Friday, October 14, 2011

Independence Valley road race - 3/26/11

"Catching up on old reports"

Ended up having a lot of fun today despite making a big mistake and having a little bad luck. I was on my own for today’s race, Travis’s wife had a ½ marathon and the only other CAT5 (Gabe) raced in the even group, I was in the odd. The IVRR course consists of two 20 mile loops with two pretty good climbs per lap.
My big mistake came early on. I figured the 1st climb would blow the pack apart and in all likelihood a half dozen stronger riders would pull away on it. I knew I had to be in the lead group at the top of the 1st hill. Since the 5’s have been split every week  the packs are so small that if a half dozen stronger rider’s get off the front there just isn’t enough horsepower or numbers in the peloton to run them down. I was way too far back starting the 1st climb, maybe 15th wheel. I incorrectly figured I would slip through the field and catch the guys up front. When I hit the gas I quickly hit (literally) the rider’s wheel in front of me who was already gassed after 10 seconds. Frustrated, I continued and managed to get through the field but the lead group of 7-8 was already up the road. By the top of the hill I was in no man’s land, a hundred yards behind the lead group but ahead of the rest of the field. I bombed the descent the best I could and chased on my own for a couple miles before it became obvious I wasn’t going to catch up solo. A group of 10 riders or so caught me and I did my best to get everyone to work together, I knew we would never catch the leaders (even though we were still only 30 seconds back). Aside from a few guys there wasn’t a lot of heart left in that group of ten. When we hit the second hill the group of ten became 3 by the time we reached the top. At the top is where my bit of bad luck came in. Flat tire! Boo, race over 13 miles in! Watching the rider’s stream past was rough as I sat on the side of the road. Much to my surprise CAT5’s had neutral wheel support today, I raised my hand, the car pulled over, I yelled back wheel, the friendly volunteer swapped my wheel, and boom I was riding again after 3-4 minutes.
I flew down the second hill and time trialed my way up to a father son duo riding for bikesale. We worked together (for the most part) until we started picking up other riders. At the end of the first lap we had about 10 riders in total. The pace was slow, I quickly took a flyer off the front hoping a couple guys would join but no luck. I dangled for a mile before they caught me again. The next climb arrived shortly after, I hammered the lower section pretty good and got a solid gap on the other riders. About 2/3rds of the way up the hill I said to myself, self, what the fuck are you doing? There is no chance of you running anyone down solo so why hammer this hill. I laid off a bit and crested the hill with maybe a 20 second gap. I zipped down the other side and was on my own for a couple miles before meeting up with a teammate, John C. We worked together for a bit before 5-6 guys caught us, from there our group of 7 worked together well. About a mile before the final hill our group of 7 was down to 4, the other 3 guys were all pretty strong and nice guys. At the base of the last climb we spotted a couple riders near the top from our race. The 4 of us decided to keep it together on the climb and work together after the descent. The 4 of us were really working well together, despite this we were caught by a couple CAT5 even Audi guys and a Second Ascent rider. The three riders slipped past us but after a couple good group pulls we picked them up. Our new group of 7 lasted to the finish. We did managed to catch the couple riders from our pack in the last 1K.
Finish: Not much of a sprint, one of our 4 guys busted his cleat near the end so it was just 5 of us plus the 3 guys from the evens. I hit the gas hard at 200M, I got some room on a few of the guys but one of the riders who had been working with us for miles came around me with a few meters to go for 10th place.

IVRR 2011 finish
All things considered I really enjoyed my race today. Despite missing the lead group on the 1st climb and flatting on the second climb I raced hard and managed 11th place out of 30ish. Tomorrow I’m taking the upgrade class so this was my final CAT5 race!
Garmin Data:
Next week I’m headed to Spokane for the Frozen Flatlands stage race and hopefully a little redemption in a new category!

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