my thoughts and observations about what lies along the trails of existence linda paul bascom tim mary rachel

Monday, June 28, 2004

A Day at the Races

Race: Pescadero Coastal Classic
Teammates: Josh and Cameron

This was my first road race race and it was a beauty: beautiful course just inland from HWY 1 full of nice smooth roads, lots of climbing, a few fast descents and some gorgeous coastal redwood forest. I was nervous pulling up to the starting line but was reassured to see my temmate Josh already there. As we road away from the start things were a little hectic in the pack for the first lap of this 1.7 lap 28-mile loop. I had never ridden in such close formation before, just centimeters away from the riders around me and everyone constantly jockeying for position. I made an effort to stay close to the front for most of the first lap and with the help of Josh and Cam we did just that. I survived the first 2 tough climbs over stage road, although midpack, and the descent was a little hairy with other racers taking some unorthodox lines shoving me to the edges of the road. I almost went off the asphalt at least once. I know Josh experienced the same thing. Lesson one: if you’re a ‘good’ descender, try to go over the top of a climb near the front. It’s too hard to pass ‘bad’ descenders and not worth an adventure over the edge of a mountain road.

Once we hit the flatlands it was a fast pace of 25-30mph and people tried to stay out of the wind as much as possible to conserve energy for the 3 km climb up Haskins Hill. Josh, Cam and I stayed in the first 15 places and once we hit the climb it was an all out effort on the front of the pack. I decided to just settle into my own rhythm so I wouldn’t blow up and instead wanted to save as much energy for the second lap and give it my all there. I’m a good descender so I figured I could just latch back onto the peloton on the way down. BIG mistake! I shot right out the back of the pack. Lesson two: Never lose site of the pack. If you're not in it or in front of it, you probably won’t see it again.

So, I never saw the peloton again after going over the top of the climb. Well, I actually did see them up the road around a couple of bends every now and then, about a minute in front, but the 4 other guys I was with just couldn’t put together a decent pace line and we never gained on it. That was probably the most frustrating part of the race. Seeing the pack but not getting enough help from the few other guys with me to latch back on. Two of the weaker riders dropped off, so then we were three. But with only three guys to share the effort into a head wind it’s an almost impossible task to gain any ground on a rapidly moving peloton full of 40 riders. We rode hard, though, and went up the Stage Road climbs together.

I was stronger on the climbs than they were, but when we hit the flats I didn’t have much left to give. I was on the point of 'bonking', going into glycogen depletion and emptying my reserves of energy. I put in my turn at the front, though, and the other two rode quite hard. The stronger of the two flatted in front of me as I was drafting only centimeters off his wheel and I moved right around him and kept going, along with the one guy I now had left with me. We hit the bottom of Haskins Hill together and I left him behind pretty quickly. Somehow I still had a little left in my legs. I put in a strong effort and turned it up a notch near the top passing a few last guys in the process (although I don’t think they were from my category). I don’t know my official result, but I am guessing that out of a field of 50 I placed 45th. I believe Josh, who stayed with the pack the whole time, came in around 12th. And Cam, who got left behind the first time up the climb, DNF’ed.

I’m actually not disappointed with my result as my only real goal was to finish the race, and I did that. I had never ridden at race pace before and it was hard! 19 mph avg over 48 miles. It was a great experience and I know where I made my tactical error. Once you get dropped by the peloton it is VERY hard to get back on. Lesson learned.

I look forward to my next race more than ever, and now I have specific things to work on. It should be a great season, one filled with many learning experiences, and hopefully with a few better results.

Thanks for reading


curtis mook said...

hola tim!!! :)

i thought this would be the perfect way to reconnect with you. rachel and i have been emailing each other off and on for the past few years, and she told me that bascom put together a guffin family website which i just had to check out. it is so cool! i am so impressed with yours. wow! to be competing in bike races, collecting art, and traveling to brazil, you surely are one busy man. oh how i wish you and i could get together and catch up! i would love to hear all about the goings on in your life. plus, it would be great to get you back on the tennis court :) yes, i'm still playing, although no one i hit with compares to your athleticism and tenacity.

now's not the time to go on about me. i'll save that for a later posting. right now i just wanted to touch base with you on your page and let you know that i'm still alive and kicking. e me sometime, send a postcard, or call me! my email address is my address is: 303 W. 21st Street, Merced, Ca 95340. any my phone # is (209) 388-1925.

i hope all is well with you and gussy. just know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. good luck at the races!

peace and love,
cmm, a.k.a. your bro :)

p.s. the artwork you and gussy are collecting is astonishing! you both have excellent artistic taste, especially with the "fruit woman" and the bedroom window scene. god, we have to get together sometime!!!

7:48 PM


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