Dunnigan Hills 45+ Cat 4

Dunnigan Hills Road Race M45+ Cat 4

Saturday, August 16, 2015

The race course this year was the reverse of previous years.  Unlike some of the higher categories that had to race 86 miles, we only had one lap for a total of 46 miles.  I did not mind that.  The course has a few rolling hills and ends with an uphill finish.  Despite the heat (temperature was pushing 80 degrees at 8 am) and the very bad air quality (you could see and smell the air), many racers turned up for this event.

My field had 45 riders.  Many teams were represented with 2-3 guys each; the Cushman & Wakefield team stood out with a whopping 11 racers.  As we rolled out, one rider took off and built a sizeable lead.  A few counter-attacks and Cushman’s chasing of the break-away kept the pace high (we covered 25 miles in the first hour).  The lone attacker was pulled back in at around mile 20.

On certain stretches of the course, the head/side wind was so hard, it was impossible to find respite.  I spent quite a bit of time in the top 5-10 positions of the pack and was on the rivet multiple times.  I played with the thought of mailing it in.  Around mile 25 – I am now sitting towards the back of the pack – there is a big crash involving about 10-15 riders (not sure what happened).  I am fortunate enough to be able to go around the mayhem and see that a group of about 5 riders is now off the front.  I bridge together with 2 other guys and 4 more join a few miles later.  Cushman has 3 guys in the break.

Given the strong wind, we know that it if we work together, it will be near impossible for anyone else to bridge up to us.  The cooperation is there but I can sense that everyone is tired.  I was pretty sure no one was going to try to attack – I did consider it for a brief moment but then decided to count on the sprint instead.
With 2K to go I find myself positioned in the top 5.  I have no trouble keeping my position and decide to stay behind the lead riders to keep out of the wind.  With an uphill finish, I knew I would have to be patient.  1K to go, and I am still in the same position.  The road starts pointing upwards and with 500m to go one rider moves off the front, followed by a second one.  I accelerate after them but do not give it 100% right away.  I overtake the riders one by one and find myself in the lead with 200m to go and by now am at 110% effort.  I have these guys beat but then one rider passes me very convincingly and I start to think “here comes the cavalry” and expect to be overtaken by the masses behind me…but no one else comes around…I keep telling myself to “not give up” and to “keep pushing” and I cross the line in second place.
Podium shot attached.  We could not find the winner so it looks a little funny without the winner in the shot.
Serge

 

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