THANKS! and LOTOJA 2006 Race ReportThanks to all!
Here's a race report. Pics are still forthcoming.
Unlike last year, the weather this year was perfect - 50 degrees F, clear skies, and no wind at the start. Highs gradually reached the mid-70s, with sunshine and a few clouds. Only once did we get sprinkled on for about 1 mile.
Broke away at Preston, hooked up with another strong rider all the way to Alpine (then he was involved a 9 rider crash), and coasted into the finish taking 1st place. Things just went right.
My group (1100's - Citizen's 35-44) rode really fast from Logan to Preston. We made it to Preston in 1:17 (mile 34). Me and another rider broke away at Preston (made a pee stop just out of Preston) and decided to team up. He (his name was Paul) was 2" shorter and probably 25 lbs. lighter than me (I'm 5'8", 179 lbs. racing weight). So I told him he'd leave me on the climbs, but I'd hope to catch him on the descents. We decided that if we were together after Salt River, we'd work as a team to the finish. We had a good feed zone in Preston and didn't know who or how many was in front of us. But I told Paul, that my wife would tell me in Montpelier how many 1100's (my group) were ahead of us.
I faded to the back of a group of 8 riders on the hill outside of Preston, but blew past them doing 47 mph on the Riverdale hill (mile 39). Paul and I pushed the pace all the way up Strawberry (elevation 7424), catching lots of Cat. 5 riders along the way. At the Forest Boundary sign (mile 47), I got dropped. Also, I started cramping at the start of Strawberry. I went through an entire bottle of Enervit tabs during the race - I fought off cramping the entire race. At the neutral feed (mile 59) I took a hand up Cliff shot and a water bottle (which I opened and poured over my head ala Floyd). Ramped it up to 45 mph going down Strawberry (mile 62).
I then saw Ron and Mike from Alpine Cycle (I wouldn't have known it was them, but Ron said "hi" to me and then I noticed Mike's Michelin jersey) on the rollers after Strawberry (mile 65). They had started 48 minutes before me. I was trying to bridge up to the group that was about 1/2 mile in front of me, where I thought Paul was. After I passed Mike and Ron, 2 riders came by me at 29-30 mph and I did all I could to hop on their wheel. They pulled me up to that group. Paul and I then exchanged greetings/information and again decided to work together. He needed to take off his leg and arm warmers in Montpelier and I was just going to grab and go.
When we got into Montpelier (mile 80) , Paul stopped and I got my musette, soft peddled, and waited for Paul. I made sure to get an Enervitene (looking forward to Salt River). I found out from my wife that there was one 1100 rider in front of us.
So Paul and I kept riding our pace (my overall pace was 20.7 mph) bridging up to groups and catching lots of Cat. 5 riders. We kept pushing the pace (because we were looking for that 1100 rider), and those that wanted/could stay on did. We then got to the steep part of Geneva (mile 88, elevation 6923) and I got dropped again, but only by about 50 meters. Then on the downhill, everyone was doing around 38 and I passed them doing 45. They all hopped on and I pulled everyone all the way out to the flats at Geneva. We then had a group of 12 riders going up Salt River which slowly dropped in numbers, until it was down to Paul, I, and 2 other riders. About 1 mile from the neutral feed (mile 106), I started to bonk a little and fell off. Paul kept on going with the other 2 riders. I did not stop at the neutral feed. Took the last part of my Enervitene and started the climb.
Salt River (mile 110, elevation 7630) was its brutal self. (I need to make up an 11-25 cassette. I'm going buy a 12-25 and an 11-23 and make a 12-25.)
I then fought off cramping, spinning my legs out and trying to go as fast as I could doing 47 mph on the downhill. I then I knew I needed to catch Paul, so I started bridging up to every group I could see, running anywhere from 24-27 mph by myself. I then caught Paul just after Smoot (mile 115). We then talked again about where we were and working together. He said that he had passed an 1100 rider on the climb and thought that we were in the lead. We then talked about the Afton feed and when we would need a pee stop. I told Paul that I would be slow at Afton (mile 125) so I made sure to get one water bottle of Coke and he said he would wait for me on the other side and then we'd do a pee stop.
I took a long time in Afton going through my musette, making sure I had a water bottle with Coke and one with water and also making sure I had an Enervitene. Also, I forgot to get info on whether or not we were in the lead. I then took off to go catch up to Paul. We stopped about 2 miles north of Afton to pee. We then caught 3 other riders and a tandem and worked with them through most of Star Valley. Paul and I figured we were then in the lead and again agreed to work together. We maybe saw 10 other riders in 30 miles. Paul and I had to teach/educate the other riders on pacelining, but after everyone figured out to only stay out in front (and only let the other riders stay out in front) for 1 minute pulls, things went really well. We ended up dropping the tandem and picking up one other rider.
We were then doing around 31 mph on the downhill before the elk feeding zone south of Alpine (mile 156) when we were passed by a different tandem with about 15 riders who were doing 38 mph. So we jumped on their wheel and ran at 38 mph.
