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Monday, June 20, 2011

Lord of the Chainrings

The Lake to Lake this year was pretty much as I expected.

I found out on race day that because I was on a team, I would be required to start in the 2nd wave. This was a bit of a piss off as it meant the lead out train wouldnt be as fast, and therefore we wouldnt be humming along the initial 10km of fireroad as fast as we could. From last year, I learned that alot of time could be made with an efficient group of riders willing to share the load and pace line it out on the double track. If you were leading, or on your own, you were at a significant disadvantage.

I got to the start queue a little later than I would have liked, and was alarmed to see that the riders ahead of me were of the newbie variety. I was a little aggressive to try to get close to the tape and ahead of the newbs, you gotta do what you gotta do. Let me say there is nothing wrong with newbies. However, riding in a peloton of mountain bikers who may not know how to hold a line is possibly the most frightening experience in the world.

The key for the start was to get ahead of the 20 or so volatile landmines that were at the tape and hang with the top 3-4.

The start was good. 10 pedal strokes or so and I was leading the pack. I attacked pretty hard for the first km or so to string it out before the turn. My teammates, Adam, Jeff and Carl were also up there with me and they took the reins and led for the next few km. Very early it was clear that our team had this race in control. We worked well together making steady pulls, keeping the pace up.


My only gripe for the entire race was the lack of ambition on the fireroad sections. These sections were long, flat and into a headwind. Perfect place to paceline and crank up the pace to shell some of peloton as well as ensure the fastest most efficient way to the finish line. I decided to initiate. I took the lead and drove up the pace. After my pull i gestured to for someone to take the lead. No dice. They werent tired, they just didnt care to crank the pace up. There was one roadie dude that did understand and we worked pretty good for awhile. Overall, I feel that alot of time was lost on the doubletrack due to soaking in the scenery.

My team was doing an excellent job sticking together. We were all closely matched and that meant we could work together well. At any point in the race I do not think there was more than 30 seconds betweeen myself, Adam and Jeff.

We began reeling in the back half of the elite wave slow and steady. Traffic wasnt too much of an issue as the field had been spread thin and there was plenty of opportunity to pass. Taking turns leading ensured we kept the pace up.

One of the highlights of the race was catching up to Erica whose race wasnt going to well. It just so happened that we caught up on the only real singletrack on the course. So we kicked it up a notch and threw down some mtb skillz and tore away from the group of 5 or 6 riders that were with us. Good times.

I was still gunning to get a decent finish time, so I attacked whenever I could and was quite happy with how my legs handled the workload. Even with maybe 10 hard attacks, my legs felt ok.

Towards the end, with about 5k to go, my legs cramped fiercely. I was dehydrated from the day before *cough* Bier Markt Esplanade *cough* and was afraid this would happen, but with 5k to go.. no bigs. I spun lightly on the last gravel hill, to freshen up my legs, and then ramped up the pace again.

My teammates were back up with me, and we worked together again to bring the pace up and finish strong. Myself, Adam and Jeff finished within a minute of each other. Testament to how closely we were matched.


My time ended up being 2:02. five minutes slower than last year, on a course that was faster. I shouldnt be dissappointed given that I havent put into training what I have in the past. However, Im still getting over the mental block of constantly improving. This year has been the first year ever that I havent improved fitness wise on the previous year.

Still 2:02 was good enough for 18th fastest time overall. So I accomplished my goal. Im focused on getting my fitness back for Kelso. Trimming some fat, and more importantly developing about 5-7% more power in key areas during the next 6 weeks or so. Im already starting to feel my race fitness coming back, so things are looking better and better.

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