Racing School: Eugene Celebration Stage Race Pt I

Three days have passed since I finished my last race. It’s taken this long for my brain to find its way from the cloud of fatigue that one will find themselves in after four races over three, very hard (all things being relative), days. Monday morning I felt fine, which kinda bothered me. If I felt like my normal self then I could have ridden harder and could have placed higher. I spent my morning stewing.

Then eleven am rolled around. Finally the weekend hit me like a ton of bricks. My legs felt heavy. The only thing I wanted to do was lay down on a giant pile of wire bead tires and slip off to dreamland. Since then I haven’t been able to think clearly, let alone write.

This being my first stage race I had planned to write up each stage after I had recovered enough to type. Sadly, in my rush to get ready I forgot the bag that housed my laptop, charging cable for the Garmin along with my notebooks. Both of them, the little one I carry with me at all times and the one I use to collect those thoughts.

But enough of those little details. To the racing.

Prologue 8 of 28 Time: 13:13

The prologue was a 5k uphill time trial. The hill was a easier than my old training standby NW Newberry, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I rode hard, only checked the computer twice, and was actually kind of pleased with how I raced. Actually I’d say I raced near the top of game. I was pleased. I eaisly passed my 30 second man, and almost caught my 1 minute man.

I left without waiting for results and headed to Nate’s for some sleep. I was ready for stage one.

Stage 1: 12 of 28

Stage 1 was three laps around, up and over Briggs Hill. During the race I worked hard to apply the lessons I’d learned at the beginning of the season and finally applied in the last six weeks of racing. Namely, sit near the front, don’t do too much work and be there when the action happens.

The first trip over Briggs was taken at a brisk pace. I was at the front as we crested and I turned to the guy next me and noted that another lap like that and this group will split in half. That’s what happened and I was at the front when it happened. For the first time in an actual road race (PIR doesn’t count) I was where I needed to be when the action happened.

A fast group allowed those who weren’t hurting too badly to catch back on. Our small group swelled to 12. We worked well together, but the fast pace and the rising temps were starting to get to me. When we approached Briggs hill for the last time I realized I was out of water and in trouble.

Before the race I debated whether or not I should have brought a third bottle. By the time that question was answered it was too late. I was tired and positioned in back. That was the end. I fell off the back and despite nearly hitting 50mph on the descent I couldn’t get back on. I finished a lonely 12th.

Overall I was still happy with how I raced. The next day the wheels would come off.

 

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