Race Report: Merida Summer Monkey Enduro

So, whilst many of you were suffering over hill and dale in the Chilterns 100 – well done all, I decided to ride the one-off Merida Summer Monkey Enduro – Another mtb race.
This follows a slightly different format to the last one (time not laps) – I signed up for two hours; which means as many laps as possible and try and sneak past the finish gate before it closes for the extra lap. In practice, for this superb 7.5 mile course at Caesar’s Camp, Aldershot, if you aren’t lapping in 35-37 minutes, it will be a three lap race.
I’m in the two hour vets race, which go off with the young whippets. Merida have a full factory team, as do 4Fourths lights and a few others. A lone Dynamo and myself make up the London Clubs (with a Handsling in the four hour race). I position myself near the front for the off as there is only a short sprint to the first singletrack. Mad dash and spin as I hold position top 15 for the first section. The first half of the course is lumpy but only moderately technical. The whippets on carbon 29ers are moving away, but my trusty 26lb steel singlespeed (SS) hardtail is doing me proud, despite some short hard climbs.
10401378_781336131885499_3813239506736712375_n
Photo courtesy of 1st Gear Cycles (it’s steeper than it looks!)

Then five of us take a wrong turn (uphill) – hmmm, that never happens at Hillingdon! Back on track, but we’ve lost five places and are charging to regain ground. A lovely (if you are a climber) long firetrack climb of about 3/4 mile to the second half of the course allows me to pass riders and regain some positions, but Merida and the placings are long gone. Sharp turn, into some technical forest tracks and I puncture a sidewall, the tubeless tyre seals with half a CO2 cartridge and I am back underway for the “Decent of Flints”. More a half-controlled downhill crash on a loose (read painful) surface. Speed carries the day and I enter the last section, another fantastic piece of singletrack, swoopy, tree-lined, tight, with one tabletop. I follow the lines of a very fast lady on a full suspension and catch her to complete the first lap.

Second lap, the tyre is still leaking, a sharp corner sees the front wheel buckle about 1cm off true and I reinflate. The tubeless tyre pops back on with a confidence-inspiring crack and I get back underway. Passing people on the climbs is again straightforward, no spinning for me, but SS makes you climb fast (or walk), panicking on a downhill drop-off, and cruising the flinty downhill. The last singletrack section is as good the second time and I have my lines now.

Last lap, tyre is now at about 10 PSI and the bike is decidedly unhelpful and choosing its own lines (which aren’t much worse than my own!). Steering is a fight and steering downhill will be impossible, not a great situation but… “Never, never, never give up!”. No neutral service here, just a helpful marshal on a quadbike who says “Yup, you’re in trouble, you are miles from the start!”. Unlike a road race, the course is a bit like an ant on acetone, you could be anywhere if you don’t know the site – I don’t. I limp around letting the other racers pass, but am still not passed by anyone from my race. Eventually at the end of the long climb (passed four more riders in other races, even with a flat front tyre) it is obvious that I will either be walking back or need more air. As luck would have it, three non-racing riders appear from another trail and one has a pump! Another satisfying crack as the bead seats on what is now a very sad looking front rim and I am away.

The final (for me on three laps) descent of the flints on the brakes is not pretty – classic roadie on a mtb stereotype. I ride the last section of singletrack, the bike jumps well but the front wheel washes out due to tyre pressure depositing me ungraciously into a thorny bush, then to add insult to injury it decides to lead me through one final gorse bush for good measure as I am lapped by the winning Merida rider on his fourth lap. I limp home with the front tyre rubbing the fork for three laps in 2:16, and a mid-pack 19/36. Great fun, and the organisers Gorrick are to be commended for another excellent race in perfect conditions.

The next race will be Torq 12:12, an overnight enduro on August 24th. If anyone fancies making a team and having a go, drop me a line, I could be persuaded.

Kind regards,

Daren

PS: There will be no Second Sunday Swinley Skills Session mtb ride next weekend on account of me either 1) recovering from serious injury in the Nocturn Track Bike Race, 2)  recovering from a hangover after surviving said race, or 3) riding the Dragon Ride.

