Dear Teammates, Friends and Family,
Last Saturday I competed in the Fort Ord Road Race along with teammates Dennis Pederson and Larry Broberg. Dennis raced in the 45+ event and Larry raced in the 55+ category. I know Larry finished a very close 2nd while Dennis showed tremendous courage in the 45+ open cateogry race, competing with some of the best climbers in the district.
Fort Ord is not my "cup of tea" but I couldn't pass it up, because next to the Sea Otter, it is the closest race to my home (30 minute drive). The course was a clockwise ten mile loop of endless rolling hills with two "out and back" sections and one "big" climb near the end of each lap. The "big" climb was only about six to eight minutes long but it required a 39 x 23 right from the start.
My race started at 11:45 am. The weather was warm to hot, the wind was pretty mild for Fort Ord and the pavement was poor to bad (with many large and deep potholes). My goal was to stay with the main group as long as possible and hopefully make it up the main climb at least once so that I could get through most of the 2nd lap before the second time up the big hill.
Our race had approximately 50 to 60 riders but was not full by any means (75 rider limit). I guess you either love or hate the Fort Ord course depending on how well you are climbing at the moment. I was hoping that the interval training I have been doing on the rollers (one good 45-60 minute session, three shorter sessions of about 30 minutes and one to two very short workouts of about 20 minutes would pay off, and they did.
I felt good even during the 45 minute warmup session on the rollers before the race started. The race consisted of "moderate tempo" on the many ups and downs leading to the course's big climb where the strong riders "punched it" every lap. I was spinning the smallest gear I possibly could the whole race, many times in the 39 x 19 where other riders rode the big chainring. I stayed with the group up the first climb and felt better about my chances. I lost contact near the very top of the big climb on the second lap but quickly caught the lead group on the descent. The third time up the big climb I knew it would be very difficult and I lost contact near the top again but was not able to catch on the descent. There were about 12 miles of racing to go and I was really spent but I "slogged" through it and finished 22nd. We were averaging 30 minutes per lap but on the last lap, it took 38 minutes and I finished in two hours and eight minutes. A group of four riders, including my friend and travel companion, Russ Cadwallader broke away from the field on the last climb and Russ finished 3rd. I am trying to get Russ to join our team for next year since Family Cycling Center will not be sponsoring anyone next year. Russ has placed in the top ten of every race except Pescadero (15th). He is one strong rider and would fit the team perfectly.