Sunday, April 21, 2013

A blustery Boone-Roubaix

On paper, Boone-Roubaix was a race that should have suited me well.  Fifity miles, lots of climbing, screaming descents and lots of "unimproved roads" and racing by age group.

On paper.

And then the winds, and the just-out-of-reach peloton.

I chose to go with my Love Valley Roubaix set-up: 25c Detonators, AC hurricane wheels with an 11-28 cassette on my Blue AC1SL road bike.  While the 25c tires were not enough for the squishy roads that were Love Valley, I'm left wondering if they weren't a bit of overkill for B-R.  I gotta think I would have been a bit faster on the AC carbon 58 23c tubulars I had ready.

I thought I was done with freezing races after Love Valley, but at 9:00 am in Boone it was 34 degrees and windy. Really windy.  At least it was sunny, and warming.  I probably could've done without the leg warmers and 1 extra layer.  I guess it was just overreaction from the uber-chilly Love-Valley race.

I "nearly" had a good start, but somehow the pack split.  Not in a good way for me.  I was left chasing.  And chasing.  I could see the pack ahead, but just couldn't close the gap.  I would work hard, just to find myself pushing solo into the wind.  Twice I gave up the chase.  Resolved to catch whatever stragglers I could as the day progressed.

That would've been easier (smarter?).

I kept seeing the pack.  Just out of reach.  Finally the pack checked-up ever so slightly.  I pushed hard with 3 others and we regained contact just before mile 12.  ...and the mile 12 climb.  Where I was soon shelled off the back.

Uggghhh.  More chasing.  I would make up ground on the climbs and the super--fast descents.  But in the wind and on the flats, a little guy like me was at a distinct disadvantage.  I continued the just-out-of-reach solo hammerfest.  Mile 34 to mile 42 was dead flat.  I was doomed.  I had one other rider who was mildly commited to chasing.  Alas, we succomed to a chasing group of about a dozen riders.  I did my part in the pace line, but I knew they were a lot fresher then me if they've riding as a group, sharing the work.

I am too stubborn (stupid?) to settle for riding with the group.  I know there are 2 more substantial climbs before the finish.  When we get to the first one, I go to the front and push the pace a bit.  A few riders stay with me.  The rest are close behind.  Most regain contact on the short descent leading to the final climb.  This time I make it hurt.  When we crest the hill the group has been narrowed to 4.  I'm pretty well cooked, but I like my chances against 3 others rather than 12.

The huge efforts have taken their toll, however, and as we roll thru the final section of pave leading to the final lap at the fairgrounds I am unable to mount any kind of attack.  My sprint to the muddy finish is pretty weak and I finish at 2:41 - last in our group of 4.  Still, it has been a good training day leading up to the Cohutta 100 mile MTB race next weekend.  My strategy was pretty terrible for any kind of result today.  Hopefully it will pay-off later.  After all, I could've stayed home and done a nice, warm group ride.  In the meantime I'll continue to push the pace.  Even if it means going off the back sometimes. 

See you on the trails!
...or at least off of the paved roads!

The 40-49 podium.  Congrats, men!

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