Great warm up and briefing about tactics with Mark Edwards and Jim Langley before the race. It's such a honor to be able to hang around people like Mark and Jim, and to to get their advice and pieces of wisdom!
The Cat 5 35+ race had about 20 riders in it, and started off at an easy pace, as I was expecting. I found myself at the front of the pack early on, but soon realized nobody was willing to take on the wind howling up Patterson Pass. When I slowed down to invite folks to do their share up front some guys yelled at me to "keep pedaling". Somebody then did go up front, but shortly I was again dragging the whole group, and decided I had no intention to do so, and picked up the pace. This was about 2 miles in. I thought about Mark's advice to listen to the breathing of your competitors, and that was a good indication that at least those around me were already close to red lining. In fact, shortly thereafter I realized nobody had any intention to chase me. I was still going at a good tempo when I saw the Cat 4 (who had started five minutes before us) up the hill, and decided it would be a good idea to catch them and sit in their peloton. Rookie mistake...
|At the end of the second climb, after passing the Cat 4 field. Clearly in high spirits.|
The rest of the race was about practicing time trialing, and catching the occasional drop-out from packs ahead (including I think the whole, or most of, the W's field). The second time around on Patterson Pass I had a solid climb, but the strong winds clearly were not ideal for a tall skinny guy like me. Still, the flats back were lots of fun, and Strava tells me that I averaged 37 mph on the 5 miles stretch to Midway Rd (with a very strong tailwind, of course!).
Despite getting off course on the way back, and having a short conversion with CHP, I managed to clock an even split of 1:04 on both laps, finishing well ahead of the leaders of the Cat 4 race. I felt really good overall, and happy about my knee injury not affecting my biking. We'll see what happens running next weekend!
|At the finish line, first finisher of the day|