Sunday, September 4, 2011

Masters National Championship Road Race Report

With about 118 riders lined up today to compete for the 40-44 Masters road race, it was sure to be a slug fest considering we were only going to race for 54 miles and the talent that was competing.  As mentioned the course consisted of lots of rollers, 1 steep short climb and lots of flat sections.  As with most days in Bend, the wind was a bit of a factor blowing around somewhere between 15-20mph. 

The first part of lap 1 began pretty mellow, and then about 3/4 through I tried to get away with three other riders (2 of which were good TT riders).  It didn't mount to anything and was quickly brought back.   Then  on lap 2 another group of riders tried to get away, and the same result they were brought back. 

Temperatures were hovering around the 90 degree mark at the start of our race, so this would eventually play a critical role during the race.  There was 1 feed zone about 10k from the finish.  I started with 2 bottles thinking that that would be sufficient enough if the race only lasted 2-2.5 hrs.  I think I errored on this one.

With about 5k to go on the 2nd lap, I got into a breakaway with 5 other riders that quickly grew to a 30-sec gap, then 45-sec and as high as 1-minute 10 sec.  We were all working together well.  I was running out of fluids 1/2 way around the last lap and knew this was going to cost me.  With 10k to go a rider behind me (Jason Boynton - Folsom Bike) clipped my rear tire and he crashed and hit the ground pretty hard.  I wasn't sure what happened (after the race he told me he reached down to grab a water bottle and lost control and hit my rear tire).  I looked back and he was alright and got back on his bike (not without totally trashing his nice Zipp wheel).  He wasn't able to catch back on the lead group but still finished strong (13th I believe).

Once we hit the final climb up Archie Briggs (the only steep climb on the course), I felt the effect of cramping coming on and my energy getting zapped out of my body.  I tried everything I could to stay attached to the lead group to the top of the climb but was slowly fading back.  By the time we crested the top I was 10 sec back.  At this point I knew I wasn't going to be able to bridge the gap and catch back on, so I cruised the rest of the way to the finish.  I was completely out of gas ("bonked" as we say in cycling).

It's frustrating, however, I gave it everything I had and wasn't going to settle for a field sprint at the end.  I did everything I wanted to except finish it off.  Sometimes the result doesn't turn out the way you would like it to.

Time to rest up and prepare for MTB Marathon Nationals in 2 weeks.

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