Bike Maintenance Sessions

Hello,

I run regular maintenance workshops across the borough, one of which is at the club room and is tonight from 7-9pm.  This workshop is always on the fourth Wednesday of the month.  I also run workshops at the Old Bakery in Mortlake on the second and fourth Thursday from 7-9pm and at Ham Youth Centre every other Saturday from 10-12.

The next Mortlake workshop is tomorrow and the next Ham workshop is on Saturday.  All the dates will eventually be on the website when it gets updated in the near future.  Until then you can find all the details on the Richmond Cycling Campaign website.

TCC club room
4th Wednesday of the month
19:00-21:00

The Old Bakery, 69-71 Lower Richmond Rd, Mortlake SW14 7HJ
2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month
19:00-21:00
Location

Ham Youth Centre, Ham Close, Richmond TW10 7PL
every other Saturday
10:00-12:00
Location

I bring all the tools and a couple of workstands on my bike trailer and the idea is that people learn to maintain their own bikes or use the tools to fit new parts.  If you want to learn how to fix a puncture, adjust your brakes and gears, clean your bike or if you just fancy repairing all those punctured inner tubes with some company then I hope to see you at one of the sessions.

Thanks,

Jonathan

British Cycling Guide to technique, training, equipment, nutrition and more…

British Cycling Guide to technique, training, equipment, nutrition and more…

Welcome to British Cycling’s new ‘Insight Zone’

However you ride your bike and whatever your ability, you will find comprehensive advice to help improve your riding.  Whether you need tips on how to warm up like Wiggo, a little understanding on good training food or the ins and outs of riding in a group, British Cycling can help.

The zone has the very latest advice from coaches and technical staff at British Cycling.  Members have full access to the Insight Zone, including their nine month sportive training plans and comprehensive technique videos.

For more detailed advice, tailored training plans or to find out about club coaching sessions please contact your British Cycling Level 3 Road & Time Trial Coach, Chris Sellings:

chris@pedalperformancecoaching.com

 

Healthy Balanced Diet – Key to healthy living & happy cycling!!

For anyone looking to improve their diet the diagram below from the Department of Health is a simple way to see what proportion of food types you should include in your diet.

Granola Bars for Winter rides and summer Sportives

So, many people have asked for the recipe for these bars after a taster at one event or other. I have made and eaten them for several years and always found them to be tastier and far more nutritious than the things you buy in the store…especially those oxymoronic low-calorie energy bars(?) Go figger.

This recipe contains enough to keep pretty much all your systems going in all but the hardest of events (where you may need a higher ratio of sugars) and has both quick release sugars, slow carbs, nuts for protein and micro nutrients, dried fruit and salt for electrolytes and loads of roughage to make you a, er, regular racer. The bars taste delicious and with a bit of attention you will get the consistency just right so they do not crumble but can be torn off into a chunk easily for consumption while riding.

Some history: I got the recipe from a racer in New Jersey who had in turn been passed the recipe when he was inducted into the League of Red Headed Cyclists in the far west. The recipe was not supposed to be passed on and he has, since he passed it on to me, passed on.

However, there is more good to be served here by a serving of granola than bad to be had by hiding the formula, and so it follows.

Measurements in US cups can be roughly translated based on 1 Cup=.675 regular Mug

——————-Wheel Energy Granola Bars——————-
…………….Goodness in races for miles and miles and miles…………

Recipe ingredients.

5 cups oats
1.5 cup wheat germ
1 cup flax seed
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup peanuts or almonds, crushed a little if you like to.
1.5 cup brown sugar or 500g Jaggery (Cane sugar extract found in all Asian stores and loaded with things your body likes)
1 cup honey
1 stick butter
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1lb Raisins or cranberries or goji berries or all 3.

Other stuff:
Baking tray 20″ x 10″ x .75”
Wax paper
Large stiff bread board or cutting board bigger than the baking tray.
Long sharp knife
Clingfilm wrap

Make the Binding caramel: Put the brown sugar (or Jaggery), honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Keep this mixture on a low heat for 20 minutes boiling all the time. The longer this mix cooks the harder and firmer the bars will be. Keep careful tabs. Too soft and bars will melt in your pocket on a hot day, too hard and they will be tough to break and chew while riding.

You can test the mix by putting a teaspoon on a cold plate and placing in freezer for a few minutes. You want it so it is firm but not so it is hard. You will have to test and adjust the caramel to get this consistency as it varies depending on ingredients. The key is more sugar means firmer mix, more butter means looser. Adjust if you need to based on testing.

Roast the mix:

Start by roasting only the oats and wheat germ for 15min and make sure to turn every minute or two so they do not burn. You do not want them even browning.

Then add all the nuts, roast another 3-5 minutes with turning: Nuts singe very easily, you must keep turning and watch every minute or so or you will burn your nuts. 🙂

Add the raisins last and roast for 1 min, remove from heat. Leave to cool.

Prepare a non stick baking tray 20″ x 10″ x .75” approx. Butter the surface. If it is not a non-stick tray, line it with buttered wax paper.
Have another sheet of wax paper slightly larger than the tray buttered on one side and ready.

In a large mixing bowl pour the roasted mix and make a pit into which you pour the caramel mixing very thoroughly making sure there are no dry spots. This can take several minutes of mixing and you need to really dig down and turn it all over to avoid pockets of dry.

You can add flavours here. I use about 1 tbsp Cinnamon and 1 tsp Cardamom if you like these tastes. They make the bars very interesting. You can also add some Pomegranate sauce (several tablespoons) to give a little zip and lift the taste. Lots of good electrolytes in this also.

Once mixed thoroughly, spoon the mixture evenly across the prepared tray, spread it out and then press flat with a spoon. This layer should be about .25 inch higher than the try lip.

Place the second layer of waxed paper on top of mix butter-side down.

Place the large firm bread board on the tray, place tray on the floor and then stand on the bread board several times and move your feet all around the board around to compress the mixture to an even layer.

Make sure to do this across the whole area of the tray and several times. This will create a packed cake of granola that will set up as a slab.

Now leave to cool.

Remove the whole “cake” of granola from the tray when cool by turning upside down and dropping onto a clean surface you can cut on.

Peel off the wax paper (from the bottom which is now top) if you used it. If it is sticking, take a dish towel and soak in V hot water and then rest on the wax paper a while, this will melt the butter and caramel underneath just enough to release the paper.

Slice this “cake” up. It should make 16-18 bars about 5″ long.

Wrap in Saran wrap and store dry for consumption. The bars do not need refrigeration and will keep a long time.

Label with date and ingredients as you may share with people who and may have food allergies and they need to know what they are eating.

Depending on ingredients, a bar of 5″ by 2″ by .75″ is about 300-400 cals and should be good for 30+ easy miles or a great recovery snack after a race. Good for all sorts of other things to.

I have wondered if a man could live on 4 bars a day for a week….if you want to try it let me know and I will supply the bars.

This may not need to be said but: when eating some bar during hard exercise, be sure to bite off a chunk and store it in a cheek so you can continue to breathe. Then let it slowly dissolve and chew it a piece at a time very thoroughly to break down the outer shells on the grains and release the starches and goodness. You cannot go wrong.

Enjoy.

“In Velo, Veritas”

Mike J

It’s Not Quite All About the Bike… by Tim Bamford

The seed was planted when I was given a copy of Robert Penn’s book It’s All About the Bike which was an engaging account of an enthusiast’s quest to build the ‘perfect’ bike by researching and sourcing the finest components from around the world. My other interest in the book was wondering if I could replicate Mr Penn’s feat of foregoing a career in the law and moving to Wales to ride my bike and write books about it. The perfect lifestyle solution, well apart from the Wales bit maybe. I had also kept a copy of Cycling Plus magazine from 2009 that had contained a ‘Retro special’ and which amongst the Rapha kit featured a steel framed bike built by Condor which had exactly the right balance of classic proportions and modern conveniences I was looking for in such a bike. The article had helpfully printed a list of the components which would come in handy later.

