Gran Prix of Beverly Race Report
I did this race last year and it was tons of fun and I got third. Thus I was SUPERSTOKED to do it this year.
In related news, last year I was a Cat 4 in the 4/5 race. This year I am a Cat 3 in the 1/2/3 race. This time around was a little...different.
I don't really do anything above threshold until 'cross season (except for intervals... yeah, I'm gonna do some intervals soon, I swear) so my little mountain biker muscle cells were CONFUSED when the race started. SPRINT! TURN! Coast... coast... coastcoastcoast oh god why are we not pedaling? SPRINT! SPRINTSPRINTSPRINT sweet jesus why are we still accelerating??
Repeat that for 60 minutes and you have my view of the race.
I got a SICK clip-in off the start with my new Speedplays, probably because they feel just like MTB pedals, and got right up into 20-25 wheel. Which seemed like a good place to be, except that we went LUDICROUS SPEED from the gun and we were single-file all the way back to 25th or whatever. Or maybe two abreast? Hell if I know, I'm a mountain biker, but the point is that 25th wheel was nowhere near as sheltered as it usually is. So we rode 29mph for 20 minutes and I ate far more wind just staying in my position than I wanted to, and it started to seem very possible that I could not do this for an hour.
So while I am riding 99% to stay on a wheel, the guys at the front are launching attacks because they are GOOD BIKE RIDERS instead of FAST-TWITCHERS WHO CAN FAKE IT like me. Finally an attack stuck and seven guys got up the road, including the big teams. We slowed down to doing 28 mph laps.
And 2/3rds of what was left of the field was so, so happy to be off the rivet for a second that there was no chance of a serious chase being taken up. I personally spent my extra 1mph of rest trying to breathe deeply enough to get the tangled mess that was my stomach to open up again (did I mention I haven't been doing intervals?) and might've even taken my first drink since the race started.
We rode around until about eight to go, and then guys started racing for 8th place and it got fast again. Unfortunately, my goal all along was "just finish," so I responded to this pressure by sliding right to the back of the pack. "Dude, we're gonna finish, that's all you said we had to do" whined my legs (and lungs, and stomach). The danger of low expectations.
That said, I did rally enough to hold the wheel on the final lap, so I picked up a bunch of junk places as other people quit trying hard. Suckers!