Redlands Prologue 2011

Holy fecal matter that was fornicating hard.

Word for the day: blown

This is one nasty prologue. I forgot how much this hurt last year. It starts out on a false flat, turns a corner and gets steep for a minute before a short decent, more false flat, and about 4.5 minutes of all out suffering up a short series of three 10-15% climbs. At some point on those final climbs you’re bound to blow up. I was blown right at the top of the first hill as it flattened out. There were another 3 minutes of blowing up to do though, so by the time I came across the finish line I was so blown I was no longer taking in air. My lungs had just given up at that point. Their agonizing pleas for oxygen had been ignored for too long at that point, so they just decided to call it a day and shut down.

Last week we raced somewhere in the range of 60 degree, overcast weather. Not too hot and not too cold. Today was 90 degrees, with a wind that didn’t cool you at all. I think the wind must have been around 95 degrees, if it’s possible for wind to be hotter than the air temperature.

The nasty, so cal smog burned my lungs and throat with such vileness that I needed a drink of water within minutes of heading down the start ramp.

I’d done a bunch of v02 intervals on the TT course over the past couple weeks. Whenever I’d ride down in Redlands during the time I spent living up at Big Bear, I’d do the steep section of the TT course at least once. So I knew how to pace it: you start out as hard as you can and pray you don’t blow up before you’re half way up.

I got passed by my following 30-second man, Sergio Hernandez of Jelly Belly, on the false flat section before the climb starts, which I had been expecting (and actually hoping for). My goal was to keep at threshold for the first 3/4ths of the race and save everything for the climb. If I didn’t get passed before the climb I figured it meant that I went too hard on that first section. This prologue is all about saving it for the climb. I think. Maybe not, since last year (and probably this year too) I sucked.

I caught Sergio mid way up the first steep pitch and kept on stomping the pedals past him as my breathing grew more and more ragged. I took a quick glance back a short while later and it appeared that he had blown the F up, just like I was currently doing. I forced myself to shift up as the road briefly flattened out, teeth chomping down on the insides of me cheeks (something I do when I’m in a lot of pain, which only makes for more pain later). I caught my 1 minute man on the next pitch and was slowly making progress on my leading 30-second man (Paul Thomas of Rideclean) but I didn’t have enough to make much progress on him during the final sprint up the last pitch. I finished the effort, unclipped and spent a good minute bent over my bars trying to breath in the hot, smoggy air. I spat and saw red. I had chewed two massive holes in my cheeks without realizing it. Now I’ll be dealing with giant sores in my mouth for a week.

I don’t know what my time was, but I know it isn’t that fast. I’m hoping I at least beat my last year placing of 85th. I rode down the hill and spun easy with the team as we discussed precisely where each one of us blew up on the climb. I believe the general consensus was “everywhere” and “all over the place,” much like last night with…(you can finish this mom joke yourself).

Not a bad day though. Got to race a bike, sit in a cold pool in the sun afterwards, and eat a lot of cereal and sardines. For a Kennett, it doesn’t get too much better than this.

Updated: results are in. I done did 70th place out of 205. Meh.

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