• Report from the Wente Road Race Masters 45+ Cat 4/5 race

    Short version:

    Breakfast: Cereal Medley with yogurt, banana.& raisins , OJ, coffee
    Pre-Race: ½ Clif bar, 2 SportLeggs anti-cramp capsules
    Race: 11th(?) place out of 65+ in M45+ Cat 4/5 http://www.strava.com/activities/134488021
    Post-Race: Chocolate milk and a banana
    Lunch: Lanesplitters Tune-up with an extra slice,  pint of Highwater Brewing Hop Riot IPA

    Long Version:

    Course: Wente is a moderately hilly road race on a 23km circuit in Livermore. It has a tough 2km climb to the finish line that you do one extra time at the start of the race. In the M45+ 4/5 race we did the extra segment plus 3 laps for a total of around 77km and 1200m of climbing (48mi / 4100ft )

    Breakfast: Seeking a little more heft in my breakfast I made few alterations in my normal cereal medley shifting it in the nuts and raisins direction. This morning it was (from the bottom), grape nuts, banana, plain nonfat yogurt, whole-e-O’s, strawberries, Mesa Sunrise flakes, raisins, Gluten Freda granola with nuts, sliced almonds, lowfat milk. To drink: OJ and half-caf coffee (a sin of commission or omission?)

    Race: I was coming into this race off of a week of enjoyable but unhealthy vacationioning (sans bike) in Seattle. There was a great pub beside our hotel and I became an instant regular going there 4 of the 6 nights we were there. Needless to say that put my expectations for Wente fairly low, and in a funny way that made it much more enjoyable to race. Without a lot of pressure to get a result, I felt more free to just have fun riding the race.

    The first time up the climb our 65+ rider group was in full ‘Masters Mode’ and I had to sit up to not just ride off the front. This was in stark contrast to my first Wente where I got dropped as the race exploded on first climb and I never reconnected. About halfway through the first lap a guy pedaled away off the front and a Cushman rider followed him. I was in a good spot to follow them, and had this been the second lap I might have jumped on the move, but c’mon, first lap, no way. A big mistake that.

    The Cushman guy’s team mates didn’t really do much in terms of blocking, and it turned out that many of them didn’t even know they had a man up the road, but the duo still managed to stretch the lead to the point where they were often out of sight. On the second lap some Pen Velo guys put in a pretty good effort to close the gap, but since we could not see the escapees, it was hard to tell what effect that was having.

    On the third time up the finishing climb a Body Concepts rider put in a pretty solid effort and that really strung things out and put me deep in the red. I told John Ensign that I’d pretty much just thrown my whole matchbook into the fire. On the rolling climbs after the finish line I had to make some pretty hard efforts to close gaps and not lose contact, and with twinges of cramps starting, knew I needed to get some recovery time ASAP. Luckily things stayed together enough that I could catch good drafts and try to spin my way back to at least a false recovery (you feel fine when you’re going easy, but still suffer like hell when making an effort).

    Somewhere in lap 3 we caught the Cushman guy who’d been off the front and that brought a new liveliness to the group. Racing for 2nd (and maybe even 1st if we can catch the lead guy) is a lot more motivating than racing for 3rd it seems. People kept heading off in little flurries and getting reeled in (luckily I was too tired to feel like I had to take part in relling things in). One guy kept shouting that we needed to get a paceline going which seemed kind of silly since we didn’t have sight of the lead guy and we were at least 20 in our chase group with the rest of the field in dribs and drabs behind us.

    Finally a BBC rider put in a massive pull along Greenville road and through the turn into the canyon that leads up to the final climb. It settled things down but probably did me more harm than good since it was a tough pace that further drained my energy, but really wasn’t enough to shed anyone. He pulled off about half way up the canyon leaving me to do a short turn for appearances and then pull off and try to position for the final right hand into the finishing climb.

    I hit the finishing climb in the top 10 and decided I’d better go hard in the first steep section at the bottom lest I get gapped and not be able to come back. That worked OK and I managed to stay in contact with the lead group, albeit at the back. In the final 1/3rd of the climb I looked back and saw pretty much empty road. That tempted me to just sit up and take it easy to the line, but then I noticed one guy faltering so kept it up and  passed him, figuring  I was now in 10th. Unfortunately  out of that seemingly empty road some other guy passed me and I just couldn’t accelerate to catch him or anyone else. By the line I was pedaling absolute squares and right on the edge of cramping.

    After catching my breath I rode the 15 minutes back to the start with John Ensign who I’d marked during the finish. In a couple of races I’ve finished right behind him but this time he got a few places on me. When starting back up after a stoplight both of us cramped immediately. It was a tough race….

    Post-race: Chocolate milk and a banana and a few more minutes on the rollers.

    Lunch: Got home early enough that I could shower and head over to Lanesplitters Temescal for a Tune-Up lunch special, an extra slice, and a good, but not great Highwater Brewing Hop Riot IPA ( I think the week in Seattle has me a bit beer spoiled )

    - Ken Cluff

    UPDATE:

    Results are in and it looks like they put me at 10th out of 65.

    Post-race update: Day ended with a whisky party hosted by John Ormsby at the home of Eric Sullivan (brother of Michael who crashed at same time as Katherine)