Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Better To Burn Out Than Fade Away" - Race Update

I guess the title sums up my raceday in no uncertain was a disappointing day at the Riverport road race. Concerned about my lack of training time heading into the race(I did an easy club ride yesterday but that was after seven days off the bike due to weather and parental obligations)I thought my preparation was good. An easy club ride on Saturday, good hydration and carb loading Saturday night, avoidance of alcohol and a good night`s sleep. Up early for a good breakfast.

Unfortunately I realized rather soon doing some warmups this morning that the legs just did not feel good. They felt stiff and unresponsive which did not auger well for the race start. I admit I was concerned with the condition of the course with some serious pothole concerns that just decreased my enthusiam. Looking about the Master B/C field was smaller than usual but those in attendance were the cream of the crop. Needless to say I was feeling rather timid from the outset.

Once we got going it became obvious that our club(BPCC) was gonna try and control the race from the start. I was the bottom of the depth chart and with Jose, Tom, Bill, Donald, Barry and Graham representing Masters B/C we were in a good position to podium. After about 5K I felt a little better but realized I was way out of my league so decided at that point to burn my candle at both ends rather than sit in and try and hang on to a superior pack of riders.

I managed to move to the front and chased down a flyer at about the 7K mark. Once caught he asked if I was "willing to work";to cooperate to stay away from the peleton. I refused since it was so early and my objective was to just do some domestique work while I was able trying to keep my teammates from doing to much work early in the race.

Approaching the Grimm Road hill and the biggest climb of the day I recalled reading in "Racing Tactics for Cyclists" that a good strategy for slow climbers is to get to the front and set the pace for the climb and as the pack streams by you can hopefully hang on to the group. I thought I would try and attacked again off the front. Glancing back it appeared my teammates were on the front and the pack did not pursue so I gained a nice gap. Climbing Grimm`s I managed to just crest the climb as the peleton passed but managed to merge in the middle and stay in touch. Thanks Mr. Prehn.....your advice worked with the assitance of my teammates who let me get away.

After a brief recovery(I was hurting and it was obvious I had lousy form today)I sat in the pack and tried to feel better by hydrating.It was one of those days....I just couldn`t find a gear ratio that felt good. To avoid a pothole I aparently crossed the yellow line and was quickly warned by the commisaire. One more transgression and I was DQ`ed. Swell - like I needed another distraction. As a result I positioned myself in the middle or right of the lane but then had to worry about the numerous potholes that littered the course.

Once we passed the turnoff heading back to the start/finish I moved to the front and had an opportunity to go off on a flyer. There was a $20 prime for the first rider across the line so I thought I would up the ante and make the boys chase. After awhile(1-2km?) Tom bridged up to me which resulted in the peleton ramping it up. I was no threat alone but Tom has a reputation and they couldn`t let him get away.Unfortunately I got confused and thought the start/finish line was closer so Tom must have thought my promptings for him to take the prime were insane. The line wasn`t close so I do

In a sense it worked......eventually a Cyclesmith rider(among others)passed me trying to gain Tom`s wheel so at least we made the other squads work rather than sit up and wait for the sprint.

Eventually the road pitched upwards and with the $20 prime on the line the boys started sprinting. I was at the front but had nothing in the legs and actually got dropped passing by the start/finish. The pack sat up for the most part but I was about ten cars lengths behind and was unable to close. How disappointing! The legs just didn`t respond. It should have been an easy gap to bridge. For the next 6km I hung off the back and then resigned myself to the solitude of the dropped rider. I was hoping I would gather up other dropped riders after the second climb of Grimm`s Road but, to my surprise, there were none. That speaks volumes for the fitness and skill of the Master B/C riders out racing today.

I finished the second lap alone, pretty much dejected at not meeting any other riders.The last 3km to the start/finish was a tug of war between plodding onwards for the third lap or packing it in. Had I met other riders from any other Cats I would have continued but since a head wind had come up and I was unable to catch anybody I chucked pride aside and quit.

(Postscript - after I pulled off two riders came through the start/finish about a couple minutes later.....rats! Maybe other dropped riders were closer benind me than in front. I guess that is why you should always persevere. )


In reality it was not a surprise. I`m losing ground with my fellow Master B riders on several levels; training, equipment and ability. I knew this heading into the season so today just quantified my assumptions.

I have taken a liking for time trials and ITT`s do suit my skills better as they tend to be shorter in length on flat courses. Crits are usually better for me as well and the lack of a Halifax Common`s crit this year is a shame. After today`s race I don`t think I will participate in the remaining road races but focus upon the last ITT and riding the Investor`s Group Triathlon as part of the Team event.

Oh and learn.Cudos to my team mates on BPCC - they are racing machines and awesome cyclists. I`m not sure how the MasterB/C Cats finished but here`s hoping some of them made the podium. Home to a sunny afternoon and a beer.I`m on vaction this week and the weather looks good so I have nothing to complain about.


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