Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team – Race Report by: John Kretschmann
Race: Leesville Road Race
Date: 6/30/12 @ 8:40a
Category/Field Size: Mens Masters 45+ Cat 4 Field Size 23 Field Limit 50
Team Mates: Matt, Ron, Will, and myself
Weather / Course Description: Nice, upper 60s @ start, low 80s @ finish. Usual wind out of the North,
but not too bad (7-10 mph).
Usual course, 60 miles, 2,893′ of climbing. Same lousy road surface from mile 10 to mile 34. In addition to the main climb (1,100′ in 2.8 miles), there are 2 other significant climbs the 2nd of which is the feed zone climb @ mile 42. The finish line is not very distinct. There are several turns and then a final left hand sweeper that is about 2k before the finish line. The 1k & 200m points were marked with a sign. The finish is wide open and flat and there’s not usually much of a field left so setting up for the sprint is not such a big deal.
Race Plan / Strategy Get to the front before crossing Hwy 20 and maintain position in the top 10 riders to the climb. I was hoping to be able to hang with the lead group up the climb. Any teammates that were close together after the main climb were to group up and work together to the finish.
Race: We got there 1-1/2 hrs before the race start @ 8:40a, which was more than enough time. Very light warm-up ride around the neighborhood just to make sure the bike was ready to go. The first 2-3 miles are neutral and the first 10 miles are flat and relatively easy so not much need for a big warm-up. Will Parks (a new rider) rode easily off the front right from the get-go. Matt, Ron & I did a fairly good job of controlling the pace to prevent an organized chase.
Once we crossed Hwy 20, however, the heat was on. Several riders jumped, upped the pace, and it was on! I struggled a bit over the crappy roads and found myself gradually slipping back in the pack. So much for staying in the top-10! I hit my max HR before we even got to the main climb and I couldn’t hold the pace of the leaders. I had the lead group in sight most of the way up but came across the top in the first chase group of 5 riders which included former BC rider Randy Floyd.
The riders I was with didn’t seem too interested in chasing so we set a moderate tempo. There was still over 40 miles of racing and another 10 miles of lousy pavement plus 2 more significant climbs so I really didn’t have the desire to spearhead the chase by myself. One of our groupetto flatted which left us with 4 – Randy, one of his teammates, a Berry guy (Richard) and myself. Richard wasn’t taking pulls and both Randy and his teammate were taking “soft” pulls so chasing down the leaders wasn’t looking too promising. In fact, Ron & Matt actually caught up with us on the feed zone climb which actually was a good thing for us because now we had 3 BC riders. Randy had to stop and fix a loose saddle so now it was just Randy’s teammate, Richard, and us 3 BC riders.
The finish never seemed to come. My computer stopped working early in the race so I didn’t have mileage and I was guessing on when it would come. I kept Matt and Ron in front of me expecting to see the 1k sign at any moment but we’d turn left and right and still no markers. Finally, after a sweeping left hander I could see the 1k sign in the distance. There was only 5 of us so not much of a set-up for the sprint. Ron led me out with Richard hot on my tail.
Results: I jumped @ about 150 meters to go which was just a hair too early ’cause Richard came around me at the last second to win the sprint. He got 10th overall, I got 11th.
- I rode my Dura Ace tubeless wheels (acquired soon after last year’s Leesville torture fest) and they worked great! I wasn’t sure on pressure so I ran them at about 90 psi. Turns out I could have gotten away with 80-85 psi.
- I struggled on the rough stuff. In the past, I’ve done the Prairie City MTB races but not this year and I think that left me ill-prepared for the “hell of the North”.
Recommended Training: Even though the main climb isn’t super steep, the pavement is bumpy the whole way up which makes the climb seem much harder. The main climb is longer and harder than Mt Vernon (one of my preferred roads for climbing intervals). Prospector’s Grade, even though it’s steeper than the Leesville climb, is one of the best roads for prepping for this race since the level of effort and duration are pretty closely matched.