Saturday, September 19, 2009

French Racing Report

Some of you may not be aware that one of our teammates had extended the racing season a bit. Since returning to France at the end of the summer, Hugh has obtained his racing license and has been competing in the local road racing scene over there. With his permission, here is his report from week two. Enjoy it, and get out and ride this weekend.

> guys
> Just
> an update from race central in France.
> I
> raced on Saturday and Sunday last weekend for my
> 3rd and 4th
> races here. Each time continues to be a learning
> experience.
> Saturday
> Race: 11
> laps - approx 6 km each lap with one big climb and one
> scary fast narrow alpine
> style descent with 3 hairpins. The finish was on
> small flat about 2/3 of
> the way up the climb. This was the only flat section
> with the rest being
> the one long climb and the scary descent. After 3-4
> laps two groups
> formed and I was at the back of 2nd group. I stayed
> calm and took my time
> to get into a rythym on the climb. Found that I had
> pretty good kick at the
> finish after the meat of the climb. With 5 laps to
> go, I went off the
> front of the 2nd group with another rider, he eventually
> dropped but 1 other caught
> up. The two of us rode together the rest of the way
> and picked off 4 or 5
> stragglers from the first group. Unfortunately the
> other guy refused to
> do any of the work so I was on point for the rest of the
> race. By the
> last lap I had put enough time on the second group that I
> backed off a little
> to not get behind on energy for the last climb and the run
> to the finish line.
> I planned my move for the last 100m of the climb before the
> finish straight. The
> guy who was shadowing me pounced first but I managed to get
> onto his wheel.
> He saw that he did not drop me so he backed off a little
> before the run to the
> finish. I stayed right on his wheel. He again
> made a move within sight
> of the finish but I dug pretty deep to stay with him and
> then sprinted by to
> beat him by a wheel. Great fun, classic stuff and
> great experience.
> Ended up 8th overall and 4th in cat 3
> which I was pretty
> happy with. Turned out that it was about 41 miles
> long with 3500 feet of
> climbing at a 19 mph average. I think the mountain
> biking is helping.
> Many of these riders are very cautious on the fast descents
> and don’t
> know how to use their brakes effectively (they brake way
> early and not
> aggressively). I was able to gap most of them on the
> descent. This race
> gave me a little confidence in being able to keep somewhat
> in the hunt.
> Sunday
> Race: 15 laps - approx 4.1 km each lap, rolling with
> no big hills, all on
> narrow country lanes. The pace started fast and I
> held position about 10
> back for the first 5 laps. One guy went off the front
> on lap 5 and I was
> feeling a little cocky so I went to the front and helped
> haul him in. My
> legs were a little tired but not bad from the day
> before. I drifted to
> the back after the pull and reached into my jersey for fuel
> at the same time
> that the peloton surged ahead. Instantly I was 50
> feet back and I found
> out that my legs were not quite as good as I thought and
> the peloton just faded
> into the distance. I rode the last 9 laps solo and
> nearly got
> lapped. Quite humbling. Finished dead last in
> cat 3. This
> wasn’t quite as fun as the day before but again,
> great experience.
> This
> whole thing is so different from mountain biking. I
> never trained
> intervals that much but that’s what is needed here.
> I need to improve
> my short term power delivery to be able to handle the
> surges and sudden effort
> requirements.
> Oh,
> by the way, each race costs 5 Euro to enter ($7 US) and in
> the case of the
> Saturday Race, they hauled out a 20 liter container of red
> wine after the
> race. I never figured wine for a recovery
> drink! The season here is
> coming to an end soon but for the most part, you can
> typically race on both
> Saturday or Sunday every weekend.
> Tomorrow
> (Saturday) is a 2 person team time trial….I’ll
> let you know.
> I think the local club president has found me a riding
> partner for tomorrow, or
> at least I think that is what he said on the
> phone.
> Hope
> all is well there. I have been checking weather in
> Harbor and it looks
> like you are still enjoying good riding.
> Talk
> to you all soon.

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