Saturday was my second race of the season. Probably my 10th mass start race in 2-3 years.

So, how’d I do? 6th. Out of approximately 100. Not bad.

As I rode over to the course alone, I thought alot about what Dr. Coggan had mentioned to me more than once “you might me more of a fast twitcher than you realize”…

Really, I know that. In reality I am probably a Rouleur, not the fastest pure sprinter, but if I am there in the end – I stand a chance.

So I didn’t work. I stayed at the front, but not ON the front. I sat behind Clark, but didn’t pull through. I got bumped into the corner and repeatedly pushed in towards the rocks due to the southeast wind.

After about 3-5 laps it sunk in again, that feeling that takes so long to teach clients…the feeling of “I belong here”

And I started pushing back. I didn’t give an inch anymore. I knew that I could stick my nose into the wind and not be left for the rest of the race.

So I watched. And I waited. And I pointed out the moves to those on the sharp end of the stick to keep things together. And things generally did stay together. At the bell, someone’s was moving off the front, stood up and snapped a chain. Visions of last year’s collarbone flashed in my head, but he rode it out and we all settled back in by turn 1. Things seemed to roll slow on the backside as people tried to stay out of the wind.

In the chicane, Justin rolled off the front. I wanted to roll with him but was too far away and couldn’t make it.

Into the last curve came into the corner in ~9-10th… I cannot believe how WIDE some feel they have to take it. I probably made 2-3 spots on the exit of the corner. We started to wind it up, moved past one rider and felt another move past me.

I kept holding something in reserve. It is a long drag to the finish line and that is only the second sprint I have contested this year. I kept holding onto something because I was SURE, dead sure that the freight train was coming throught… that the pack was rolling up on me and soon to be past me and I needed something left to jump onto it if I were to stay in the top 10.

But the train never came.

Hell, maybe I was the train. Dunno, but ended up a happy 6th place. I hadn’t had to check in with an official to check my placing and honestly, that alone is a pretty good feeling.

So, what about the data?

Well, there is it… 45 minutes @ 272w Pnorm, 241w Pave. Peak power of 1002w. 33.67mph in the sprint.
A high VI, low Pave. Cadence right where I would expect it.
Can you see it? There it is in the green line. I have been doing this for a while. Perhaps not as successfully as I would like, but I have learned a thing or two. Like how to hide in a pack. And how to not work. That is an awful lot of coasting in there.
It also bears out two of my philosophies of my coaching.
The first is that consistency in training… or in more modern terms, maintaining a CTL gives you the ability to race well.
With the ride there and home @ 3hrs and 219TSS, without consistency in training or a descent CTL, I would have been shelled.
And second, is really a cornerstone of what I believe works from a coaching perspective…
Racing should not be your hardest workout.
Now, think about that for a second. Your race should not be harder than your hard workouts during the week.

Now, there are exceptions to that – like peaking for an event, or other times when racing tactics dictate outcomes and workloads… but in general, for the season-long road racer, this holds true.
For example, from this file: 45 mins @ 272w? No problem – this year I have already spend several 1hr blocks @ or above 280-300w for the Pave. Those sessions felt (and were) harder than saturday’s race.
And the finish, was I holding back? Well, peak power was 1002w, now granted it was after 43 minutes of hard tempo riding. But in the past two weeks I have been doing some testing. One of those tests was a pedal test where I was doing Force – Velocity testing to determine if there were differences between two sets of pedals (more on that later).
During those tests, I did 11 sprints. All eleven of them broke 1100w.
So, the sprint was easier than training. The entire race was easier than what I was capable of performing.
I was able to be competitive because my training was harder than the race.
Many have said bike racing is kinda like playing chess while running a marathon. How can you play the chess part well if staying with the group has you on the rivet? There is a time for pushing the limits in the race, for performing a PB in 3, 5 of even 1hr power markers in racing. But if you are racing all season as a road racer, it shouldn’t be in your “c” races.
Ironcially (?), this result places me in 7th overall in the series! Here is to hoping that I can maintain a level of performance and improve my results for the year.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how I cannot remember that last time I won a race, arms outstretched…
This week after being so close to Justin as he came across the line with his arms in the air…today, tonight, I can taste it. I can see it. And it will happen this season.