Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 Madera Stage Race E3 report

(Alternate Title: "The Hardest Race I've Ever Done Turned Out To Be A Flat Four-Corner Crit, WTF" by Nils Tikkanen)

To sum it up, this weekend was a learning experience at best, and some of the stupidest racing I've done at worst.

Event 1: Sharon TT: I got there early with my shiny new Felt DA and previewed the 10-mile course three times as a warmup. The third and fourth legs were into some serious wind (which would only get worse for the afternoon racers!). Given that I only had spent 2 hours on the bike before this event, I didn't have the highest of expectations... but I managed to pass four riders and take 9th at 0:23:42.

Random notes:
* Disc wheels sound f***ing awesome.
* Can't wait for my new Specialized TT2 helmet to arrive -- the Giro doesn't fit well for my position
* Regardless of what the Retul says, I'm dropping my bars at least 2cm. I felt pretty high up.

Event 2: Downtown Crit: A perfectly benign four-corner flat course = no problem. A perfectly benign four-corner flat course + soul-crushing winds = something entirely different. This was the latter. For whatever stupid reason, I decided to not be happy with holding 9th in the GC and thought I should try and make a move in this event.

To put it mildly, this didn't work out so well.

I worked the pace hard for the first 20 minutes, took a flyer that only lasted a lap or two, and then, after the second prime, I watched as Metromint and the Specialized juniors decided to start racing. Because of the wind, there was no place to rest, and they slowly annihilated the field. I could do nothing as I watched the split happen in front of me. I would find myself suffering with a few "chasers" (chasing would imply that we were trying to catch them, but I knew there was no hope), watching the lap cards count down all too slowly, just to minimize the GC damage for the last 25 minutes of the race. I ended up losing almost 3 minutes in a flat four-corner crit. Down to 18th in the GC, with little hopes of making that time up in the RR.

Event 3: Daulton Road Race: 70 miles of rolling hills, wind, and four times over the worst pavement in Northern California. Uneventful. Sat in, and ended up getting boxed in for the sprint. Ryan from SJBC was a great "teammate" to have in the field, seeing as I was the only Bike Trip racer there.

Bonus Event: Daulton Car Hill Climb Time Trial: You heard it right -- due to the overflow parking issues, Velo Promo added a new stage this year. Some people went backwards... literally.

And that is all.

In retrospect, I should have raced conservatively in the crit and held my GC 9th until the road race. That would have been seven upgrade points (i.e. puts me almost at the 25 I need) if I had done things differently.

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