Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Turkey Hill report

I got there early because Geronimo didn't pre-register but that gave us time to ride around the course. Geronimo happened to win the 1/2/3 version of this race a few years ago so he gave me a ton of invaluable advice as we soft pedaled around the course. Advice which I tried to unload on the other 5 Ciclismo guys (Matt H., J. Cole, Ashley D., Dan L., and C. Newport)a few minutes before the race started. We also came up with a buddy system so that we could look after each other during the race.

For me the race started off at a nice leisurely pace which I needed because my legs felt like doo doo as they had all week. But that soon changed and we started to motor along as breaks formed and chases ensued. Around mile 30 of 60 I found it hard going and slipped to the back. I stayed back there for a few laps and tried to recover. Soon I noticed that I didn't see as many Ciclismo jerseys up front. Somehow Ashley and Jason slipped off the back and I didn't see them go. So much for being a "buddy"... I suck. Turns out a lot of people dropped off as the pace got increasingly faster. About half the field of 100 didn't finish.

So I moved back up the front again where Matt, Dan, and Chris were all day. And the race finally came down to the last two laps in which we would go up the "Gambler Wall". I was envisioning this mile long 17% wall of death. Turns out the "wall" was about 40 meters long and could be coasted half way up if you got enough speed approaching it. I found it funny that I worried about this short but steep kicker all week. At the beginning of the last lap I tried getting away as I was told before the race would be a good opportunity to. But as I turned around after my "sprint" I saw the whole field still on my wheel. (bad idea #1). We hit the "wall" for the last time and gapped a few more people. The field now down to about 30 guys Dan, Chris, and myself still in it. Along the back straight I found myself at the front with one guy up the road. So I thought "what the hell, why not" so I dug deep and bridged up the lone rider. Again I turned around I see the field is still on my wheel. I didn't bridge up, I chased down unintentionally (bad idea #2). So now I had to recover from two sprints in the last lap. Coming down the finishing straight Dan was coming up the right when a bad crash happened right in front of him. Good bunny hopping skills saved his ass but caused him to lose out in the sprint. I had nothing left for the sprint and was right behind Chris. Since I was not being led out and couldn't give Chris a proper lead out I decided to just scream at Chris to "GO GO GO GO f$#% GO!!!" I'm pretty sure Chris didn't appreciate being screamed at in the final sprint by someone he met a few hours before and who was not providing him with any physical support whatsoever (bad idea #3). Oh well, sorry Chris.

So I crossed the line with 30 other tired guys at the same time. They placed me in 20th, sounds about right from where I was sitting. Nothing special, but I'm told to keep looking at the bright side. We did drop 70% of the field, we worked well as a team, it's not a bad place for my 6th or so road race, and I learned how to take off knee warmers mid-pack. I can't wait to do this race again next year.

That's all folks!

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