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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Okay, that hurt

To be honest, I wasn't real excited about going out to Donaldson tonight. Sure, the weather was beautiful and my Garmin was working again (at least for the most part it was). There was every reason to expect a wonderful evening.

Still, my legs weren't so sure about it. I was still feeling some stiffness from the weekend. I did go out on an easy ride Monday and that helped, but pulling up to the course I wasn't so sure how I would do in the A's.

The Spinners Team had decided it was each man for himself this evening. I guess we would work together where we could, but team tactics weren't in the mix as we started to roll out. I was glad to see Peter there and hoped I'd get a chance to work with him some.

We were going to do four laps. I rolled from the start about halfway back. I was right in the middle of a bunch of POA guys -- right ahead of me was Louis talking with Peter. I didn't feel like talking.

That first lap was a warm-up lap. It took us about 18 minutes to get around it. Even then I found myself feeling out of sorts. I felt heavy is the best way to describe it. So, I just hung out near the back to see if things would come to me.

As we went into the second lap, I made up my mind that my goal was to finish in the group. I didn't think a win would be in my future - especially considering that a bunch of 1/2 guys went off the front and left us. The only thing we could go for would be the leftovers.

About halfway through, I even started to wonder if I would be able to finish with the main group. We were on a pace to set the fastest lap time of the evening, but it still wasn't that bad. Yet, there I was spending an inordinate amount of time with my heart rate up around the mid-180s.

I pulled over and let the group start sliding by me. Finally, I felt myself getting in gear. By the time we reached Kitty Hawk Road, I was back in line believing that I could make it to the end.

The group typically starts accelerating after then pass the railroad tracks. Next, you hit some nice pavement and things pick up, but then slow just before everyone starts diving down a gentle slope before it kicks up toward the finish.

At this point, they would take off again. In this section, I found I could pick up some spots. I kept that in mind for later.

This happened as we headed into the third lap. By the time we made it up, past the start finish, and then through the first right turn; the field started to spread out. At one point in that lap I found myself in a group with a pretty good gap between us and a breakaway. I decided to help bridge us over.

I waited until we reached a slight downhill and then started to roll. I was hoping that Peter would catch on and I could bring him up to the group ahead. Once I got there, I decided it was time for someone else to mix it up with the lead group.

Someone behind didn't like it, I reckon because I heard someone yell, "Keep going, Jonathan." I think what they were meaning was "keep pulling us even though you brought us up to the group." Right.

I did pick up the pace a little bit until I saw Chris Gundling over to the right going a little slower than the rest. I worked my way over behind him. My thinking was that Chris was not going to finish last so if I just hung with him, I would be okay.

I did stay with him until we got well into the fourth lap. We were motoring along the white line and it was great. We were passing dozens of riders. Then all of a sudden the door shut in front of us. Chris and a third rider who had been with us slipped through. I got stalled.

That was the last I saw of Chris close up. The next time I saw him was on the back side of the course up on the front. Once we got to the tracks, he and another rider were off the front. I'm pretty sure that is where they finished the day.

My day wasn't over though. I figured I would put into play what I had learned earlier in the day. I set up behind Rodney and let him bring me to the new pavement. Then the group started doing its yo-yo thing before the dip.

I stayed in line until we started to come out of the dip. Then I accelerated. I was doing the same thing I had done earlier. At this point, I probably should have got back in line and saved that last bit for the finish. However, I kept going.

Then I got lazy. Sure, I could have kept pushing it until I hit 190 bpm. However, I was 15 or so back in a spread out field. Live to fight another day. I got out of the way and pull up near the fire station.

Peter had gotten caught in a bad spot himself and was coming up behind me just as I let up. We rode in together. I spent some time afterwards talking with some Spinner guys. It was good to also give Kevin Dunn a big thank you for the fun I had this weekend.

So, you might think I went away not so happy with the ride. Actually, I was quite happy with it. With the way I was feeling going into it, I exceeded my expectations. I was also happy to see that while I was getting up to 185 bpm with my HR, I was able to quickly bring it down to the 160s when I could sit in.

That bridging business was my one stupid move of the evening. I don't know why I do that sort of thing. I should learn from Chris. He was expending the least amount of energy possible until that final lap.

Race line

Distance: 29 miles
Average speed: 25 mph
Average HR: 169 bpm (Tempo Zone)
High HR: 187 bpm (Max 196)
Finish: Who knows - in the main field


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