Sunday, April 11, 2010

Olympic View Road Race 2010

Olympic View Road Race - Cat 4, 54 miles. A new race way out in Brady, Wa. (official link)

After coming close to points at the Volunteer Park Crit on Saturday, the hunt was still on. I had a ride down there, my legs weren't sore, and it wasn't supposed to rain. Why not go?

18 mile loop, rolling hills, awesome northwest country roads (read: chipseal), a hairpin turn at the bottom of a hill. Cool.

It was a little wet when we showed up, but eventually dried up and the sun came out. This was a longish race for us Cat 4's, and after not eating enough in the 61-mile Ravensdale race I knew I needed to eat right this time. (e.g. bring gel packs with you!!)

The Race

Forgot my garmin unit in the car, which made things interesting during the race. I'll be the first to admit I'm a slave to the numbers, and probably don't pedal more than 30 seconds without looking down at the stats sometimes during training.

But if anything racing without any data made me pay attention to the race that much more.. and felt like recovery was more natural without the power data - I wasn't thinking "just put out X watts for Y secs - I should be tired!"

In the pack it doesn't really matter what the stats are - you're doing the speed you need to, most likely resting and waiting for the finish. But there are times when the stats would be nice to have..

We Are Recycled Cycles, And We Race

On the first lap the pace wasn't where I thought it should be (well, without data I had no idea, it was just a feeling) so I got up front and led out the pack. We weren't chasing anyone, or winding up for the sprint, but the legs felt good and I wanted to establish Recycled Cycles (or maintain the image) as a team that earns their keep in the peloton. You won't see us hiding in the pack the whole time (like some teams I won't name), you'll see us pulling the pack, attacking, etc. Animating the race, hopefully.

Some teams just sit in for the finish, no matter what - essentially paying $25 for a Sunday group ride.. as the saying goes, "It's called racing, not waiting around for shit to happen!"

It wasn't a monster pull or anything, but enough to establish that yes we put in work at the front too.

Off the Front!

On the 2nd lap I was about 10 wheels back from the front, plenty of space was open on the left, and I went off the front - wound up enough speed to get a nice gap on the pack, for once. The trick is to build up speed before you pass the top 3-5 people leading the pack, who are the ones that will generally respond anyway. People still yell "attack on left!" and stuff but if they see you fly by fast enough there's no chance of catching on.

It was just before the curvy section of the course and I was hoping that I could use that to my advantage. I knew I wouldn't last (maybe the pack did too), but was hoping someone might bridge up and we could use this early attack to create a huge gap. Or something. Things like that seem so easy on paper, but once you're out there it's all different.

The lead car sped up and it was just me and the car, only silence behind. I'm off the front!! Cool. But it hurts... oh does it hurt. Pacing efforts like this was the only time I missed the data.

We passed a dropped rider from another race, and even though I was going really slow it felt neat to have him pull over and see only me & the car - makes you feel special, if only for a few seconds. Though I didn't feel like I was impressing him with my speed... I was starting to slow.

Waited a while to look back (they say don't look back, just keep pushing), and the pack looked small. Sweet, that's a good sign. After a minute or so later I looked back again and couldn't see the pack, though they were just around the bend I'm sure.. It was fun for a minute or two, but eventually the legs were burning and I slowed. Slowed waaay down and sat up, essentially. Took a sip of water and waited for the pack to catch. Game over, before it really started.

I was already blowing up when the small climb came. (but it's the biggest on this course) The pack caught me there, but I was able to get back in on 10th wheel or so and recover. Was probably only a few minutes-worth of an attack, but a nice little workout, and my longest attack to date.

And hopefully etched our team kits into the minds of our competitors. Was congratulated for the "nice try" as I came back into the pack - that made it all worth it.

Race Finish - Dicey!

Final lap came around, and since the road was so skinny near the end I made sure to be in the top 15 or so the whole lap. There were a few close calls (that's racing, I guess), but nobody crashed in the whole race.

There was a lot of jockeying for position in that last lap. When riding for two or so hours with a group, you start to notice certain people. People that are strong. People that are not. People that can ride in a straight line. And people that, for whatever reason, cannot seem to ride their bike straight!! There was one guy who seemed to be almost touching the wheel in front of him way too much. I was picturing us going down in a crash and me yelling, "I saw that coming, dammit!!" as we all went down.

But luckily said sketchy guy didn't go down, and nobody else did either. But I made sure to get in front of people like that when possible.

Was set up on the yellow (center) line waiting to pounce to the left in the field sprint at 1k to go, but was eating wind, and by the 200m sign I felt like I'd already been sprinting for 800 meters. Not good. had at least two guys leading us out, at a high enough pace that nobody wanted to come around - that's how it's done. They took the win I believe..

A big nasty Cat 4 field sprint ensued but we stayed upright. Started it at about 15th wheel, not really a winning position.. I need to be in the top 3 or so to really have a chance at the podium I think.

When the 200m sign came I shot out to the left lane (as we're allowed to do), but so did a bunch of other people and I was still eating wind, if not more than before. Slight uphill grade for the sprint but I felt fast - too bad everyone else did too I guess. Almost got taken out at the line by a guy swinging to the left, and was almost pushed off the left side of the road, but kept it upright for a 14th place. Well, another top-20 in the books but not another win... still, a great day of racing! A really fun course, I'll be back next year for sure.

Also, congrats to my friend Rachel on Group Health that took the win in the women's Cat 4!! Her first win, well done!

Edit: found some photos from the race

  • From BikeHugger on flickr - from some of the races later in the day
  • Anyone know of other photos from this one? I saw a few people snapping photos during the Men's Cat 4 race..

1 comment:

trantor said...

Rock on! Much better then those who sit in the pack complaining about the slow pace yet doing nothing about it!