The seed was nurtured further when earlier this year, in an attempt to enliven another Pret sandwich at my desk, I idly began to look for UK-based frame builders on the Internet. I was already familiar with certain builders from Rob Penn’s book and in particular his choice of frame builder, Brian Rourke, from Stoke. There are others of course: Roberts, Mercian, and Jim Jackson were some of them visited by Mr Penn. However, after the third bite of my prawn and avocado sandwich, I came across an interesting discovery. Buried in the Google search results was a link to Wilson’s Cycles of Sheffield. Founded in 1948 by Jim Wilson, a leading road racer in the region who became a legend by racing again in the post-war period despite suffering serious injuries at Dunkirk which made it doubtful he would ever return to England still less to Sheffield to ride his bike in serious competition. The shop was now run by his son, Nigel, or so the apparently active website told me.

This discovery had a particular resonance for me as Sheffield is the nearest to pass as my home city as any and Wilson is my mother’s maiden name. My earliest cycling memories were of riding around the block against my mates on bicycles of all shapes and sizes (even a Raleigh Chopper or two) in what I suppose was a junior DIY criterium. At around 11 or 12 years old, I was given by my parents my first ‘proper’ bike. It was a red framed Falcon road bike with 10 gears (which meant it had the all-important two gear levers on the downtube). My own version of what I would later come to know as a sportive was to ride to my maternal grandmother’s from home (around 12 miles). After being fortified with tea and cake, I would think briefly about the ride home before calling and asking to be collected by car instead. Accordingly, I decided I needed my own Wilson bike from Sheffield.

This was easier said than done however. The Wilson’s Cycles website had an e-mail address and so I registered my interest in ordering a frame and I waited for a response. I waited for some time before sending a follow up and then waited some more. In the absence of a reply, I tried the direct approach and called the telephone number on the website. It rang out unanswered on the several occasions I tried. I commissioned my parents to scope out the shop on City Road and although they reported it seemed to exist they could not confirm that it was actually still trading. Before reverting to the Condor option, in a last ditch attempt to make contact, I thought I would try to order something from the website. A cycle cap seemed an inexpensive and risk-free way of doing this. Soon after the order was placed I received a response by e-mail to the effect I could have any colour cap I liked as long as it was yellow. I replied saying I was more than happy with yellow but what I really wanted was a custom frame. The somewhat disarming reply came from the then still unnamed Nigel Wilson, that he tended not to reply to e-mails or answer the phone as he was too busy building frames and if I really wanted one I would have to wait at least 6 months.

I knew from my research that a 6 month wait was an average time for builders like Brian Rourke so undeterred I paid a £100 deposit and placed my order. The next hurdle was getting the frame measurements. I could of course go to Sheffield but having bought bike from Sigma Sport a few years ago I thought they would have the measurements they took when they fitted the frame for me. Sadly, their computer system had died in the meantime and the replacement system had no record of me or my measurements. Plan B was to book a Cyclefit session at Pearsons in East Sheen. This was not a cheap option but I would get a full report not just of my sizing but of my riding style and tips for improvement. Some weeks later I presented myself at Pearson and mounted a ‘virtual bike’ on which various parameters could be measured and adjusted. Film was also taken of my pedalling action. It was all very professional but I got the impression that once various frame measurements had been obtained, my riding style was so orthodox and conventional that my highly trained technician was struggling to find anything constructive to say at all (a view confirmed by the delay in producing the report when I suspect the author had to work hard to think of anything to write). That said I suppose it was good to have confirmation I was doing nothing radically wrong and I was now equipped with a comprehensive set of measurements in the report which was sent up to Sheffield.

