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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eagle Creek Classic Circuit Race Results 06.02.2012

RACE RESULTS - 11TH PLACE (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

I can finally and officially say that I can comfortably keep up with the peloton in a Cat 5 criterium!  Hopefully this will also be the case in my next race (Cat 4/5) on 06.23.2012.

I placed 11th out of 20 people and was behind the leader by 4.602 seconds.  I could have placed top 10 for sure if I didn't have to recover from a little mishap near the final lap.  I'll cover the craziness of what happened in more detail below.  With the help of the group, I covered about 12 miles in 28 minutes and 10 seconds-- a 25.56 mph average speed.  FYI, I can't hold this average speed solo...  Drafting within the group helps A LOT.  Just to show how much it helps to be sheltered in the group, my best solo average speed is about 20.2 mph over 32 miles in 5-10 mph winds.  I Instagram'd my cycling computer to celebrate my first time averaging over 20 mph.
Elevation data of my best average speed from Strava.com
PRE RACE:
A quick tip for anyone registering for a race in a large park... always ask the employees at the front for a map and directions to the race location.  I spent about 30 minutes driving around the park lost out of my mind!  I arrived with 14 minutes until the start of the race.  As soon as I parked my car, I sprinted to the registration tent, sprinted back to my car, had my girlfriend pin my numbers to my jersey (THANK YOU!) while I changed into my race clothes, assembled my bike and checked tire pressures.  Somehow I still had time to run through the course three-ish times.  Fight-or-flight response win!

DURING THE RACE:
If you check out the chart below, the numbers represent the position of the rider at the end of each lap.  While it doesn't provide extremely useful insight for training, it does show some interesting sections of the race.
During one of the final turns before concluding lap seven, my back wheel suddenly lost traction and forced the rear end of my bike to rotate around.  My bike rotated hard enough to unclip my left foot from the pedal.  Since I was already leaning into the turn, the slip forced me into an even wider line.  I was literally an inch or two from going off the pavement and dropping about four inches into the gravel shoulder- an almost guaranteed wipeout.  While I looked around for a decent place to crash/ slide, I realized that my right foot was still clipped in, so I pressed down and finished the turn with one foot.  By the time I clipped in after the turn, the group dropped me by about five seconds.  The sprint to catch the group was fairly tiring, but I eventually caught the group and was able to recover for the final lap.

When the final lap started, I was 16th place and had to work hard to stay there because everyone decided to raise the speed immediately to spread the field.  During the uphill sprint to the finish, I passed five people and moved up to 11th place.  I should have moved closer to the front during lap 11 to anticipate the acceleration.  While I didn't meet my goal to be top 10, I was still happy because it was my first time keeping up with the group in a criterium. :)