Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Labor Day Weekend Crit
This weekend, I decided to attempt the Labor Day Weekend Crit race in Howey in the Hills, Florida. It was the same course as my PAL Stage Race crit but in the opposite direction. It should show the progress of my cycling fitness and was a good check to make sure I am ready for the fall racing season. I have been riding in faster group rides and have completed several of the GG Event Training Crit Series since the PAL Stage race.
The weather was great for being summer in Florida with overcast skies and temperatures in the lower 90’s. I got to Howey in the Hills plenty early to watch the Pro/1/2 race and to get in a good warm up. The turn out was low for the races and when I registered, they announced the Cat 3 race was going to be combined with my Cat 4/5, which would make it tougher. Luckily enough Cat 3 racers showed up for them to have their own race.
I watched the start of the Pro/1/2 race then decided to start to get ready for my race. I was getting my gear ready when I noticed I made a huge mistake. I left my cycling shorts at home hanging by the front door so I would not forget. I was asking around if anyone had an extra pair and looked up the closest bike shop to buy a new pair. The closest cycling shop was an half hour away and I would be pushing it trying to make it over there to get a pair.
I decided to just race with a pair of gym shorts instead. I thought my butt could withstand a 40 minute race without padding and did not care that I would be showing my nice Hanes underwear to everyone when the gym shorts would ride up. I went out on a shorter than usual warm up ride to get my legs loose and before I knew it, my race was up.
The goal of the race was to not get dropped and to stay towards the front to avoid the surges at the back of the pack. I learned to not look at my speed or heart rate so I would not psych myself out.
There were about 20 people in my Cat 4/5 race, but only a couple of people raised their hands when they asked who was Cat 5. The race was 40 minutes long. The start of the race was calm and I attempted to get into a breakaway until we were caught.
I stuck towards the front of the pack and tried to stay out of the wind for most of the time. There was a breakaway of two that was successful and then the pack started to not work well together and people kept attacking causing surging.
About 20 minutes into the race, I kept having to spit because for some reason, I was building up saliva. I think the Gu shoots I took before my race causes my saliva to thicken and makes me spit a ton. Then around 30 minutes into the race, I attempted to spit and the saliva was so thick, it got caught in my throat. It caused me to started gagging and I could not breathe. After a couple of seconds of gagging, I was able to clear my throat and start to breathe again. By the time I calmed back down, the pack had left me and I was unable to catch the pack.
I was disappointed to get dropped but I continued to push hard so I would not get lapped. The two leaders passed me with about three laps to go and I was able to finish right before the pack was able to catch me.
They did the podium for the race and then was surprised when they announced they were about to do the Cat 5 podium. I thought because of the combined race, they would combine the results too. They announced the top three and I did not hear my name. Then they said the spacecoast guy won the race. Found out they had a wrong name on the chip and I was really the best place Cat 5. I still think there was another Cat 5 racer that was ahead of me but was scored as a Cat 4 racer.
The race turned out to be a great check of my cycling fitness level other than the part where I stopped breathing. Great to see all those tough and long workouts have been paying off. Still need to gain more tactical race knowledge. Working on editing my video from my helmet camera to share my point of view from the race and check back soon .
Posted by Iron Moose at 10:24 PM
Labor Day Weekend Crit