Sunday, July 4, 2010

What The Hell Was I thinkin' ? Part 2

The Mt. Wachusett Road Race is considered the Queen Stage of the Longso Stage race. It's an 11 mile circuit with about 750 feet of climbing per lap. That isn't really much, except when you consider that all the climbing is done in a 4 mile stretch, and about 500 of that is done in a one mile stretch. In years past, they used to finish at the top of mount watchusett, which added another 1000 feet of climbing in a little over a mile. The finish climb then was 1 KM at an average of about 15%. In categorization terms, the hill would come in at a solid cat 3.

But the roads in the state park are in such bad shape, they simply added another lap to the circuit.

This race isn't exactly a climbers course. Climbers will do well here, but any rider capable of sustaining good power for more than 5 minutes can stay in contention, especially considering that this course has one of the longer/faster downhills in new england. I hit 57 MPH yesterday.

The race was slow. According to BikeReg, we averaged under 22 mph. Indeed, there were long sections on the flat part of the course where we were only going 15 mph. This gave ample opportunity for the slower climbers to get back on every lap. We were going so slow, that the juniors-who started 5 minutes after us - caught us at the end of the first lap. They neutralized our race to allow them to pass. This gave even more time for the slower riders to get back on. I felt good on almost every lap on on the big climb. I wasn't exactly cresting the top in at the front of the field, but I was firmly tacked onto the back of the lead group on every lap except one. Even on that painful 3rd lap, I was not more than 5 seconds behind the leaders over the top, and true to formula, they backed off and I was able to get back on.

Nearing the end of the 4th lap but well before the finish climb, the pace car once again neutralized our race. We thought the cat 4 field -who started ten minutes later- was catching us.


We were getting lapped by the lead juniors.

You read that correct, we actually got lapped on an 11 mile circuit after 4 laps by the lead juniors. That means they lapped the cat 4s, and would also have lapped the cat 3s if it weren't for the fact that the juniors were only doing 4 laps and this was their finish.

As our field was neutralized, the Indomitable Jonny Bold yelled out "PEE BREAK"

Pretty near the entire master field pulled over to whiz. I had needed to go since the half way though the first lap.

Things pretty much stayed together until the beginning of the last lap. I managed to once again latch onto the back of the leaders over the big climb, and this time they kept up the pace. As I'm no sprinter, and the finish climb is a power hill, I gave it everything I had for the finish and rolled across in 17th with a group of about 5 others. The winner had bolted away and put 22 seconds on my group in the last 500 meters. In fact he actually won by 7 seconds, and was right with us at the 500 meter mark. He's fast. Even Jonny Bold said he was impressed.

Before the race as I was getting dressed, I happened to notice the sole of my right shoe was detaching from the upper. By the end of the ride, it had separated halfway down the sole. Luckily, I have a new pair of shoes I hadn't put cleats on, so That's what I did last night.

Sunday is the TT. My worst discipline as a bike racer. I've borrowed a tri-spoke and a disk from El Presidente. I'll post a picture, with the dismal results later.

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