As for the spec, I adopted the componentry of the Condor bike with the instruction that all parts should be aluminium or ‘silver’. Campag gears and a Brooks saddle were also mandatory. As for the paint job, with a nod to Mr Penn, I chose navy blue with orange accents. It was all then in the hands of Mr Wilson (who still corresponded anonymously by e-mail). We kept in touch from time to time with progress reports. He eventually revealed his name was Nigel and so our exchanges took on a friendlier if still very matter of fact aspect as he explained the efforts he had gone to to source certain ‘hard to find’ components including the Campag ‘spider’ brake callipers and aluminium bearings for the wheels. Around 6-7 months had passed since the order had been placed and I was sent a picture of the frame which seemed to confirm that this long distance bespoke project was going to turn out ok but I was still keen to collect the finished article.

In mid-September 2012, I eventually made the drive to Sheffield. I had forgotten what a hilly city Sheffield is. City Road is a very long and undulating road stretching from the south-east outskirts into the city centre. It is a mix of terraced housing and small shops and local businesses. Wilson’s is nestled in the midst of this at No. 200 in what looks like it could once have been the front room of the Wilson family home. Visiting there was worth the price of admission alone. Time has stood still inside the shop since about 1958. The window is filled with an assortment of handbuilt frames in a wide range of colours and the shelves were stocked with parts and kit which looked like they might have been there since 1958 but on inspection were the same as you might find in Sigma Sport’s Kingston emporium. The bike was brought out from the back room and Nigel said firmly it was the kind of thing which ‘floated my boat’. As a fellow South Yorkshireman, I recognised this as high praise indeed. As I changed into my kit in the back room for a short test ride, I noticed framed on the wall, an old newspaper page with a photograph of Jim Wilson on which had been inscribed by a clubmate in large handwritten letters the words ‘He Hath Courage’ in recognition of his comeback from war-time injury to top cyclist. For all Sigma Sport’s (and their like) shiny modernism, this, I thought, was where the true spirit of cycling could be found – but for how much longer who knows.

My inaugural ride, resplendent in TCC kit, was from my parents to my grandmother’s home where my uncle now lives. Apart from a saddle height adjustment, the bike fitted perfectly and rode every bit a smoothly and swiftly as I had imagined it would. It was odd riding the same route as I has as a 12 year old and which had changed little in the intervening 40 years – the little flashbacks I had about tackling the hilly bits and watching for traffic at certain junctions were a little unnerving at times! Once there, I had a quick look round the garden and got talking to a neighbour tinkering with his car who told me his dad has a collection of bikes he still rode at 60+ and who seemed also to subscribe to the n+1 rule. I resisted the temptation to call home for a lift but the ride back reminded me why I had been wise to do so as a boy…

Building a custom bike remotely can be done but a certain degree of luck and trust is required as it would be so easy to get wrong. A comprehensive set of measurements for frame fit and a clear idea of componentry is a prerequisite. That said, I now have a bike which, sentimentally at least, I can truly regard as ‘my own’ and comprises a little bit of cycling heritage that the high-end and the high street retailers cannot provide. I am currently fighting off the urge to place an order with Mr Wilson for a single speed frame for next year…

The Gradient Song

The Gradient Song
 
To be sung when grinding gradients.
Tune roughly in keeping with a slow cadence
First composed somewhere up the Col d’Telegraph in 2012
========================================================
 
1% to 2 Is really a flat but false at that
3 to 4 I can do more, and this I can do, all day long
5 to 6 A little sweat can make my eyes sting
7 to 8 I’m really working and off the big ring
9 to 10 Spinning again and feelin’ fine
11 to 12 I ride Surrey hills all the time
13 to 14 Gotta muscle up this now
15 to 16 I’m out the saddle most of the time
17 to 18 Is that really first gear?
19 to 20 Too much more and my heart may pop
21 to 22 I’ve gone and brought the wrong cassette
23 to 24 Maybe I need a triple here
25 to 26 This isn’t even in the TDF
27 to 28 The &%@~*&$ engineers made a big mistake
29 to 30 No more grinding. Forget this toiling.
I must concede, it’s much faster walking.

