Another race down.
This last weekend was the Reforestation Ramble. I am still unsure as to where I am this year as far as my racing goes. I know I am having trouble climbing, I stink on the flats, and about all I can do is hold my own in the singletrack. My breathing is fine but after a while there is just no go in the legs when I need them. Yesterday was no different.
This was almost the same course as last years marathon course. I actually had a good race here last year but wasn't expecting much this time. I weighed in at 201 (down 13lbs in a little over a month) on Thursday and that was sticking in my head that I still had a lot to do.
Gooooooooooooo.... mass start, and we were off. Something like 4 miles of ski trail before the first singletrack. That means fast, full on, road speed. By 1 mile in you were in your spot. Slower guys were behind and faster guys were ahead. I stayed in the same spot most of the entire 12 mile lap. I ended up working with a nice little group and when we hit the last section of singletrack I went to the front, rode like normal, and when I popped out I was alone. I was a bit disappointed I was alone but figured I had a big gap and might as well see what I could do. I spent the next 4 miles with my head down dripping sweat from my nose to my bars. I lapped thru, got a bottle from Amy, and with a little motivation kept going. Then it happened as it has all year. I was going as hard as I could and I was slowing. My little group I dropped came by and I couldn't even catch on. Then another group of 3, a solo, another group of 2, and I was spent. I recovered a bit and tried to chase, but there I stayed. I finished 8th in age and 33/34ish overall. It is my best finish of the year but not what I feel I could do with some more effort during the week.
In hind sight I look at my race and think it would have been smarter to ride slower and stay with my group. I would have finished better with less effort. What I really think is I am happy I don't do that. Racing for 25th place in a sport race isn't what I am here for. Racing and riding my hardest is. If I happen to go too hard and blow and loose a few spots so be it. Next time, maybe I wont. I would rather take my chances of holding everyone off with my effort than sit on and hope someone else blows or ride the train to the end. So I guess I am happy with my race.
So far each race my results have gotten better. A couple spots in age equals around 10 overall. I would say my goal right now is a 5th in age and top 20 overall. I am not racing again until 24-9 (maybe) then Ore to Shore. I am not sure of the next WORS race to put my plan into action. So I have a month long block of riding before my next race. The plan. More riding, lots of group rides, eat right, and Beechwood.
Update... That last post was sitting in my draft folder to be finished. It is Tuesday and I got more to say.
Yesterday (Monday) my legs were tired from Sunday. I figured a nice easy ride to get them stretched was what I needed. I had to go across town for an errand so I figured I would do the Recyclist group ride. It has traditionally been a mellow ride. With an 18mph average in a group of 20 for about 22 miles you practically have to ride the brakes. Perfect for tired legs. I get there yesterday and look around and all I see are shaved legs, full team kits, and guys I recognize as "the fast guys" from some other group rides I have not attempted this year. A couple "this is going to be fast tonight" comments and I know this isn't what I had planned. I am there and dressed so off we went. The ride is mellow on the way out to High Cliff, a couple guys take a flier, I chase, and we instantly go from 20 riders to 6. A little pace work and we are at the park looking at the climb. Everyone regroups and up we go. Like my '08 theme half the group rides away from me. I used to do this climb as repeats and now I am out of gears. Everyone waits at the top before the real fun begins. It used to be after the climb everyone waited, regrouped, then broke into two groups, a fast/long and short/slower option to finish the ride. There is no option anymore. A quick regroup and we were heading the opposite way we came in. I was planning on going the longer route and the pace we used to ride would have been fine. I said, used to be. I found my self pulling thru at 28mph and drifting back at 25. Uhh ohh. I don't think this can last very long. One guys takes a flyer, I chase and bring everyone back. Another guy goes, I chase back on. More pace line and between me and 4 other guys we do the share of work for about the 12 guys left. I am on the front after another chase and no one pulls thru. I am stuck on the front holding the pace after I chased back on, oh man this hurts. "Why isn't anyone coming thru?", I wonder. Oh, I see, there is a hill ahead. They are going to let me take it. What they don't know is I am tired, this is really going to hurt, someone please help, Here we go and.... pop, By-By. Riders swarm around me and I am all alone. 25 miles into a 36 mile ride and I get to find my own way back. Oh well I still needed that easy ride right.
At first I was pissed. Riding by yourself gives you plenty of time to think though. Here's what I came up with.
1. It is my first group ride this year. The legs are not ready for that kind of speed. I will will be back until I don't get dropped. So no big deal. This stuff takes time and work.
2. It seems like a theme from my thoughts on the race. I could have sat in. Enjoyed a heck of a draft. Taken the "token" pull and sat on until the end. Instead I went to the front, stuck my nose in the wind, chased a couple guys, rode as hard as I could, and kept it up until the legs gave out. Next time maybe my legs wont give out. If not next time, some time. I would rather ride hard and pop than ride conservatively and not. If I wanted a conservative ride I can do that by myself. If I want to get fast this is what I need.
So like I said earlier. I have a month before I race again. With lots of group rides planned I can make those my free races and be ready to rip later.
5 weeks ago