Tag Archives: River Falls

Learning about life on the bike

Recently I wrote of my experience during the River Falls race. Turns out some of the descriptions I gave were incorrect. Shows that what you think you see and feel during a race don’t always reveal what is actually happening.

Where I went wrong was in my description of what was happening on the climbs. There were four of them and on the first one I rode right up towards the front. Then I changed my tactics on the next two climbs by — I thought — easing up on my power output in order to conserve energy. The fourth attempt was just me trying to stay in contact with the field.

Well, it turns out that the first lap was the lap where I used the least amount of power! All four exceeded 300 watts, but the last one was 388 watts average. The middle two were less, but still more than the first.

The point is that even though I thought I was “going easier” I wasn’t. Here is what I think happened. During the first climb most likely everyone was taking it slow as they measured out what it would take to complete the climb. Being I was right with the front of the field at that point, I was able to hold a consistent power output from bottom to top.

During the second and third lap the entire field picked up the speed for the climb. However, I slowed to conserve causing me to fade to the rear which lowered my output in the beginning of the climb. HOWEVER, by the end of the climb I was having to chase harder to stay in contact. That means that by the end of the climb my average power output was greater. At the same time, my heart rate was increased due to the shorter, but more intense effort.

I was digging a hole for myself because once we crested, there wasn’t enough downhill for me to catch up. This meant I was chasing into the second hardest section of the course. Ultimately, I think that contributed to me cracking.

My coach also pointed out to me that I was most likely dehydrated. Because of my bladder issue I was not drinking. I may have taken two swallows of water the entire effort. When I looked at my bottles following the race, it looked like the bottles were full.

Execution = failed.

I guess I’ll never know what might have happened had I approached the following laps the same way I did the initial one. One thing I think this teaches me is that the suffering of the moment may be just the thing to keep you from the pain of the future. That is a lesson for the bike… and life as well.

It is going to be a good year!

While my Category 3 race didn’t go so well, it turned out to be a great weekend — and series, for that matter. Thomas Smith and Phil Ball continued their podium dominance in the River Falls race. The POA Cycling Masters Team swept the podium for the series omnium.

River Falls Finish

Jacob McGahey takes the win

When I walked up to the tent where my teammates typically hang out, I found Blair Lemarche working on someone’s leg. As I got closer I found it was Darin Marhanka. That didn’t bode well. I was hoping there wasn’t a pile up that had taken out more of our guys.

Darin explained that it was just a matter of a single rider in front of him standing to accelerate and having his front wheel wash out from under him. His wipe out took Darin with him causing Darin to pick up a some road rash. What a hard day for Darin to ride in this mess just to get taken out.

We still had Thomas Smith, Phil Ball, Phil Humbert, Jae Bowen, and Mark Caskey. As I sat there talking with Blair and Darin, the announcer alerted us that the leaders were approaching the start/finish. I turned to see who it would be.

I saw Thomas leading another rider (who turned out to be veteran racer, Jacob McGahey) to the line with Phil Ball several meters behind them. There was some confusion because Thomas thought that it was the finish. Unfortunately, he now had to turn in another lap!

This happened because the Masters racers were out on the course at the same time as the Women. The women had their final lap called around the time that the Masters were coming through for their penultimate lap. I’m sure they hated to know they were going to have to do another lap in the nasty weather we were experiencing!

Next came Phil Humbert leading the pack to the line. Jae was there and then Mark came across later. It was pretty obvious that unless Thomas and Phil had mechanical issues we were going to have a chance at a 1-2 finish. However, Blair commented that McGahey would be a hard nut to crack.

I didn’t get to see the finish. Well, I did, but I couldn’t tell what happened. I was trying to take a finish line photo with my iPhone. As you can tell from the photo above, the iPhone isn’t the best platform for taking action photos!

Jacob McGahey crossed the line first with a comfortable lead. I couldn’t tell who was second because the next person I saw after looking up from the iPhone was Phil Ball. I was afraid that perhaps Thomas had wrecked.

I went over to Hank McCullough, who was waiting to take the course for the Masters 45+ race, and asked him if Thomas was in the finish. “Yes,” he let me know, “Thomas came across in second.” That means that once again Thomas and Phil got in a break together and finished on the podium.

It was exciting to gather with the team after the race. Even though Thomas and Phil were shivering from the cold and their effort, they had huge smiles on their faces. In between the back slaps and wringing of water out of clothing, each rider explained the events of the race. Everyone was sharing in the joy of success.

