Dead as in bike light and shuffle tonight during my ride. Tired as in my legs after this weekend’s race (Barry-Roubaix) and tonight’s training.
One of the things I hoped to accomplish when I rejuvenated my blogging hobby was to write and share stories about bike racing and outdoor activities in general. I don’t think these activities, even as widely attended as they are, get enough press coverage in the local and general media. Well, I don’t think I could do a better job than kolo t.c.’s coverage, so I’m just going to link it here: Course Preview; Rick Plite Interview; Pre-Race Weather Update; Race Recap & Results; and Lessons from Barry-Roubaix.
My race went as well as I could have hoped for. I had no real idea where I’d end up considering a 2:37 pre-race ride two weeks before and a ton of rain Friday night. My hope was that the team would still be gunning for a 2 hour finish and accomplish its mission. Right out of the gate, though, I got separated from the four other Cross Country Cycle team members that started in wave 3 probably partially due to me being too polite and partially due to the mad nature of starting 350 riders at once (segmented by age, not ability, mind you). This resulted in me making a risky move about a mile into the race by gunning out into the opposing traffic side of the paved road, burning a bit of energy by passing a bunch of riders, and catching back up to my teammates. I think in the end this was a risk that paid off. I ran into relatively manageable traffic climbing the first two-track climb and settled in for the rest of the long, hilly ride.
Once I was past this first climb, I reacquainted myself with the riders around me. I found two of my teammates within about 20 feet of me (in front and behind), but couldn’t find the other two. They must have dropped us on the hill. We were all on 29ers, so I knew we could all ride together if we found each other, which sounded good to me so I picked up the pace to chase.
This was only my second Barry-Roubaix with the first being last year. I was not attempting to be real competitive and didn’t really think about ‘working together’ last year with anyone, so this year I was really looking forward to planning and executing on some drafting strategies. What I found throughout the race was that on several occasions I’d look behind me and find about 10 riders latched on to my wheel but when I’d roll out to let the train by and recover on the rear, the train would fall apart, everyone looking around aimlessly like they were just caught stealing. Fortunately both of my teammates with me were more willing to let me drag on their wheel for some rests. I think we all worked together pretty well, but then again, I’m new to team tactics and strategy so I don’t know if we executed well or not. I was appreciative of the time spent behind Todd and Mark’s wheel and I can only hope they had the opportunity to ride mine as well.
About 14-15 miles into the race, I looked over at Mark and said “man, Jarett and Kevin got a good jump on us, I was hoping we’d catch back up to them” to which Mark responded something like “they’re behind us”. What?! So instead of me chasing them, I was working extra hard to pull away from them. Derrrr. I’m going to need to pay attention better.
Anyway, we ended up riding together until about the last 6 miles where Todd and I pulled away on the last two-track climb. I got stopped by a cycle cross rider that had to dismount because of the sand. I was following too closely to navigate around him so I was off the bike as well. Good thing I’ve been running a little bit here and there. After remounting my trusty steed once the ground firmed up enough, I began chasing Todd down again to ride in to the finish line. I latched on to three cycle cross riders once we were back on the paved road and together we caught up with Todd, but he had been working alone for too long and didn’t have anything left in the tank to latch on to us. I ended up following those riders in to the finish line at 1:56:39, good for 17th in my age group (35-39) with Todd and Mark both coming in under 2 hours as well. Kevin and Jarett weren’t too far behind us after all and came in at 2:02 and some change.
Not wanting to get too hung up in recovering from this weekend’s race, I decided to revamp my training route a bit and introduce some recently found training tips. Now, I’ll tell you that eating a big ol’ burrito (rice instead of beans) for lunch and pepperoni pizza for dinner is not exactly what one might describe as ‘training food’. It may not be the worst, but the grease from the pizza alone, well, it’s just not conducive to high energy output for my body.
I left at about 9:15, which is a bit later than I wanted, but I had a bunch of other things going with the kids and wife tonight so getting to my route planning was delayed a bit and pushed my start back. Knowing that I have the Yankee Springs Time Trial coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to get in some more hill climbing and recovery training to mimic the demands of mountain biking on one of the area’s hillier trails.
After finding an article from a Facebook Friend with some training exercises, I decided to incorporate 3 of them into my ride tonight…never mind the fact that they were all meant to be done independently on separate nights. By the time I got through the first two exercises and 55 minutes into my ride, I was ready to bag it. After convincing myself that I at least needed to attempt the third exercise, the first, and brighter, and newer, of my two lights I use for biking turned off due to a dead battery. No big deal, I had another capable light attached to my helmet (on already). Then my iPod shuffle died on me. Again, not a big deal, it was just rather humorous, if not a bit appropriate, that all my equipment was running out of juice. So was I.
I did half of the third exercise (it’s really just a bunch of intervals) and booked it home before I lost my helmet light. All in, I had another 27 mile training ride and an 1:36 in the saddle for a Monday night. Not bad. Oh, and I love where I live. The stars and moon were out tonight when I started which were glistening off Lake Michigan as I rode up Lakeshore. It was such a peaceful night, it reminded me why I like to be outside, even when I’m dead tired.