Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mon-Tour Race Report

did the mon-tour cycling road race yesterday. it was a tough ride for me but overall a great experience. i'll be looking forward to doing it next year! the race is well organized and attended. i can only say one bad thing about the race and that was the water situation. Only at one place on the course did they have someone on the course handing you water and it was actually cups of water not bottles you can put on your bike. i took one and pretty much downed it. An actual bottle exchange would have been much better for the racers. There were actually water stops on the course but that is literally what you had to do get off your bike and stop at a station and get a cup of water. when i am racing even though i am not really in it to win it I won't take the time to do that. perhaps i should have but more about that later. They may have done this because teams were allowed to register team cars to support them on the course with bikes, wheels, food, etc. however, our team didn't do this and even if we did it wouldn't help the riders that are dropping off from the leaders anyway. Although I do have to admit that when your riding it feels kinda kool to see the team cars driving around you, feels like a real serious race! i had some issues from the start we got there on time but i guess we were screwing around too much instead of getting ready because i was getting myself ready during the race meeting and then when they started i was still at my car not on my bike in race. so i had to book it out of the parking lot and into the peloton! They asked the peloton to stay together for the first 3 miles and not "race" as we had a rolling escort out of the city by the police and to let people watch the race before we got out in the country. That being said we were clipping along at 3 minute miles so much for a warmup. 3 miles deep you hit your first category 4 climb and start to understand exactly what your in for the rest of the day. it was my first time trying to climb a hill with that many people around. it is a little different you can't necessarily take the path you want because there isn't the space to do so. this hill lasted for 3 miles so the group started to splinter in smaller sects of riders from there. I stayed with most of the race for the first 10 -15 miles then after that i pretty much only saw the riders around me. good news is i was passing other riders and not getting passed. It was a rough day on the bike for me. i am not good at nor used to that kind of climbing and my lower back was killing me for probably the last 15- 20 miles. the way i started the race i expected to be done in about 3 hours. ended up taking me 3:16 for 46 miles. most of my passes initially came either on the descents or what flat sections there were. But by the end of the course even i was passing people on the climbs! I did feel good on the descents. there were probably a couple of sections i took a little too fast as the roads were wet. it rained before the race started, we started in a fog but that burned off to a sunny warm day. also not knowing the course there were turned off the descents that i was really ready for and i had to hit my brakes to make them kinda killing my momentum. One section of the course i was just hoping not to flat we had to ride through a loose stone road over a wooden plank covered bridge. I actually saw a few flats on the course but not many crashes. i hung on through the race as i was determined to take every climb. my knee was hurting when I was trying to stay in my saddle and pull up on my pedals when climbing. It was 3785 ft of climbing. Most of the climbs were long 2+ miles. There were also shorter hills in the course but those were a steep grade. i averaged 13.8 mph max speed was 42. I don't have HR data because my chest still has a friction burn on it and i can't wear my HR monitor yet. I am wishing it to heal up soon! the bad news of the ride is I ran out of water in about 2 hours. i only took 2 bottle with me. i considered taking a 3rd in my jersey but since i heard there was water on the course i thought i would just grab it on the course. As I mentioned above i made the decision not to stop. Probably not the best idea as i had a decent glaze going on from the heat and the climbing. I know i wasn't in my right head by the end of the race. I was light headed after it for a bit. I did take salt tablets and also some clif shot blocks. I didn't finish the 3 packets of shot blocks even though i was out there over there 3 hours and probably should have finished all 3 packets. I took in about 500 calories and burned 3415. My reason being they are gross and i probably wont use them again. Why? you had to chew them and they taste like candy. I am much happier with gel packets you can just swallow and be done with. i understand i have to fuel on to the go but i want it to be the least amount of time and effort as possible. I ordered myself more hammer gels last week and will be happy to be back to using them. so did I feel so wasted at the end because of my effort? not enough water? not enough food? or was it just that kinda day for me. The signage on the road was also really fun to read during the race. My favorite - as we finally hit out first flat the road read "Get some!" a lot of them were cute though, one of the climbs later in the race it read - riding bikes isn't so fun now! Or keep dancing on those pedals! A guy riding next to me said i am happy to still be clipped into my pedals. the crest of one of the biggest climbs read "oh the humanity!" the shirts for the race are cute too they read "the mon-tour - proof that nature can be cruel!" i finished the race and even sprinted to the finish, just for fun. i took a long cooldown coast afterwards because i felt like i didn't have the ability to dismount and not fall off my bike. post race my knee is bothering me. didn't have time to ice yesterday so I need to get back on that today.  The picture above is me with the trophy they give the winning team. It is kinda cool because the top piece is designed by the same artist that does the trophies for the tour de france.

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