Wow what a week! The plan was to do a mini-taper for Fontana which was a B priority race. This would provide some contrast to Bonelli where we put in a huge day the day before the race (C priority).
Tuesday I hit the monster intervals. 5 minutes at 175BPM with 5 minutes of recovery, 5 times. I hit them hard and made them count. The whole time I was visualizing my competition, reeling them in, passing them, attacking them. I think the visualization was effective, it contrasts to my usual visualization which was plagued by fear, fear of not going hard enough, not being fast enough. Positive imagery is used by top athletes, so maybe I can use it too.
Wednesday I did some speed work on the mountain bike. I went after work and climbed up Slaughterhouse and then did a loop on the trails at Santa Rosa Plateau before racing sunset back down Slaughterhouse. The purpose of this ride was to go fast on the new bike. Fast uphills, fast downhills, fast on the flats, just fast. The workout went great and I hit my goals. I was pumped up! Unfortunately Slaughterhouse is overflowing with my arch nemesis: Poison Oak. By Friday I had rashes on both arms, both legs, and other places... HORRIBLE!!!!
Thursday I did a Regen ride from work at lunch. Just an easy spin with a buddy of mine. Quite a lot different than our usual Thursday night rides hammering the hills with Bad Luck Weins, but it was what my plan called for and I needed it.
Friday we took off from work early, packed up the race bikes and headed up to Fontana for course recon. We did two laps on the course with some hard efforts and checked out all the new stuff. The course has lots of climbing in a small distance at the beginning of the lap, then descending and flats. Brutal! We picked up our race packets and my Law of Fives continued, my race number was 195!!!
Saturday the plan was to go easy, make a few hard short efforts to open up the legs, and other than that just cruise around on the bikes. As my readers already know, I had a little too much fun. Right at the end of the ride I hit a small table top at speed and on the landing my front tire blew off the rim. I slammed to the ground gashing my knee and slamming my left hip on a rock. Not good pre-race preparation. I spent most of the rest of the day Saturday icing my injuries and trying to steel my resolve to race the following day. I did manage to do full race prep on the bikes despite my knee leaking all over the place and my hip throbbing.
No that is not a tennis ball in my shorts, the swelling on my hip was really crazy! Someone informed me that the technical name is Traumatic Bursitis. I kept icing it and used a lot of direct pressure to try to get the swelling to spread out.
Sunday we got up before the sun. Allison made us hearty breakfasts and we headed to Fontana. I was moving pretty slow and took a bit of extra time to warm up before the race, then they moved our race start back by half an hour. This totally sucked, I had performed an extra long warmup already!
After warming on the trainer, switching rear wheels, getting Allison's road bike on the trainer and generally rushing about I headed over to ride the Start and Finish sections of the course. It started out uneventful, I felt strong and the bike was perfect. Coming through the finish chicane though I over-cooked the last turn (left), my damaged hip didn't swing my leg like it should (no surprise), and I slammed to the ground landing on my left side (AGAIN!?!?!). Someone was kind enough to remind me that I can't win practice. Thanks for that. :/
We lined up and were out of the gate soon afterward.
The pace at the start was frenetic. I didn't get great positioning, but people were really jostling trying to get position for the "Ladder Climb". I had a horrible first lap. My bike handling skills were just off. I was panicked and wasting energy everywhere. I dropped my bottle without getting more than a half of a sip.
Allison did a great job supporting me, as did many people on course cheering and doing what they could to support. Everyone that was there is very much appreciated. I am sorry I was too deep in my Pain Cave to give individual acknowledgements.
On the second lap I was able to settle down some. I found myself in a group of three with Umberto Castro and Matt Perry, both riders who kicked my butt at Bonelli. The three of us have different strengths and we swapped positions constantly for three laps. It was some of the best racing I have ever been a part of! At one point I had some issues and fell off the back only to catch Matt looking totally worked on the flats. As I motored by I yelled at him to tag on and I pulled him back onto Umberto. It was awesome! Although we were racing against each other, I felt that if we kept the group together I could use my "Boat Anchors" to win the finishing sprint. Unfortunately for Matt he had some cramping issues on the last lap and took what looked like a bad fall. Umberto then yeilded to me at the top of the descent, what a show of sportsmanship! He tagged onto my rear wheel and then I proceeded to take a horrible off course excursion! DAMN! Umberto descended in front and I am pretty sure Matt closed the gap. We were all very tired and I know I was sloppy. It was probably way safer to have Umberto to keep the speeds reasonable!
Once we reached the bottom of the descent I turned on the power. The "Boat Anchors" had some life left in them! I worked at making a holding a gap. On the final steep climb my legs started to cramp! I willed them to keep going. I was pumping the terrain, trying to save my legs, hoping they would last. Just before the last couple of corners I caught and passed a female rider. It was a very tense moment, I passed off in the grass just before the corner and worried about crashing or having her crash us both. On the finish straight I stood and sprinted, someone on the side said "He is going to catch you!". My right quad cramped painfully right at the finish line and I yelped loudly.
I had finished in FIFTH!!!! Ecstatic! Law of Fives comes through, prediction comes true!
No sooner did I finish my race but I was rushing to take care of Allison. Her Pro debut was a big deal and I wanted to support her to my best ability. She was already on the trainer and Ryan and Sharon were hleping her out. I went over her bike and made last minute adjustments. I wanted everything to work perfectly.
Before I knew it she was off. Due to being a brand new Pro she had to start from the back and earn every inch. These women are no joke, with National and World titles!
I sprung into action handing off bottles and taking pictures. Not the best recovery, but I couldn't have sat still if you paid me! Allison was battling with the big guns!!! I was cheering on a lot of the competitors. One of my favorites is Emily Batty. :)
When the dust had settled Allison had battled her way to 10th place. All 9 women in front of her have had National or World titles. She was about 1 minute back from Pua and half that behind Mellanie McQuaid. AWESOME!
I was very proud and very sore.
Happy Monday everyone! I am loading up on Vitamin I and preparing for more punishment. :) See you racers at Sagebrush!