Modesto Road Race

Posted: May 20, 2010 in road race

Advice and Experience.

It’s what we all need from time to time; if it’s good or not depends; whether we follow or learn from it is up to us. The Modesto Road Race was my first road race so I didn’t really know what to expect. What I did know was that it was 7 laps on a 9 mile, dead flat course. I also knew that the last time I road that far, was 6 months ago, and it wasn’t anywhere near “race pace.”

The first bits of advice that I used was “have a plan.—Larry Nolan”, “Stay in the top 1/3 of the peloton—Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett”, ”Race your strength.—Ken Hernandez”, and “You must meter your effort…unless you’re Ron Callison.—Andy McIlroy.” So my plan was to hang towards the front of pack, none of this silly attacking stuff that I like to do in crits and track races, and wait for the sprint at the end.

“Don’t waste energy—Many”: I didn’t do a very good job of this. I expended a ton of nervous energy worrying about if I had enough bottles, food, sleep, and training, was I eating enough, was I drinking enough, was my heart rate too high for no reason, etc. It took me several laps to get rid of all of that. “Water follows salt.—Pat Dempsey” I did not have enough salt in my system. Twenty minutes into a 3 hour race, my bladder was full. I popped an electrolyte pill, ~ 2 hours in, same thing. I didn’t need to use the facilities until ~2 hours after the race. This made a huge difference.

The pace of the race was a peaceful ride in the country with a couple of intervals thrown in for 6 of the 7 laps. Business picked up on the last lap as someone soloed off the front with ~8 miles to go. With ~ 6 miles to go, there was an acceleration at the front of the field with ~5 riders which caused a small gap to open up, no big deal until I saw that one of the potential breakaway members had a teammate trying to bridge. 2 teammates in a 6 man break with 6 miles to go is too dangerous when you don’t know the competition, so I jumped and chased it down. It was a good thing that I did because it turned out there were some strong riders in the group. That chase put me in good position for the rest of the race, near the front. The only problem was, I was a bit too close to the front. I ended up 2nd wheel with ~3 miles to go, but when the person on the front pulled off, I simply followed him, to his visual dismay. Unfortunately for VSRT, Gordon, who was on my wheel, didn’t follow me and was left on the front for ~2 miles. When he would speed up, so would the rest of the group, when he would slow down, so would the rest. Finally, with ~1 mile to go Gordon got off the front. Meanwhile, I was busily trying to get to the right hand side of the road and find a good wheel, which I did. I knew the TMT rider, because we attacked together during the Wente Crit.

I also knew he was a good wheel because I had seen that he was racing a lot from results posted at USA Cycling. With ~1 mile to go, I could see Gordon lined up on the left hand side of the road with ~5-7 riders in front of him. At this point, I thought I was screwed because the road in front of me was totally clogged with racers. Then with ~1 km to go, someone attacked, blew up, and pulled to the right side of the road. That caused just enough confusion ahead that a gap opened up and TMT guy and I went through to the front. As we came around the last turn TMT guy hesitated just a bit, which unfortunately caused me to have to brake check, costing some momentum. Just as I stood up for the sprint, someone pulled a spoke out of their rear wheel. It made an awful racket, but to his credit he kept sprinting and finished 5th. I lost TMT guy’s draft due to the brake check. He went on to finish 2nd. I couldn’t pass Mr. Broken Spoke and ended up 6th, scoring myself a t-shirt. Gordon passed a bunch of guys to finish 8th. If I wouldn’t have had to brake check? Maybe I would have finished on the podium, or maybe I would have ended up in the ditch picking gravel and cow shit out of my body, who knows, but it sure was a fun day.

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Comments
  1. Great job, Ted! You're racing smart. Use that brain to go with the legs and you'll get lots of great finishes. (Not that I have ever exhibited the ability to do that)

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