25 August 2007

San Ardo Road Race, 35+ 4/5 Group A

Field: ~40 riders
TSB: 5
CTL: 129
A couple of teams had pretty big representation, but usually nothing stays away due to the flattish last fifteen miles of the twenty three mile lap. Checked out the finish and it was five hundred feet from the last corner to the finish line with a slight incline, and a much longer incline leading up to the turn. Started the race about as fit as I have ever been so I felt confident. A little too confident as it turns out. Needed a fourth place finish to upgrade to cat 3 or I would have to start earning a lot more points because my points from 2006 would start expiring. Stayed in the top four or five for the first thirty miles, covering moves or leading the group. There are some steep hills but they are very short so non climbers like myself have a chance. As we entered the flat section for the second lap, a small group of a couple was ahead but I figured there's always someone to chase stuff like this down. Started to worry when a few miles past and they seemed to be increasing their lead so I started spending a bit more time on the front to reel them in when a couple of counter attacks went off and two more riders joined the other two ahead making it four, then two more riders went and this made six riders ahead by about thirty seconds. Was a bit stuffed from spending too much time on the front and could not respond yet. When we got to the hilly section on the final lap, and the breakaways were out of sight. At first I was disappointed because it looked unlikely that I would get any upgrade points out of this, but then figured I should just enjoy the ride. Spent a lot of time on the front during the hilly section to try and up the pace, but there were so many teams represented in the break I didn't get much help except from one team.

Finally just drilled it off the front for five minutes and was rewarded by the sight of a couple of the breakaways. The group behind got some motivation from this as well and started closing on me. One rider was off the front and joined me and I was about to rest on his wheel when my left calf just seized up and had to pedal very gingerly for a minute and massage the muscle. The group then caught and dropped me during this muscle spasm. The group reabsorbed the breakaways and now one of the bigger teams in the lead group had some motivation to chase the other breakaways. For a moment felt sorry for myself then gritted my teeth because I was determined to at least finish with this group so I put the hammer down for a couple of minutes and caught them on the next hill.

Now we were racing for fifth place. When we got to the long flattish section, Jay took a break to look behind us and said we dropped half the field by this point. I was scouring the horizon for sign of the break but they were out of sight and had to be at least a mile ahead of us by now. Knowing the distance at this point helps a lot and we had sixty three miles done, and six miles to go. After massaging my calves at the back of the group for a while I went back to the first four or so and waited for the finale, and counted down the miles. Three teams had enough riders left for leadouts, and on the final hill before the turn, Dolce Vita and EMC both were upping the pace signficantly. I had to dig deep to hang onto wheels but pushed through the pain and almost made the stupid mistake and turning onto 101 instead of the finish straight. Made sure to attack hard at the finish turn so I would be passing or on the wheels of the riders in front of me in the final 500 feet. Three riders were ahead of me and I was just able to pass them before the line for fifth place.

After the race I investigated a noise my bike was making since lap one and it turned out that I bent my front rim and the brake was rubbing for most of the race...
San Ardo Road Race 35+ 4/5
T: 3:12:03
D: 112.49 km
S: 35.1 kph
C: 84
Pavg: 171
Pnorm: 213
TSS: 241
W: 1966 kJ

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