Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Still a Lot to Learn

Ah, Maine - truly the way life should be! Sunny skies, warm temps and two great days of racing (preceded by sitting on the deck, beer in hand, meat on the grill...).

Despite all of the racing experience over the past few years, it appears that tactically, I still have a LOT to learn (or at least remember). Here are the lessons learned from this past weekend.

From Saturday's Auburn Road Race (7th/12):

  1. If you are in a group being overtaken by another group on the road, you need to neutralize and move over (and if you are the pace car driver, you need to overtake BEFORE the decisive climbs instead of hitting the brakes and making us all almost fall over...).
  2. Cramping while climbing a 12% grade sucks.
  3. When you can still see the group in front of you, and you are TT'ing like a crazy person, the chances are pretty good you're not going to catch them on your own - especially on a flat to downhill section of road.
  4. When you are caught by a group from behind who are actually riding slower than you, it is SMARTER to sit in with them than to work your a$$ off trying to maintain the speed you were going, 'cause you're still not gonna catch the group in front!
  5. Sometimes, being a stronger climber is a blessing...

From Sunday's Great Falls Crit (5th/17):

  1. Starts are still key.
  2. Stay IN the draft through the corners, not out in the wind just 'cause you're afraid of everyone else.
  3. Being the strongest rider in a chase group stinks - you're still chasing (and in my case, burning matches doing the work).
  4. Once you are in a Sunapee sandwich, with one of their teammates up the road, you should SIT IN instead of working your butt off and getting dropped with two laps left to go... (see #3 above).
  5. Even if you may have a small common goal, racers with teammates up the road will NOT work with you for ANY reason.
  6. Now I know what people feel like racing against the NEBC women ;).
  7. Know the rules! I ended up getting lapped right as the leaders were finishing their race. I still technically had 1 to go, but wasn't sure if I was finished or not. I went around one last time, just to be sure, but also didn't want to cross the line again if I wasn't supposed to (the rule is that you finish on the same lap as the leaders, BTW).

I don't think this is the right place to be...; Burning matches, but at least it's a nice setting!

Me and the Sunapee girls; Am I finished?

Mike, on the other hand, had a terrific weekend of racing. He decided to register for the Pro 1/2/3 race on Saturday - 81 miles, and 7 times up the miserable climbs. Both Ted and Robbie King were registered for the same race, with Ted just getting back from the Giro! Mike added to the depth of the talent in the race, managing to hang on to the chasing group throughout, crossing the line 11th. An awesome result for him showing how much all of the training is paying off!

The Pro 1/2/3 field ready to go; Mike, safely in the peloton

A terrific finish!; Tired after 81 miles

On Sunday, he decided to do just one race back in the Master's 35+ field. I watched in surprise as he took a flier on the first lap (of 20), wondering what he was up to. He and his attack partner were quickly caught, a counter went, and the chase was on. Like my race, however, the Sunapee and OA/Cycle Mania teammates were very effective in shutting down any moves, resulting in a bunch sprint for 3rd place. Some sketchy wheels made Mike think twice about dicing it up, but he still finished a very respectable 13th.

Off the front on the first lap!; Working hard

Back in the pack; Sprinting for the finish

We have a break in the race schedule now, for which I am grateful. I'm tired not only from racing, but from being on the road every weekend as well, sometimes both days. I'm looking forward to a visit with my parents this week, and then some riding for fun - remember that? ;)


Colin R said...

That first picture of you going 20 feet wide on the corner is awesome.

claudia said...

In two words, the lesson appears to be SIT IN. Although, I *do* have a hard time imagining that.


Cat5Tatoo said...

Sunapee sandwhich - ha ha