By Eddy Price
Sixth place last Saturday at the Cantua Creek Road race in the 45+ Cat 4 race was a real surprise, as I was hoping for a top 15 or 20 at best.
I haven't formally trained on my road bike more than four or five times in the past six weeks because of moving (Jan 1st) and then putting in 70+ hour work weeks to get caught up on all the work I neglected during the move.
I thought about not racing at Cantua Creek, that maybe I should hold off on racing until I have put in some long training rides, solo intervals, roller intervals and some Sunday group rides but I decided the best thing to do would be to race. So instead of training hard, I took two days completely off the bike right before the race, Wednesday and Thursday and rode the rollers for 45 minutes Friday. My legs felt fresh for the first time in months.
My only goal was to make it to the final finishing hill with the main group but beyond that, I had no aspirations of anything special. To be honest, I have been commuting everywhere on my mountain bike, road bike and electric bike, sometimes up to 20 hours in a week. In addition, because I am always cutting it close for my appointments, I usually have to hammer pretty hard to get there on time.
I wanted to help Bob and Joe podium, but I wasn't sure if that was even possible. To that end, I took a flyer just past the first turn-around and stayed away for about a couple of miles, hoping to force the other teams to chase me and give Joe and Bob a free ride. I could see them blocking at the front of the race for a while, but I didn't press on the pedals too hard because it was a long way to the finish.
At the end of the first lap, on the three mile stair-step climb to the finish, I noticed the headwind was pretty strong. We lost about ten riders on the climb.
On the second "out" section, I bridged up to a serious-looking four man break but we couldn't get organized and nothing became of it.
With about four miles to go, an accident occurred in the middle of the middle of the pack, causing 7 or 8 riders to hit the road pretty hard. Bob and Joe were near the front and avoided it completely. I was dead last and weaved my way through it pretty easily, then quickly bridged back up to the lead group who were quickly pressing the advantage they received from the accident. I would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed, so no hard feelings whatsoever on my part.
On the final three mile headwind climb to the finish, I started dead last, following the rider in front of me until they cracked, quickly going around him and waiting until this scene repeated itself, which it did over and over until I was in the top ten with one kilometer to go.
I could see Joe hitting the front of the race with about 500 meters to go, then falling back a bit. I could see I was in the 6th and final place for an award when two riders went past me like I was standing still. Still, I thought 8th place was pretty good until I found out the two riders who went past me (and Joe as well) were from the Cat 1/2 race. Joe 3rd, me 6th and Bob 8th.
My hats off to Joe for trying to win and still finishing 3rd. My hats off to Bob for being dropped early on the climb and not giving up, passing rider after rider until he was in a fine 8th place at the finish. I don't know if I could recovered like that. Great piece of riding Bob.