5/26/13 Mt. Hamilton Road Race 35 + cat 4Morgan Raines
I really want to thank and acknowledge everyone that helps and supports me in this full time hobby called cycling.
My wife "Mandy" for accepting and tolerating the time commitment that racing a bike takes, and my mother for all the baby sitting.
Steve Heaton and HC3 cycling for everything from bike fitting to technical training that gives me clockwork progression. Thank you for the countless hours of comradery, punishment, and sharing your insight and experience of twenty years of racing.
The Bicycle Trip, Aaron and the awesome shop staff, the team from Mark Edwadrs to Ed Price and every member in between thanks for all the workouts and support.
Gridmaster: Geoff Mack from "Grid 6" apparel thank you for all your support and believing in a friend.
Oh, so the race..
It started out with the typical sleepless night with my mind spinning on the anticipation of a hard race, I struggle with calming my mind. Any suggestions please let me know. Morning is here, it's a slow start but I get to south San Jose and it's practically raining. The clouds are low and I can tell it's just temporary so no extra layers needed. On the way back from registering I must of hit some glass so a front tire tube change and two separate number pin on session leaves me with ten minutes for a warm up.
The race starts and it's a comfortable pace over the first hill which works great to get me lose. Second climb is a bit faster, this is showing me who's willing and capable to work, dropping down into the middle valley and were basically all together still. The main climb starts and this is typically the section that determines the outcome of the race. I stay in front pacing and following two smaller climbing type guys who are leading and putting a hurt on the race. I just focus on my pace and not going too hard yet basically I'm maxed out without going anaerobic, we've left the race behind with six of us in a lead group. Around 3k to the top three guys surge from behind, I pick up my pace but don't want to go anaerobic then lose them in recovery. They get maybe twenty yards up but we keep them there, one guy slows and we collect him while the other two continue to slowly pull away. With two over the top and the race well behind us I put in some work to clear the top first in our four man group. The hardest part of the race behind me and 43 miles to go I start seriously ingesting calories, electrolytes, and liquids knowing that cramping will most likely be my hardest competitor. Half way down the decent and we catch one of the leaders, right then I hear a tire blow, it took me a second to process if it was him or me who was out of the game. With relief I keep descending knowing that we just lost a potential winner of the race. Up and down a few more hills and we settle into the valley with four of us and a strong head wind. We're all working well together taking rotations for about forty five minutes, then on a couple accelerations I felt pre-cramping conditions building in my legs. I begin to sit in and so does the other guy who's bigger then me while the two climber types rotate and pull us for some time. Obviously me and the other guy were licking our wounds and the climber boy's should have attacked and potentially dropped us. They just kept doing work and grinding a steady pace, and after awhile I started to feel better. I knew the finish was getting closer so I started to take some pulls and I felt good. The other guy who had been sitting in looked strong so I thought he was just waiting for the sprint. On one rotation he left a little gap so I went to the front and took a strong pull and he was gone, down to three. Before the last decent one guy asked me if I was going to sprint, I didn't say no I replied " I'm pretty tired". Thinking there was two riders in front of us he replied " Just do some work and take fifth" I didn't agree I just thought okay I'll play with these guys. So I just keep taking short pulls and let them tow me. So I'm behind these guys who seem smaller then me (at least skinnier given that I'm only 5'6") I knew they had to be exhausted. I thought I got this. Sure enough the "1k to go sign" came, then 200 meters and the boys looked around a bit and picked up the pace. I felt excitement and energy rushed over me, I waited a few seconds to build a little gap so there was space to accelerate into, I could see the finish line 100 meters up and bang I started my sprint. When I passed the guys there just a blur and I hear a faint "Hey". I had to weave around one girl who was approaching the line herself, I passed her and I was done.
The two riders caught up to me after wards with one word comments like "really" and "seriously", I complement them both on there riding and say " hey it's a bike race". I felt bad for a moment, but if it wasn't me it would have been someone else, hopefully they learned a important lesson in racing I know I did.
To my surprise there was only one rider in front of us, so I got 2nd. Mt Hamilton is one of the harder races around, big day thanks to all for getting me there.