Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chappell Hill Report

Today's race captain, David James, did Velocity proud, finishing towards the front of his first Cat 4 road race after 62 sweltering miles. As for me, I showed up, was dropped a quarter through the race and switched roles to feed zone support. There were at least 70 at the start. (I'm told that 80 started the 45+ race and the Cat 5 hit its ruled limit of 50 riders over a week ago, which is why I cat'd up.)

David got miscued and thought there would be neutral water at the feed zone and showed up to the start with only one bottle. It was easy going before we reached the circuit and the most challenging part was staying alert and ready to hit the brakes. Every few minutes a strong puller would swing off the front and drop the speed of the pack by several mph, making everybody behind the leaders hit the brakes. As I was starting to drag early on in the race I swapped with David my larger bottle for his smaller one. I'm satisfied I was max'd out as I was being dropped. It's a slow fade of only 1-2 mph, they seem so close ahead, drawing away ever so slowly, but drawing away nonetheless.

I was waiting ready at the feed zone at the end of the second lap of the circuit, and David heard me yelling "Velocity" but he wasn't expecting me and was on the far side of the pack. I hadn't seen him that loop but I caught him the next time around, he grateful to get his full bottle back. (I had already rehydrated with a kind cold offering from the Sugar Cycles team support.) At that end of the last circuit a breakaway of about a half-dozen riders had a two-minute gap on the main pack, which had no hope of closing it in the remaining 13 miles. By David's report, approaching the finish, another breakaway of another half-dozen or so riders split off and finished off the top 10. David led the remaining pack across the finish line.

I ambled back, passing tired, dehydrated racers and as I passed them I felt obligated to let them know that I was actually 24 miles behind them (having rested two laps in the feed zone).

All in all, a fine race day. I'm much happier to have raced than to not have raced.

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