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Shot out of the back like a cannon shot!!(6 posts)

Shot out of the back like a cannon shot!!JBergland
Apr 30, 2001 6:19 AM
My first race of the year (we start pretty late in Minn) did not go as planned at all!! This is the first year that I have taken racing/training seriously and WAS very happy with how the spring was going so far. I'm about 10 pounds lighter than I was last year (160ish vs. 170+) and much stronger on the hills. I was hoping for a top 10-15 finish this weekend.

I was more nervious/excited about this race than any I can remember in the past. I think I have a good understanding regarding most race tactics (staying in the front, bridging, attacking, etc.) and I'm proud (not really) to say I applied NONE of what I know this weekend!!
The race started with 75+ cat 4/5 racers... BIG GROUP for this race. The first 6 miles was into a strong cross wind and was SLOW... 12-15 mph. It was hard to more up at all... no one wanted to work, wheels being locked-up, etc. I thought I was close to the back, but didn't realize how far back I was until the second turn heading us with the wind!! The rubber-band-effect broke the group up in about 200 yards. There was still so many people that moving up was hard... even with a strong tail wind!! I spent most of the first loop jumping to and being dropped from different groups... never felt very good at all!!
Came around the corner leading into the 'climb' and BAMMMM!! There was the lead group not 75 yards in front of me!! I had gotten into a chase group that had a good pace... but few people who could climb/bridge to the chase group. I wanted to bridge and I'm sure I could have made it... but decided to sit and wait/pace for a little while. By the end of the climb I was with only 1-2 other riders and started the chase for the lead group. As the group turned the first corner and headed into the cross wind I got on. I thought to myself... ok, the first loop wasn't so good... I'm back on... stay out of the wind and start trying something when we turn and have the wind again!! Well, I got dropped half way to the second turn. It was a combination of the rubber-band-effect, not being able to hide from the wind much at all, and not paying attention. Got hooked up with a chase group again but just didn't have anything left and was dropped. I finished strong climbing away from a group that was a couple groups back from the leaders.

Over all it was not the results I had hoped for. A teammate that I'm pretty close to (if not stronger) in ability finished 6th!! I'm very happy for him because he has improved a great deal from last year and I'm looking forward to working with him in future races... we should be a good 2 person team!! However, finishing in the last half (at least that is what it felt like!!) and having teammates ask 'what happened?' was not the way I wanted to start the year!!

What's next?? Stop racing?? Fold it in for the year?? Make up reason after reason for why I did poorly and feel bad about it? To be honest, all those thoughts crossed my mind at one time or another this weekend. In the end, I have come to a couple conclusions. First, any race can go a variety of different ways. I made many mistakes... mistakes that I should have know better than to make. Would I have made the top 10-15 if I had not made those mistakes?? Would I have done even better than my teammate (6th)?? I can't answer those questions... and shouldn't even try to. Secondly, I realized how important it is not to judge one's cycling only by race results. I know I'm a much better cyclists than what my results showed from this weekend. There are also things to be learned from the results. My teammate finished well and I didn't... what were the differences?? Lastly, I realized how important a 'team' can be. I was expecting to have a GREAT race... my teammates were also expecting me to do well.
When that didn't happen, my team was helpful in getting in into a better mind-set... 'It's only the first race', 'I know you are better than that', and (this one is my favorite) 'You
why do you race?Dog
May 1, 2001 8:45 AM
My mindset is that you must love the process, not just the results. Everyone has bad days. We all have been there. You get disappointed, bummed out, wondering why you put yourself through such agony. But, even on the worst days, you learn something and get a good workout, right? You gotta enjoy just doing what you love.

Doug
Hey read my post below...bigdave
May 1, 2001 3:58 PM
I know that hard work over the winter gets you feeling good... and then twice as bad if you get dropped in a race. I've just been there... three times. But my fourth I made it. You know the difference? Well, like I said in the post, all about staying out of the wind. I made sure I was aware of where the wind was coming from, then positioned myself accordingly *prior* to getting to the spot where it was at its worst. That way, I was where others wanted to be. It saved me a boatload of energy.

Just keep yourself out of the wind, and keep an eye on the stuff going on *in front* of you... there were numerous times when the field crawled but because I saw the acceleration taking place ahead *before* it got back to me, I was able to prepare for that burst and accelerate smoothly, rather than reacting when the guys immediately in front of me jumped. For me anyway, that reaction takes more energy because it surprises you.

It will work out... trust me. Keep doing the work you're doing (get one gonzo interval set in midweek, then recovery rides) and you'll put one together like I did... it will feel natural when it does, something I'd have never believed if I hadn't experienced it.

Trust me on this one: my wife is really supportive but when I mentioned a week before the race that I wanted to race some in Superweek, she scoffed. And she was right... I got dropped every time. But I rode smart above all else Sunday and changed my attitude and hers.

Your time will come. :-)

--Dave
And another thing...bigdave
May 1, 2001 4:00 PM
We had four guys in the race, but we rode tactically as a team only sporadically because of the tricky crosswinds. There are times when it is everyone for themselves. Survive the first 40 minutes, then think tactically the last 15. (or so I'm told :-)

--Dave
Hey read my post below...JBergland
May 2, 2001 8:11 AM
BD,
I agree with all that you are saying. Most races that I have been in I have been dropped at different points in the race... mostly in the last 1/4. That has been ok with me since most of may 'training' up until this year has been made up of 1-2 groups rides per week plus maybe one additional ride if time permitted. No regular intervals, didn't start riding until most of the snow was gone, not much structure at all!!

This year I wanted things to be different. I did a little research into training programs, bought a couple books, started riding regularly (5 times per week) on Jan. 1st (vs April 1st), put in some good base miles, and started on intervals (boy can they hurt!!). Well, this race last weekend was a benchmark for where I was at with everything. I wasn't expecting to win... but I did expect to finish with the group and place top 10-15. Getting dropped was a little surprising (although a little humility never killed anyone!!), but to get dropped in the FIRST 1/4 of the race... I think that is the worse I have EVER done!!

Early on during my researching, I had decided that this would be a 'building year'... not looking to win as much as finish well on a regular basis. I also wanted to try a couple races that I have not done yet (crits. TTs, etc.).

Looking back on the weekend, I would agree with what Doug and BDave have said. Race results are only one tool that can be used to evaluate cycling. I still need more information... try a couple more races, look through the past two months of training logs, seek out more information from coaches/friends/boards. I didn't like the feeling of putting in a lot of time & effort and finishing worse than I ever have. But that race was only one of a couple different benchmarks I have set. If I would continue to be 'shot-out-the back' for the next couple of races... then I'll need to do some reevaluating (maybe goals are too high, training could be different, race prep, etc.). Until then, I will remember, but not dwell, on my most recent race results!!:)
Sounds good...bigdave
May 2, 2001 9:49 AM
Just remember that it's for fun,

*and* most important:

think of the race as a hard training day, no matter what happens... spit out the back or at the front, you're getting your hardest ride of the week in. That's a positive no matter how you slice it.

Good luck!

--Dave