from Team San Jose. The EMC rider either wanted to sag climb or just wanted to be at the front and spent a lot of time breaking the wind in the first 2.5 laps. The Winning Wheels, tan kit, and Team San Jose riders would put strong pulls at the front in the flat sections and as I sat on each of these riders' wheels came to the point at which I did not wish to exert myself that much and let them gap me, this is what they did to other riders as well and they were often off the front for a few minutes at a time on the flat sections.
We caught a group of ladies just starting up again after finishing a pee break, and this gave the other old coots an idea the next time we went through the feedzone - they called for a old slow male pee break. I was going to stop but someone said my name and told me to keep going so I softpedaled behind ten other guys as we took it easy for a while. Got to the first steep pitch and someone asked if everyone was there and they said yes, and the tan SoCal guy took the opportunity to attack. He had a ten to twenty second gap until the last of the rollers when we reabsorbed him, but he kept staying at the front and trading pulls until the start of the last lap when the EMC and San Jose riders were taking long pulls on the flats. I decided that I would either follow the tan SoCal or San Jose in the lead up to the final mile as they seemed to be the strongest folks left in the bunch. My calves started cramping after we finished the first set of rollers so I had to stretch and self massage a bit and did as little work as possible while staying at the front, although I took a few pulls.
In the last three miles or so the San Jose rider sat on the front and I just sat on his wheel. Was expecting one of the larger teams to perform a leadout train, perhaps there was one behind me but I did not see anything. As we headed into the left turn a Mako rider made a move on our left. I let him pass me then stood up and accelerated into the turn, putting everything into the pedals, using the full width of the finishing straight to cut inside of him. Did not look behind and felt myself fading close to the line, then the San Jose rider put a couple of bike lengths into me in the last twenty meters or so (pretty impressive after leading it out!), and feeling really deflated, I soft pedaled and a Pegasus rider took advantage of my poor concentration and earned second by a wheel ahead of me as I took third.
I'm happy I had the patience to execute the plan I wanted to use and stay near the front for most of the race, but unhappy I made such a silly mistake near the line. Think I also overgeared for the finish as my cadence and power during the final sprint were pretty low - next time...
Hardaway tells me I need to work on a killer instinct and not give up at the finish line. Fight until it's over and not one meter before...
S: 35.8 kph
D: 112 km ( if the flyer was correct, this should be closer to 101 km )
Spent about 35 minutes in or above VO2max training zone.
The last bit of the race felt a bit like the LGBRC club ride or Spectrum sprint at Canada, just a bit easier, wonder what the much bigger San Jose rider was doing: