• Race Report - Berkeley Hills Road Race M35+ Cat 5

    Condensed Report:

    Breakfast: Cereal (Puffins), coffee (strong)
    Pre-Race: (2) Dates & a handful of trail mix
    Race: Plenty of Clif Blocks, and one bottle
    Result: 16th place out of 28 finishers
    Post-Race:  The other handful of trail mix I brought
    Lunch:  Meat Ball sandwich (homemade) and a glass of milk

    Long Version:

    Course: We all know the course pretty well, so I’ll skip the details. As a reminder to those who have forgotten the details of the Cat 5 race, its about one and two thirds laps around the bears.

    Breakfast: Well, as there is not much to it, I’ll skip the heady preparation details of how I prepare it, and just say it was a darn good bowl of cereal and an even better cup of coffee.  Am I under eating?  Having plagiarized Ken’s previous race report format, I’ve had a good look at what I was deleting before writing this and kinda feel like I’m missing the boat on proper race day nutrition.

    Race: I felt pretty good the morning of the race, and decided that I’d ride over to the start, figuring the warmup would be about the right length for my needs.  I hadn’t considered the wait once I got through registration, but thankfully it was a warm morning and not too damaging for my start of race.  Seems like there were more than 28 riders at the start line, but the official results suggest otherwise. Pace out of the start was way slower than I had expected.  More like a social club pace.  I took the advice of another veteran racer and found a fine spot up front between third and sixth wheel and pretty much stayed there all the way to Mama Bear.   I’m not ashamed to say I avoided pulling like a terminal disease. As I expected, things went to hell at the start of the main climbs.  Somehow I found myself on the front leading into Mama Bear and fearing I’d start to go backward too quickly I reached maximum way faster than my body could handle. Thankfully, I stayed out of real trouble and held onto the front group up Mama Bear and into the rollers.  At Papa Bear, however, I found that I am simply not a good race pace climber.  I was dropped pretty early in the effort and watched the race slowly roll away.  Now on most days I would have soft pedaled my way through a lovely morning climb, but as it was a race, and I did just spend the better part of $60 to participate, and I did need to write a report on my honest efforts, I dug in and determined to not surrender quite so easily this time.  So I held on and found a rhythm that I could maintain.  By the time I reached the top of Papa Bear a small group of 2-3 other riders were also close by and pushing solid efforts.  As the decent began, the main group was well out of sight and perhaps 30-40 seconds ahead (pure speculation on the time, but I do watch plenty of racing on TV, so I feel I ought to at least guess my gap).  Now here is where it gets good, at least for my small Cat 5 race report.  As I rounded the corner onto San Pablo Dam Road, I caught a distant glimpse of the main group well up the road on the long straight away.  I told our not-yet-formalized chase group of my sighting and proclaimed ‘ lets bridge back up, this isn’t over!’ and sure enough we all fell into a very solid pace line.  The pulls were hard, but very effective, and having worked well together, we caught the front group as they rounded the corner onto Castro Ranch Road.  All high fives and fist bumps for our efforts, goofy but heartfelt, for all of us knew that our day was done not 20 minutes earlier except for our effort and cooperation.  Now for a slight digression, as we started our tremendous effort, I observed a 600 series rider (45+ Cat4?) littering his nutrition foil into nature.  Naturally, I commented.  Of course, he sandbagged the entire pace line, so not only did the litter bug despoil the scenic beauty, but didn’t even lend in the effort that eventually pulled him right into his category group!  Well, that’s it for the exciting part of the day.  The rest is as you can imagine.  I can’t climb for shit and was quickly shelled out the back as soon as we hit Mama Bear.  16th place out of 28 finishers.  Great race, poor result.

    As an aside, congrats to Ken for the top 10 finish.  Also, I ride frequently on Tuesday nights with Sebastiaan and Wes (not EBVC riders) who managed a first and third place respectively for the E5 Cat.  So glad I didn’t go E5!

    Post-race: As stated earlier, Nutrition?  Huh?  Oh yeah, another handful of trail mix and I rode home.

    Lunch: I heated up three leftover meat balls (which were excellent the first go round), halved them, and ate them on toast with melted cheese.  Not so appealing for the vegans in the group, but a most excellent post race home made leftover meal.

    - Chris Lee