At the elk feeding zone, the group was going up the small hill at 23 mph, with everyone in their saddles, when a Team DNA rider that was 2 riders in front of me was doing something with his water bottle, made 2 swerves and went down. I swerved to the right and missed his foot (which was up in the air) and his rear wheel by 2-3 inches and just heard bodies and bikes hitting the pavement. Paul had been riding just behind me and was unable to miss the downed rider. I kept on riding with the 5 other riders in front. In all, I think 8 or 9 riders went down. I made two quick glances back and saw that Paul had gone down. (I found out later that everyone got up, the DNA rider broke his collar bone, and Paul ended up breaking a spoke and waiting for a wheel from a support vehicle).
So I then pulled into the Alpine feed zone (mile 159), knowing that if Paul had gotten up and was riding, he'd be very sore and wouldn't be able to do much pulling, sprinting, hard riding etc., so I hopped on the wheel of one of the really strong riders that came with the tandem and started up Snake River Canyon. They were in Citizen's 45-54 and Cat. 5 groups and were intent on gaining time on some of the riders that had fell. So, I stayed with them. But I had made the conclusion that I was now in the lead, my main rival had just gone down in a crash, and I had no reason to pull, so I didn't. Our group gathered from 3 riders to 10 to 15 to almost 20 by the time we hit Hoback Junction (mile 181). Then the two Citizen 45-54 riders and about five Cat. 5 riders started to pull away on the rollers north of Hoback Junction and I went with them. At this point and time, I started to regret taking 2 Cokes at Alpine and thinking I should have picked up a Coke and a water. My stomach was starting to kill me.
Then after crossing the Snake River bridge south of Jackson (mile 187), our group exploded the last big hill. The strong riders just rode off and I got dropped. Rode 9 mph up the hill and looked ahead to see my group out in front of me about 100 meters. I bridged up to them by riding 21-22 mph and by them riding only 17-18. The Cat. 5 riders and the Citizens 45-54 riders were starting to play cat and mouse, which had allowed me to catch back up. We then caught another group of 5 riders and rode into Jackson (mile 194).
We caught 2 red lights in Jackson, but no one was behind us for a long ways, so it didn't matter. After the left turn and the last two hills, we caught another group of about 15 riders. By this time I was looking at my computer and looking at my elapsed time, thinking of when I could get a drink of water (not thinking of finishing, just getting a drink of water).
We made the turn to Teton Village (mile 200) and had a group of about 25 riders. There were Cat. 1's, 2's, 3's, Masters, Women's Cat. 4's, Cat. 5's, the Citizens 45-54 riders and I all in this large peleton, with everyone jockeying for space. I stayed toward the front, to the right, on the white line, but away from 5-6 riders who where gearing up for a sprint. We were only riding around 20 mph for the last 6 miles.
Then, out of nowhere, the "5 K to the Finish" sign shows up. Then "4 K to the Finish". I started timing the markers - about 1:40 per K. I could see that all the support vehicles were backed up for at least a mile from Teton Village and was glad that there was a bike chute to ride in for the last 1 K. "Five minutes and I can get a drink of water", I thought. Three minutes. The "1 K to the Finish" sign rolled by. One and a half minutes.
We finally got passed all the cars and at that point the group broke apart and the sprints started. I ended sprinting in, in the front third of the peleton, coming in behind one Cat. 5 rider and nipping another Cat. 5 rider at the finish. Hit my computer to stop the time at 9:56:51. My official time was 9:56:46.
After going through the exit chute, where the race officials take your timing chip and write down your number, I walked over to bike path to where my wife and kids met me. It took me a while to come down. I asked my wife for some water and tried to drink it, but I couldn't. My stomach hurt too bad.
It took me about 1/2 hour for me to be able to drink some water. We (my family and I) waited around the finish line for our other friends to come in, which they did, taking 4th, 5th and 11th in Citizen's 45-54. I checked the preliminary results table and verified that I had indeed taken 1st place in Citizen's 35-44 (did I mention that I'm 44 years old?). Walking back to where my friends had gathered, I found Paul. He told me that he had broke a spoke in the crash and asked how I did. I said I came in 1st, the other 1100 rider had came in 15 minutes behind me, and that I believe he had taken 3rd, but he should go to the results table to check. Paul did end up taking 3rd, 38 minutes behind me. If he wouldn't have been involved in the crash, my pace would have been faster and we would have sprinted for first.
It took me about 1 hour before I could drink any water or eat any "Cheezit" crackers (the only thing I had that wasn't sweet and sugary). I made my kids laugh by asking the same questions about the race 2 and 3 times (being in a stupor for a little while after the race). Although we ate dinner at 8 pm, I woke up at 12:45 am starving, wanting a hamburger and fries.
Without my family as my support crew, things would not have gone as well as they did.
My race was won at the Preston feed zone, 34 miles and 1:17 into the race.