Tried to hone my taper for weekends with a race only on Sunday, went hard on Thursday and Friday, and was going to try to go easier on Saturday but ended up doing a forty five mile MTB ride instead to make Saturday the hardest day of the week. Oops. But if there ever is a four day mtb/road/time trial/criterium stage race, I'll be ready.
The cat 4 race was delayed by forty five minutes because they needed to tow twenty cars from the race course. Guess some folks never learn since this happens every year. One of the guys in my race noticed his rear derailleur was cracked at the start but he could use two gears so he would have a lot more fun than usual. Even with our super long warmup period I didn't feel that great, maybe a bit tired from working and training too much this past week. After five laps of tail gunning, I move up a bit and a huge rider passes me on the descent, and I figure I should be able to coast behind him for a few seconds of respite but he manages to lose the wheel in front of him on the approach to the main climb. Faced with the choice of burning a match now or saving something for the second race I decide to throw in the towel.
After warming up by taking a ton of photos, start the masters 4/5 race with about twice as many racers as last year. Immediately this race feels much easier. Made a point of using the small ring for the climb, since I used only the big ring last week. I noticed I managed to stay in the field by using the small ring for the entire lap the middle three laps. The data shows that this race and the plain 4's race were the same difficulty, dunno if the difference is the temperature/amount of warmup/caffeine in my system/or if we just braked less in the masters field today. I find it pretty easy to move up when I want to on the steep section of the hill, though it always feels a little bit harder than I would take it if I were riding solo. Just sit in until the last three laps and start moving up. Manage to biff a shift with two to go and lose ten places on the descent while getting the chain back on. This puts me in about thirtieth on the last lap. Move up about ten spots on the descent and two little climbs leading to the last corner, have to brake hard as the field mushrooms here and can't move up, then we sprint from the corner. Start passing people left and right towards the end of this block when a rider dies mid uphill sprint and I have to brake again, I thought I slowed a lot but it looks like I only went from 25 to 20 mph, then I have to pass and reaccelerate to contest the sprint and only manage a twelfth.