Phil Humbert summed it up well when he said, “It feels great to be part of such a strong team.  No matter who is in the break, I know the others are killing themselves to help the team succeed.  It’s gonna be a good year!”

At the end of the day the team took 2nd – Thomas, 3rd – Phil B., 5th – Phil H., and 6th – Jae. Mark finished outside the top 10 in 13th. The better news was that the team was now holding the top three positions in the omnium for the series with 1st – Thomas, 2nd – Jae, and 3rd – Rodney. With one day of racing to go, it was looking good.

On Sunday, it turns out that only 6 racers took the line in the Masters 35+ race. It was 45 degrees, rainy, and winds up to 15 mph. After Saturday, it is hard to blame them! The result was that there were no omnium challengers in the final race.

So ended the first series campaign for the POA Cycling Master Team. It is going to be an interesting year. If the spirit of the team remains as strong as it has started out, I feel for those coming up against them.

As good as they boys have been so far, there is still more to learn as we race together. The team dynamics are only going to get better. You could tell by the way the guys were debriefing after the race that it will come together.

Yeah, Phil, it is going to be a good year!

$7.50 a lap

Today I sucked it up and headed over to the River Falls course. It was rainy and cold. Actually, just standing around under covering, it didn’t seem so bad. It wasn’t until you became thoroughly soaked that you began to suffer. Suffer, I did.

I got there just in time to see the final laps of my teammates in the Masters 35+. It was a lot of fun seeing them work together and bringing home some great finishes. Standing around with them afterward, it was great to feel connected to it all — though it was a little disappointing to learn that I could have been an actual part of the success since some our guys weren’t able to make it. I could have raced Masters after all.

Instead, I was lining up alone for the Category 3 race. We would be the last field to roll off for the day. I had hoped that the temperature would increase — and perhaps it did, but I couldn’t tell. I was numb.

Several times during warming up I stopped to use the porta-johns. I guess it was a combination of the wet, cold weather and me drinking too much. Maybe it is also a part of being 43-years old! This would factor into my day later…

We lined up behind the Pro/1/2 field and waited for them to head off. Then we moved up to their place to get our instructions, etc. It was while we were waiting for our send off when I started to feel that urge again. If I had the day to do over again, I would have gotten out of line and hit the john again. It turns out I would have had time.

I didn’t and I regret it.

The first lap was okay. Only once did I have a scare. It wasn’t due to anyone else. I just let the road get to me.

Once you come off the start/finish line you take a reasonable turn to the right. Then there is a left turn that is deceptively tight and the asphalt there is smooth — with rain you think it looks slick. I had taken the first right turn rather gingerly and now was accelerating to close a gap. This sent me into that turn at a pretty high speed.

What I should have done was just trust my equipment, lean into the turn with my right leg extended, and my left arm pushing down on the bar. Every other lap I did and it was smooth sailing. Unfortunately, this time I caught some waves.

I panicked as I came into the turn. I had the feeling that the bike wasn’t going to make the turn and I would go off the road. I braked and found myself awkwardly balanced on the bike. The front wheel started wobbling. For a split second, I thought I was going to go down. However, I slowed enough to gather the bike and then set off again after the field pulling a number of riders behind me.

We settled down and for the rest of the lap until the bottom of the hill, we rode at a nice speed. I would glance at my computer on occasion to see wattage readings in the 100s. This was good for my plan.

My plan was to sit in as much as possible to conserve my energy. These gently rolling sections would be important as there would be a 2 mile climb to deal with. If I could hang in there until the final lap, perhaps I could get a top ten finish on the final climb.

The first climb was fine. I was near the front and the field was driving it pretty good. We crested and I was in good shape, though I noticed that the whole field was pretty much with us. It made me think that perhaps I could ease up a bit on the climb and conserve some more.

During the second lap, my bladder issues became more obvious. I wasn’t desperate, but I knew that things were only going to get worse. I started to consider my options — really, only one presented itself: relieve myself in my shorts. I decided I would if it came to that.

On the second climb I tried my theory. I eased up and let the field kind of string out a bit. As we crested, I found I was a little farther back, but I could tell that I had not put out as much effort.

Unfortunately, there was a trade-off. Coming off the hill the field began to accelerate. As I was going into the first right turn, the front of the field was starting to make its way into the “scary left turn.” Gaps were forming and I found myself having to work even harder to get back with the field. Thankfully, this time I took the turn correctly, but I was giving up the energy I had saved on the climb.

By the time we reached the climb, I was at that desperate stage. I really had to go. We started the climb again and I was about mid-pack. I determined that once I could breathe again, I would do what had to be done.

This time I was starting to lose it. I was drifting back. It wasn’t because I wanted to. I was starting to labor. I didn’t understand. My wattage was reading reasonable levels. It didn’t seem that I should be feeling this way.

Once again I was chasing to get back on. Twice I had sizable gaps form and I was working hard to attach to the wheel in front of me. Finally, I did and was able to settle into the pack to recover.

Now would be the time to relieve myself. By this time my bladder was cramping. I was miserable on the inside and the out! It just wouldn’t happen.

I don’t know why. Perhaps the chemicals make your body shut down for “fight or flight” had kicked in. Maybe my brain just couldn’t deal with something that I had never done before. All I know is the misery continued to be base of the fourth climb.

Now I was hurting. Frankly, I was losing the will to continue. Another rider near me dropped saying, “I’m out!” I almost followed suit. However, I told myself, “Don’t stop now. At least get over the hill and see what happens.” So, I gathered myself and crossed the line with a huge gap.

I did give it a try. Another rider who had suffered on the climb came around me and we tried for a bit to work together to catch back on. I even caught a glimpse of the field just a turn ahead of us.  My partner accelerated and I went to go with him. He rode away from me.

What on earth was going on? I was riding with guys that I have stayed with on many a ride. Yet, here I was toast.

I stopped there. I decided I needed to go pee. However, it was a bit before my body let me.

It was time to get in my car and leave out the back way. I didn’t want to go by the start/finish line. It was too embarrassing.

I finished only four laps. I paid thirty dollars for that. That’s $7.50 a lap.

My song for the day


I’m racing in the rain
Just racin’ in the rain
Must keep the rubber side down
Or I’ll feel some pain
I can’t see the clouds
So dark up above
Mud’s on my glasses
And I just got a shove
Let the slower guys chase
Don’t care where I might place
When comes to the rain
I’m just saving my face
I’ll cross the line
I’ll be doing quite fine
Just racin’,
Racin’ in the rain

Racin’ in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I sprint down the lane!
I’m racin’ and prayin’ in the rain!

A glass half full

Ahhh, River Falls. It is one of my favorite places to race. I’ve only had the opportunity to contest the course three times. Once, as a category 5 racer I got third. My first race of 2009 as a category 4 racer I got fourth. This year I was back — better trained, better motivated, and confident. I was wanting to better any previous finish.

The one thing that was different this year was the fact that I was going into the race as the series points leader. Lining up right behind me was Jon Leifer. He was only two points behind me. There were also three other riders who had a mathematical chance to tie me or take the lead. As I looked around, the only other one of the challengers was Wade Greene. Looked like it was going to be a three-way battle.

Waiting to begin (Click image to enlarge)

Billy and Matt were there to help me out. The plan was for them to manage any breaks and to keep the field moving. My job was to take care of the challengers for the points lead. So, we rolled off with a job to do.

The first lap was typical. It was a chance for us to all get warmed up. A lone rider did go off the front, but everyone knew he wouldn’t survive. Everyone was riding for the first climb.

That first one was no fun at all! I heard chains dropping right and left as riders searched to find their climbing gears. Riders were coming back and some were moving back and forth as they tried to find a line. It was impossible to find a rhythm!

Determined to avoid that if possible, I moved to the front on the third climb up. This time I was able to get in a rhythm and my legs were sending me good signals! As long as I didn’t wear myself down, I would be okay.

Controlling the front (Click to enlarge)

Something that made me smile was overhearing some of the conversations around me before the race started. Leifer was behind me and I heard him comment to some of his friends that “417” was the rider to mark. The result was that it gave me confidence.

Here on the front after that third climb, Brian (a Greenville Spinner’s rider) came up beside me. He kept looking over at me as though he was trying to see if I was tired or something. I made a point to breathe through my nose so he would think I wasn’t working and finally I looked over at him and grinned.

The only problem now was that I was on the front. There was a break up the road with a minute lead. I was torn between the primary objective – protect the points lead – and the secondary objective – win the race. I knew the guys up ahead were pretty strong. What if they were able to hold it?

