It’s been 3 weeks since my last race. Training has been going well but I suffered a weird injury in which I pinched a nerve on my back which caused me to take a week off the bike. Doing the best I could with the amount of time I had I signed up for my next race.
The event was the LA Circuit Race – 4 laps on a u-turn type course with rolling (and often windy) terrain totaling 16 miles. For my race there was a mild headwind and a soft tail wind heading towards the start/finish line.
After a quick warm up and course preview I lined up at the start finish line and the whistle blew. Race started much slower than my previous ones and there were many more lulls in the pace of the race. This was partly due to the u-turns which slowed the pace way down but may have been the Big Orange team setting the pace as they were often up front. Laps 1, 2 and 3 passed without incident and when lap 4 rolled in the fun began.
I began seeing the usual shuffling that takes place in the final lap and I paid close attention to the wheels I needed to follow as they moved up to the front (free tow – thanks for the tip Nick!).
As we approached the final corner I was in 14th place or so and noticed a few strong riders making a move for the front. I’ve raced many of these people before so I’m learning who I need to watch for. I latched on to them and coming out of the final corner I was in 5th place or so. The lead riders picked up the pace to about 30 mph (average) and I felt good and calm (even though my heart rate was about 190 bpm). It seemed that everyone was waiting to make their move and I decided to make mine. I began my sprint and before I knew it I was quickly out sprinted by other riders.
I then felt a shoulder or handler bar on my thigh pushing me on one side and saw another rider blocking my left (as the saying goes – rubbing is racing). I kept my cool (but not my momentum) and managed to get out of the mayhem onto clear tarmac but by then it was pointless to sprint again (the winner was already fist pumping the air) and a swam of riders around me were rushing for the line. I knew my race was over so I coasted to the line for a 29th place finish out of 46. This was my hardest race so far and I was completely spent when I crossed the line. Even though I came way short of my goal (top 10 finish) I felt good that I had the chance to give it a go without any regrets. Even though I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a long while it’s clear I need continue fine tuning my limited training time. My next race is tentatively scheduled 5 weeks from now for another Compton 4 corner crit.
See you at the races!
Francisco “I gotta train more” Chamorro