Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wenzel Coaching Sonora R.R. 35+ 4, 5/3/2009

By Matt Wocasek

The race started in Jamestown, a historic mother-lode town just down the road from Sonora. Unfortunately the local historic railway crossed the race course in a couple of places. Because it was raining and the extreme angle of the tracks you had to have some trials skills to get over them without zigzagging. Whole packs of riders went down on the first couple of laps. Luckily the tracks weren’t on a downhill so everyone was going fairly slowly when they crashed. After getting crossed up a couple of times I figured out that if I turned right, went over the tracks, off the road, then left and back on the road it was a little safer.

The course was on kind of rolling terrain with a few short steep climbs and one longer stair step climb. We just rolled along at a modest pace for most of the race. Every one was taking it easy on the flatter parts and then picking it up somewhat on the climbs. Compared to our training rides it seemed relatively easy. It was draining though because of the 54-mile distance. I tried to stay up in the front without doing too much pulling. After a couple of laps of this it started to look like it was going to come down to a field sprint between the ten or so of us survivors. I thought to myself "be smart sit in and go for the win on the uphill finish." This was a solid strategy, but I didn’t have the discipline to execute it.

On the third lap I attacked on a short climb. The climb wasn’t long enough though. I was still attacking when I noticed the whole pack was back on my wheel. No problem, the short hard effort felt like it loosened up my legs a bit.

The last time up the big climb I decided to put a little pressure on the group to see if some people would drop off. When I looked over my shoulder as I crossed the finish line to start the last lap I saw that I had opened up a pretty good gap on the rest of the pack. I thought, "well I didn’t have to work too hard to get away and there was still a hill to get over so why not put the hammer down and see what happens." After a short flat section I could see the pack a ways back all still together in a single file line. It didn’t seem like they were closing so I continued on thinking I would make a decision at the top of the next climb. I got to the top of the climb and the peloton was nowhere in sight. It was on.

I had something like ten miles rolling twisty road to race as fast as I could on. I was going flat out on the descents and using both lanes to zigzag over the railroad tracks. The peloton had been way cautious on the technical sections earlier in the race and I was hoping to gain some more time on them. After I realized I was probably going to make it I started thinking about how much fun I was having flying through the countryside on the way to winning a bike race. Then I thought, "sure hope they don’t catch me," and focused on hammering to the finish. When I got to the finish line it was kind of like the end of a mountain bike race. I finished by myself then rolled around while waiting to see how everyone else did.

Sure it was a small race that I won, but I should be a Cat 3 soon and top placings are going to be a lot harder to come by. You have to take them when you can.


Jim Langley said...

Fantastic Matt. Awesome job! You deserve this win with all your discipline and hard work. Great for you!

Mark Edwards said...

Way to go Matt! You earned this with hard and consistent work. I also feel you've just scratched the surface of what you can do. I'm looking forward to you joining us in the 45+, you'll be a tremendous asset, the other teams have to be worried.

Satin Matt said...

Whoa, way to go, Mister Humility! I knew you were getting ready to bust out a big win,and here it is. Nice job!

Manley Man said...

Nice win. Victories where you're clear of the field and able to enjoy the effort are few and far between. You've got to soak it up when you're in the moment.

Nils said...

Beautiful finish Matt. Doesn't it feel great to be able to fly through corners when you're solo? Congratulations!

James P said...

Hi Matt,

Congratulations on your win! You just rolled away from us and we were too disorganized and tired to chase until you were out of sight. You're getting really strong.

Where did you get those pictures of the 35 cat 4 race? Do you have other pictures?