This was a priority race for me and as a result I have been working on my climbing and specifically accelerating during sections of a climb. The course is 408 miles and the masters field of 30 or so would be doing 7 laps. There is about 400 feet of climbing per lap with the final 3/4 mile mostly uphill with a 200M false falt to the finish.
Race went well on Sunday. I elected to do the Masters race which had about 30 or so in the field. It was rainy and cold (45-50 degrees) although it got warmer and drier as the day wore on. Did a short warm up consisting of one time up the hill and some high cadence spinning on the flats.
Race started at a civil pace. There were a few surges in the first few laps but nothing terribly hard. I stayed toward the front and did not ride at the front or attack. I was surprised that we were not going faster up the hill. There were no attacks on the steep part, although once we crested the pace did pick up. Again nothing too difficult. It was weird that my HR was high during the climbs (and throughout the race) but my perceived exertion was low??
On the last lap, we were all together by the base of the climb and the pace was a little quicker than previous laps. When we got to the steep section, nobody really attacked or accelerated really hard. I began passing a few riders right through the middle and latched onto Rudy's wheel as we neared the top. As we approached 200M I shifted to the big ring and began to pick up speed. I picked off a few riders and then 2 more just before the line. Ended up 8th overall and I believe 6th in 35-44 AG. Tom Freuh won. Next time I will try to follow his wheel.
Less than 3 weeks until 24 Hours of Big Bear.