2011 San Luis Rey Road Race

San Luis Rey Road Race – 2011

   Awoke to howling winds of 40-50 mph.  Not a good sign before a 75 mile road race. I decided to call the Escondido police department to see if it was just as windy there. The race was 150 miles away from my home so I was hoping the weather conditions might be different.  I was lucky; the woman said there was no wind at all. Great! I headed out, and just like she said, there wasn’t very much wind at all. It was hot though. I had ample time to get ready and although you don’t really need to warm up for a 75 mile race in 90 degree weather, I had just gotten my new Lemond Revolution Trainer and I decided to soft pedal for 30 minutes.

The course was a moderately hilly 14.7-mile circuit on well-paved roads. The final 2.2 miles climb of each lap was about 400 feet. Total climbing per lap was approximately 530 feet. We were doing five laps.

I didn’t have anyone to feed me water in the feed zone, so I loaded up on salt pills, bars, Gu and carried an additional bottle in my jersey. I staged in the shade until the very last minute when the official gives us last minute instructions.

The race started with a 2.5 mile descent. Although I had spun my legs, my blood felt like sludge because of the heat. The descent was fast. It had a few switch backs and a nice S-turn about half way down. The rest of course was fairly flat. It was an out and back, which meant we had to climb that same 2.2 miles on the way back.

We stayed together for the entire first lap until the ascent of the second lap. It wasn’t steep but the distance was a little long for me. As we got close to the top I came unhooked from the lead group. I looked at my computer and I was going 19 mph on a 5% grade and they were pulling away! I was the last guy from the lead group to get dropped but luckily on the descent, another four racers pulled up from behind. The pack had been cut in half!  The five of us worked together for the next six or seven miles and rejoined the group before the next turn-around. We stayed together for the return and up the hill the third time,  but this time we were flying. I came unglued in the exact same spot.  At the turn-around  I could see one little racer ( I think he weighed less than my dog Mufasa) who had a huge gap on the rest of the lead group.  He was a good minute ahead of them.  Unfortunately for me, there was no one to help me on the descent but I went as fast as I could. Max speed was 57.5 mph. I started picking off a few guys on the flats, but they couldn’t hold my wheel and I was alone again. I time trialed for about 10 miles and almost caught the pack (which was now about 20 racers) as they slowed down before the right turn to the hill for the fourth lap.  Everyone knew the hill would be hard, so they had slowed down before the storm. It was my chance to regain the group but the wind had substantially picked up and I just couldn’t get there. They must have hammered up the hill because, at the turn-around they had three or four minutes on me. I tried to maintain  a good tempo up the hill but by now, it was hot, windy and my legs were tired. I had been out on my own for 14.5 miles and had another lap to go. I went as fast as I could on the descent but the wind had picked up and there was a head wind. I made myself as small as I could but had no reprieve. That’s how it went for the rest of the race. By the last climb, four racers caught me on the hill. I picked up the tempo and dropped them only to be passed by one guy 50 meters from the line. 75 miles, 3500 ft of climbing, 3000 calories expended in under about 3:27 minutes.

   I need to lose weight to be able to climb that fast for that long…. State championships in about a month. I need to lose 10 lbs. Had my body fat tested about a week ago and I was 4.9%. Not much fat to lose, so I guess I’ll have to catabolize some muscle!

Boulevard Road Race and Haus Criterium – 2011

Boulevard Road Race

When I arrived at Boulevard Road Race I made the wrong turn and ended up driving up the climb. I measured it from the car. It was about 5 miles long. Two miles then a dip, then up again, another dip and then it rose to the steepest part at the feed zone which was right after the start/finish. I knew there was no way I could hang on for that long of a climb.

The race started uphill for about a mile and then we made a right turn. I didn’t know it, but there was a descent for about 10 miles. You know me, on a descent I’m close to the front. As we initially descended we could see off in the distance a big flat bed truck loaded with bales of hay. Remember, this a two lane, winding highway. One of the guys commented “we’re going to catch that truck and it’s going to be a problem.” I thought to myself, “this is an opportunity.” If I could get to the truck alone, I would be able to get around it myself but the pack would be stuck. I attacked immediately and within about a mile I caught the truck. No one had come with me. HAH. I’m now flying at 42 miles an hour drafting the truck. After six or eight miles I’m gone! I mean the pack was nowhere in sight. This was my chance. If I could make it up the climb by myself for the first lap, it was very possible they would go slower on the second lap which would leave the last lap. One problem though. I was going so fast I never saw the cone to make a right hand turn and I was so close to the back of the truck that the volunteer never even knew there was a cyclist behind the truck plus, there was no pack in sight. Needless to say, I blew by the turn and about a mile down the road I noticed an orange sign on the opposite side of the road. After I passed the sign, I looked back and it said “Special Event Ahead.” Damn, I had passed it. I had to stop, go back uphill and by the time I got to the corner I could see the pack coming.

I made the right hand turn and for the next five miles or so it was rollers. The pack caught me and passed me. I got dropped. I fought my way back until the start of the climb where I got dropped again. However, I caught them again on the downhill only to get dropped again on the last climb. Some big dude and another guy caught me on the last climb as well, but we dropped the one kid and the bidg dude and I hammered the second lap. He would lead on the descent and I would lead on the climbs. At the descent from the climb on the second lap we could see the pack about ¾ of a mile ahead. We had to catch them before the descent or we were done. We tried but the wind had picked up and it wasn’t to be. I dropped the big guy and went at it alone for the third lap until I passed some other kid who had been dropped and finished. At least I wasn’t last. 67 miles and 5999 ft of climbing.

Haus Criterium

After Boulevard I got in the van and drove 5 hours to Phoenix. Legs were killing me and I felt stiff all over. Knee was swollen, so I iced, stretched and went to bed. Got up and went to the crit in Chandler, Az. A 1.2 mile course with 13 turns on a speedway. Perfect for me; the more technical the better. There were two teams with about four riders each who were racing smart. I couldn’t contest the primes because I had so much fatigue in my legs, but I know how to corner so I stayed in the front. The two teams battled it out and eventually two guys stayed slightly away for first and second and I got 5th in the field.