Sunday was the Vance Creek road race in Elma, WA, lovingly staged at the Satsop Development Park (which is a cute name for a never finished nuclear reactor plant). This is a fairly challenging course starting with a sweeping decent into a cross wind followed by a hard right on to twisting narrow farm roads, another right turn into the wind and small rollers that end up being a greater than 90 degreeturn with a 20% incline before rounding the coolant towers and starting another lap.
The weather was perfect with the exception of a slight breeze that grew stronger throughout the race and it was just in between arm/knee warmer or without so I opted for with, which turned out to be a good choice. We rolled down the first hill through what seemed to be purposely sanded yet never swept roads. The gravel was flying every where… in my helmet, in my mouth, bouncing between carbon wheels… a lot of flats today. We drilled the farm roads on almost every lap and if you were unlucky enough to be at the back, that’s where you stayed. the tight corners and narrow road exacerbated the accordion effect and it was strung out for pretty much the entire length. We all came together though at the park… the collective breath before the rollers and climb.
The climb to the finish really isn’t all that hard. Alex and Ryan rolled it in the big ring. I was spinning the small ring to the top and never felt I was in any type of trouble. I sat comfortably mid pack every time up and was glad to hear the cheering from Elizabeth through the feed each time. Thanks! Alex once again sat at the very front for most of the race, which I didn’t feel was too necessary on the 1st and second lap. No one was letting anything get away. He tried a couple of times and so did Aaron but Recycled and Cucina were killing it to keep it together. I shot off with Tom Wick on the farm roads lap 3 (his second break attempt) and some other guy but right away I knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere. the other guy wasn’t pulling hard enough for us to get away, I was tired from bridging so I couldn’t pull and Tom couldn’t do it ALL himself so I sat up seeing how close they were. All of a sudden Olivier from Apex screams past me and is gone, picking up one of the guys from the break and heading off. I let Alex, Aaron and Ryan know who just went off and the chase was on… caught just as we hit the rollers.
You could tell by lap 5 that the fatigue was starting to set in. 2 guys over cooked corners on the farm roads and ditched it. Ryan Dean took a spill after the park but before the rollers. I stopped and yelled if he needed a pull up but he was taken care of by the follow car and the pack had slowed a bit, it was easy to catch back on. Going into the last lap there was a small group off the front and no one was really concerned as we descended into the farms roads for the last time. I picked my way up to the front and gave chase with a Receycled and Hagens guy and then started rotating. Odd that no one was coming up to help considering the representation in the group. Finally mid way through the back side half of the Recycled crew just drill the chase. It was pretty impressive! and with their efforts came the inevitable catch and posturing before the final climb to the finish. I was in poor position at 1k and when the pace really picked up right before the turn I was no where near the front. I rolled though the line with a smile though… I knew Aaron and Ryan were in great position and that is a perfect finish for both of them. Turns out they went 5th and 6th over the line together, Alex at the front of the main pack and then me. Poor Recycled Cycles, after ALL of that work I don’t think any of them cracked the top 20. Sucks but that’s racing. They won the tough team of the day award.
After the race it was off to Alastair’s house and had a great time munching on Lamb burgers and a couple of beers. Good Times!
Race – 80 miles
Bike – Flyte SRS2 50/34 x 11/23 (back up bike until the new cranks get here for the BMC)
Food – 1 large bottle w/ 4 scoops of Enduarance/ Malto 1 small bottle of HEED (I could have used another bottle and two bags of shot blocks
Max HR 197
AVG HR 141
AVG speed 24
Max speed 48
Great news from the day, Brenda took 2nd in the cat 4 women and Cathy took 2nd in the Cat 3 women. Greg K finished well in the Cat 1/2 men and Dave H took a top 10 in the Masters Men.
Next weekend is the Glenwood RR in Port Orchard (which I will miss) and then Longbranch RR on Key Peninsula. Pain fest!