Monday, April 12, 2010

RRR Classic—An Idiot's Recap

I got to Brad's just in time to get changed and head out after gorging myself on ketchup chips and Oreo ice cream cake at Ben's birthday party (love ya, little buddy), so it was bit of frantic start to the event. Not the best way to kick off a gravel grinder, but it is what it is, and I was happy to be out and get some miles into my legs in preparation for July.

It was good to see a good number turn up for ride, including a few beyond the usual faces—good to see you out JP, Terry, Steve. The controlled start from the Sun Valley neighborhood to "The Ditch" afforded us some time to chit-chat before things got cranked up a notch. Unfortunately, attrition hit early on as the number of "POP-hisses" started almost immediately as we hit the gravel on Oasis and Hazelridge Roads.

we saw several dogs, but only 1 gave chase

I took the opportunity early on to get to the front of the quickly dwindling group in order to ride the best lines on the gravel. Tucking in behind some one could easily wind you up riding just a few inches off the bald/smooth section and onto rocks and ruts, which will only lead to annoying pop-hiss sound. I managed to stay at the front for most the of gravel sections, tucking in once behind Chris when he wanted to up the pace to make sure Eppstein was permanently dropped after falling off the group a bit. I think at this point we were down to a group of only 6—Chris, G, Adam, Cricket, Luke, and me. Yes, I felt rather isolated among all the black; I know exactly how Boonen felt with no team mates around him at P-R.

an angel of the Church of the Immaculate Conception keeping watch

After meeting up with Mike and Lorno, we started to form an echelon to combat the wind, which was foretasted to only be 5km from the NW, but was gusting 24-30 kms. This worked rather well and continued on until we hit the town of Cooks Creek, home of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and moved on to Sapton Road and the day’s biggest (only) climb.

As my turn at the front coincided with the group’s progression to the start of the climb, I jumped on the pedals to claim top KOM points for the day. I never had any intentions of this move being a break away, but something to do for my own kicks, and to see if anyone would follow me. I didn’t look back, but apparently Adam wasn’t far behind. Having never done a lot of riding with Adam, I’ve come to realize how strong he is on the bike despite not being able to beat those 12-year old kids in the crit series.

After enjoying the downhill on hwy 206 as we headed north towards hwy 44, I eased up a bit to take a look behind and see who was on my wheel. I could see by the shadows that there were at least two bikes behind me. There was Adam, Chris and G. Big Luke, on his cx knobbies was gone; he had been gapped back on the Sapton hill. I figured I'd drop to the back and draft for a bit behind G. We started to chat and I took a swig from my bottle and the next thing you know, they were gone. Adam punched the pace at the moment I disengaged my brain. I didn't panic too much at that moment, but quickly realized I should have. I didn't react fast enough or with enough urgency when I did try to catch on. They slowly pulled away on me just before we turned on to Hwy 44, directly into the stiff NW wind. I know exactly how Boonen felt at P-R.

Hwy 44 was a very dark leg of the course for me. I found myself soloing into the wind, all because of a rookie mistake. Stoopid! Mentally—because of my mistake, and physically—because of the wind, I was really hurting. I managed to keep the 4 ahead of me in sight until just after the hwy 59 overpass, which was somewhat motivating, but as far as I was concerned, getting to Lockport to get some reprieve from the wind couldn't come soon enough.

Eventually I got to make the left-hand turn onto Henderson and get out of the direct affect of the wind. I took this as a chance to get in some fluids and eat a banana. I soon started to feel like a new man. According to my GPS, I raised my avg. speed by about 7km for the rest of the ride vs. that forgettable stretch along Hwy 44.

As it turns out, I was the last of the 5 to ride the complete course. Chris wheel-sucked Adam all the back back to NK before making his move to be the first one back to Brad's. Well done...I guess. Chris' recount differs somewhat.

Apparently, chips and Oreo ice cream cake aren't as bad of a pre-ride meal as I had thought. Overall it was great training ride for this early in the season, definitely something to build from. I just I could have kilometer 37 back.

Kudos to Brad who put a lot of thought into the course to make it challenging without being overly immoderate. The course was as well marked as any official event (probably better than most)—he spent 2 hours driving the course that morning to make sure everyone could find their way. It's really a shame that after all the effort and anticipation, the guy that did all the work couldn't enjoy the ride for what it was supposed to be. It would have been nice to have had you in the mix, Brad. Next time!

It was also nice to see Mike and Lorno out. It would have been better if they were on their bikes, but their encouragement from the support vehicle was a very nice touch.

Thanks Brad! You kicked the season off on a high note.

No comments:

Post a Comment