Redlands Stage #1 2011

It’s definitely not cool to write a blog race report right after the race is over. It’s actually really geeky. So think of this as a long Twitter tweet. Maybe like 6 tweets in a row. And I’m not on Twitter, so I have to do my tweeting here on #wordpress.

The stage: 120 miles. 90 degrees. Windy. Five laps of a fairly flat circuit with a few short climbs. My job was to get in a breakaway and/or do well in the finish. I achieved neither, but sure tried. I did manage to get plenty of water for the team (which everyone was doing today since we all went through 8 or so bottles each). And I did successfully pee off the bike three or four times. Success is a loose term here, and does not include “cleanliness” or “pee-flow” accuracy. The wind direction was not in my favor today.

I got things started with not the first attack of the day, though I did have the chance to follow it but wisely restrained myself from doing so, but did go with and then attack the third or fourth attempt of the day. My second or third go at it during the first lap saw me fighting a head wind by myself as I attempted to solo away from the field right at the base of a steep climb. This was dumb, but I wasn’t aware the climb was coming up so quickly (and I also thought I had heard that this climb was not in the course, though I later realized it was the KOM climb that was being talked about). Anyways, I was caught and scolded for my poorly-chosen time of attack as I fought off a huge barrage of hydrogen ions in my legs for the next half lap, which was either tail wind or climbing almost the entire time. It took me forever to finally recover, but once I did I got to the front again and gave it another shot. No dice though.

Eventually the break got away without me and I spent the next couple laps focusing on getting bottles and staying near the front on the KOM climb.

On the final lap, very close to the base of the KOM climb, a crash occurred right in front of where just about our entire team was positioned. Fortunately I didn’t go down or have to unclipp, but I did come to almost a complete stop and saw my decently good positioning job go out the window as I lost about 40 spots in the blink of an eye. I went hard as we came into the short cross-tail wind section and re-gained some places, but by the time we took another turn and it became a tail wind again, I was still too far back. Gaps immediately began opening up as riders decided to pull the pin, finally losing the mental battle and giving in to the pain their legs had been dealing with all day. I came into the KOM climb in the wind, briefly on the front of whatever group was left behind me, but wasn’t able to make it into what was left of the peleton of 30-40 guys. I worked with a few others up the climb and gave it one big push as I came to the top of the first riser. I kept on trying while others seemed to either give up, blow up, or cramp up. I kept trying for too long actually. After the climb I pulled a bit too hard on the decent in the small group of 6 that I was working with into town and kept messing the rotation up. They were calling groupetto (without really saying it), even though I suspect there were only about 30 guys up the road in front of us. I wanted to keep riding hard and try to minimize the damage and I eventually just road away from them into the head wind alone, and in doing so ruined a good deal of muscle fibers and glycogen stores in the final kilometers trying to close an unclose-able gap to the out of sight group ahead. It ended up being very stupid, because I got caught right before the finish line by a huge group of riders. I could have been sitting in that entire time taking it easy. I felt like an idiot for burning all that energy that could have been spent tomorrow or the next day (as my friend Ben Chaddock of Exergy pointed out to me). Though in my defense, I had been under the impression, and always have been, that it aint over till it’s over. Sometimes, though, especially in a stage race when there are multiple days left to deal with, it is over before it’s over. And the main point to take away from today’s wasteful effort at the end is that the group you’re riding with decides when it’s over, not the individual rider.

I’ve probably gone a bit over my 6 tweet twat by now, so I’ll wrap things up:

Pre race breakfast food: half a liter of oats/fruit mixture, chicken breast, cheese, two eggs, handful of pepperoni, mushrooms (the last few things were cooked together by the way), large chocolate chip pancake.

Race food: two bottles of whey/pineapple juice/perpetuem, three or so bottles of diluted coke, one bottle of heed, or two maybe, 1,000 calories of maple syrup, one apple pie, one Honeybun, one fake 5-hour energy.

Post race food: two scoops of recoverite, one chocolate/peanut butter nutty bar, one luna bar, one banana, one thing of chocolate pudding, one peanut butter nature valley bar, one can of coke, one chicken burrito at chipotle, one slim cow chocolate/vanilla ice cream sandwich, one handful of cheetoes, pineapple juice, that brings us up to date, though I’m about to go crush a bowl or four of cereal.

Results aren’t in yet (another sign that I’ve blogged before blogging should be allowed) but I believe I finished a few minutes down on the breakaway (which stayed away) and probably around 60-70th place in a group that contained half the field. I was pretty disappointed in the way my race turned out but I’m feeling good about my fitness. My cold, which I thought was completely gone though, is coming back a tiny bit, so a full 15 hours of sleep tonight will be needed to keep it in check. Good night.

I’ll do an update when we find out the results.

Edited. I finished 60th in a large group that contained 41 riders, with 50 guys up the road. I’m now sitting 64th GC. I’m 3 minutes down on the leader, so there’s nothing to lose. It’s all or nothing in the next two stages.

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