This is what a college cyclist’s house looks like.
And we just cleaned too!
I found out what it’s like to be the weaker person in a breakaway today. I sucked Zach Winter’s Wheel (Guinness) up both the 2 mile climb and the 1K climb, each lap. I was hurting like…something that really hurts a lot. Apparently I lost some brain cells due to the extreme hurting, because I can’t think of a simile that works.
It all began at 11AM east of Medford. After driving down from Eugene with Karey and Mike, I got in a solid 40 minute warm up under the increasing heat of the sun. I rolled up to the start just in time to take a pee next to a car in the parking lot (on the bark-dust, don’t worry). I saw Chris Swan at the front and cut in line to the front of the pack to stand next to him. And we were off.
As the 30-40 riders rolled out of the school parking lot, I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me. He was from Redding, and was talking about the crappy weather we had during the Willamette stage race. I couldn’t pay attention because I was anxiously waiting for the neutral zone to end. In mid sentence, I rudely interrupted him to find out if he knew how long this damn neutral zone was. He was unsure, and continued talking about the weather.
I was anxious about the neutral zone, which seemed to go on forever, because my race plan was to attack immediately and solo the 73 miles to victory. Or blow up and get dead last, which I secretly thought was more likely (but didn’t tell myself). I know Gilad, my coach, thinks that it was an easy week, but I have been pretty tired the past few days. Last night I practically went into a comma after I ate dinner at 7:30. I would have fallen asleep right there on the food stained couch of my disgustingly dirty apartment, but I still had to get all my stuff ready for the race.
Back to the heat and wind of Table Rock:
Finally, our lead motorcycle took off, signifying the end of the neutral zone. I clicked up a few gears and was about to sprint, when Hutches (I forget exactly who) took off. I grabbed the second wheel–the guy who I had been talking to–and sat in for a bit as Hutches pulled, thinking the rest of the pack was right behind. Nick, also from Hutches, bridged up and we had a 4 man break. I was still unaware for a good minute or so. When I finally looked back after someone said, “come on guys let’s work together,” I realized that I was in a break away and I went up to take a pull.
I went hard for a minute, then took a short rest before taking another pull. By now, we were at the base of the long climb and 3 or 4 other guys had bridged up, with the pack partially broken up behind us. I hit the hill moderately hard and myself and another guy traded off pulls. We dropped a couple people, then more bridged up.
About half way up the hill, which isn’t very steep, Quinn (CMG) and two guys on his wheel flew past our break. I jumped on the train and looked back to see that I was the only one who had the legs to follow. Quinn slowed down a bit and when neither of the other 2 guys came around to take their pull, I attacked and got away by myself. I was feeling pretty good, and held a good pace to the top of the hill for about a mile.
I looked over my shoulder as I started to descend and saw the pack looming in on me, but a lone rider (Zach) was bridging up to me. I slowed down to let him catch me. From there to the end of the race, Zach and I nailed it and got around 4 minutes on the pack.
We took even pulls for the first lap, although I had to tell Zach to slow down on the hills. By the second lap, I was getting pretty tired and he was taking more than his fair share of pulls. I was worried that he’d try to drop me on the next long climb, so I told him I wouldn’t contest him at the end if he was willing to work together until the end. He agreed with that, saying, “Don’t worry, I need you too!” By the last lap, I could tell he was getting very tired because I no longer had to tell him to slow down on the long climb. I began to take more pulls, in fear of the pack magically appearing behind us on one of the course’s many corners. It did not appear, and we congratulated each other at the 1K mark. With 200M to go, Zach took off and I, for the first time of the day, switched into my small ring as my filthy tired legs staggered up the final 8% grade, which felt more like 20%.
It was one of the hardest races I have done. Going up that long hill took a lot of concentration for me. I kept telling myself “God damn it, just climb at least one more mile before you quit!” My head hung low, mouth gaping open, entire body encrusted in sticky maltodextrin, spit and sweat. I fixated on Zach’s bottom bracket, going into somewhat of a trance. By the end of the race, I was VERY happy with 2nd place.
Congratulations to my teammates David Heritage, who took 5th in the cat 4s and Chris Swan, who took 4th in the 1/2s. Chris and I may not technically be on the same team, but whatever. See Karey’s race report here once she gets around to it.
PS Karey, I farted the entire way home in your car and now the driver’s seat smells like ass. hahahaha
Yesterday, Will and I took off from Eugene for a 5 hour ride, armed with our pockets full of Snickers and bananas. The 5 hours ended up being 6, and would have been seven if it hadn’t been for a road closure due to snow.
We went down south to Cottage Grove, then east towards the mountains on Row River rd, which eventually turns into a one lane road that meanders through the Umpqua National forest. Giant pines laden with thick moss loomed above us, shading us from the overcast but bright sky. The road gets up to around 5,000 feet, which includes some great switch backs and fairly steep climbing. Unfortunately, after getting off our bikes about 10 times to hop over fallen trees lying across the road, we were unable to reach the top, due to snow. We headed down, following Brice Creek, which has some gnarly white water. We got back to civilization in Cottage grove a few hours later and hit up a dirt BMX track, then headed home.
Today I met Andrew, Mike, and Karey for a 70 mile ride. We went slower than Will and I went yesterday, but my legs were tired afterwards anyways.
I just replenished my maltodextrin supply at the local home brewery place. For those of you who don’t know, maltodextrin is the primary carbohydrate used in goos. It is derived from corn, and is a great source of calories for races. You can get it for around $5 a pound at brewery supply places, which is cheep compared to the price of goo. It mixes in clear with water and is almost tastelss. I mix in 400-500 calories a bottle and also put it in goo flasks. If anyone knows where to get it in bulk, let me know.
Tomorrow is the Table Rock RR.
All I could think about today during class was the pain I would soon be putting my body through on Nectar Way. I actually started obsessing about the workout yesterday afternoon. That is how intense Nectar Way is, if you didn’t get an idea of what it was like from my last post about it.
It was wet today, which meant that our back tires were spinning out while going up the 21% grade (David Heritage corrected me, the hill is actually 2 or 3% steeper than I said before). Another thing that slowed me down a bit was the rubbing of my wheel against my frame. I have my new power tap wheel on and I think it needs to be trued or something. When I put a lot of force on the left pedal, I hear a squeak coming from the rear wheel, which I’m associating with the sound of a rubber tire against the carbon frame.
Will and I did the workout together this afternoon. 15 times up for him, 20 for me. Our instructions were slightly different this time. Instead of going all out from the first one, Gilad wanted us to “ease” our way into the first 3 hills and try to keep a consistent speed throughout the workout. It worked. I still went hard every time, but I didn’t blow up like I did last week (I blew up multiple times last week, mind you). There was no weaving across the road this time, just a straight line up. Hard every time. I got a headache and was wheezing like an asthmatic, but my average speed up the hill was much higher than last week.
Number 14 and 15 were my last “fast” climbs, other than number 20. These were Will’s last two times up, and I wanted to push it in case he thought he had the legs to beat me. He did not. After these two times up, my legs had reached a new level of tiredness, and I could feel the earth’s evil gravity sucking my down. On hill repeat number 19, I became obsessed with a name that I had just thought up for my legs: Sir Lead Legs Bottom Bracket. I kept thinking about that damn name the entire way up, repeating it in my head over and over. This workout kicks ass. Nothing I have done compares with it. Going up 3 times all out is an intense workout in itself. I don’t know of many people that are willing to do something like this 20 times a week every week (and not half ass either). I am sure this damn hill will bring my fitness up a few notches.