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Big 'ol helping of humble pie
Last Post 05/07/2019 11:00 AM by Franck A.. 5 Replies.
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Dale

Posts:1164

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05/06/2019 09:49 AM
Tour of the Gila--->

When you suck at cyclocross you only suck for 45 minutes.
When you suck at road racing your suckitude is on display three or four hours at a time.

I'm a small fish in a small pond that jumped into the ocean and met some pretty big fish.
It's one thing to hang with or even be near the front of the local fast Tuesday night ride on a 22 mile loop but an entirely different set of knives gets pulled out at a national event.

Not 100% sure why the national age category crit champion was racing the Masters 40/50/60 Cat 3/4/5 race... guess a Cat 3 won nats but holy crap was the pace fast!

Stage 1. Insane fast corkscrew downhill and then a ton of climbing. I was next to last on the stage, 61 miles

Stage 2. 16 mile TT. I beat 3 or 4 guys. Standard bike with cheap clip-ons, aluminum rims. Some of the guys had full on/ pro level TT bikes

Stage 3. 15 lap, 16 mile four corner crit, all four corners wide and sweeping fast
Slight grade on the start finish/ line
2nd leg, increasing grade to about 2%
3rd side, steep kicker up to 5% followed by a steep drop leading into a smoking fast turn
4th side continues downhill where everyone is flying!
...and back to the start/ finish line
Me and three other guys got pulled with a couple laps to go.

Stage 4. 71 mile/ 6000+' of climbing.
10 miles in I was suffering like a dog, couldn't breath, legs were smoked so I drifted back... even past the few guys that were already popped, raised my hand and told the official to give me a DNF.

Some lessons:
1) I was serious undertrained for four days in a row
2) The elevation did factor in even though it only topped out at about 7,500'
3) I need to take descending lessons from Cancellara instead of the Schleck brothers
4) If I'm going to do this race again and take it serious I need to drop some coin and buy speed-- wheels, TT bike

Stayed at host housing and made friends with a wonderful couple whose home is dope control at the end of Stage 4 (5 for the Pro's). She cracked that her claim to fame is Lance Armstrong peed in her bathroom.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2715

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05/06/2019 10:01 AM
Man...combining Masters 40 w/ Masters 50 & 60 at a national level event is a direct bunch to the ol' marbles. Some seriously fast 40+ guys are just gonna smoke those in the two older age groups.

And 7500' is definitely high enough to feel the altitude...hell, you can feel it in Denver which is a good 2K lower than that!!

Glad you went out and raced, even if you didn't do as well as you had hoped. Always good to get those experiences...congrats!

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Dale

Posts:1164

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05/06/2019 10:04 AM
Thanks! I had higher aspirations but came away from that with a huge amount of knowledge that I was lacking about stage racing and road racing at that level.

It's easy to get a false sense of ability when you're just doing local stuff, it definitely going to make me a better cyclist.
Orange Crush

Posts:2485

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05/06/2019 11:17 AM
That's still a very solid effort Dale; I wouldn't even dream of participating in an event like that. Kudos. That said, too bad you didn't gain all that knowledge and experience 40 years ago when it would have come in handy (haha, harhar).
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2715

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05/06/2019 12:13 PM
I had a similar experience many (many!) years ago at the old Casper Classic. 7 day stage race for all categories, including us lowly Cat 4's. Money went 25 deep....I always finsihed in the top 25, so figured I was a shoo-in for some $$.

Wrong. Leaving aside the altitude, a Cat. 4 from the DC area was a far cry from a Cat 4 out West (especially the guys coming up from Boulder). Just had my doors blown on every stage....think I finished in the pack on 1 stage, although I did get into an hour+ solo break on one of the road stages. Actually thought I had a shot at the stage, but the course was out & back.....pack saw me after the turnaround and threw down to catch me. They had forgotten I was out there!!

Doing races like that really crystallize the difference between local, regional and national level races.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
eurochien

Posts:57

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05/07/2019 11:00 AM
I raced Gila 4 or 5 times, as a 3 and later Master 35+ 1/2 (combined fields) in the late 90s early 2000s and never had any luck there, even though better suited for stage racing (80% every day for days on end works better for me than 100% for one race). So many things have to go right to do well at events like that, all you can do is take away what it teaches you. The last time I did it I was 5th on GC in Masters 35+ 1-2 and got a flat before the last climb, and dropped 4 GC spots. There was always something.
It's great to hear that this fantastic race is still happening.
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