Monday, May 16, 2011

Modesto Road Race (35+ cat 4): May 15, 2011

The Modesto road race (which to me seems more like a circuit race) is notoriously FLAT. I recorded a total of 292 feet of climb over 54 miles of racing! I -literally- get more climbing than that over the first mile out my front door. As a result it's a race that's suited mostly to a pure sprinter though a good mix in a breakaway can steal the show if the pack is too lethargic. Team tactics can pretty much guarantee a podium finish if you show up with enough numbers and those dudes are fit enough to control the race and make a leadout train. With just Ted and I, that wasn't going to be our game so our strategy was for Ted to play it like a pure sprinter staying out of the wind and out of danger all day and I would do what I could to reel in breaks. Since I'm not much of a field sprinter type, the plan wasn't so much for me to lead him out as it was to try to be a stinker in the final kilometer or two to try to keep the final pace strung out and fast. It kind of worked out that way.

Most of the race was uneventful. After two laps of gofastslowdowngofastnowaitslowdown two guys finally established a break that, eventually, turned into one guy dangling off the front for quite an impressive amount of time. He was finally brought back (by a flat front tire?) on the sixth lap. There was a counterattack that was nothing but weak sauce but that did string out the pack pretty good. Ted had found the guy he was going to mark in the sprint so, with the pack strung out with 4 miles to go, Ted got on my wheel as if we'd done this sort of thing all the time, and I brought him back up to his mark. I had a head of steam going so I decided to move to the front and do my part to keep the hot pace hot. Really my only intention was to hit the front hard and just keep the elastic stretched but I suddenly had that sinking feeling that no one was on my wheel.

A quick look back revealed a surprisingly large gap back to the pack. "Ah crap," I thought, "Get ready for some hurt..." To add to the benefit of my timing another field passed ours and then me. Oh it was tempting to jump in a cheat a little but I stayed away and they stayed away and I remain guilt-free. Nine minutes of pain, panic and pursuit of glory (haha, as if I didn't know it was suicidal...) found me still solo off the front through the final corner. Past the 1K to go and I was still chugging. But very shortly after that the familiar sound of a ramped up pack with no mercy for the idiot off the front solo ruined my fun. Ted looked good sitting 4th or 5th wheel but, as is typical in a dead flat, dead straight, dead challenge-free sprint like that, luck of the draw spit him to the front too early and he had to settle for 9th. But hey! Top ten is good! I'd take one of those right about now.

Here's the link to Ted's perspective (just substitute "teammate" for "That idiot Roy")

Somehow my legs didn't actually explode and I kept them moving to get a 17th (of ~35). So once again, if you split the field size in half, you get my result. But this was a team day so I'm okay with that. In fact it was a good confidence builder to be able to get away and stay away at a crucial part of the race like that. My recovery after the race was very good and I was doing difficult 12x3 intervals on Tuesday and rode 60 miles with 5900 feet of climbing on Wednesday. It's fun to be fit!

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