(Today is Friday but last Sunday i did the Tour of Hermann road race, this is my story...)
"why would anyone ever want to race in the Tour de France"
That's what i was thinking as i rode up one of the multiple hills during the Tour of Hermann Road Race. And when i was thinking that i wasent even struggling yet. This was the hilliest race ive done... by far. Nothing i've done even compares.
cat 4, 60 miles...
The short version...
i got dropped.
The long version...
i think i've been doing a great job of two things during this early season. One is riding a lot (although this didnt really start till March) and two is not panicking when these early season races dont go so well. The reason i'm not panicking is because of the late start, i think i have it in me to be competative in cat 4 and even get to cat 3 (somewhat legitimetly, ie earning it and not just take advantage of a generous upgrade coordinator) this season but i have to put the work it, which is what i'm doing.
Now i'm going to give you a list of excuses for why i got dropped. And i'm not going to mention these excuses casually, i'm fully embracing these excuses. Shouting them from the rooftops!
Since i got a late start to the season i decided my big long base type rides would be taking place around races, knowing this could mean being tired on the start line. Last week for example, or really the week culminating wtih Bone Bender, i did 10 hours. that's a lot for me. and 4 hours were me getting worked over at Bone Bender, which was totally brutal. Then the monday after bone bender i did 50 minutes, then tuesday was 1:50, then wednesday was 3:15, then Thursday was yoga at Scott fitness, then friday i did a 1:30 at a small group ride with a bunch of people faster than me and i was breathing hard most of the ride, then saturday morning i did the union staion 9am ride, 2:30 and was breathign hard until i got dropped (half by choice (another excuse!) because i wanted to leave something in the tank for Herman) then Sunday (after 4.5 hrs of sleep and a few drinks the night before) i raced the Tour of Hermann road race over 60 miles race of the hilliest conditions i've ever ridden... and i cramped up... and i got dropped.
If not for the cramps i think i would have done a lot better. (Big excuse!)
so back to the race details...
The first 45 minutes were intense. It seemed really fast, and really fun. at one point i think there were only 20 left in our group... and i was one of them.
One highlight was when the guy in front of me had chain issues going up a climb and forced me off the road and into the grass. i was 2 or 3 feet from tumbling down a very steep and very long ravine and had to totally unclip, get back on the road, and chase back on. just the fact that i had the juice to chase back on was encouraging. It may not seem like much but up until fairly recently i would have been dropped for good in that situation.
the cramps were in the theighs and they put and end to my race on the wall. this hill was perfectly named. i wish i had a picture of it. we didn't do the wall on the first lap but we sure as hell did it on the second lap. my guess is 20% grade for about 1 minute. i almost had to unclip and walk because the theighs threatened to lock up on me. once over the top the lead group was riding away from me.
I hooked up with another guy and we actually caught back on but only because the race was kind of neutralized due to a crash in the pro 1 2 race (i think) that required an ambulance. so we rode with the group, at a very slow pace, for maybe 15 minutes until the officialls told us the race was back on, then about 15 seconds later we hit a big hill and i got dropped.
rode the last hour or so by myself and finished 21 out of about 30 finishers and 44 starters.
Another highlight was when i tried to pee while riding and pissed all over my bike, shoes, and water bottles. That was a total fail.
So those are my excuses and that was my race.
When i mentioned to Sting (dave) that i thought i would have done a lot better if i hadn't cramped he said, "well, thats part of it". Dave is the bomb.
This week i'm going for 14 hours (which will be my biggest week ever) culmination with the Joseph Sheehan Road Race on Sunday. That's a fun race and i hope i'm not too tired before it even starts. But when else am i going to get these long ride in?
I just keep telling myself it will be worth it.
It better be worth it.