Yesterday I jumped into the Insight, with Trudi and Bromont, and headed the 200+ miles over to Columbia Missouri to race a road race, Froze Toes. And it lived up to its name. It wasn’t raining or anything, but when I was driving over there, it was sort of snowing. And it was pretty cold, not freezing, but pretty, 30’s.
I woke up a little tweaked from the day before. I’m not sure why, but after riding in the rain Wednesday for an hour and a half, my hands have been freezing. Riding back from the criterium on Saturday, I got pretty cold. I’m not sure why I’ve been missing the right clothing selection, but it does drain you a lot more than you’d think.
Anyway, I don’t really mind racing when it is cold. I just don’t like getting ready for races when it is cold out. Especially when I don’t have my van, or a car to stay warm in before the race.
I wasn’t too bad at the start, even though I didn’t ride a pedal stroke for warm-up before the start. There were somewhere around 40 riders there. The course is a 30 mile loop, mainly heading North and South. The wind was pretty strong from the North, so it was going to mainly be a headwind, tailwind deal. There was just enough sidewind, in retrospect.
I won’t go over all the minute details of the race, but here is pretty much how it went from my perspective. It turned into a stupid attack/coast thing right from the gun. I kept trying to roll through and get the group moving along at a good pace, but they weren’t having any of that. A couple groups of two rode away and the remainder of the field was just doing all these silly jumps, when wasn’t all that comfortable.
This is the 2nd day in a row where the race started out chaotic. I don’t understand why a bunch of Cat 1/2 riders would attack like crazy at the start of a race, when, obviously by the results, they didn’t have the fitness yet to do it. When my form is questionable, I always try to error on the side of caution, draft as much as possible, do small system checks to see where I’m at.
On the first sidewind section, somehow I got to the front and ended up riding off the front with a kid from Mesa Cycles, Grant Erhard. Grant took a huge pull in the first sidewind section, I came through pretty good and we were gone. We caught up with the 4 guys that were up the road and pretty soon there were 5 of us rotating pretty well.
By now we were riding with a strong tailwind, so we were hauling ass. One of our group, I think Robert Smallman, flatted on the potholed laced road. So then, there were 4 of us. Along with Grant and I, it was Isaiah Newkirk and Dustin Morici. Isaiah, Grant and I were all pulling pretty good. Dustin was hurting, but kept trying to do his share. That is how it went for the next 40ish miles. Just a few miles from the finish, Dustin finally came off on the final tailwind stretch. I told him after that he should have just told us he was going to sit on. We would have slowed a little to let him get closer to the finish.
So there were 3. Seemed like both Grant and Isaiah were getting a little tired. I was trying to put in a hard effort, but didn’t want to kill myself to the extend I wasn’t going to be able to contest the race. A couple miles out from the finish, there is really the only hill on the course. I figured I’d see how wasted my guys were and put in a jab over the top of the hill I got maybe a hundred meters ahead, but sort of stalled there. I really wasn’t putting a 100% effort in, but was hoping that it was going to work. It didn’t. I could see the finish, I was maybe a mile out. There was a descent and then 1K uphill to the finish. I coasted the descent, worried that only Grant was chasing me and then Isaiah was going to jump. I try to make it a point at all times during a bike race that I have at least one good jump in me, at all times. I wouldn’t have if I kept going full throttle.
So, they roll up and we slow to nearly a track stand. We were all kind of hurt. We started sprinting maybe 300 meters out. Isaiah instantly got popped. I jumped Grant, hoping to get him to sprint early. He did, but it wasn’t too early for him. I didn’t have the timing down and when the road flattened out, he pulled a bike length out of me close to the line. I realized I was going to run out of real estate, I lost.
I wasn’t too depressed about finishing 2nd. Overall, the day was nearly perfect. I wanted to go and ride really hard, which at the start of the race, seemed like it was going to be frustrating impossible. It was great getting into a small group that wanted to work together. It was super fun riding with those guys. Plus, it was the first time I’ve ever won a frozen pizza in a race. I won a frozen turkey in Tijuana Mexico once, but never a pizza.
I ended the week with nearly 500 miles, which was a ton considering how windy it has been and how much of that I rode alone. Plus I got in two local races, which like I posted a couple days ago, can end up being much harder than bigger events. I “lucked” into breaks both days, so got exceptional training in both weekend days. I feel pretty good this morning, so I think I’m on the right track so far this season, but, you never know.