Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday's Tierra Del Sol Race

Last night, the three older kids were spending the night with friends or family. We had just Mia, so we broke away and ate at Olive Garden. My gut has been bugging me a bit; there's something going around.

I spent most of the evening after work, reviewing Algerbra--this is a long story in itself--and getting ready for my race.

Saturday morning I woke up and my gut was really out of sorts. I almost decided to bail on the race. But, I figured if it got bad, I'd just pull the plug. It was really just a tune up race.

I got up at 6:00 am and ate a quick breakfast. It only took me 45 minutes to get to the race. There's nothing better than being able to sleep in your own bed before a race! I signed up and began to warm up. I felt a little bad because my team was putting on the race and I hadn't done anything to contribute. I figure when the races start going up hill, that's when I'll put in my mandatory volunteer time.

My stomach was still touch-and-go, but I kept telling myself. If I run into any trouble there's no harm in pulling the plug.

At 9:00 AM the Cat. 1/2/3's rolled out first. The course traveled south out of Belen and then turned east up to mountains. We then turned around and came back; a typical out-and-back course. We started nice and easy. Finally after about 5 miles; my training partner Silvio took a flyer; he was by himself. He got about 75 yards, and peloton let him hang by himself. He was alone for about 5 miles. Finally, a member of Mountain Top racing, Travis Dixon, and Nob Hill Velo, Dave Kerr, joined him. Right away it became obvious that the three weren't working well together and the game remained at 75 yards. We then turned left towards the mountains, and the road gradually sloped up in a false flat. The pace was fairly easy because the three largest teams had someone in the break. After a few miles riding towards the mountains, I saw Dave Kerr and Silvio come out of the break and drift back to the main group. Travis was out there by himself. There began to be some surges to bring Travis back, but his team wasn't have any of it. Every surge was met with one of his teammates.

At this point I began to feel a bit randy; my stomach wasn't bugging me. I figured I'd move to the front and try to lend my efforts in pull Travis back. I went to the front and began to push the pace. The field strung out, but no one would come to help me. A Mountain Top rider sat on my wheel and wouldn't pull through, of course. I tried once more, but wasn't aided by anyone. Our team captain told me just to sit in and wait for a while. OK, no problem.

Finally, we came to the hill and the pace stayed the same as the slope increased. It was a hard effort, which my runner legs weren't happy with. I burryied my head and hung in. As we climbed I could see riders coming off the back...never to be seen again. Finally we crested the hill. And, we began to drop down the other side. The group surged again stringing the riders out in the gutter. After a few minutes, the pace eased up and we regrouped.

The motorcycle escort, Dave Wycoff, was giving up splits to Travis. One minute grew to two minutes. He was riding really hard and was maximizing his tail wind. At the back of peloton, team delgates began to discuss the return trip and the odds not being in Travis' favor to stick the break to the end. They decided to throw everything at him on the way back with the exception of our team leaders who had the best bet of winning. I, of course, was committed to sacrificing my energy to pull back the break.

We hit the turn around and began to climb the back side of the mountain, which was much less of an effort than the front. We crested and there was another surge down the steepest part of the hill. There's nothing more unnerving than descending at 45 MPH with your front wheel inches away from the wheel in front of you and the person in front of you is dodging cracks in the road.

Finaly, the road leveled and it was time to do my job. A hard rotation formed and we were on our way. The Mountain Top riders were doing all they could to disrupt the rotation. There was plenty of cussing and jostling. The pace in the rotation was so hard, I could only manage 3 pulls and I'd have to drift back to recover. Todd Bauer and Dave La Pell were putting a monster effort. As soon as I'd recover, I go back to the front to do my pulls; this wasn't an easy task because you had to get around a bunch of mountain top riders and others just sitting in for the free ride. After doing this about 3 times, low and behold, Travis was about 50 yards in front of us. We had 5 miles to go; the break was neutralized. A few surges went off and were quickly brought back.

A few miles from the finish line, a bunch of emergency vehicles were in the road. We were neutralized as we passed. A rider from another race was lying face down waiting to be attended by the ambulance. I was a bit freaked out. After looking at the incident, I looked forward and saw I was gapped by the field by a good 100 yards. It was an all-out sprint to get back. Finally, The 1 mile to go then the 1 K to got sign came (spray painted in the street). At 500 meters to go, the field began its sprint. I down shifted and began to wind it up. Out of the saddle and for all I was worth, I finished in the pack, which is good for a lowly Cat. 3.

All in all, I was happy with the turn out. I still had a lot of energy. I think I really did well in terms of managing my nutrition. We covered 65 miles in 2:42. That's pretty fast.

After the race, I went with a few teammates and ate at Subway. I met Tanya and the kids at the gym. I decided to take the two oldest swimming. They messed around while I swam laps. I ended up swimming for an hour and doing 3000 yards.

Afterwards I took the two oldest and Mia home. Mia and I took Shane for a walk, and her and I cleaned the bunny cage. It's fun to spend some one-on-one time with her. She's really clingy to her mother and rarely does she want to hand out with me.

When Tanya came home, we ate dinner and watched Michael Clayton. I was a good day.

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