Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Mason Lake Road Race #2 2013 Race Report
After getting up at a ridiculous hour (considering the time change) and driving out just past the edge of civilization AGAIN; it was good to see Big John's familiar smiling face. On the drive to the start we had driven through off and on sprinkles and the sky looked like it held a smidgen of moisture. Temps were in the upper thirties and expected to climb. NOAA had promised no rain until eleven, and then only a 20% chance. We were in for a dry race.
Hottie and Tux went up the road to set up for race photography while John and I roared in place on our trainers. Soon it was showtime and the Twin Towers of Brown Power made our way to the line. As seventy six riders rolled out it began to rain. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as we in the Aviation industry like to say. As we opened up the pace the rain increased and you had to choose between drafting and getting water up your nose or moving aside and working harder. Three miles in there was a crash on the white line and as I rode past there were two riders down and one had a painful grimace that was not because of frustration. This was going to be a white knuckle ride.
John's yellow helmet was highly visible from behind, which was excellent, because that is where I was in relation to John. John did a commendable job of letting others do the work on the first two laps. John earned the nickname Seabiscuit for his habit of never letting anyone go. My limited race experience with John is does as much work as the entire peloton in bringing back breaks. If there was a George Bailey jersey, John would live in it. My back was unexplainably tight so I was just trying to hang on the back. On the third lap a solo break got a gap but the poor fellow ran out of gas and we pulled him back early on the fourth lap. The rain kept coming and we were all soaked.
The trade off today was that when we were on the wider road with good pavement, it was wetter because the surface was smoother. On the rough chip seal the spaces between the rocks held the water and the road seemed dryer. I could feel the cold water running down my exposed shins. My toes were wet and after the race I would discover I had failed to tape over the cooling vents in the soles of my shoes. They did their job, my feet did not overheat !! This oversight has since been addressed.
I wanted to move up and try and help John but after last week everyone that hadn't been dropped wanted to move up as well. To my amazement I was only a few riders in back of John as we turned onto the rough stuff six miles from the finish. John was sitting top eight and although my back was sore my legs had some go left in them.
Last week the pace had slowed at this point and we rode four wide on the narrow road as if the leaders had locked arms. This week some kind souls upped the pace which shed a few of the riders more suited to the tug of war competition. Although I was grabbing my brakes more than I wanted, it was better than the neutralized lead of we had last week.
With a few K's to go riders were jockeying for spots and I was down in the drops holding my line with an attitude. A rider came up next to me from behind and I felt his hood hit my forearm. I thought, "that was close, he'll back off." I was wrong, he bumped me twice more before I moved over and closed the door. I figured i was doing him a favor. We were bumping shoulders and bars and the wet pave' made it risky to blink. I caught up to John who was looking uneasy at the chaos.
Behind John there was the sound of bumping bikes followed by profanity and the sound of crashing bikes. "Don't look back" I thought selfishly. After riding next to him for a minute I moved up and hoped John would take my wheel. I was of course assuming he was able to read my mind and expected he would be right behind me. With about two K's to go I was able to work up on the right side without having to dodge mailboxes. With one K I was sitting about fifteenth and when everyone got cautious on a swooping downhill turn I moved up and claimed the right side as my own and when we hit the finishing straight (400M) I was top ten.
I didn't need to change my line and when the sprint started early I accelerated and felt okay. I was moving up and began having dreams of a good finish. It seemed too easy and my lactic acid and HR were nanoseconds from spiking. Soon there was a tornado to my left and instead of thinking, "I'm moving up," I was thinking, "I'm getting dusted." In contrast to last week where I wanted a hundred meters more, today the line was a hundred meters too far.
Amazing to think that when you race for 75 kilometers, that those last hundred meters would be so hard. I was out of the saddle, but my sore back (freakin psoas muscles) and total exhaustion kept me from hitting top speed.
I held on enough for a top twenty placing of nineteenth and Big John sprinted to sixteenth. There were sixty-six finishers and ten DNF's. I went on the USA cycling website and noted that last week I was the top CAT 5 (read Newbie) in the race. This week I was the number two guy and number three was twenty seventh and that was it in the top thirty.
While the race didn't give John much of a chance to show his strength, it was a race and it is early season and neither of us got hurt.
Full race photos can be found here: