My team and I tackled the East Canyon Road Race yesterday. The team did very well. We have some great talent on board and our first timers are learning tons as they get into racing.
My first shot at this race was 2 years ago. I didn't race the event last year. In 2008 though, I was a Cat 5, just getting my feet wet. About 5 miles into the race, there's a short, steep climb that pretty much spit me out the back end. I was redlining and spent the rest of the 60 mile race by myself, suffering.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was anxious to see if I could see any improvement over the last 2 years. My whole goal really was to not get dropped on that first climb and just hang in there the rest of the way. I am happy to report that the first goal was accomplished. I stayed with the leaders and even was part of the advancing group on the downhill. With the Cat 4's we have here in Utah, I feel that's a pretty good place to be. I not only hung in there, but to be an antagonist was a good sign.
Heading up to the turn around, I was getting impatient with the surge and slow game of people trying to break. So I took off and had a breakaway companion with me. We managed to get a good gap. Cruising along at 27 mph, I was taking my pull in the drops and sitting on the tip of my saddle. I hit a pothole and my seat clamp slipped. I saved my nads from hitting the top tube but I was now trying to get my saddle to stay in a comfortable spot. The writing was on the wall though. My breakaway companion and I talked about it and we realized we weren't going to be able to hold that pace just the two of us in the headwind that was to come. We sat up and let the group catch back up. Energy wasted for sure, but heck, I stuck my nose out there and gave it a shot.
The next 15 miles or so were mellow. The headwind was fierce and there was a group up front willing to pull. I knew I would be tested again though, with the big climb back to the finish. I manged to make it about half way without being dropped and even then kept in touch. Me and 2 others tried to pull back to the group on the flats. I ended up finishing at least in the same time zone as one of our strongest climbers.
So there were definite signs of improvement this week. I still have some climbing to make up for, but I'm working on it. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm doing a 25 min core and leg workout, sticking with the squats, lunges and box jumps. I then hit the trainer and "mash" it for 10 min on, 1 min off, 3 times. I hope that increases my strength. I've been a bit less strict on my diet the past few weeks. I'm back at 179. I need to get that back on track as well. I think there was a bit of complacency on my part thinking I had been so good, maybe i can slack a bit. That's not the case though. I can't let so much weight loss work go to waste.
Coming up I have the Bear Lake classic on May 15th. This race should come down to a field sprint, something I'm better at than climbing. So hopefully with some good positioning I can make a go of it. I have a couple 100 mile base rides planned for the next three weeks as well. My plan is to do at least 1 century a month. I've had 80 mile rides but I need to get in that first 100 miler in some time soon.