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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Village at Winona Lake Road Race Results - Cat 5 28 miles

Winona Lake Road Race Results (click to enlarge) - 22nd out of 42
I think my theory on developing an immune-to-weight physiology might have some validity to it!  I not only kept up with the peloton, but kept up with moderate effort and didn't feel nearly as fatigued as I normally would during my solo rides.  During the last lap, I considered breaking away on the steepest climb about six miles from the finish line!  Although it was extremely tempting to breakaway, I held back because my number one goal was to finish with the pack.  I think it's also worth mentioning that during the uphill sprint to the finish, I passed about 10-12 people who ended up re-passing me because I had to slam on the brakes for some riders who were slowly approaching the finish line- not sure if they were even in the race...  Realistically, I would have been around 10th-12th place- still not enough for points to move up to Cat 3 so it's ok!

PRE RACE:
The Village at Winona Lake Road Race was one of the most well organized events I've gone to.  Registration was quick and the staff was always prepared and friendly even when they were busy.  They also had a table set up for hot dogs and another with two barrels of ice cold Gatorade which never went empty-  I've never been to a race where they gave out free food, so major props to them!

The only area that needs improvement involved the group releases.  They called the Cat 5, 4 and 3 riders to the start line and completely forgot that the Cat 1 and 2 riders were still on course to finish their last lap.  The race officials had to scream to get everyone (over 100 riders) to clear the road when they noticed that the riders were sprinting to the finish line.

Once everything was figured out and the "ok" was given to bring the group back onto the start line, it was just a waiting game until the Cat 5 group was released.  It was so hot that when I tried to lift and adjust the direction of my bike, I couldn't lift my bike off the ground because I wasn't expecting my tires to be stuck to the melted tar!

DURING THE RACE:
I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first road race.  Compared to criteriums, this was the most laid back race I've even gone to.  There were no attacks and all of the accelerations were predictable (after every turn).  We took every turn conservatively because of the patches of sand sitting in each corner.  The pace started to get challenging in the last six miles where the group lifted the pace to a 25-26 mph average.  If I could do this race again, I think an earlier move at 18 miles would have been the ideal time to attack.  Below is a screenshot from Strava.com showing the course route and elevation changes.