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first race report (it's a book)(8 posts)

first race report (it's a book)JS Haiku Shop
Jul 1, 2002 5:41 AM
45 miles, 8 am
80-90 degrees and fairly humid, overcast
"B" race: cat 4/5, women, juniors, masters
60+ riders (last time, 25 riders in "B" race)
4 or 5 women and one junior in the field

"rolling roadblock", not a closed course--the route consisted of three legs totaling just over 5 miles, including three fairly sharp right-handers...like a long crit course, so far as i could tell.

leg 1: begins with rollers, to a long, flat to slightly downhill straightaway. sharp right-hander at the end.

leg 2: flat/windswept corn fields leading to a 1+ mile hill/fairly decent climb, good downhill, then a sprinter's hill to the next corner. right-hander at the end at the top/steepest part of the hill. leg 2 crosses start/finish line (go figure).

leg 3: larger rollers with some flats thrown in for good measure. sharp right-hander at the end, used as a launchpad to leg 1 rollers.

ride started with neutral 2 mile rollout, where the field was instructed to cruise at 15-17 mph to the course. naturally, we're doing 23 on the first hill in the "neutral" rollout. leg 1 not a problem, and found myself fighting for position/to move up in the field. there was quite a bit of slowing--and even stopping--on the first leg. who knows?...at the right-hander to leg 2, a serious slowdown, the sprinting out of the corner and the group gets somewhat strung-out across the cornfields. hit the 1+ mile hill and, thankfully, the pace slows. it picks back up as soon as the road flattens out, and we're on to leg 3. lap one finished, no problems...

what's this? a snake on the course on leg 1/lap 2...no time to avoid it, and it's run over by several riders, almost by yours truly. hmmm...all is uneventful, provided you consider the drastic slowdowns at the corners and sprinting like your pants are on fire out of 'em. second lap, big hill, they go, and i stay on. 'round the end of leg 3 into leg 1 rollers, out of the corner, half a dozen guys are dropped. now i'm remembering that i should *NOT* be in the back of the pack, where it's obviously suffering the yo-yo effect...but, you get yelled at for crossing the yellow line, and riders are 3-5 abreast, noplace to move up...so i'm fighting wind and the slowdown/speed-up thing, and trying to move up by powering over small hills and sprinting out of the corners, and it works, but really only to stay in the pack, as the folks i'm going around are getting dropped (lucky timing). lap 3, same thing, 'cept i can tell that--at this pace--i'm only going to be able to stay with the pack up this hill one more time. in fact, lap 3 i fall off, but suffer back on across the flats and downhill, and stay on 'til the same big hill hits on lap 4.

lap 4: halfway up the hill, boom! i'm gone. pass a few others that are also dropped as i'm recovering after the hill. wheel truck passes me. average mph 'til dropped: >22. suffer solo for another lap and a half until i'm picked up by the rider that's been 100 yards back since the hill, we hook up and work together for the last 3.5 laps, picking up and dropping others also spit-out by the pack. leg 1 of the last lap we pick up the best-placed female rider, who's also OTB. leg 2 (toward the finish) the guy i'm riding with falls off on the hill, the female rider (who'd been sitting in) kicks on the hill, and i struggle to latch back on and follow her up. top of the hill, 1/2 mile to the finish, it's a bit of flat (recovery) and another small hill/dip/hill to the line. sit on her wheel for the first few yards at the top, then pull (not jump, just go to the front and work) to the hill/dip, then i go at the final small hill, and finally finish the last lap, seconds ahead of her and about 45 seconds ahead of the team guy i was riding with for the last few laps. she wins women's.

i'm told by my friend (who had problems breathing and DNF'd) that we finished about 10 minutes down on the pack, and that the pack came in in a long, thin line, with a sprint finish. so
...the rest...JS Haiku Shop
Jul 1, 2002 5:42 AM
i'm told by my friend (who had problems breathing and DNF'd) that we finished about 10 minutes down on the pack, and that the pack came in in a long, thin line, with a sprint finish. so...

later, watching the "A" race, the laps were running at about 13 minutes (24 mph). the guys that came in 3rd and 7th in the "B" race said they averaged just over 23 mph, meaning their laps were run at about 14 minutes. if we finished 10 minutes back on the pack, we were 4 minutes shy of being lapped. this says to me that, since we dropped off on lap 4 of 8, we lost about 2.5 minutes to the pack, per 5 mile lap. my speedo said 20.3 for 44.49 miles, at the end.

observations:

most (not all) of the team guys are jack-asses. the guys that finished with the pack and/or well-up on the "B" race (including 3rd and 7th) are down-to-earth, unassuming, friendly and modest. these guys weren't team riders. what's up with that?

I expected to be taught a hard-learned, important, and enlightening lesson, when, in fact, i was not. this ride was equivalent to the fast weeknight ride, where i struggle to stay on the pack 'til i'm dumped on the hills. no surprises there.

what did i learn?

in a hot 45 mile road race, where there's no feed zone and water is not reaily available, i'll wear a minimal camelbak. two large bottles were not sufficient. i pre-hydrated, especially heavy for 3 days before the race. unfortunately, i didn't heed what i was told, and carried two large bottles of gatorade (instead of 1 g'ade/1 water). lesson learned. if there were an organized feed zone (to get water), it wouldn't have been an issue. as it was, i had to *stop* to get a bottle...that's how hot i got.

though i expected a long, smooth ride, with jumps from 20 to 30 mph, attacks, and some tactics, it seemed more like what i've read and seen about/in crits, with the slowing down and sprinting out of corners. i didn't have any problem on the jumps, or in settling down on the flats with higher speeds.

hills suck. i need to work on climbing. aside from shedding 10-15 pounds, and aside from riding more hills (which i actually go out of my way to do, as it is), what else can i do? i've been told often (as well as DURING the race yesterday) that i'm a "diesel", "locomotive", and "man, you really motor on the flats." this is obviously not enough.

though i was conscious of my position in the pack (the rear!), moving up was near impossible. when the road wasn't blocked left to right with riders shoulder-to-shoulder, the pace was pretty high, or we were climbing. moving up was a challenge, more than i expected.

conclusions

my goal was to finish the ride, not pulled, not injured, and learn stuff. mission accomplished.

racing sucks. i can't wait 'til the next one.
funDougSloan
Jul 1, 2002 8:57 AM
Ya, racing is fun, huh? We are masochists.

Let me ask this. At the moment you got dropped, were you going as hard as you absolutely could, using every fiber of your being to stay on, despite all the pain, heaving guts, and fear of blowing so badly you'd not finish the race? (been there lots myself)

Whaddya mean you didn't learn anything? My bet is you learned a lot more than you think. You learned something about your ability right now. You learned you need to work on hills. You learned you need more water. Lots of stuff.

I learn something every race; usually it's something I did not want to know.

Doug
yep,...JS Haiku Shop
Jul 1, 2002 9:36 AM
much was learned, indeed.

i've thrown myself into the "big boys" ride over the last couple months, and have been going "beyond comfort" until spat out. funny how that's changed (changING) me as a rider. interesting how the ability and pain thresholds increase, and without realizing it...

yes, i was going hard. no, not to the point of pushing so hard as to possibly ride into DNF. my view saturday was DFL beats DNF, and the only way i'd DNF was either by crashing out or being pulled (lapped). next time, i'll go 'til i blow...now that i know.

thanks, do(u)g.
sometimesDougSloan
Jul 1, 2002 10:01 AM
I've done it both ways. Sometimes, if you go past the point you think you can possibly tolerate, you end up staying with or near the group just enough to avoid being dropped. Of course, there are times when you know darn well there is no way I'm staying up, and not blowing makes sense. I think you decide before the race which you'll do, and then stick to your plan.

One thing I've done it use a hrm with a limit alarm. I set the upper alarm right below my max hr. I decide that I'll go until I hit the alarm, knowing then that I'm not truly maxed out until I do (not always true, but a worthy assumption). This keeps you a bit honest with yourself. I've rarely hit it.

Doug
excellent!lonefrontranger
Jul 1, 2002 2:23 PM
"racing sucks. i can't wait 'til the next one."

Boy does that ever sum it up. My first Cat 3 race was yesterday. Got dropped about 5 or 6 laps in, and I had to fight SO hard not to quit! Now I'm all excited about going out and getting stomped again. I need some serious help here...

About the Camelbak: I plan to start doing crits with my 50-oz Razor, because the Women's 1/2/3 crits are all 60 minute races and I have issues with drinking enough unless I carry it. I'll just put it underneath my jersey to minimize number pinning issues, and to hell with the hunchbacked dork factor. My 16-year-old teammate and I are currently working out the design parameters for a "HydroBra" :)
Will the HydroBra be available,STEELYeyed
Jul 5, 2002 6:23 AM
in men's sizes? Sort of the cycling equivalent to the"ManZeir".
sure,lonefrontranger
Jul 7, 2002 7:33 PM
We actually had a discussion about this too. Along with the fact that firefighters and some construction workers wear cooling vests with ice water in them; the Hydrobra could be construed as such...

:-)