Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tour of Mt Nebo Race Report

The race was nuts. Total carnage everywhere. Seriously I think some people exploded and turned to dust... well maybe not but it was hard. The race started with a neutral start, which took us down the first descent, around a bend, the ref will blow his whistle signaling the real start... and into the first climb we go. I wasnt interested in descending with 65 other guys so I rolled out to the front. As I am leading the descent some joker from Guys jumps in the neutral start on the descent and does his best Caencellara impression and goes all TT up the first climb. He gets like 30 seconds out but comes back by the end of the lap. This made the first lap's effort pretty hard though and it definitely stung a bit as I was not warmed up yet. Lap 1 avg watts were 248/ 303 normalized. Thats pretty hot for so early. The plus side was I knew that if the pace stayed hot like this the field would fall apart relatively quickly giving me less guys to worry about. Lap 2 cooled off a bit but we stayed fast enough that we had dropped maybe 1/2 the field by the top of the big climb.
I was starting to descend a little better as I knew the corners now. It was windy so staying tight on the descent was key. Lap 3 I ran a leg test on the top quarter and pulled the pace up a bit. I accomplished nothing but get information I already knew... There were like 8 riders who had good legs... all of them were exactly who I had been climbing with all race. After the jump I intentionally slipped back to maybe 8th wheel to rest for a minute. We climbed up the finish climb and entered the descent on the last lap. Something kind of funny happened on the climb to the line on lap 3... a rider who I will not call out... jumped and basically sprinted up the finish climb... when he got to the line he immediately let up and looked back. I think he thought the race was over??? Ok end tangent.
Last Lap: lap 4. An error in tactics:I am sitting 8th wheel or so going into the descent. I immediately see the two best climbers in the field in front of me in the pace line. Unfortunately I would not label these two the best descenders in the field. I suspect they will let a gap open on the descent but I couldnt get around them on the descent before it happened. Boom like instantaneously 25 feet of gap to the 5 leaders... this is bad. I now have to pull back up to the group on the descent at 40 mph. I work my ass off and get back on right as we hit the base of the first climb. As I rejoin a rider pops off the front on an attack. Nobody chases. I am unable because my heart is in my ears and I am last in the pace line. crap. The rider looks pretty strong and makes it through the section of strong headwind. We keep him in sight and keep moving, taking short pulls at the front to chase. The group is working well for the last lap. There are only 7 or 8 of us left now... everyone else has been dropped. We keep the rider in sight till the top of the big climb, and then he literally just disappeared. With only a little left to go I think we realized it was over. Only one rider was willing to chase now. I moved to the front with about a mile to go. I rode a steady tempo and tried to keep the pace high enough that nobody would jump and come flying around. The last .5 miles are entirely uphill, the steepest part in the last 200 meters. Here is a shot from the top.

I upped the pace to nearly sub max. Nobody came around me. I upped the pace a tad more, hoping I had not gone too soon. I felt like crap, my legs were screaming and my heart rate was nearing 200. I stood up and took a dig trying to get a gap. I took maybe 5 pedal strokes and fell back on my saddle, my legs were shook, but I got a small gap. 200 meters to go, I am dying, my heart rate is at 205. I try to stand and sprint, I stand and immediately fall back to the saddle as pain rips up my quads. My gap is holding. I get past the steep part and limp in before one of the better climbers can charge past me. 2nd place. Last minute avg hr was 201. That's a bit scary... I haven't been over 195 in a bit, I didn't think I could do that anymore. Here is what I look like at max.

Avg watts were 473.
Look at the highlighted segment.
Regrets... Lack on tactical concentration on the last descent, as discussed above. I promised Lauren we would open the bottle of champagne my sister gave us before our wedding when I won a race this season. The bottle is still corked. The good news was I won a descent amount of cash and now have ample points to upgrade to Cat 3. So what did I do with my winnings? I spent it all on beer. First I went to the Beer Yard and picked up a case of Hair of the Dog, Adam. Funny name but very tasty and rare in these parts. Afterward Lauren and I headed to West Chester to check out the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium. Since 1 kilometer 4 corner crits are the exact opposite of the type of race I am good at, I elected to crowd in with a couple thousand other spectators and drink Iron Hill’s beer and watch the race. Watching crits in much more fun than racing them, at least in my mind. The video down below shows a rider on his way to lapping the field.

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