finished my first road bike race today: jefferson cup in charlottsville , VA 3.25 hours away. 30 mile race , 3 laps of 10. Traveled with my good friend and training buddy, Antonio =)
CLIFFS NOTES HERE:
1. had a flat during warmup, but changed it
2. thought about abandoning the race because my changed tire (new) felt soft
3. tried 3 big attacks during the race, was gobbled up
4. witnesesed 3 of 4 CRASHES but did not crash, myself
5. Splintered pack at the end, and i finished in 6th, 7 seconds behind in a group of 3, behind the group of 3 in front.
CLICK BELOW FOR DETAILED SUMMARY OF RACE =)
the day was pretty hectic all around
went to warm up for 45 minutes before the race with my buddy and i suffered a tube blowout. dunno how, as i had ridden 2 times on the rear wheel prior to today and all i did was pump it up to 110psi. weird. and my buddy had to ride back to my car to get the car etc….hectic. So our warm up was cut somewhat short at like 30 minutes.
so this race was 30 miles with a neutral roll out so i knew i could warm up a bit on the way to the start. 50 people were in my Cat 5 race.
Here is the STRAVA file so u can see where the race started.
*Mass start clip in style, i got clipped in quick and people started to feel out the group. If u look at the link the terrain is just rolling , all big ring, just short punches really. So nothing really important happened on the first lap. Just got a feel for what racing bikes is like. Alot of people yelling “on your left” “on your right!” “hold your line!” etc etc. This was fine. I tried to stay top 10-15 when i could. There was alot of vortexing (people coming around the outside and people on the inside having to move back). I tried to gain shelter in the middle for the most part.
importantly I actually felt my rear tire go soft. This was after i had swapped it after the blow out. Immediately i asked my friend to check it and he told me the tire looked soft. I even came out and told him “I think im going to abandon, this tire feel horrible”
We made it back to the start line to finish the loop and in my mind all i could think about was my rear tire…
*During the start of this lap [and effectively the whole race, i was waiting for my tire to go flat and the sad realization i was riding on rim…]. each time we went through some rough pavement I cringed a bit, but my tire seemed to hold up.
SO, on the “hill” of the lap, which can be seen in the topography of the course, the speed had deadened a bit and I had told myself that when racing cat 5 i wanted to make some moves. “all or nothing” really. But for this race specifically with my soft rear tire, if my tire was going to flat, i wanted to flat solo in the front of the race haha. SO i put in a DIG, attacked, made a gap and then settled down to FTP power. When descending i never really felt comfident on the tire, and maybe rolling resistance hurt(?), but i was caught after 4 minutes. I dont think they organized to chase me down, but i think people pulled off and made a concerted effort to pull me back.
went back to nearly the dead rear of the field during my stint of recovering and then made my way back up to top 10-15 after that to finish the lap. During this lap I witnessed 2 crashed. One dude went down on a turn while bumping a dude. Another crashed occured when someone in front of me, who tried to avoid a squirrly person up front, unclips and takes out 2-3 people next to me. CRASH MONEY MILLIONAIRES in full effect.
*I am fully “recovered” by this point and feeling ok. My tire still felt like crap, but now i was just looking to get a completed race to my name. The “hill” came and went. the pace was really slow during this lap as i got tell everyone wanted to save their legs for the last 5ks and the “inevitable” bunch sprint….
SO right here things kinda got crazy. Here was a BIG crash behind me. I was luckily 5-6 people near the front and someone in the main pack had gone down, unfortunately taking my friend with him too. My friend was ok as he fell onto the guy. Once this happened everyone started to apply the pressure. There were 2 people off the front at this point and i decided to bridge the gap. One of the people there was one of the people i had “marked” during the first two laps. IE he looked strong and was constantly near the front , not breathing hard and standing out of the saddle….[He won the race btw]. I caught the front two but they didn’t wanna work it seemed or thought it was too far from the finish, so we go caught pretty quick. Pace slowed down AGAIN, and within 3 minutes on getting caught I dug again…. THIS WAS NOT SMART. I dunno why i did this as I created a gap but instantly felt fatigue after 1-2 minutes…. i gave up the ghost and just looked for pack to swallow me up.
The final straight i was in a splintered group of 10, sitting 10th wheel. I was in the red and looking to recover before the final 1k. Here the final straight is 1.5 miles long. While sitting at the caboose the pace was certainly fast. I could not move up becuase of the speed, but was able to get some breath back. While we were nearing the last 2k there was a slight uphill and #6,7,8,9 in line died suddenly and now 1,2,3 have a gap of about 4-5 bike lengths. So now i’m forced to go around 4 people and bridge to the front 3. Im chasing and digging really deep here. Just trying to get back to their wheels. In between #4,5, were caught in no mans land and i could only manage to get to them with 300m left til the finish. By this time i could see in the distance the front 3 sprinting for the podium places. I drove to the line seated, to try for a top 5 placing, but i could not raise the pedal length it seemed. I was 5th at one point, but was passed at the 20m by a rider in my group of three. I was knackered after the finish, but in the end of the day had much fun! =)