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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A cool and cloudy Pacific Northwest day quickly turned into rain for the road race last weekend. One hundred kilometers over mostly rolling terrain saw a fairly modest turn-out; about thirty-five riders took the start in my category.

The course, an 18-mile circuit that we’ll cover three and a half times, includes one fairly significant climb. At about 4.5% grade for 3 kilometers, the steepness won’t be enough to shatter the field, but since the finish line is 1.5 kilometers past the top, it’s sure to be the deciding factor in the race.

After being stuck in a highway traffic jam caused by an overturned eighteen-wheeler, I arrive at the registration counter only twenty minutes before our start time. Rushed preparations ensue, and I make it to the start line in time, but without a warmup. This is frustratingly becoming a pattern.

The first few miles of the race are predictably calm, and we arrive at the base of the climb all together. I decide it’s time enough to test my legs, and make my way through the pack at the base of the climb. They’re not so good today, I find, and I don’t have the acceleration I’d like – a nagging fatigue keeps my jump small. Still, sustainable power is decent, and by the top of the climb, I’ve got a bit of a gap. Good. I sit up a little, re-integrate with the field, and make the descent. My acceleration caused a bit of a split, and about half the riders are still with us.

We continue for the next two laps in a fairly status quo manner. The misty rain keeps everyone pretty calm on the descents, and there are only two minor crashes, both touches of wheels in corners which transition to slight uphill sections. A few attacks go off the front, but they amount to nothing, and are quickly pulled back. I cringe a bit, wishing I could go with them, but I know I haven’t got the legs for a race-long breakaway today. Each time up the climb, I force the pace just a bit, making sure everyone in the group is good and tired by the top. It works, and the flat section just after the climb sees a bit of a scramble each time for riders to get back on.

I take note of who can hold the pace, about five riders, and prepare for the last lap.

This is pathetic. By that point, everyone knows that the final climb will decide the race, and so are trying to save their energy for that point. I’d rather not have a fresh, compact group with me at the base of the climb, so on each of the rollers that precedes it, I take a long turn at the front.

When we get to the climb, the effort immediately intensifies. One of the other riders, a guy with a blue kit and striped sleeves, makes eye contact with me smirks a bit. As he empties the last of his water bottle onto the ground, I nod, and we accelerate up the hill. My legs protest at this sudden surge of force. I try to unzip my brand-new jersey, it sticks, and I bite my lip trying to use my teeth to help. A quick glance back reveals that three of the five riders I took note of earlier are close, but slightly behind me and the striped-sleeve rider.

As we can see the crest of the climb, the two of us stand up, throw our machines into the big ring, and accelerate over the crest of the hill. As we pass the sign reading “1K to go,” a glance back reveals that the rest of the field has had it. I take one, last, short pull, and shift up a cog. We’re still on a false flat, and the final two hundred meters takes an eternity. I’m on his wheel, but as he starts his sprint, I don’t have much left in the tank. With 100 to go, I pull outside of his slipstream, and gain a little ground, but my front wheel never gets much past his hips.

I cross the line frustrated that I hadn’t had the sprint I needed to win, but overall satisfied with my early season performance. We congratulate each other, take a drink from the spectators, and stand beside the fire they’ve built near the finish line to warm our toes.
 

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Nice report.

Do you think going sooner in the sprint would've helped? Any other thoughts on how you could've gotten the win?

My only thought is that you used up too much energy during the race. Did you ever see the striped-shirt guy on the front?

Silas
 

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I'll take a stab in the dark and guess this was the OSU road race. I'm glad I wasn't on the bike Saturday... Decker and the preceeding little turn/rise can be a PITA when they're wet. I drove the support car for the Women's group and while it didn't seem to out right rain, the drizzle persisted most of the morning. The road was dry by the TT though.

Nice report... did you make it down to Eugene for the crit on Sunday?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, it was the OSU road race. I didn't make it to the crit, though. Yes, striped shirt was on the front some of the time, but you're right -- I may have used too much energy.

I had to decide whether to save everything for the climb, like everyone else wanted to do, or try to put the hurt on a little sooner. In the end I went for the latter

As for starting the sprint sooner ... hmm, it's tough to know, since I haven't really sprinted against others very many times. I probably should've wound it up 50 yards earlier, then upshifted; by the end, I thought maybe I was a gear too short, but by that point it was over. I'm still learning on this stuff.
 

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thinkcooper said:
Great report. Congratulations.

What Silas said...
Ditto.:)
 

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Nuts. How far does your conference stretch? OSU is closer than freaking Boston (like the race in 2 weeks). I'm in Pittsburgh and my school falls in the ECCC- basically we're the farthest south west corner. And that's the rest of the States in that direction (includes NH, Mass... which are not close enough to drive to for a weekend). We = Shafted.

I was thinking maybe it would be easier to try and get us into a closer confererence next year. I don't know if it's possible or not, but eh. I wouldn't know until I ask.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
Nuts. How far does your conference stretch? OSU is closer than freaking Boston (like the race in 2 weeks). .
OSU => Oregon State...part of the NWCCC.


Argentius... good to hear you had good results, it was still the first one, you have the whole season ahead of you.
 

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Great report.

I agree woth Silas.You seem to have spent a lot of energy forcing the pace on the climbs.Then again,that seemed to be what tired the other riders down so you and the blue-kit guy could put the hammer down on the last climb.

Sounds like a blast!I am even more hyped for the RR I am doing next weekend.
 

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You were in the Men's A race, no?

I'm looking at the race flyer, and this schedule was pretty unfriendly. Here in the ACCC the Men's A race is usually the last of the day...around 1 PM!

Good job though; even without the great legs, that's a nice result.
 

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asterisk said:
OSU => Oregon State...part of the NWCCC.


Argentius... good to hear you had good results, it was still the first one, you have the whole season ahead of you.

ha ha ha...

i suck

i though it was ohio state. :p
 
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