Today was the first day over 45 in in forever, and it decided to get to 75! It was also the first chance I have gotten to test out my fitness and see where I sit. I have been really down on my cycling lately as I have moved, built a house, tried to sustain Donkey Label and a Real job and also prepare for having a kid. My miles, and sleep, and energy have all been down. But I had to try and defend my title (I won it last year in 43 and rain) and I was turning 40 today, so maybe some birthday luck….you never know until you pin on a number.
So I headed down to cannon falls mn for a 63 mile race. Windy, hot, rough roads (almost broke my fork on a huge pothole), and two climbs per 21 mile lap.
I knew it was going to get hot, but wanted to use the mild embro cause I liked it so much last time I used it. New rapha cross bibs (wanted to test them out for ideas on our design of cross bibs) the Mpls mussette donkey label jersey and new matching armwarmers, black polypro DL socks with the light blue stripe to match the kit, the donkey bike, and some chamois balm and I was off and racing.
was feeling strong and positioned well in the first lap of the 35+. The second lap had a really hard crosswind section where the race favorite got a gap and the field chased hard for what seemed like 10 minutes where I was on the edge. Stayed with the top 20 and got a bit of a break, then went to the front for one of the climbs (figured at 200lbs It is better to lead and set the pace, vs let one of the little guys do it). over the top kept rolling and ended up rotating with some guys trying to shrink the gap. (last year I could have done this and been fine) I realized when it was too late that even though I was not in the red, I was working way to hard, and we were approaching the significant climb. I stupidly went near the back to get some rest, but as we hit the climb I realized I had given up my good position at the front, and now these guys at the back where getting gapped up the hill, So not fully recovered I had to ride up and through 8-9 people as one of the guys sitting on started attacking at the front (145lbs). Long story short, I made it all the way back to about 6 feet from the lead group and popped. not like 100% to 80%, 99% to 40%. I looked at the ride after and I had maintained 400 watts for 4 minutes and then it dropped to 150 or something. I was so pissed that I played that entire approach and climb wrong that I hung my head for 30 seconds and felt sorry for myself. Then I realized I needed the training and I now got a 21 mile solo loop to myself to see what I had.
So I rode as hard as I could for the next lap, but when it is not a real race anymore you really can’t push it like you can when you are with the heads of state. The favorite stayed away and won the race, so in the end, working to pull him back was the right move, but not staying with the lead pack was discouraging as it brought me back to when I started racing and could not hang with the real guys. I now feel like I am one of the guys, but today just didn’t have the endurance in the legs.
The real point of the story is that I used a prototype embro remover after the race to wash off the embro, worked awesome, when I took a shower later, no re-heat (not significant anway) and it cleaned up my legs nice. As always the chamois was money and got lots of props on the MPLS jersey.
Will get more miles in the legs for the next one so I can be involved in the race when it matters, at the end!.