Spotshot Photos from all races can be found HERE !
Faster than some, slower than others..While my earlier 2013 road exploits turned out to be somewhat social affairs, the Independence Valley Road Race (IVRR) was more of a soul searching pain cave experience. Hottie and I stuck around and she photographed all the races. What we saw confirmed what I and the other riders I talked to confirmed. With the exception of the Men's open 4's, all the races splintered into small affairs with nowhere to hide. IVRR was a tough day at the office.
I learned something valuable at this race. What I learned is my head needs to think racing from the starting gun to the finish line. Forty three of us rolled out in my race. The day was sunny and I had bare legs (aside from the hair) and arm warmers which I shed on the first lap. The course consisted of two twenty mile loops with two climbs each loop the balance flat to rolling. As we hit the first climb I was well within myself and moved up. As we crested the hill I was at the back of the front pack and behind me the field was blown apart into ones and twos.
I caught him on the hill and he would work with us on the flats until he disappeared.I relaxed as I felt I had made the cut. I stayed in place on the false flat and then was on a wheel as we hit the downhill. The downhill run was a screaming affair where we went over sixty kilometers per hour (look it up). When I ride with my friends you don't try and move up on narrow twisty descents and my mind fell into social mode. I relaxed and allowed a bit of a gap to form. I wasn't racing, I was riding. As we hit the bottom I closed the gap on the rider in front of me but he took the ninety degree corner wide and cut me off forcing me to brake (by the way the Cole pink pads are amazing, look for a review soon). I was decelerating as he was accelerating to close the gap in front of him. He closed the gap and I didn't. Then I soloed hard for ten minutes which hurt.
My second lesson is I should have soft pedaled and waited for a group. As it was when a group of six came up I was cooked from my solo effort and held on, but not for long. I kept the group within sight but the gap was growing. I caught my breath and worked on my pedal stroke (I pretend my feet don't weigh anything and work on circles) I hit the second hill and it seemed shorter than I recalled. Near the top I caught one of the guys who had been dropped from the groups I lost contact with and we worked together on the downhill and flats. We stuck together for a few minutes and then a group came up. As they came up on our left the second guy (Larry) said, "there's seven of us." The two of us latched on and we all talked about staying together.
We continued on and while I wasn't about to sprint for 30th place, one of the guys, (Larry) had largely sat on and I wasn't about to let him get in front of me. With 200m to go he moved up and without getting out of the saddle I "Cancellara'd" and just ramped it up and left him. The third guy in our group, a Lakemont rider, had taken off out of the saddle a few seconds before and I in my mind I just wished him well.
I ended up 31st out of 43 (so I really would have been sprinting for 30th) which is my worst of 2013, but I knew I had worked hard and I finished which gave me the single point which was my minimum objective on the day. Hottie kept reminding me that I had been sick and lost more than a week of training, but I should have done much better.
Hottie, Tux and I stuck around and as the mercury reached for, but didn't quite hit 70, it turned out to be a pretty fun day.
One of us is tired from racing and the other one gets to lay on the bed.....What is with THAT?