Merco RR, nr. Merced and Snelling
Sunday March 6th, 2011 – race start at 12:00
Category M45+ 1/2/3
Team mates, – Bill Brier
Chris Menicou, Gonzalo Carillo and Mike Baxter also raced in other categories.
Got picked up by the Baxtermobile at 08:30 and was quickly packed and on the road. In under two hours we were there.
Weather was overcast, no wind or light winds as we prepared, the roads were wet and the odd drizzle came down but the forecast was for improving conditions.
Bill and i had a brief discussion about plans for riding the course and what we may do at the finish, 48 miles and two laps away. We went for a warm up and i immediately had the “oh dear” feeling, as my legs felt blocked and heavy and did not change through out our 25 minute pre ride.
We set off from the start line with a large group, maybe 70 riders. The first leg is a cross wind / tail wind and it was not long, maybe only 300 yards before the first attack went, with Dirk Cowley of SportsBaseOnline.com pinging off the front. He was brought back soon enough, then a group of three made a good effort. They stayed up the road for maybe 10 miles, but persistent chasing efforts eventually brought them back. I was not watching my computer, but it seemed pretty darned fast. i was riding top 20 for the first 10 miles but was consistently swamped and eventually did not maintain consitent concentration to stay up there and slipped back, WHICH WAS A MISTAKE.
I was doing OK physically, and when we swung on to bumpy Cox Ferry Road I was not worried, I was well positioned on the left (wind coming from right) and managed to maintain position on the first slope. Going over the top more efforts were made at the front and the pack strung out over the next couple risers. When the pack descended to the left turn, it was a long line of riders, and i was towards the back of the field and behind one guy from the Wells Fargo team who had already gapped me once before. I should have known, but it was still disappointing to see this dude let the gap go again. We were heading up the risers thru the Snelling feed zone area and it was one long line of pain, and this WF guy could not close the gap and i did not have the gas and the void grew larger and larger. Riders behind me sprinted past and I was at full gas plus and unable to respond, so they rode away.
I maintained pressure and time trialled, but my HR would not go up and the legs felt like crap. One of those days. I decided to try and hold off the field behind, making a deal with myself that I would give myself a beer if i could maintain the gap and not get caught for the next 12 miles. Another popped rider caught me and we began swapping turns, and then we caught JD Gildford of Morgan Stanley who had succumbed to cramp. We trundled on and was eventually caught by a lethargic cat 4 field just before the climb on Cox Ferry. The beer was well earned. Talking to JD, he said that the first lap was about the quickest he had experienced on that circuit, so that was maybe a factor in my demise, that and the fact i only train for 7 hours max per week. Oh, and i was on my training wheels.
Still managed to average 21.4 mph for the ride.
Thanks for reading