Paskenta Road Race
This course is interesting, not really a flat section anywhere. Starts off with some very gentle grades going up/down for a good hour at race pace, then enters a roller coaster section similar to Madera, then a right turn, and more rollers but longer, and at the thirty mile point, a gravel road section that consists of more rollers for five miles! This section ends with about three miles of road to go, with a couple of gentle climbs, the last one ending about 700 meters from the finish. But the most difficult part of the day was the heat, even if it was a dry heat, at 10AM it was 85, and by the end of our race it was 107.
Field of 33 and pretty spirited start with lots of attacks, even I spent five minutes off the front testing the legs. This happens every race because we're all fresh, but this was also the least challenging part of the course for those unaware of what was coming. When we hit the roller coaster section the field split up immediately. Was sitting about tenth going up the second hill when my front wheel felt deflated, just like my chances in the overall were about to be. Luckily I had placed wheels in our follow vehicle. It took a minute for the vehicle to reach me since our field was so shattered, and I started a pursuit of the pack. Caught ten riders, then Jeff from Chico confirmed that the neutral feedzone was closed and we might have to do the last 17 miles without additional water. Kept on pushing until I threw up, then I had to settle down and nurse my last half bottle of hot energy drink for the rest of the race, only able to catch a glimpse of some other riders on the last hills ahead, at least I was able to flag down some vehicles to get some much needed hydration for survival.
Pavg: 138 (with pack for about an hour before the flat, didn't go much harder after the flat)
H: 173 (minus the missing parts - looks like when I stopped to change wheels the HRM transmitted stopped getting enough perspiration to work)
Agua Frias 10 Mile TT
Since I technically didn't go that hard yesterday except for the heat stress, had high hopes for doing well in the TT. Placed 20 minutes back of the lead pack so only racing for pride today in this stage. Have a decent outbound leg, get close to my threshold power, but completely blow the inbound leg, fool myself with the high average speed and barely break into L3 territory. Either that or the bag of ice I slipped into my skinsuit was super effective until it melted away.
Outbound into wind
Inbound with tailwind
Chico Downtown Criterium
Same course as last year's separate criterium event, going around the fountain and plaza in downtown Chico. The fountain is very refreshing, though it's disconcerting how quickly the water evaporates from your bare skin in the 100+ degree heat.
First six laps attack after attack, sometimes including me. I take a break for the next six, but stay close to the front. Jeff from Chico goes off the front, I briefly consider joining him but decide to let him have his hometown glory. Another rider joins him and by the time I think I should have gone, too, he's already almost up to Jeff. They get a sizeable gap that stabilizes at 30 seconds according to the announcer. I work to bring this back, I have a teammate Josh in the pack so it won't be in vain if we catch. With about eight to go, Jeff starts fading back to the pack but the lead isn't falling quickly enough. Soon it's just me, Josh and Mike working and that guy off the front is earning a well deserved victory because we can't close the gap from 25 seconds, and with three to go I decide to save it for the sprint.
With two to go, Josh and two others get a small gap, so I soft pedal on a straight, others pick this up pretty quickly and chase back, I made a tactical error here, should have countered right away, instead just slot in at about tenth which is way too far back on the course - the finish is only 150 meters from the last turn. This is what happens when you think about surviving a race instead of trying to do as well as possible. End up staying there until the last turn and I moved up to seventh in the field sprint.