Matt was calling to me from behind me. “Get off the front, Jonathan!” I started to slow, but no one came around. Finally, a rider moved pass me on the left with Matt in tow. I decided to slip back into the clutches of the group. The vision of Leifer coming around me at the end because I was too tired to counter reined me in.

Speaking of Leifer – where was he? Wade was in front of me for most of the race, but my closest challenger was not coming near me. I chalked it up to him patiently waiting back at the rear of the field with some friends waiting for a final lap attack.

Back in the field (Click to enlarge)

From that point on I attempted to stay in the first 20 or so riders, but away from the front. As we neared the fourth and fifth climbs, I would work my way toward the front so I could avoid the circus of the climb. After we crested the top, I would ease back into the field.

Finally, the last lap arrived. Still no Leifer and I could tell that Wade was going to give it a go. My focus was simply on trying to stay near him and conserve as much as I could for the inevitable push from the Charleston racer. I was in between the two.

The pace picked up as we made the right hand turn onto the final climb. I quickly increased my cadence to match the acceleration. It was at that point I made a fatal error.

I was moving easily within the first 15 or so riders. The riders who had tried to create a gap up the initial part of the climb were starting to get caught. Wade was up there driving it! Still, no Leifer.

Just past the 1K to go line I was well within the top 10. Suddenly, I started to think less about Jon Leifer and Wade Greene. “Hey, you just might be able to win this thing!” It was about that point where the road kicked up. My legs were not responding the way they had earlier on the climb. I looked down. I was in my big ring.

Now, I realize that most cat 3’s and up will respond, “So? That hill is a big ring hill.” Sure it is, for you guys. However, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I had determined a sweet spot for putting out a steady tempo that I knew would run most of these guys in the ground. The big ring realization threw me for a loop.

I shifted to the small ring and searched around for the right gear on my rear cassette. Thankfully, I hadn’t lost any positions and there was only a small gap. I reeled them in and nearing the 200 meter notice I was moving into the lead. “Come on!” I thought to myself, “You might get both objectives today!”

A rider was now coming up to my right. It was going to be a sprint once we got over the rise. However, now my gearing was working against me. I shifted back to my big ring, but that moment of hesitation gave the rider an advantage. I was then searching for a smaller rear ring and attempting to shift into a sprinter stance. Again, more hesitation and I was starting to spin out!

By the time I got into a decent gear, I was nearly a bike length behind and had another rider coming up fast on the left side of me. It was going to be close even for second! The lead rider threw his arms in the air at the line and I crossed with mixed emotions as the third place rider threw his bike forward for a photo finish.

Another second place finish (Click to enlarge)

Oddly enough, a rider not in our race and without a teammate anywhere near me in the finish, protested my second place finish. I’ll grant it was close, but the camera showed that I beat Johnny to the line. In case you’re wondering, normally the people to protest are riders involved or a team manager.

As I was standing talking to my wife, someone walked up to me. It was Jon Leifer in his street clothes! I’m sure I looked confused. He congratulated me on wrapping up the omnium and then explained that he had dropped his chain on the first climb and after trying to catch back on decided to call it a day.

On my way home, I went over things in my mind. What would I have done differently had I know Leifer was out of the race? I do know I would have attacked sooner on the climb. Would that have gotten me a win? I don’t know. As John James told me afterward, “Stop second guessing. Be happy with your place!”

I am happy — very. I can race at Donaldson tomorrow without pressure of defending the points lead. Leifer wants to make it a sprint fest. I’ll give it a shot. As you know, I’ve never considered myself a sprinter… but now I’m starting to believe.

Race Logic

Objective number one for today:

Protect the omnium position.

Objective number two for today:

Win the race.

Complete objective number two and objective number one is assured. However, objective number one can be accomplished without completing objective number two. Trying too hard for objective number two could jeopardize both objectives.

Today’s approach? Assure number one and be in a position to accomplish number two. Let the race come to me and adjust as needed on the road. I must trust in my training when the time to move comes.

I can

Protect the omnium position.

I can

Win the race.

River Falls

The fifth race of the Greenville Spring Training Series is the one farthest from the city of Greenville. It is located in a beautiful area near scenic highway 11. Though I’m sure that by the end of each race the riders won’t be paying much attention to the scenery! They’ll have their heads down as they attempt to be the first to climb Gap Creek Road to the finish.

