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Friday, June 3, 2011

Ouch.

I decided to bite the bullet and finally sign up for a race. I am officially signed up for the Albion OCup. Ive coughed up the 50$ and there is no turning back.

Ive been riding alot, especially since the weather has made a turn for the best. 3 rides over 100 km in the last 10 days or so, a few shorter rides, and one race effort.

About that race effort...

I signed up for the Chicopee Race series yesterday. I figured I should probably log in a race effort or two before I pit myself against the fastest in Ontario.

I arrived at chicopee early, did the sign up and proceeded to warm up. Five climbs up the ski hill, a little tempo at the top, and some single track to make sure I could still handle a bike. The course was 7km with an ungodly amount of climbing. I cant see how beginners would enjoy this race. Two climbs up the ski hill per lap and some relatively unflowy singletrack would make for a nightmare for someone not seasoned.

The race turnout was small. Maybe 12-14 people ranging from rank beginner to the four Senior Elite riders. Myself, Simon and Jamie Wagler, and Scott Lynch. I figured itd be clockwork hang with the three elite boys and let the three or four lap sufferfest ensue.

Off the start we get launched up a ski hill, no bigs, I started at the back, but the ski hill did its selection and launched me up with the other elites.

Race pace quickly ensued, and my HR skyrocketed. Up to about 98% of my max. The race quickly became clear that it was going to be the elite guys winning by quite a few minutes, as the gap was at least thirty seconds from everyone else 1km into the race.

The Waglers and Scott were about 100m ahead of me, and decided to throttle the pace to let me catch up... but unfortunately my engine was maxed out. Embarassing.

They slowly drifted away, and I continued on my way. The first lap was a mess as i crashed everywhere, missed turns and blew through tape. A combination of seeing stars from the race effort and just being rusty overall. 2nd lap was better as I knew where i was going, and the third lap was the best one and Id be curious to see what my split time was, as I felt significantly quicker. Interestingly, at no point did my legs feel sore. Hammering up the hills in the big ring The speed 'bottleneck' was clearly my heart and lungs.

Ive never felt this outclassed for as long as I can remember. I dont have that snap off the line. My warmup was not much different than what Ive done before...but 9months with out a race effort has certainly taken its toll. Ive done quite a few hill climb workouts , but nothing in the realm of race pace efforts. It took 14km for my body to acclimatize and start to feel ok. Hopefully this is just a little dust that has to be shaken off.

Judging solely on my third lap effort, i dont feel my pace is that far off.. but the initial penalty of getting my body up to speed was very detrimental.

With eight days until Albion there is no time to train anything that would improve my race start. Im going to squeeze three short workouts in the next 8 days with the focus being on sustained race pace efforts. The efforts wont be taxing in terms of muscular fatigue or TSS, as they'll be short (less than an hour) but the focus will be to jump start my heart and lungs to get them used to the volatile workload they'll be receiving come Albion. Ive done this in the past during early season and ive found that a few hard workouts mimicking a race effort does wonders to recoup your body's ability to respond.

We'll have to see what happens. If anything this race was a wake up call. You cant slack off in Elite.

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