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Central Coast Circuit Race 35+ 4-5

Body Concepts Bicycle Race Team – Race Report: by Chris Grove

Race: Central Coast Circuit Race
Date: 7/2/2011
Category / Field Size: 35+ 4-5, about 14 racers.
Team Mates: Army of One

Weather / Course Description: Weather was foggy and cool at the start of the race. The sun came out during the race only to get cold and foggy again at the end.

I like the course description from carpool teammate Matt C, so I am going to insert that here:

5 laps around a 4.3 mile up and down course with the longest climb being 90 seconds and 4/10 of a mile. In the back section of the course, there are a series of three stair step short climbs. At the end of the third climb, there is a right hand turn that drops down 7/10 of a mile to a right hand turn. After the turn it’s flat for 100 meters before another right hand turn for a 200 meter 3% grade uphill finish.

Race Plan: With a small field size I knew I was going to have to keep a close eye out for attacks because there may not be enough firepower left in the peloton to chase them down. Also there wouldn’t be as many riders strung out to leap frog my way back to the attack.

Race: The first 3 laps were mostly uneventful. One rider decided to launch a mini-attack. I jumped on it and followed through with a decent pace up the stair climb to see who would respond. I was accurate in marking the riders to look out for as they all responded and were right on my wheel. One racer I needed to keep a really close eye on was Morgan Raines, who just won the last circuit race and has only finished lower than the top 10 once in his 12 or so races.

As we were heading into our fourth lap I was towards the back of the peloton and decided to move myself back up behind Morgan. This put me as the third rider back. Not long after I hear someone calling out an attack. As I turn my head I see another racer with a full head of steam blowing by us. Turning my head was probably my biggest mistake. I should have just started my acceleration instead of turning my head. By the time I looked forward Morgan was already out of his saddle accelerating and I was out of his draft. I go as hard as I can to catch on, but the speed difference was large at that point. I am about 5 bike lengths off of the last rider in the attack but I couldn’t close the deal.

I am starting to get tired trying to close the gap and keep waiting for someone to come around me to help with the chase, but no help came. After the race I found out that the Third Pillar guys (there were 4 of them in this race) had a guy in the break and the other three were behind me blocking. As I start working my way up the stair climb I am exhausted, light headed, and on the verge of barfing. I started to weigh whether I should sit up and conserve energy, which might get me better placing, or continue the pursuit. I decided that I am in this to win, not to worry about whether or not I can get a place or two higher. I was thinking of a quote I heard (I am not sure who the source is): Losers quit when they are tired, winners quit when they have won. With that in mind I continue my charge up the stair climb.

As the race continued there were a few attempts by the riders following me to get a pace line going, but I kept finding myself in the front with everyone following. At one point, the attack group started fragmenting and they lost the Third Pillar guy. So the Third Pillar group that was behind me launched out to get one of their riders back up there. I tried to latch on but was too tired from all the chasing (there were several other attacks from guys behind me that I had to reel in) and couldn’t close the gap. The rider they launched would eventually finish third, so maybe I should have stayed in the draft so that I could have hitched a ride. At the same time, if I wasn’t charging ahead and on the verge of passing the guy that dropped off, they may not have ever had to launch an attack to get another guy up there.

Going up the stair climb for the last time I am more exhausted then ever and start to struggle with the climb. Several riders that have been behind me go around and start leaving me behind. One of them gives me a nod and says some verbal acknowledgement for the work that I had been doing (brain was too oxygen starved to remember). I am indeed tired, but the race isn’t over yet. Somehow I find an extra burst and closed the gap on that group just before the crest of the hill. As we descend I stayed tight on their wheels so that I can recover as much as I can before a sprint finish. As I think about the slight uphill finish I decided to use a slightly easier gear then I would normally use because I don’t want to get bogged down. As we approach the final corner I shoot around the group with an all-out sprint which worked great until I ran out of RPM’s. I should have picked a harder gear. I hear a guy powering his way up next to me but I am hesitant to do a shift under a full load and have to settle for watching him go by me while I still have power left in my legs.

Results:
6th place

Lessons:

  1. Don’t sit and stare at an attack when you hear one called out
  2. Don’t over-think gearing going into the final sprint. Pick something hard and make it work
  3. Work more on sprinting. With my recent accidents I got away from that

Sponsors Note: The light conditions were varied during the race but my vision was always clear with the Nike Vision glasses.

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