Pace Bend Road Race Cat 2 2012
Race Backwards. It’s easier.
Two things: This race was disappointing for me. And, I had a freaking blast.
Heart pounding out of my chest, I managed to keep around 10th to 15th wheel. I was ready to end this. With my body eating itself, I felt like I was about to fall asleep on the bike, except I was doing 350 Watts near the last climb. My mind was drifting from thinking about how the BikeBarn rider managed to get to Cat2′s without shaving his legs and reciting the lyrics to Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow. I wouldn’t listen to his music if he didn’t have such an awesome name. As riders at the front started to surge on the last hill, I stood up to follow. And then I sat down. Why won’t my legs churn out the power needed to keep up with the group? I’m getting dropped. Should have eaten more GU’s earlier. The whole peloton rushed passed me like a tide. I finished barely off the back, 40th place with nothing left.
There was nervous energy that foreshadowed the coming pain. Everyone was feeling fresh and ready to hurt. The first 15 minutes were fast because everyone wanted to be aggressive at once. Gaps were opening up all over the place. I had been anxious all morning, having never raced at Pace Bend before. For the first 40 miles, I felt like I covered everything for Bill. I would not allow an inch, and my nervous energy translated to powerful surges over 1200 watts. I pulled moves back just because and worked to keep the pace high over the rolling hills.
You might have guessed that the last two paragraphs were in reverse order. That’s because if I had been thinking about the first paragraph while acting out the second one, the first paragraph wouldn’t have happened. I had nothing left for the end game. And it’s all about the end game. I was confident that I could easily complete this race, no problem. That’s what gave me the gumption to work so hard so early. A lot of the work I did keeping Bill in a good spot probably could have been done by other people. Moves would have been brought back by teams of riders instead of just me. The pace didn’t really need to be pushed through the rolling hills section 3 laps in a row. It was needless energy wasted. For instance, David Wenger won the P1 field. If you compare his power profile to mine, they are pretty similar. I actually worked harder for my 40th than he did for his 1st! The difference between a win and a no result is all tactics throughout the whole race.
This is what I mean by my first statement: race backwards. I need to think of the end game first, and then fill in the race tactics from there. Where will I be in the end game? How will I do my best?
Actually, our two man team worked decently well together. Going into the last lap, Bill was perfectly placed to try a breakaway. I was placed to try my hand at the sprint. But with Wooly Mammoth controlling the pace, Bill’s move was pulled in, and I had nothing left. I’m glad that we are learning to race together and help each other out even though we are limited to being observers for most of the races. This will be good in future races.
Along these same lines, Wooly Mammoth did a great job of controlling the race. They always seemed to be in the breakaways and kept the pace high when there was no one on the attack. They caused gaps to form in the group, making people work to keep everything together. Without Wooly, I think Bill’s last-hour move probably would have worked. They were the strongest, most organized team, but only managed 17th. I hope these fine gents are not offended when I say whatever their end game tactic was, it fell through. Even though they got squat for their effort, they get street cred. And the emphasis on teamwork will pay dividends later. I guess we all have to remember the end game though….