Saturday, April 28, 2007

It feels good to cramp - Deer Trail RR 04/28/07

When I've put in a hard effort, forced a break and did my job... it feels good to cramp. Now don't get me wrong, cramping sucks! However, what's worse is getting to the end of a race feeling like all I did was 'sit in' and let the group pull me along. I made up my mind that this race would be different.

Today was the first time I've really made an effort at a breakaway. Usually I surf the pack, stay in the top 20 and then try to contest the field sprint at the end - very very rarely with any luck. But today I watched my teammate Barry fly off the front with a group of 10 or 12 and stay away for over 30 minutes. When the peloton caught Barry and the other escapees, I took up the reins and moved off the front enticing 3 others to join up. We created a 2 1/2 minute or so gap and for over 30 minutes we pace-lined. The rollers were tough, especially since we had a 5280 junior with stick legs and huge power that I had to keep asking nicely to ease up on the hills so we could work together on the flats and downhills.

We finally got caught, right as I cramped bad. The cramps started in my calves and when I stood up to stretch, they moved above my knee and infiltrated every muscle fiber in my legs. Somehow I hung with the pack for another 10 minutes, but then as another wave of cramping arrived, I sat up and limped home by myself.

But I had done my job... like the team members of the Pro Tour teams we watch and read about, I had forced a break, kept the pace high (average speed for our 4 man/30 minute break was 26 mph, my heart rate averaged 180 bpm and power averaged 285 watts... hey this is kinda fun having a Power Tap). The fact that I cramped and 'blew up' for the last 10 or so miles of the 73 mile race was fine with me, my job was done.

Bike racing is painfully fun!

No comments: