Monday, March 26, 2007

Strasburg Race Report

Whats up yall? Yeah this race report is a few days late . . .

Being in the 2nd round of the Cat. 5 race meant that my start time for Strasburg was 11:49 pm. Jeez, I felt like a cat 1 rider being able to get up at 8 am and not having to worry about rushing out the door to race. I had some coffee, took a shower, read a little and then packed the car and went off to race.

An hour later I'm at the race. I register and put on the work clothes. Thankfully, Sean had a Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon jersey for me to wear. I set up my bike and do about 30 minutes of warm up on the trainer. This is actually the first time I warmed up on a trainer before a race. Which helped a hell of a lot or so I felt. After warming up I head down to the race start and proceed to stand around for 15 minutes waiting for our race to start. Ah well, so much for the warm up.

We all get in a group at the start finish and we are off! I was suspecting that the first 20 minutes of this race would be very very fast. People trying to show off at their first race of the season. I was prepared for pain! Instead what I got was a pleasent group ride through the Lancaster country side. I'm relaxed. Talking to people. Having a good old time.

The course a 5 mile loop full of rolling power climbs. Some nice decents and no real serious turns. Really nice. I notice that my power climbing just isn't there. I seem to loose a few places in the group during some of the climbs. Nothing serious though, I'm not too concerned.

After 2 laps, the pace has gotten a little more serious. The original field of ~40 is already a meager 20 or so. My legs feel good, but the hills have me concerned. So I start thinking maybe I should try climbing in the small chain ring. (When has thinking ever paid off in my benefit?) Well, I shift down for a climb and I'm dropped like the fat man that I am. I proceed to ride the third lap just off the group unable to catch back up. How frustrating is that feeling? You know you have the fitness you just made a stupid mistake.

I eventually get caught by a few riders that were "working together" after getting dropped. I hop on with them to finish the fourth lap. Of course, they all start playing cat and mouse games. I can understand, but seriously we are going to cat and mouse each other for ~20th place? Who cares? Well aparently I did. The finishing mile is a power climb followed by a swooping downhill into the finish line. After one member of the group lost his chain (poor bastard), I towed the other guy through a false flat to the bottom of this climb. I know that once we get there he is going to try and throw down the hammer. The first one over the hill is the first one to the finish. He goes around me. After letting him suck my wheel for over a mile there is no way I'm giving him 20th. I shift. I get right on his wheel. I don't wait for him to slow down. I just pull right on past him and pedal hard. By the time I'm at the top I don't even see him. I cruise downhill for 22nd place.

So what did I learn . . . .

1) A power climb is just that a power climb. Dont shift down. Suck it up and feel the pain for a few seconds or ride in the back. WAY BACK!!

2) Riding in the front is a lot easier than riding in the back or even the middle. I spent some time near the front but I also spent a good amount of time in the middle and rear. The front was definitely easier and a little more relaxing.

3) I did not reach my goal of just simply finishing with the pack. This was more than acheivable for this race. Minus that stupid mistake.

4) Bring more calories. I ran out of fluids during the 3rd lap. What the hell was I thinking not filling my water bottle less than halfway.

Next weekend ? Pinecone Road Race on Sunday and possibly Kirkwood on Saturday.

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