Sunday, August 30, 2009

Winters Road Race

It hit me the night before this race that I hadn't done a road race since Panoche back in May. Wow, how time flies! I was pretty excited about riding this loop as we had a pretty strong team put together for this field.

I was really concerned about the heat, so I packed two additional water bottles in my back pocket. I even went as far as freezing them the night before and kept them frozen up until we started. Between what I had on me and the water at the feed zone I made sure hydration wasn't going to be a concern.

We rolled out and our pace was pretty tame, tame enough that a few guys rolled off the front, but this didn't cause any chases. We came around the loop and hit the gradual slopes on Cantelow Road. Things were pretty steady and hard enough to make me happy to hang out at the back of the main pack.

The descent was a blast and those off the back were able to catch on relatively easy. On the second lap we got a time split and the break, which at this point had grown by a few riders, was 1:20 up the road. Once we heard this Ramon, Dave and Jim rolled to the front and sped up the pace. Ramon spent a considerable amount of time staying near the front.

We hit the climb again and for some reason I found myself near the back leading into the feed zone (on the first steep pitch of the climb). Not the place I needed to be! Next thing I know a Touchstone rider is putting on his brakes and stopping in front of me. He caused myself and Matt to both ease up and lose contact with the pack. I grabbed a water, looked back and Matt. He said we probably could catch them after the descent, so I put down a hard tempo (at least for me) to pace both of us up the climb.

After bombing down the hill, we caught up with Jim who had slipped off the back and we did a three man TT over the course of the next three minutes to catch the pack. At this point I wasn't sure whether I had it in me to stay with the leaders if they decided to climb hard. I figured I could at least get to the front on the flats and put the hurt on a few people and hopefully a stronger/better teammate who could climb would make the selection at the front.

Nice idea, but my rear wheel had another going flat. I had a slow leak and it eventually put me on the side of the road. Andrew Lanier Sr. was driving our follow car. He jumped out and asked, "Hey, you want to use Junior's wheel?". Sure, why not. We swapped the wheel and I decided to try and TT back to the group.

I could see the group about 3 minutes up the road and thought, "If I make it around the next corner where I can see them, and they look closer, I'll keep truckin'...". Well, it just happened that I wasn't able to see the group due to some of the turns along Putah Creek Road.

Finally, I turned south on Winters Road and saw the pack. One nice thing about having my eyesight over-corrected by Lasik nine years aog is that I have 10/20 eyesight (my eye doctor thinks I could be a sniper). The bad thing was somebody was hitting the gas in the pack and they were stretched out and pulling away. I told myself to keep going until the next turn a few miles down, but I knew it was a lost hope.

Ten minutes later I reached the next turn and shut it down. Sad to say I was bummed, but some days lady luck just isn't on your side. Needless to say this race is a definite on the racing calendar next year.

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