Merco Cycling Classic Stage 1 - Merced Irrigation District Road Race

CATEGORY 35+ 1/2/3
DATE 2/28/2013

AUTHOR Jacob Berkman

TEAMMATES Appel, Hobbs, Oli

COURSE DESCRIPTION "12.5 Mile loop with 3 mile rolling with one main climb.  Finish will be on loop, same as 2012."

PREVIOUS RESULTS 2012: 105th (P/1/2)

WEATHER Sunny, warm but not hot (sunscreen and no warmers needed). A little breezy but not bad.

GOALS 1. Try to stay with the lead group. 2. Upgrade points for top 10-15 on GC.

Ideally making it to the finish with a small group (10-20 guys) to be settled on the TT tomorrow.

RACE SUMMARY Ok so after my shellacking at Snelling and reviewing some power numbers, I was a bit apprehensive going in. This was a pretty stacked field and I wasn't sure how my fitness would hold up, and since the guys were here racing for me I didn't want to let them down.

They were great at trying to move me up except I wasn't fulfilling my end of the deal, and when guys would start moving up on both sides of me I'd just slip back. The pace early on wasn't high enough and as the road wound to the left and right the inside line would get pinched. Not fun for hedgehogs.

Anyway the first time up the climb was a good pace ("quick but comfortable"). You really gotta jam it over the KOM line and at the left turn, and it was definitely much easier sitting on the field for the decent rather than having to chase through the caravan like last year.

The second lap was pretty similar (according to Strava, 2s faster on the climb). Hobbs and Appel didn't make it over the top and I let Oli know. Hobbs caught back on before the finish but I haven't seen Appel on a bike since.

The climb kind of starts before the left turn, and the third time up I noticed the watts were way higher. My spidey senses were tingling and apparently I made it into good position because the next thing I know there weren't many guys in front of me, and my HR was maxed out.

Things started to split but I didn't think I could close the gap so didn't totally turn myself inside-out; there was a lot of racing ahead. The group came together on the decent and there was nobody in sight behind us - maybe 15-20 guys in this group. There were maybe 3-4 former or current national champs in this group so I was content to just sit in, as these guys were probably stronger and definitely more experienced. Plus they probably didn't know who I was (except Jan (ZIPZ) and Nick Theobald (Safeway).

We weren't working together and some guys were shouting at each other to start racing. At the left at the bottom of the descent we had a 30-40" gap and finally got a nice solid rotation with everyone going. By the time we got to the climb that shot up to 2:00!! so it was pretty clear this was the decisive move, and I'd made it! I was totally stoked to have come through for the guys.

The 4th time up the climb was a little mellower since we knew we were staying away. The 5th time up was rough and the group split again, with me not making the lead group. I just don't have that last bit of top end (I knew that going in, and plan to work on that over the next month) but I hoped our group could chase back on. It was pretty strong - Nick, Jan, Kevin Klein (Prime Time), Brian Choi (Stuzio), and Mike Sayers (Specialized). The lead group had Matt Carinio (Arts Cyclery) and Chris DeMarchi (MRI) and they managed to stay away from us.

We were chasing well but everyone's legs were giving out with about 5k to go and I could barely hang on. Those guys can sprint so I came in last from our group, with a 5" gap to 7th (Jan) and 90" to the leaders. Pretty stoked with this and hopefully I can put in a rippin' TT tomorrow and move up into the top 10. I've got a solid minute+ on the guy behind me and hopefully he'll provide a good carrot for me tomorrow.

RESULTS 12. Me @ 1' 36" 31. Oli @ 5' 52" 54. Hobbs @ 12' 23" DNF Appel DNS Kopp

TAKEAWAYS - Need to be more assertive and confident in the pack! - Was much more comfortable in the break with 10-20 guys tho. - Really glad I did this race last year and knew where to be careful about letting gaps open up. - The guys were great at trying to move me up but I just lost their wheel a few times. - The P/1/2 race looked hard. - Lots of Zone 4/5a/5b time today.

NUMBERS Distance: 106.71km Time: 2:49:51 Elevation Gain: 1277m Avg Speed: 37.7km/h Max Speed: 73.3km/h Avg HR: 151bpm Max HR: 181bpm Avg Power: 207W (3.34W/kg) xPower: 241W (3.88W/kg) TSS: 237 Suffer Score: 202

MFBY, // jacob

Masters-35+-1-2-3 Results