Sunday, June 18, 2006

Out with a whisper or with a roar! Riverport update.

The provincial road race was today in 26C sunny weather. The only drawback was a stiff cross/headwind for 3/4 of the rolling hills course. In a group it was managable but alone it was evil.

My game plan heading into the race was too play it safe and try to hang with the pack, dependant upon keeping in touch on the only real challenging climb on the course. At the line it became obvious that we had a several club riders in the Masters B/C cat with at least four potential podium finishers.We were in the ideal situation to try and control the race.

Five kilometres into the race a couple of our riders started attacking off the front and mixing things up. Several others(including me) moved to the front of the peleton of about 40 riders and continued to try attack and block strategies. Generally things stayed together until the first and only big climb.

As usual the climb was the signal for the guys to hammer and try to break apart the group. Not only did I manage to hold on to the lead group but I felt real good doing so. Number one objective met! Hoorah. We were now down to a group of about 20 cyclists and almost immediately our remaining riders starting attacking off the front. I knew that eventually I would lose contact on the big hill so I threw caution to the wind and decided to help out the squad and our podium contenders by doing some grunt work on the front. I decided to go out with a roar.

About 10 kilometres from the start finish line I attacked after a teammate was pulled back and I managed to stay out for about 7 kilometres. Once pulled back I sat in as we started the second lap recovering and getting some fluids and food. After about 3 kilometres I moved back to the front and when another club sent off a flyer I attacked as well trying to grab his wheel. I didn`t catch him but managed to get away from the peleton, while the lead rider remained tantalizingly close. The headwind along the river started to take it toll and after about 4 kilometres "hung out" two teammates bridged the gap. Unfortunately I was hurting and let them go and rejoined the pursuing group to recover for the climb.

On the hill I lost contact but having hammered for half the race and, hopefully, having helped the squad by keeping the tempo high I figured my job was done. I rehydrated, had some fig newtons and rode out the race at a leisurely pace and enjoyed the scenery.

Whooohoooo! Final stats........82.7 K with a 31.4 KPH average. Not sure where I placed but who bloody cares. The hamstrings are taunt, the glutes are tender but the soul is refreshed. Nothing like some suffering on the bike to clear the mind. at the finish and me called up to the startline....second row on left.