Thursday, August 16, 2007

Recap Tour de Christiana "AKA tour d pain"

Leading up to the TdC, I wasn't sure which race I was going to do: Cat 4 or 40+. In the past couple of 40+ races, I've placed better and felt more comfortable than how I've done in this season's worth of Cat 4 races. I finally decided to do the Cat4 race with my teammate Kevin Young (17 yr super strong rider) and also because the times for the Cat 4 race would me to get home Sunday mid-late afternoon.

Bottom line, this was the hardest weekend of racing I've had all season.

40 mile RR. Four laps on a 10mile loop with a big climb, super fast downhill (50+ mph) each lap. The final 1/2 mile or so was an steep uphill that flattened out just before the finish. With about 90 riders starting the race, I knew the field would quickly thin out in the first climb. Since I didn't know the course or what the climbs would be like I didn't want to waste any energy in the front. So, I did my usual sit in the back, bridge up when any gaps formed and stay in front of the motorcycle guy. In lap two, I had to take a pee and tried going while staying pace with the pack, but just couldn't make it work. After trying about 4 times, I finally gave up and tried not to think about it the rest of the race. Each time I'd drift back about 5-10 sec and have to race back to get back in the pack. What a waste of energy.

The pace was never totally out of control, not on the flats, nor the climbs. But, it amazed me how many riders sounded like they were ready to pop during the climb or during the faster false flat sections where we would be cruising along at 27-30 mph.

Leading into the last turn I was in the back, and the pack slowed up a lot as the climb to the finish started. The motorcycle guy told us we could take the lane, and I took full advantage of this since this opportunity to move quickly up the left side up to the front group of 5-6 riders that had just started to accelerate. I was able to stay with this group but as the road flattened out I realized I was not in my big ring and the time it took to get into it, I was quickly getting passed by a couple riders heading into the finish. I finished 11th. Should have done better but was in the wrong gear heading into the finish line.

Sunday AM
10 mile TT, some rollers and a false flat that was hard and then a real fast flat section to the finish. Kinda bummed cuz 30 seconds separated my 25th place from 5th place. Although, I'm not sure how much faster I could have gone. I averaged just about 25MPH and was doing just about 29-30MPH the last mile or so. I guess I could have tried hammering more through the false flat but didn't want to blow up and have nothing left in the end.

I remember the last couple of miles passing a bunch of Amish families walking on the side of the
road. And I was thinking to myself that the Amish were looking at me and thinking "what is that? Why is that dufous in a zebra suit working so hard riding his bike with his tongue hanging out. He should be spending all that energy doing something constructive like mowing the grass, painting the fences, cutting the corn fields, feeding the animals." I remember going past these families grunting for as much air as I could get, had my mouth wide open. I was in such pain it just didn't hurt anymore.

Sunday afternoon
16 mile crit (13 laps), one steep climb per lap, and some really technical downhill sections with real tight turns through the town. During the warm up laps, I was getting real nervous about the technicality of the course and the # of very tight turns. Tight turns at high speed and Cat 4 races do not mix. Spidy sense was starting to come alive. Awesome course but one of the hardest crits I've done all season. Sitting towards the back made the race really hard not so much of the yo-yo affect, but more so because I had to do a lot of bridging as riders started popping.

And, Steven Black was relentless. I think he attacked the hill on every lap, at least it seemed like the announcer was calling his name everytime we went past the finish line. Man, that 16 yr old is strong.

As usually, I attacked about 2 laps too earlier.
With 4 laps to go, I was able to move up to the front on the climb and since my legs felt really good, I floored it for a lap or so. Man it felt good just rolling through the turns and keeping my speed pretty constant throughout the entire turn. I'm not sure if Eric Davila and I got a gap or not, but as we came up to the climb with 2 laps to go, my legs weren't feeling so good. I was barely able to hang on for the next lap and was able to finish 23.

So the way I looked at it, my effort helped Kevin Young win the race and clinch his top spot for the GC. All in all it was a great weekend of racing. I had a really good time meeting and talking with Sean Ross' parents.


DaedalusVelo said...

Hey man, I found your website. Didn't realize you left a comment a while back.

You aren't lying when you said that was the hardest weekend of cycling! I'm mostly relaxed now. Most of the week was a different story. Luckily, my brother's knees are still healing forcing him to only ride recovery...allowed me to go easy all week.

I'll write up a report sometime if I get around to it. I can't say much more than "hard hard racing!"

RayMan said...

Glad you found my blog. I've not been as faithful keeping it updated as some of our fellow racers: Kyle and Brian. But I try.

Yeah, I think my legs are still feeling the extreme effort from tdC last weekend.

I'm thinking about doing the PA Hill Climb Championship this coming Sat, but I've not registered yet for it.

See ya on the road.

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