Texas Canine Ambush   
 Ride Stats
Distance: 29.31 miles Altitude Gain: 1,790 ft Avg Speed: 19.71 mph
Route: Tour de Susquehanna Avg Grade: 0 % Max Grade: 0 %
Max HR: 168 bpm Avg HR: 143 bpm Terrain: Road: Hills
Bike: custom built Cipollini RB800 Road Club: Schuyler County Cycling Club
Weather Conditions: Cloudy 68 F SE wind @ 7 mph
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 Tour de Susquehanna
Spent a restless night watching the weather. Forecast had been for rain during today's race in Clearfield, PA. Around four AM the forecast was changed and it appeared that we would luck out and the rain would hold off until late in or after the race. The Tour de Susquehanna is a fairly short race of just over twenty miles with three climbs. It used to have two climbs and a flat sprint finish into the town but two people complained that the race was disrupting traffic, and the powers that be wouldn't let the race finish in town anymore. So now there is a hill climb finish just outside of town. The high speed finish used to make for an enjoyable race even for those of us that don't climb too well as we would sprint whatever pack we were finishing with. There appeared to be around sixty riders lined up at the start. Didn't feel too well at the start after the lack of sleep and had an upset stomach to boot. Popped some antacid before the ride and checked out the numerous fast burners as I warmed up around town. Found that I was really outclassed in this small race as there quite a few really fast guys present. After a mile or so of fairly flat riding the course has the first climb. I actually felt fairly well for about a half mile of the two mile climb but then I was slowly being dropped off the back of the group. Glanced down at my computer and noticed that my heart rate was hanging around one twenty. Things didn't look too well as I really needed more power from the engine room and was fading fast. Rallied a little and was able to regain some ground on a few other riders that had been dropped off the back. Focused on a large twisted spoke rider that probably outweighed me by forty pounds, and thought I should be able to climb with him even if my heart had decided to sit this race out. I clawed my way up the hill to him and had pulled two other riders up with me. One was a sixty nine year old and the other was in his mid fifties. We joined up with Twisted Spoke rider who was in his forties and started to work a paceline over the top of the climb. After sitting in for a bit I saw that Doug had been dropped also and wasn't to far up the road. I went to the front and pulled hard and was able to catch up with Doug who obviously was also having a bad day. Started feeling a little better and noticed my heartrate was now purring along in the one forties. Better late then never, but the damage had already been done. So now there were five of us in our group, and I could see another small group not too far up the road. Thought a group of five ought to be able to pull the other riders in if we worked together, but that was not to be. The only other rider than Doug and I that tried to do any work was the sixty nine year old. Unfortunately he wasn't much help as although he was game he didn't have much power or speed. After he would take his pull the group ahead would be farther up the road. We hit the second climb and things came further apart. The other rider in his fifties when he went to the front would appear to be slowing things down. He acted like he was blocking almost, but that didn't make any sense there was no reason for it. The Twisted Spoke rider wasn't much help on the climb but didn't expect much as with his weight, he was probably riding his limit just to stay with the group. I ended up pulling most of the lower section of the climb and Doug ended up pulling all of the upper steeper section. Thought about attacking on the climb and getting away with Doug and doing the rest on our own, but convinced my lazy self that the big guy would do some work on the downhill and across the flats to the final climb. Didn't work that way though as nobody did any work on the downhill nor on the flats. Doug would take his pulls and I would take a pull and try to pick the pace up. The other riders would not pull through. Got frustrated a couple of times and attacked off the front while taking my pull. The other riders would be able to pull me back but not pull through. Ended up just pulling the group to the bottom of the final finishing climb. Soon after I hit the climb Doug went around me and took off up the hill. I had little doubt that he would stay away even though he was having a bad day. Soon thereafter the rider that had been slowing things down and not pulling through went by me up the climb. It appears he had been sandbagging. He caught up to Doug without much effort. The other two riders from the group must have actually been tired as they were soon dropped out of contention of our small band. The final climb was the hardest of the three climbs with occasional steep sections. On one of the steep sections Doug went out of the saddle and dropped the sandbagger. I was also went out of the saddle and bridged across to the sandbagger and passed him. I opened a small gap as we made the final turn to the finish. I kept a steady tempo and hoped that the sandbagger had cracked, but he had not. He caught me and went around me on the final steep section. I jumped on his wheel and stayed with him to the finish. The climb was too steep to have any drafting benefit but being on his wheel had a psychological one. As the line approached I kept urging my body to sprint before it was too late, but I had trouble convincing it that sprinting was a good idea. Finally with about ten meters remaining I started my sprint. I was able to go from nine miles an hour to twenty one over the last couple of meters and took the sandbagger by half a length. I finished in twenty first position just thirteen seconds behind Doug. Didn't have a very good ride but can't complain too much as my time was eight minutes better that last year's time where I got dropped by the third pack on the second climb and rode in alone. Ended up with a twenty mile an hour average. The front group of burners scorched the course with a twenty-four mile an hour average. It wasn't too bad a race but it was all over for me in the first couple of miles with the poor first climb. Did much better on the second and third climbs but by then it was too late. At least we didn't get wet. Had some pizza, watched some ducks on the river then packed up the truck and headed to Erie, PA for a metric century tomorrow.

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Home: Montour Falls, NY 
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