Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Dunnigan what-Hills Road Race Elite 3 2nd Place
A big "thank you" goes out to Vladan who cruised down from Scotts Valley to pick up Nils and myself at 4:30am. Neglecting to pre-register for this race, I had the displeasure of racing in an overflow cat 3 field that was combined with the 30+ open field; sae la vi. By the time my 86 mile race finally got under way the sun was beating down, the winds were picking up, and the temperature was well into the 80's (by the time we rolled out of the parking lot Vladan's car temperature gauge read 99). We began with a 1.8 mile neutral rollout, and then the racing was on with attacks happening right from the gun. After hopping into a few short-lived breaks, at 11 miles into the race the right combination was struck and I found myself rolling away from the peleton with 4 others in tow. The 5 of us quickly settled into a groove and worked well together, everyone rotating through and taking their pulls. After 40 miles or so being off the front the windy, hot race conditions began taking their toll and our little group began to struggle as we hit the section along the back stretch of the course going into some very strong headwinds. A couple guys began sitting in more frequently instead of pulling through. I began urging people to keep working together; I was not about about let us get caught and have all our hard work be for naught. I began taking longer pulls at the front, aware of staying under the "red zone". Soon, one racer popped off the back, followed by another about 15 miles later. With 20 miles to go I ran out of water, since velo promo was limiting us to 1 bottle per feed zone. With 4 miles to go another racer fell off the back, so now there were 2 of us. By this point I had been out of water for awhile and I was really hurting, my mouth feeling like it had paste in it. As we hit the small hill at the overpass before the finish I made a feeble attack and I was able to get a little gap but in hindsight I guess I put a little too much into it and my body forced me to let up as I began to gag attempting to get air into my lungs and choking on my dry mouth and tongue. As I rolled across the finish line in 2nd I vomited on my top tube and broke out in goose-bumps. After the race I felt completely shattered, but the upshot is I forced a break that stayed away 74 miles to the finish and I was able to take my capacity for suffering on the bike to a whole new level. I love bicycle racing.