35+ 4/5 race
I haven't done this race in about five years. Wasn't planning on doing it until the Oakland Grand Prix was postponed, then decided on Wednesday night to do this road race and cancel my entries into the Oakland replacement crit but I forgot the part about cancelling the Atwater Crit entries. Doh. At least I should be a little heat acclimated after the Chico Stage Race last weekend.
I froze all my bottles and the temps were mild enough that by the end of the race at noon, the water was still cool, not unpalatably hot like at Paskenta at 3pm, so heat was not as big a factor, starting at 8:30 instead of 12:30 helped.
We started off the race at a very easy L1 zone pace for thirty minutes - the 45+ 4/5's caught us and passed us. Then we hit the long rough section, paved mostly but lots of potholes. We caught and passed and then it seems like we merged with the 45 4/5's. This made the thirty minute gravel/rough road section a lot more interesting, sixty some riders vying for position (with maybe two good lines) instead of thirty riders. About ten percent of the riders flatted out here. I wasn't sure which group they were in, only caught a glimpse of a couple riders' numbers in our group. We hit this section kind of hard, high L3 zone for me and I was drafting the whole time. I lost count of the water bottles shaken loose from bikes, and then I lost one, and was down to two. Ended up with blisters on my hands from all the vibrations.
There's a nice four mile descent later in the race where even I can hit 80kph that almost makes this part of the race acceptable. :)
There is a small bridge and a left turn and the road turns upwards for about 6 kilometers. There was immediately a breakaway of what appeared to be about twelve riders, could see some guys from my category. The roads were still in such bad shape and the two combined fields in front of me so there was no way I could move up to close the gap, and I assumed the race was over only about twenty miles in, and sort of gave up and eased up. Looking back, this was a huge mistake. Went over the climb in about 24 minutes at the low end of L4 so very simil$ar to OLH. A rider from my group overtook me at the summit and I found the motivation to start racing again. The views from the climb of the valley below are pretty nice, maybe next time I will bring a camera.
We caught six riders over the next twenty miles of rolling terrain (one mile of gravel road, nothing compared to Paskenta...), then some riders from another group caught us and I threw in the towel, just followed wheels in at that point.
Ended up 12/25 some how. Kind of frustrating because I had a lot in the tank, and been going harder than this in training on Tuesday and Wednesday, though maybe I should plan ahead farther and not go that hard prior during the week of a race...
D: 104.3 km