 

 

The Green Mountain Stage Race, Stage 1: aka Too stupid to know better

GMSR Prolog, August 31, 2007.

 

40+ field.1: Claude Samson (Ste-Foy (Que Metro) Inc.) 32:42
2: John Funk (FIORDIFRUTTA) 32:50
6: Troy Kimbal (Westwood Velo) 33:06
9: Joe Straub (CRCA – DKNY/Signature Cycle)33:15
42: Paul Carbonara (Century Road Club /Axis) 35:48
47: Michael Joseph (Colavita) 36:29
49: Tony Settel (Deno’s) 36:38
50: John Tomlinson (Deno’s) 36:43
55: Lee Mestres (Mambo’s) 37:44
60: David Hudson (Mambo’s) 42:10
In summary: a headwind, spasmodic legs, terrible thirst, blinding sweat, low blood sugar and a HR stuck at 171 most of the way excepting the top where in the last 80M I sprinted to catch the man ahead and shot over the line only to have as close a call with exercise-induced vomiting as I ever want to have.

In perfect weather and with another year of training in my legs for my 3rd GMSR, I rode up the App gap (East side) for the prolog in 36:29, a whole 29 seconds slower than last year and placed in the exact same 47th as last year making off with just 4 of the available 50 GC points.

This despite having my best legs yet for climbing, being 10 lbs lighter and having many thousands more miles on the clock.

One change to note, this year I rode in the 40+ group, a field that usually gets up the mountain a minute or more ahead of the Cat 4-B group of my past years. Additionally, and I see this born out across all the fields, all winner times by field were as much as 2 minutes slower than last year, an oddity that could be attributed to the high price of gasoline, global warming or possibly just the headwind. A whistler more and more noticeable as you climbed and at some points contrary enough to almost stop the few solo riders who had gone off the front early.

In Kenyon’s field in Waitsfield where cars, trucks and vans from all over the country parked and riders began their various routines and ablutions I had been calm and methodical. I had registered early and then noting my tires were shot, rolled over to the Mavic support vehicle and asked for a new pair. Hey presta valve, I was presented with the very best Michelin racing tires as a gift…yes siree, just what this lad needs.

I got back to the van and noticed the woman to my right was working a hand pump on her wheels and rather painfully at that and so I offered her the use of my handy dandy Costco compressor which she accepted. Her name was Rose Lee and she was from Vermont. She would do the W 3/4 that went off before my field.

I warmed up differently this year also. Last year I warmed up by riding the mountain a few hours beforehand but doing it slowly and easily, this year I simply did some solid trainer runs to get the HR up and no more. I now think the climbing warm-up for a climbing event is your only man, certainly for me.

I also decided not to carry any fluids at all to save weight as I figured I could hydrate adequately beforehand and then holdout for the 36 minutes to the top without fluids. Sadly I also forgot to carry any Gel. This was a mistake as I really needed it after the first 15 minutes of climbing.

I rode out at the front (I had promised myself I would stay at the front this year as it is so hard to get there on the small roads) with Tony Settel of Deno’s and we chatted nervously about the climb ahead and our shared experiences at Prospect park. He told me he was not a climber at all and more of a TT specialist. We had a 3 mile neutral start and when we crossed the bridge that marked the race proper, Tony took off and was promptly followed by two more eager beavers. I let them go and kept a good tempo at the front for a while.

Soon the skinniest guy I have ever seen came by me and got in front. I stayed right behind him looking at the big “Tonka” printed on his Jersey, wondering when toy companies had become race sponsors. A moment later a CRCA / AXIS rider came by and cut across me rather hard pushing me off that wheel. Then he took off and left us. Tonka rode a good hill, he kept it moving briskly and with a certain rhythm in his legs that looked unlikely to fail any time soon.

After a few minutes those early jumpers were in sight again and as soon as they were, a few more went. I stayed put, my HR was already at 162 and the headwind was making even this flatter section of the course a tough haul.

