Sunday, April 19, 2009

Polarized View

So the first race is in the history books. I finished 10th, not exactly what I was hoping for, I was aiming to better my best result, a 6th from 2006. But that’s the end result, now for the days report.

I got up nice and early to prepare my slow cook oats and fresh coffee, which I ran out to get last night. I was told I was very anxious and restless yesterday, and that was one more thing I could do instead of sit down and relax. Anyway, I had everything all packed and ready to go so all I had to do was eat, and load up the Mazda for the drive down to Ancaster. I was meeting Shane there at 8, to get a ride to the start line. I got out the door a few minutes late and under estimated the drive time. Kylie you would be proud I didn’t even look to see what the driving time was I just went with it but I did have directions. I arrived at 8:15 in time for a few dirty looks, as I was the one imposing the early arrival so we weren’t rushed. I picked up my package without showing my license which I spent an hour on last night trying to find a picture for it and laminate it.

The drive to Paris was quick, I got ready and after a warm-up, which probably could have been better I headed for the start line. Which was the first glitch of the day, trying to get into the front pen without a yellow number. You need to have finished in the top 100 the prior year and or have a uci race license, which I both did. But I was given a red number at registration. Fry and I were told to go to the back of the field. We just quietly awaited the organizer while some masters riders were asking this particular race guy, (who I have a bit of a history with….maybe another time) "are you serious"

In the end we were called up to front line, and said our good lucks to each other (even though we don’t actually mean it) The start was the fastest I’ve ever done at this race. With Jeremy powers killing it off the start line, and driving the pace onto the rail trail. I was in a nice position and at this point my legs felt good. The pace settled down a little bit, with Peter Mogg taking a flyer off the front. This is when I made my first mistake, I started to fall back a little bit with some riders riding up the grass banks. I wasn’t too concerned but when the guy with the fender and camelback passed me I decided it was time to get moving back to the front. I thought I had a little more time to get there before we hit the first course feature which basically shatters the field. It’s a hard 90 degree corner onto a couple short steep loose climbs.

My second mistake was getting a little ahead of my legs and trying to bridge up to the leaders to quickly. I felt strong for the first 100 meters or so, but that’s when I my legs started to shut down and my hr dropped which also kinda freaked me out, as I was pretty maxed out. The last pitch killed me heading onto the road and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold on any longer. I knew I went a little to hard to fast and I was paying the price. A couple riders went passed but I just couldn’t respond and I knew I had to back off or I was going totally implode. After the first forrest section, I had a couple more riders go by before I hooked onto a guys wheel just in front of this chick wearing a rocky jersey with rainbow stripes on the sleeves (Alison Sydor, if you didn’t catch the sarcasim) anywho, I pulled a couple times, I looked back and saw a big group of 15-20 riders about to gobble us up. I fell back into this group as Alison and the guy almost got into a fight over her not pulling, the guy was riding from one side of the road to the other, trying to get her off his wheel. Which allowed the big group to just mow them both down.

It was a solid group of some familiar faces, Andrew Croutch, Mike Dennis, some Waglers, Hamish, Paul Greene, I settled in near the back out of the wind to see if I could recover enough to finish strong. I needed to relax so I started to converse with some of the other riders. Some of the masters made a couple attacks but nothing really stuck. By the time we hit the next semi off road section through a field and onto a rail trail my legs had come around and I was ready to get going again and try to pick off as many people as I could. While heading onto the rail line, Alison didn’t really attack, but just rode off the front and opened up a little bit of a gap. I don’t think anyone thought it would stick so they just let her go. I rode past them and headed out chasing her. A couple guys latched on my wheel but over some rough terrain which included a cross dismount over a log I gaped them and got on Alison’s wheel. I came by and settled into a solid tempo, something I can say I am confident in gauging myself. We headed back onto the road, and when I looked back there was no one in sight.

We had a pretty brutal headwind for rest of the race, as we were heading pretty much due east most of the time right into it. So I wasn’t sure if I/We could make it stick against 8 pretty strong guys chasing. But it was worth a try so I got in the drops and just pictured I was riding down ridge road, Expect my wrists weren’t breaking and I didn’t have to worry about pinch flatting.

Alison stuck in my draft for the most part, it was nice to not be out there solo, it kept me pushing. On some of the rail trails she came by for enough time for me to recover for a bit. We picked up a few riders, Fry who was riding strong was having some back issues for one.
There was one little muddy section that I messed up on and Alison passed me and put a little gap into me. It was around this point I was wondering how the finish was going to shape up. I could see we were gaining on a few riders but I knew that as long as they didn’t completely blow the race was getting close to the end and I was running out of real estate. My legs were feeling pretty good, and I felt good about the climb into the finish which is pretty tough, but I was pushing a lot of wind for a long time so I couldn’t rule out that Alison could go by me on the last climb if I faded.

We hit the first of two "chutes" that signal the end is near, the first was pretty much bone dry and as long as you stuck on a good line you came out of it fine. I played it a little safe not wanting to puncture. We came out together and hit the last few road sections. The second chute was a little muddy and I had a gap when I came out of it. I hit the hammer button to open up as much as I could leading into the last climb. I hit the climb and knew I just had to stay upright, which ended up being pretty tough as my legs started to fad near the top. But I made it to the finish line with my head on straight.

Overall I feel mixed on the race, I made a couple mistakes that cost me. And it’s always a little tough to know how the legs are going to respond the first race out. But I didn’t have any technicals, or crashes and rode a solid pace pretty much solo into a crazy headwind that a couple years ago would have broken me. So I’ll keep it positive and get to work on what I need to do to fill in the holes.

The next few days are looking a little nasty, but I have some shorter harder rides to tack on Monday & Tuesday, before getting ready for the first MTB race at Mansfield on Sunday.

"your in big trouble"
anonymous winnipeg resident

1 comment: said...

Congrats Andrew, this is a great write up!