Texas Canine Ambush   
 Ride Stats
Distance: 63.30 miles Altitude Gain: 4,091 ft Avg Speed: 18.05 mph
Route: Tour de Salem Avg Grade: 0 % Max Grade: 0 %
Max HR: 167 bpm Avg HR: 139 bpm Terrain: Road: Hills
Bike: custom built Cipollini RB800 Road Club: Schuyler County Cycling Club
Weather Conditions: Sunny 58-78 F SW wind @ 5 mph
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 Tour de Salem
Today's event was in Salem, NY in the upper north east section bordering Vermont. Put in a bad night at the motel and pre ride nutrition was a little lacking due to limited eateries near my motel. Ended up dining on fast food Mexican and gummi bears. It was a rather long drive from the motel to the event though it was a short distance away due to twisting roads and fog. I got to the start an hour early and was a little worried as I was the only one there. A few more riders did turn out but it seemed a little sparse to me. The local firemen that put on the event seemed happy enough though, so it was all good. Thirteen riders ended up lining up for the start of the metric century. Not many really but it was a strong group and seemed to be several riders from a local club. The route had five climbs in total and briefly crossed into Vermont. There weren't any maps or cue sheets given out for the event, but the route was well marked on the road. I had viewed a GPS file a couple days before hand but hadn't downloaded it. All I could remember was that there were five climbs. Didn't plan on riding too hard as the season is winding down and the legs are worn, so anticipated doing some of the route at touring speed when I got dropped. Course starts out with a ten mile climb that was really more of a grade than a hill. Pace was rather brisk as the speeds were steady between eighteen and twenty up the incline. It was a long paceline and each rider pulled for one mile before pulling off. I didn't know whether this was prearranged or a normal procedure for the group, but when my turn came I kept the pace and pulled my mile. We went over the top with a couple riders short of the thirteen we started with but the pace line continued to motor down the backside that was still more a decline than a downhill. Only difference was the pace was now between twenty seven and twenty nine miles an hour. I took my downhill pull and came up short of my mile as I had to do a section of ascent and had a hard time holding the pace and pulled off short of the mile. After finishing the descent we made a left turn, and I picked up a few positions going through the turn. It wasn't what I really wanted, as I wasn't looking to take another turn at the front right away. Started wondering how much longer I could hold the pace when things slowed way down. it turned out we were heading up the second climb that was in reality the first big climb of the day. One rider started to pull away on the climb, and I stayed with him for a bit and even took a pull. I wasn't going fast enough for him though, so he went around me and motored up the hill. I looked around and it was only him and me left. I looked behind and there was a group or four or five riders not far behind, I decided that I wouldn't be able to stay with the rider ahead of me and waited for the group behind to catch. The slope was still shallow enough to get a draft and a boost from riding with a group. I joined the group when it went by and one rider just said he had emptied his gas tank and fell away. The group had lost its momentum after catching me and fragmented. Still had some leg left and decided to try plan b to bridge back to the rider ahead alone. One of the riders from the group rallied and held my wheel. We hit a steep section and the rider behind me dropped his chain when downshifting. I kept on climbing but as the grade increased the gap to the rider ahead opened up. Wasn't sure how much more climbing there was and running out of leg I threw in the towel. I struggled up the remaining steep section and was caught by the rider that had dropped his chain but stayed with him as we crested the hill. I figured I had probably lost a minute and a half on the climb. Once I crested the hill I hammered the next five miles of rolling downhill with the goal of catching the lone rider ahead. Had no luck though despite my maximum effort and by the bottom of the climb decided my new goal was to just to try to catch a glimpse of the rider since I was obviously outclassed. I worked with the rider that drafted me on the downhill through a several miles of rollers. Legs started failing on some of the rollers as I would get gapped on the bottom and have to work hard to catch him by the top. We crossed a mile long section of gravel road and though it wasn't bad I relaxed enough that whatever iron that was in my legs was now gone. When we hit the third climb of the day I was gapped and got dropped. I wasn't too disappointed though as I had ridden at my limit for nearly two hours. Caught I few glimpses of my former partner on the twisting downhill, but he didn't seem interested in waiting for me. Rolled by the rest stop at the forty five mile mark as still had sufficient water left to finish off the ride, Course flattened out for a couple of miles and briefly got off the course as I followed some markings for the shorter routes. There wasn't a straight arrow at the corner for my course and I was only a couple of miles from the start. Went on my detour for about a quarter of a mile and decided I would go back since I really didn't want to do the forty mile course in addition to what I had already done and would be content with a fifty mile ride if I had made an error. Got back on the original route and found an arrow a couple of miles down the road that took me away from town and back into the hills. Picked the pace back up when I got to the fourth climb as although it wasn't a race, I didn't want to get caught because of the delay from my short detour. The fourth climb was steep but not nearly as challenging as the second and third climbs. I looked behind me as I crested and didn't see any riders behind so relaxed again as I probably wouldn't get caught. Got to the last climb of the day and it wasn't too bad. Hammered the climb in the big chainring and was rewarded as I saw a rider ahead just cresting the hill. Put some effort into the downhill and crossed a covered bridge and came out on a fairly flat two mile section to the finish. I saw that the rider ahead was only a quarter mile or so up the road. Thought I had a decent chance of catching him since it was flat and had a slight tailwind. I got out of the saddle to build up some speed and carried it through until I got on his wheel. It turned out to be the rider that had dropped me on the third hill. I sat on his wheel and figured I would draft him to the finish. He didn't like that idea though and pulled over, so I would take the lead to the finish. Took a strong pull through the hole and the other rider wasn't strong enough to stay on my wheel. Not sure whether he planned on sprinting to the finish but didn't give him the option. I never did catch a glimpse of the first rider though, even at the finish. Turned out to be a fairly good ride despite the low turnout. I really didn't climb very well when it counted but put in a very hard effort in the first two hours.

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Home: Montour Falls, NY 
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