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!