Been sick for the past week so had an inadvertent peak for this race:
Still coughing up a lung, but feel much better than last week, and I already paid so decide to show up and see what happens, can always pull out if I feel bad.
This year it's only 4's in the 35+ group and 100 signed up so we probably have around 80 at the start. Feel OK and am not dropped on the big hill and make it past the overpass of 580 with the group so I make it farther than last year so even a little sick I'm doing OK.
The short little climbs give me a little trouble as I don't want to try too hard but end up taking it too easy and a small gap opens but I follow some very large guys who were dropped earlier and they bridge up to the group pretty quickly on the descent and it seems like there are still about eighty of us. Riding with the group on the flats is so much better than the forty mile time trial I did last year.
Eat a lot on this lap and find myself at the back on the main climb. Riders start blowing up left and right, then at the last turn, someone gets a flat and I have to stop and reaccelerate. He has a few teammates with him so I decide to rely on them to bridge back up. This turns out to be a mistake because a couple of them brake more than I do on the descent and we never quite make it, close, but not close enough. We do get a group of about ten as we reach the bottom of the descent so at least we can share the workload.
Start to feel a cramp coming on in the outer calf of both legs on the main climb. Now I have to climb with alternating hard pedal strokes with a bit of stretching, which can't be very nice to follow but it's all I can do. Still manage to stay with our little groupetto. Mark Shimahara gives me a water feed ( thanks! ) and I test my legs and am able to gap my companions. Then I make the mistake of pointing my right toe down and my inner right calf cramps up. Have to stop, gently move the foot in the other direction, stretch and start alternating pedaling and stretching and massaging, and manage to get back up to the lead rider in our groupetto. We go back over 580 and I think I'm home free when the other inner calf cramps on a short hill. I stop again and stretch and start pedaling, and then my left hamstring cramps and I have to give out a few choice blergs and fracks, massage, and start my alternating pedal/stretch routine. I can see my former companions a short distance ahead and a large rider helpfully passes me on the descent and we get really close to them by the bottom. Now my inner thighs start cramping on me. I like touching myself as much as the next person but this is getting ridiculous.
After feeling sorry for myself for a minute and massaging, I start pedaling again in earnest, and ever so slowly, start reeling in my companions again. On the last turn on the flats, my right shoe comes unclipped (it turns out two of the four cleat screws have come out) and my foot cramps... More massasing and stretching later, get to the base of the hill and can see four or five of the racers from my group a short distance ahead. Catch and pass seven of them eventually. I think five or six 35+ 5 racers, who started five minutes later, pass me on the last climb, one at the 200 meter line and we go back and forth for a bit but he nips me at the line for a bit of sprinting fun.
Have data from last year's race and it is almost exactly the same, power-wise but I only hung with the group for half a lap last year. I went harder on the hills and easier on the flats and descents because I was with the group this year for a lap and a half and with a sizeable group for most of the rest of the race. I think the main difference is I weigh about five pounds less and the bike I used today weighs three pounds less than the bike I used last year.
S: 30.9 kph
D: 77.2 km
W: 1463 kJ