The course almost forms a rectangle. You start at the top of the hill on Gap Creek Road. Right out of the gate you are descending with a near right angle turn onto Devils Fork Road. The section doesn’t have much climbing. After some initial rollers, things level out a bit as the road follows a creek that connects two lakes near the course. There is a sharp turn again at the end of this section as the riders turn onto River Falls Road. This road also follows a creek and there isn’t much elevation to contend with.

View map of course.

However, soon after turning back onto Gap Creek Road, that begins to change. Things start out seeming about the same until you turn a corner and cross a small bridge. At that point, you will see the climb begin. It starts off pretty shallow with some false flats and even some straightaways. You’re climbing though and about halfway to the top you’re going to be feeling it!

Then you will enter a winding section and the pitch kicks up a bit at that point. Suddenly you come around a right hand curve and “crest” the hill. In front of you is a straight shot of 100 meters or so to the finish line. The unfortunate thing for you is that you have to do multiple laps of this 5 mile course.

That climb is the deal maker — or breaker. The rest of the course is pretty manageable. The field is able to stay pretty much intact through the majority of the route. If you are going to make separation, it almost has to be on the climb. It is there the race is decided — both by attrition during the race as riders must climb it multiple times and then by selection as the strongest remaining riders race to the top for the final time.

I have seen pros and masters racers use this climb to build a gap early and then increase it as the race goes on. For the most part the categories 3, 4, and 5 do more of a group race. Racers from those categories attempting to build that kind of break might blow themselves up on the multiple climbs.

The hunter becomes the hunted

River Falls is two days away. Maybe someday this will change, but each event so far this year has led me to think back to earlier adventures racing these roads. Saturday there will be one element I have never experienced – I will be the hunted rather than the hunter.

With two second place finishes in the third and fourth races of the Greenville Spring Training Series to go along with a fifth place finish in the second race, I now have 24 points toward the omnium. Jonathan Leifer, whom I knocked off that top spot, is only two points back in second place overall. Fellow Upstate racer, Wade Greene, is in third with eighteen points.

Two more races remain. I certainly don’t have this wrapped up, by any means. However, I have already pretty much assured that I’ll have reached my goals (or at least a variation of them) for this race series.

Goal number one is to finish top 5 in the omnium. By the way, in case you are one of my non-cycling relatives reading this blog, the omnium is basically standings based on points earned for finishes in all races of a series. Since I am currently first in those standings, I think I am well on my way to meeting this goal.

Goal number two is to podium at River Falls. However, even if I don’t manage this specific goal, I am pleased because I have already “stood on the podium” (we don’t actually have one) twice in the series. Frankly, I have already exceeded what I thought I could do. Everything from here on out is icing on one delicious cake!

Now I have the new experience of being the marked man. Last Sunday I knew Leifer was the only rider between me and the top spot. Knowing that had a huge bearing on how I approached the race. Without doing anything, he already dictated my actions.

What do I do? Will we end up like Sunday when we rode around slow as molasses in January because Leifer was sitting in patiently waiting for the field sprint? Will I be the one slowing us down? Are there other more team-oriented, tactical things that could happen in the race to make it more interesting?

If past experience is the guide, this race could end up simply being about who can climb the last kilometer fastest. I’m prepared for that, but hope it will be something better. Seems I know better how to hunt, than to be the hunted.

Video and wattage

Here is some video from the River Falls road race of the 2009 Greenville Spring Training Series. I’m sorry there aren’t more angles and more categories covered. My concentration was more on my own race. Even so, there are a good number of the starts included, so you might see yourself in there.

I got a chance to look at my power readings for the race. Funny, I almost always have a higher overall wattage average from my typical “training” ride than I do from a race. Here is a comparison:

River Falls: Entire – 173 watts / 5s – 784 / 10s – 666 / 5m – 280 / 20m – 229

Last Ride: Entire – 181 watts / 5s – 652 / 10s – 467 / 5m – 280 / 20m – 242

What I take from that is race situations actually allow you to conserve your energy much more than just going out to ride by yourself. If you are riding alone and pushing yourself, you most likely are going to be able to put out less energy for the race — saving it for the time you really need it.

Hope all of you heading out to Donaldson Center tonight have a great time. I will not be able to join you, but I’m looking forward to getting out there soon. If anyone wants to send it a report from the evening, I would love to publish it here. Just send it on!

