Felt halfway alive on this one. The start was nice since we rolled down Bohemian and then over and down Hwy 1. This allowed me some time to warm up. When we hit the first steep longer climb a little after Jenner, I settled back and a large portion of the pack pulled away. I could have pushed it a bit harder to stick with them but I knew it was a long race and this climb connected with Meyers Grade which was even harder. So I kept a good RPM and spun up. At Meyers I continued with an even pace and started to catch a few riders.
Once on the ridge, with the rollers, I was alone and started pushing a nice pace. Came across another rider who jumped on my wheel. Then another that also joined. Lost both of them on the descent towards and down Timber Cove to Hwy 1. Headed north on Hwy 1 solo until the two of them caught me again. But then one of them dropped off and the other guy stuck with me which was nice. When we hit Kruse we did a quick pit stop then rolled onto the dirt. I was feeling good and liked the grade and dirt. So I settled into a nice pace and at some point lost the other guy. Well, he just disappeared on me since I was just focused on climb. Btw, I was riding with Continental 28 Gatorskins which were perfect for the potholes and dirt section. Great tires.
Popped up out of the last section of Kruse (ouch) and turned left onto the road towards Hauser Bridge. Passed an old team mate of mine, Steve Peleaz, who blew from the earlier effort.
Dropped down Hauser to the bridge, paused to watch the brown current, and then began the evil climb. Oh man that is a steep pitch at the start. But not as bad as I thought it would be. Passed another guy mid-way up. Continued at an even pace, watching my cadence, and finally rolled up to the top and where the sag wagon was hanging out. Grabbed another bottle. The guy told me 5 guys were just here. That motivated me to keep moving and possibly catch them. Oh, he also said, good job, no more big hills… ha! I guess he didn’t realize King Ridge is still a climb this direction.
Made sure to eat some more and drink. Kept the pace up on the rollers of the ridge. But couldn’t see the pack of 5 he mentioned. I kept rolling at an effort that I gauged would allow me to finish without blowing up on the last climb. Finally caught another rider but he just dropped off. Then another that rode a short bit but then fell off on the next little pitch. Then it was lonely time. All the way up to the top of the ridge I saw nobody.
Descending down King Ridge I came across nobody. Out through Cazedero to River Road it was me and a few cars that passed by. Down River to Moscow Rd, into the headwind, it was me alone. But I kept on sensing riders behind me.
Back on Moscow it was a nice tailwind. But nobody else.
Onto Bohemian and there was… nobody. My legs were now getting a little achy. Finished off the food I had and most of my drink. Pushed the pace but stayed seated and to keep the cadence up. I could feel a small bit of cramping when I stood and pushed a hard effort. And I kept getting that sensation of riders coming up behind. That motivated me.
At the final pitch up to Occidental I made a big push and then rolled into town to the finish.
Of the 51 or so starters, I rolled in a 31st with a time of 5:04. The leaders (Barry Wicks) finished in 4:08. I’m actually happy with my time considering how much I rode solo. And looking at the finish times of some of the other riders, I could see I was only 20 min or so behind those that I would think i should be finishing with. So overall I consider this a good day and happy with my result.
Changes I would make for next time would be easier gearing. I thought the 28 rear, up from 25, would be enough but I could have used more on Meyers Grade and Hauser. The rest of the time the gearing was fine. I also need to eat and drink more. Definitely didn’t have enough of either.
Thanks Mig and crew for another fun weekend “ride”.