Posted: March 1, 2011 in road race

Or…I thrashed myself about until my muscles quit and all I got was this super awesome picture.

Takin' it to 'em at the start of lap 2

Better than a t-shirt any day!

All of the fear and loathing over the weather situation was for naught as it was a crisp, sunny, and beautiful day in lovely Snelling California for the 2011 edition of the Snelling Road Race. The course was in fine shape, only 1 patch of water the whole way across the road, which wasn’t a hazard, some sand in the corners and a few easily avoidable sandbars and puddles sprinkled throughout the course, perfect conditions for my first crack at this historic race.

A small break of 3 went away just after the turn off of Keyes on the first lap. The riders were from Third Pillar, Dolce Vita, and Bicycles Plus. After some furious chasing and passing 2 fields in the first half lap, we brought back the rider from Third Pillar. By the end of the first lap, we had limited the damage to ~20 sec back from the remaining 2 in the break. That’s when the blocking began in earnest. Each of the members of the break had ONE teammate in the chase group that whittled to ~20 by the end of the race. Those boys blocked, threw faint attacks, sat on attacks, etc,  and made the rest of us look like total douche bags. As per usual, only ~5 of us were willing to work to bring back the break. Even so, we were making progress, we’d cut the deficit in about half, then we were neutralized. The break then got up to ~40 sec and as we really began to chase in earnest, cutting it in half again, we were neutralized again, in a downwind section. The P/1/2s took forever to pass us as we were not helping our own situation. After that, the break was up to 1 min+ and the onus to chase was off for the majority of the group.

I spent most of the third lap unsuccessfully encouraging the pack to chase and break up the blocking efforts that were going on. One of the things I don’t understand is why these so called bike racers that were in the field were willing to settle for third place. I don’t know about them, but I didn’t give up essentially a whole day of my life to drive out to BFE and race in who knows what kind of weather on a course that has some of the shittiest pavement in California for third place. Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions, I will not win many races in my mid-pack, Cat 4, geezer racing career, but when I race, I race to win. Anyway, my efforts were unrewarded as the break stayed away for the rest of the race.

On the last lap, I began to notice that I was starting to get cramps in my left quad. I popped an electrolyte tablet, slammed some sports drink, ate some GU, and went into survival mode. Getting out of the saddle was very painful, but I wasn’t cramping while I was in the saddle, so I just would work my way to the front, and when we got to a climb, I would pack slide, rinse, lather, repeat. By the last section of rough pavement, two things were going on. One, we were 5 wide at the front of the pack, bad juju. Two, I knew that my quad was going to lock up on the sprint. I decided to attack through the rough patch with ~1km to go. This would at the very least string the bunch out, and with any luck, I’d be able to get a gap and salvage a decent finish. When I jumped, they were on me like white on rice, but the bunch did string out and we were safe through the last corner. When I began my sprint, to my surprise, BOTH of my quads locked up! I was swarmed, but I still passed one rider at the line for 14th place (I think).

I was disappointed in this result because I estimated that there were only 4 or 5 racers who may have been stronger than me in the group, but I know that I have a pretty strong sprint, so I figured if everything went perfect, a top 5 was not out of the question. In the race, overall, I was satisfied, as I gave everything I had, I raced to win, I was a leader in the peloton, and I beat the guy who beat me at the Early Bird Crit last month (dropped on the last lap). Tactically, I was disappointed that I didn’t recognize everything the blockers were doing earlier as I think we could have been more affective at disrupting their disruptions. Plus, I think I should have spent more time communicating and making deals at the back of the pack. Beefs: Tri Valley Velo, 4 guys in the pack; you had 1 hard effort as a team after the break went away, and you let your strongest rider on the front until he blew up and then you all went back to picking you noses in the back of pack. WTF? Work!

As far as my cramps were concerned, I was well hydrated as I drank ~2x what I normally drink in the same length training ride, in addition, I had been taking in plenty of calories, both from my sports drink as well as GU. I may have not had enough salt, that’s something I need to analyze, but I think the real kicker was the amount of anaerobic intervals that I did during the race. At this stage of the season, my body was not quite ready to handle the load.

Review of the race, the rough pavement is not that bad, the little rollers are just long enough, steep enough, and require enough effort to make you curse yourself for giving up needle point all those years ago to be ridiculed by every bumpkin in a pickup south of the Mason Dixon Line. I liked the finish, though it was uphill. Too bad I cramped or I could have gotten some real nice power numbers to look at.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s