Monday, March 17, 2014

CCCX #2, 45+ 3/4, 3/16/2014

By Dennis Pedersen

I really like these road races; partly because Fort Ord is just a 45-minute drive from Santa Cruz, and partly because the race categories are so friendly to a Category 3 Master like me with several options of when to race.

I picked up Nils so he could race the Elite 2/3 race at 12:30. I warmed up by sitting in my car and reading a book during Nils' race (which he won!) while I waited for my 2:00 race start. I then donned my brand-new Spokesman Bicycles kit, Giro Air Attack helmet (with scary-looking visor!), ate a gel, filled up my water bottle and lined up at the start.

My training this year is focused exclusively on track sprinting with my longest priority race being somewhere around 50 seconds, so I have low expectations for other races I enter. But this 4.3-mile course on rolling hills has no long climbs and is just 60 minutes for my field (5 laps) so I felt it might still work OK for me.

There were only about 15 racers in my field, which is fun because you can really keep an eye on the other riders and force them to work rather than let them sit in a huge draft. The race started out rather slow, much to my delight, and was mostly slow the whole time. The pace was painful on the short, steep sections, but never for very long so I had no trouble at all.

On the second lap one guy went off the front for a while, but gave up fighting the wind. On the third lap Scott Calley (Don Chapin) went on the attack on Parker Flat Road's climb, while I grabbed his wheel for the wild ride. Everybody else stuck with us though, so we both sat up and the pace dropped down again. After working too hard in some of the previous races here I stuck to my plan and just waited. Well, except when one guy went hard up Eucalyptus and I followed. We rotated briefly ahead of the others, but they charged after us so I gave up.

A guy from Steven's Bicycles (a team from the Fresno area) attacked, I think with two laps to go, but we caught him at the top of Eucalyptus. Then his teammate went slowly off the front as we started the last lap... so I'm told; I'm embarrased to say I didn't notice. Anyway, he ended up somehow crashing into a bush at the side of Eucalyptus Road while riding by himself. Poor guy broke his collarbone I learned later.

I was still feeling comfortable, and on the last step up Eucalyptus I took the lead for the long descent down toward the finish line. More for safety than anything else. But I have learned that an early sprint is rarely a good idea on this course, due to the prevailing winds and the high speeds coming down the last hill, so I allowed the pack to catch me at the bottom. I then moved into their draft, but still near the front, maybe fifth or so, and watched for early sprints.

Bob White (Bicycle Blue Book) obliged with an early sprint on the right of the long straight, and Erik Salander (Peninsula Velo) followed him. Both are fast, but I resisted the urge to follow them. Instead I drafted a bit longer, but made sure I had an opening to the front. I then rolled after them into the last two turns, and attacked all-out as we exited the last turn. This slingshot effect allowed me to pass the two guys still ahead of me at a fast pace and amass a big enough lead that gave me the win. 1st place went to this track sprinter! Which makes me wonder about the value of some of my past training, but that's another story.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.