Everything seemed to fall in place for this race. I rode the course 3 separate times before the race including a full race practice run last Monday with Ken. I used my heart rate monitor for all training and the race. Jeff lent me his awesome light wheels; I tapered my training as race day approached; I didn't eat too much the night before the race and slept like a log waking up feeling well rested. I didn't waste precious energy feeling anxious.
I began the race by leading out at a very slow pace and soon relinquished the lead, hanging near the back. We made the turn onto Carroll Rd. and the fun began. I couldn't hold the fast pace so I just kept within my limit to prevent blowing up. Micky and Jon Boas were behind me.
I was able to stay in 4th on Gerry Burney's wheel going down the hill toward the freeway. I felt real good and was hoping Jerry would pull up to James Fox and Jim Sharpe. By the time I pulled around Burney, Fox and Sharpe had a good gap and I had to satisfy myself with working with Burney. I dropped Burney on the downhill into a wicked headwind and could see the leaders but could not make any progress. So I rode by myself using my heartrate as a guide. Burney caught up with me on Cross Rd. and we rode together for a while. I dropped him on the second climb. On the other side of the freeway Shields caught me and gapped me; I thought he was gone but I just kept riding at my threshold. The wind was very bad on the downhills and without a wheel it was easy to get disheartened. So I was riding in 4th position; Shields, Sharpe, and Fox ahead. On the third lap after the hill I saw a lone ride far ahead of me so thinking it might be Shields I picked up my pace. Descending Cross ride I realized I was gaining and when I made the turn onto Greenville I realized that it was Shields. I caught him about a third way up the riser much to his surprise and considered jumping past him but quickly gave up the thought. So I just rode on his wheel. The pace at this point was easy so I just relaxed while he did the work. I wasn't going to help him after all the times he's beat me. We stayed in that position up to Carroll Rd. and the steep (up to 15%) part began. I started fairly steady and looked back and realized I was gaining on him so I tried to pick it up a little and a wicked cramp struck my left quad causing me to slow down. At this point Shields comes around me, not going very fast but in my diminished state was enough to get ahead. Finally my cramp lessened and I was able to get a fairly fast pace going and passed him before the line.
It was the hardest race I've ever done.
- Bart Borland