Monday, March 4, 2013

CCCX Circuit Race #2, 45+, 3/2/2013

By Dennis Pedersen

Part Deux of the CCCX series was in Fort Ord again, but on a new course on a rolling stretch of super-smooth pavement connected by a very tight U-turn at either end. It starts just south of the Eucalyptus Road summit and was 50 minutes long. I wanted to race in the 45+ 3/4 category again, that morning, but because I had to work that morning (starting 4:00 AM no less), I was forced to enter the faster open-category afternoon race at 3:10. Oh well, hard training was my goal.

It was a nice day until about 5 minutes after I arrived when the fog started blowing in. After trying to warm up I added a warm base layer and arm-warmers. A crosswind also added some technical challenges. When I lined up at the start line I found there were only seven of us, the smallest field I've ever seen in a road race. One was Keith DeFiebre, who is the race promoter and a fast Cat 2.

As we started I didn't hesitate to go right to the front and set tempo as I knew a couple guys had raced that morning as well. I didn't feel strong, but even so I was able to control the pace with some help from a guy from Thirsty Bear. I wanted to wear people down a bit by opening gaps on the many short climbs, thus forcing them into the wind to chase me. Otherwise they'd just draft and conserve energy; I needed them to burn energy.

One guy was always at the back of our small peloton: Keith. He spent no time at all in the wind. I started wondering if he was that tired, or if he was merely trying to fill out this tiny race for appearances. Well, neither, it turned out.

After five laps of jumping up the small hills and then resting downhill, I went hard off the front with 1/2 lap to go. I wanted to force a chase they'd be unable to recover from before the final sprint, and also to be first around the last U-turn, at the bottom of a hill leading up about 400 meters to the finish. This worked well as I was able to coast easily into the U-turn before I opened up yet another gap on the last climb. I then stood up to look back and saw I had a small gap. I jumped again but soon heard Keith come up behind me. By then I was gasping from the effort and he was able to beat me easily to the line.

Oh well, 2nd place ain't too bad and I won a T-shirt and a $35 awards certificate. Maybe I can apply my vast winnings to a high-end road bike. ;-)

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