River Falls Race Report

Here is the race report for the 2009 Greenville Spring Training Series race at River Falls. The result was a fourth place finish. Six laps were ridden for a total of nearly 40 miles by about 50 riders

Lap 1: There was a good sized field when we started off. I jumped in about mid pack and just tried to get a feel for the route and the riders around me. More energy was expended on my warm-up lap than I put out on this first one.

Lap 2: It was taking me a bit to get my race legs back.  There was some trouble holding my line through the first lap and then going into a turn on lap two I had a guy go off the road right in front of me.  He tangled with two other riders and fell into and off of the road.

I had to take evasive action to miss them. Fear gripped me at that point. I was out there with a still healing broken finger and I got gripped with the feeling that I was going to get taken out. I had to get a hold of myself. By the time we reached the second climb I was feeling much better.

Lap 3: After spending a little too much time up toward the front, I remembered my goal of just bringing the body home with the fenders still on it.  I backed off and slipped again to the mid pack. This climb I was feeling even better that the first two laps.

The main issue on the climb was the fact that everyone would rush to get started on the climb and then it was like hitting a wall of riders.  The reaction caused us guys behind them to almost come to a stand still. We would then work around them and catch any of the leaders coming down the other side.

Lap 4: I was starting to settle in. I realized I only had to climb two more times. It was the first point where I realized I really wasn’t going to get dropped out the back and I might finish this thing. I started sizing up the people around me thinking that I might even get a top 10.

The people around me started to come more into focus.  I heard a voice behind me.  It was Peter Mathern.  Peter is a guy I have ridden with many times before. He was starting to move toward the front with his teammates and I was seeing him as a real threat.

Lap 5: The good news was I also heard the voice of my teammate Luis Sanchez right behind me. He asked me how I felt, and I replied that I felt surprisingly good. I could tell from his tone that he was there to help me get a good finish.

I’ve ridden with Luis (or as we call him “Louie”) for years. He was one of the reasons I was so excited about joining POA Cycling. He can make a big hole and has some incredible power. He isn’t much of a climber, but if you want a steady workhorse, Luis is your man.

Lap 6: Coming up the climb on lap 5 I eased waaaay up and came over the climb pretty far back, but that allowed me to conserve energy for the final push.  Luis was right there with me once we got over and then he moved around me.

I was feeling a little weak legged at that point. I could tell it was just because I had not ridden this far in over three weeks! I had no fear of bonking, but I was certain that at the finish I wouldn’t be able to put up a lot of wattage. Then my teammate took over.

All I did was get behind Luis and he started opening holes for me and taking the wind. In theory I always knew having a teammate work for you was a great help physically. I’ve never had the opportunity to experience it. While it was a help physically, I was surprised by an unexpected benefit.

Luis was making all the decisions for me. All I had to do was make sure I was connected to him. A couple of times he saw a hole and pulled us through it. I just made myself as small as possible and prayed I would make it to the other side! Still, mentally, I was able to concentrate of the decisions ahead.

I approached the last climb feeling physically and mentally relaxed. The only negative was because we were coming up from the back, we did not realize that there was a rider off the front. So, when I was delivered to the bottom of the climb, I thought the only riders I had to beat were the ones right in front of me.

As I came around Luis he looked over and asked, “This okay?” I gave him the thumbs up and moved forward. Thankfully, this time the riders on front started to attack and I was right there with them.  The log jam wasn’t there. I was able to go unimpeded for the final effort.

I waited… waited… I could several riders ahead really pushing. I knew they were either really strong, or they were over doing it. I planned to go for broke when I reached the final turn warnings at the top. However, before that happened, a majority of the riders ahead of me started dropping. I began to pass them without really putting out the effort.

As I neared the turn before my planned attack, I saw who I thought was the leader ahead of me. If I was going to beat him, I was going to have to pick it up a bit. I started after him and was gaining until he looked back and saw me.  He picked it up a bit and now I was in a battle for my spot.

A junior rider in a Carolina Cyclone kit came up on my left. We rode together for just a little and then he moved pass me. I stood to counter and that is when my jello legs hit. I started searching for a gearing combination that might help me catch up to him. Then I started just hoping I would hold on to my current position.

I put my head down and just ground it out. Turns out the Cyclone rider took the line ahead of both myself and the guy we were both chasing. I rolled across in what I thought was third, but turns out it was fourth.

It turns out the winner had gone off earlier before the climb. The leaders of the field at that point did not attack him because they felt they would catch him on the climb. We didn’t.

Overall I was very happy.  I can do this in category four. Let’s get it on!