We caught Tony and two others and passed them and then a Black and White DKNY rider came past and sat ahead of me. I recognized this to be Joe Straub by his slightly rocking gait and knew he was going to be a man to beat on this climb. Next to me two riders locked bars and barged into the guardrail at 15 mph, no harm done.

The grinding and gnashing had started in earnest now and riders were steadily coming past me as I tried not to over do it knowing my muscles would fail if I pushed too hard too early. A rider ahead dropped his chain, I skirted around him and kept it going. The crowd in front began to pull away, and now at 171 bpm I knew I was at max and there was very little more to give this early. Soon the thirst started, the mouth began to glue up with the massive amounts of air being gulped and the sweat was pouring off the peak of my cap and dripping onto the front wheel.

The road turned and twisted and, as it does here and grew steeper with every turn. I made it to the wide clearing and right hand sweeper that marks the last mile to go. Then I heard my name being called out in encouragement and saw Rose standing nearby and waving at me, she seemed far away and in a slight haze but I looked over and grinned imagining I was off the front in the Alps with 5 minutes on the field.

The next twist saw the road pitch to an awful 16% or so. I heard riders behind me and in a valiant effort I stood up, popped it down to 3rd and began to swing. My speed picked up substantially on this steep road, so alas did my HR.

Stuck at 171 for most of the way up with 180 my max, it now surged to 175 and suddenly the legs came apart and I had to sit down. I looked back and the following riders had dropped over 200 feet back but the price had been high and now my HR would not come down. I had to slow up and get some recovery. The final stretch came into sight. I was really crawling now, ashamedly slow, like ready to get off the bike and walk crawling.

I passed one of those unbelievably toned biker women standing on the side of the road and she looked at me steadily and said, “just make it to the tower and you are done” and indeed, there it was, the radio tower at the top of the gap now in view….gasp, I was almost there, just this stretch and then the last climb.

I knew exactly what I would do now. A rider passed me just as I needed him to, he pulled slowly away, I righted myself, eased the breathing, took control back, cleared the face, the nose (excuse me) and then picked up some speed and held him in view, 100 feet ahead.

As the last climb to the tower came into view I stood up and sprinted, and by god was I amazed at what came out of the legs, I positively flew up this last stretch flat out, possibly pulling 20mph and rapidly hauled in the other rider. Faces along the side looked confused, “what is he doing” they seemed to say, “he can’t go up here like that, he will pop!”

But no, I pushed as hard as I could and caught Mr James Nash of CCB Volkswagen NH right on the line.

…YEEEESSSSSSSssssss…….. then I really did Pop.

Holding back on the urge to vomit, I scrambled to find somewhere to stop such that I could keep breathing, not have to stand up (couldn’t), drink, and eat all at once. I was spinning in a haze of sugar failure, muscle spasms, howling heart rate and terrible thirst all with breathing like a volcano….but it was over, over, over!

I noted later that while I had been slower this year, so had everyone else. In fact on average the field was two whole minutes slower than last year while I was only 30 sec slower. I also noted that if I had ridden the same group (cat 4-B) as last year, my time would have put me into the top 20, A good improvement over last years 47th.

Then I noted something else, the 30+ field had a leader who finished a whole minute slower than the 40+. Given this, my time in the 30+ would have put me in the top 20….yow.

Down for my massage, a good meal and early to bed, more to come on the morrow.

———————————————————————————-

I have inserted a number of the times and places at the top of this post choosing racers I know and have raced with for many years. Joe is a master climber and placed first at Highpoint this year. The Deno’s and Mambo’s riders are usually very strong contenders in regular circuit events (Deno’s dominate in Prospect park, the Mambo’s in NJ) but you can really see how Dave Hudson the mambo’s star sprinter (he took the NJ Crit championship 35+ in August) suffered on this one.

John Funk is a regular at prospect as is Paul C, they are always the ones to watch on those early Saturday mornings. Paul came second at Bear Mountain earlier this year, another brutal race.