• Race Report: Knights Ferry Road Race M45+ Cat 4

    As in 2013, the M45+/4 race was 2 laps of a 30 mile out and back course totaling about 95km / 59 miles). Rolling hills and a short uphill finish. Our field of 38 rolled out at 12:15 ( Mark’s 35+ Cat 3 race was already on course by this time )

    Short version:
    Breakfast: Cereal medley with apple, yogurt and berries, 1 cup coffee and a glass of orange juice. Egg mcMuffin (no meat) and another OJ en route.
    Pre-race: banana, fig bars, dried apricots, 2 gels, 2 SportLegs capsules
    Race: 17 out of 38. Ate half a Clif bar and 1 package of margarita Shot Bloks and drank a bottle each of sport drink and water.
    Post-race meal: Mediocre mexican platter of 2 burritos, rice, beans. 1 negro Modelo (note to self: forget the mom&pop places, Chipotle is better for vegetarians)

    Longer version:

    Mark Dawson spotted me shortly after I arrived and borrowed my spare jersey. It was one of the FF/Prooff size Smalls which is a tight fit even on me, so Mark was definitely getting some compression/aero benefits from it.

    Our field of 38 45+ Cat 4’s rolled out at 12:15. I have to say that some of these supposed 45+ guys are lookig pretty damn young to me. It might be time to take a year off and come back in 2016 as a 55+ .

    Even though the overall pace turned out to be similar to last year (36kph / 22mph) it was actually pretty lively and often strung right out. There were times of pretty intense wind in second half of race, so my guess is that we were working a fair bit harder than last year.

    A number of teams had a lot of guys, most notably Sierra nevada and Cushman/Wakefield, but it was really just a handful of folks ( one guy we called ‘time trial guy’, John from BBC, and one Sierra nevada guy) who were animating things for the first lap and a half. None of the teams seemed to be doing anything very coherent and in the end only two teams had more than one in the top 10. I’d exchanged a few words with Steve Shores of BBC and we’d agreed to try to help each other to whatever extent we could so I had at least one friend in the pack. I kept up front between 5th to 10th wheel but generally out of the wind for most of the race except on one ill fated chase cum failed breakaway, but by the second lap knew that my legs were not going to be there for the sprint and told Steve not to expect much from me in final km.

    As we hit 5km to go things were looking pretty good. TTguy, a wells Fargo rider Steve had told me to watch out for, and a CA guy were spread across the front pretty much blocking any movement and I was right behind them.

    On a slight rise with about 3.5km to go there was some reshuffling and then an ambulance came by in the opposite direction to pick up a junior who had crashed pretty badly on previous lap. Our group shifted right (no need to, just nerves) and someone forced me off the road into the rocks and gravel. Even though we were going up a slight rise the pace was still pretty high and suddenly I was bouncing along in the rough at a good clip. Where I’d gone off the lip at edge of pavement was only an inch or so, but it immediately rose to 3-4” and so I had to move further right so i’d be able to swing back left with enough angle to jump it back onto the road. This took long enough that most of the pack had passed before I was safely back on pavement.

    Getting shoved off the road when in such a good spot (even though I knew my legs were shit) really pissed me off so I stomped on it pretty hard and got back to the back of pack then threaded the centerline needle to get myself back to 2nd wheel right behind TTguy and to the left of Steve. It was a perfect position since I knew TTguy could not climb and I could just nip onto Steve’s wheel for the sprint which starts at bottom of the hill with about 800m to go.

    Sure enough TTguy slowed, a big hole opened and Steve lit out (he ended up getting 2nd). I tried to follow but it was like someone punched me in the quads and even without the cramps it really felt like I had nothing. Tons of guys surged passed and I was only able to reel in a few of the ones who totally blew before the line and so finished in 17th. Not sure how much different it would have been without my little off road adventure, so maybe in the end it was better to get the kudos for keeping it upright in the rough than gain a few places on the finish.

    Post race meal in Oakdale was a fiasco. I knew would need coffee and so when I saw what I thought was a Peets, pulled into this mall-like place and noticed this Javi’s mexican restaurant & bar so figured what the heck, I’ll eat then get coffee for the ride home. The mexican place turned out to have one of those huge but completely uninspired menus with only two meals containing no meat (both of them cheese bombs). The waitress had absolutely no clue as to what alternatives to offer and so I ended up with some really mediocre bean burritos, rice, and beans. They didn’t even have Bohemia so i had to make do with a Negro Modelo. To make matters worse the ‘Peet’s’ turned out to be a coffee bar in a Rayley’s supermarket with lord knows how old coffee sitting in the warmers.

    Race: B, Meal: F

    - Ken Cluff