Sunday, May 21, 2006

Berkley Hills Road Race

Date: 5/14/06
Course: 19 mile loop X 2.7 laps= 52 miles @ T 2:26. Three climbs per lap and the finish on one of the bigger climbs.
Category: Elite 4
Field: 50
Teammate: Said-Jon and Josh
Place: 23rd/ 22+mph avg speed

After Cat’s Hill, I went out and did a 2 hr ride to work out my legs from the intense but short race. I thought I would be o.k. And my plan was to ride for the team and help Said-jon and Josh at all costs. If I was lucky I might even finish! I didn’t manage last year…

I got there and the usual mayhem at the registration table meant I was going to get 25-30 min of warm-up. Channing and Darius were there and driving the follow car for our race and we got to all hang out and talk a bit before which was cool.

We line up and take off up the “neutral” section of road and guys are jumpy already. The group turns onto San Pablo Dam rd. and the pace picked up somewhat. It’s a fast long downhill run but not really steep. I was planning on moving to the front and working on some of the smaller climbs and figured I would test out the legs where possible and have enough time to sit in before the first major climb. Last year I was dropped off the back and I was a little nervous about the first lap. I felt if I could make it with the main group I might be in with a fighting chance. To make a long story short I ended up 2nd wheel for quite a while and the rider in front of me didn’t want any help, so I got a free ride up to the base of the hill.

First time up the hill and I figure I’ll do a good pace (in the 42X25) up the long first climb and hope it will be good enough to keep me in contention, I ended up leading up the whole thing. As much as it hurt, it also was a big relief to get there. Now I had 7 climbs to go and I focused on staying to the front when possible and conserving energy.

Climb after climb I managed to hang in and on the second lap though the feed zone I managed to get a bottle of water and I dumped ½ of it on my head. Now I know why the guys in the Tour do it. When it’s 85+ degrees and your hammering yourself into oblivion, some cool water on the noggin goes a long way to snapping you out of the race daze. I was still in the race on the last lap, I could barley believe it. I was feeling good and I was only really worried about cramps at this point. Not having done to many longer road events (over 2+hrs), cramps have been a bitch lately and I did what I could to stave them off (Pedelyte, Tums, and lots of water) up to the event. After the long decent on S.P.D. rd. we hit the 2 small climbs and sure enough I got some twingin’ in the legs. Oh man! I grabbed what water I had left and downed it all and just tried to spin and stay in the pack. Not now! I was so close to the finish….. I was planning a big surge on to the face of the last climb with teammates in tow but things were touch and go at this point.

2 riders broke away on the twisty rollers that lead to the base of the first climb. One being a rider that I was marking all day (he flatted and got back into the race) and I knew he was a danger. I got Josh’s attention and alerted him to this fact and we started to move to the front as no one was chasing. A few Cycle Sport guys lifted the pace for a bit but sat up. I told josh I could bring em' back but I would probley blow on the climb. We talked about it for a second and I decided to close the gap (which I did) and then hung on for dear life over the climb. Josh gave me a little push right at the top and I made it. Phew! At this point I was just trying to finish with the group and not lock my legs up on the final climb to the finish. On the run up the to the finish I had to sit up and go my own pace and watch the guys take off up the hill.

Fantastic team results: Said- Jon finished 3rd and Josh 8th…….and I brought up the rears in 23rd. Fusion Sport has been on the Podium at almost every race we’ve been at. One hell of a job guys….

This was not as good a finish for me as say McLane RR but it was a mental victory for me. I felt that I rode a good race, watched who was doing what and I was able to move around pretty well within the group. I managed to help my teammates, provided support and drove the front a bit taking the pressure off of them having to worry about it. All this after…….Cat’s hill.

Things are about to get a bit harder from now on, as I received my upgrade to Elite 3 and will start doing the Masters 1/2/3 and Elite 3 stuff.

Up Next: ST Bikes Criterium. Site of the #@^%# word heard around the Internet and my first ever win.



Blogger linebrake said...

congrats on another big weekend and the upgrade, nick!


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