April 24, 2010 started a series of races that would be the culmination of what I had been preparing for all winter long…some killer triathlon races. That Saturday was the Jason Broome (also known as the ‘Windy TT’) 10 mile time trial. With some extremely talented local bike racers this promised to be a great test. A simple out and back course with the first 5 miles being slightly downhill and this year had a hefty tail wind. Feeling like my SCOTT Plasma had a built in engine I reached the turnaround in under 9 minutes! Then, the true grit your teeth, burn your thighs, hold your form, quiet your mind, and turn over that crank time trial began. Up the false flat into a strong wind made one feel like they were biking underwater. When I finished in 22:30 my quads were screaming at me. Perfect; that we’ll get them ready for the big race 7 days later at Wildflower.
April 25th was the much anticipated Emmett Roubaix 60 mile road race. This race consisted of two loops with about a mile of gnarly gravel road that caused you to fish tail, eat dust, and strain muscles. This was the 5th race in the series and I had a descent lead in the overall general classification. My plan was to play it safe and get a ‘good’ ride in with Wildflower only 6 days away I didn’t want to over-do-it.
A little over an hour into the race we reach the first gravel section and things heat up instantly. It’s all about finding a good line. Riding through several inches of stones would slow your speed to the point of losing your balance. It felt like what I imagined taking one of those run away truck ramps with deep gravel to slow down a Semi with no brakes would be. At first I seemed to get hammered losing ground to the peloton. But then I found a nice line on the far left of the road with more dirt than gravel and decided to attack the guys. I flew by them while they looked on in dismay on the far right side of the road. Here we go I thought…let’s splinter the group. Then, fish tailing all over the place. Man, I hit some deep gravel…nooo, I had a rear flat. Luckily, nobody was behind me and I pulled off to the side of the road. I watched the riders go by licking their chops. I took off my wheel and held it high waiting for the wheel car to catch up.
I grabbed my wheel and quickly put it on. Then, I realized it wasn’t my wheel and tried to take it off but I stumbled and the chain came off the crank. Forget it. It would take another minute to change wheels again. I fixed the chain and hoped the gearing would work well enough.
The peloton was gone. I rode a couple hundred meters and was out of the gravel but my chain was skipping. Guess I lost the ability for smooth shifting too. Steadying myself, it was time to calm the mind and limit my losses, the race had just gotten much harder than I anticipated.
Being only 6 days out from the Long Course Wildflower Triathlon my main objective was to stay healthy for that, ie no bonking or crazy hard efforts that would leave my legs aching all week. Well, I accomplished one of my goals. Riding the second loop it took about 10 miles to finally catch up to a couple riders that had lost contact with the group. Taking a short pause on their wheel helped recharge, but I still had a lot of time to make up and charged ahead. My legs were definitely suffering and they were going to be very upset when this was over.
It went like this for the remainder of the race, catching some riders here and there but never seeing the lead group again. It was a hard solo effort but I only lost a few minutes and was able to maintain my overall win for the GC of the Lyle Pearson Spring Series. Did I mention I love bike racing…even the hard days like that are character builders. Next up, Wildflower in 132 hours….yikes need some big time leg recovery.