Wente Road Race 45+ Cat 4

dan wente

Category 4 Christian Cycling Team
35+ Field, Rich Beeler — 7th
45+ Field, Dan Schaefer — 6th
55+ Field, Carl Butler — 19th

A brilliant 50-degree spring morning greeted us as I arrived early for the Wente Road Race in Livermore, CA for the first group of racing that started at 8 am sharp. The 45s were to leave at 8:25, five minutes ahead of the 55s. Both fields had a large pre-registration fields with over 50 in each. Carl and I chatted for a bit before the start.

I had been struggling with benign positional vertigo in both ears since the Copperolopis Road Race, a condition that I’ve experienced multiple times over the past 5 years causing dizziness, nauseousness, and trouble getting out of bed. Thankfully riding felt ok, although work suffered as did my family life. After a couple of ear doctor appointments, and a couple of weeks sleeping in an arm chair, I was ready to go; although I was a bit unsure if it had affected my racing form.

The first lap was fairly uneventful, with a manageable pace on the main climb and a stiff breeze on the decent that kept most of the pack together. During the second lap a couple of guys tried to break but never got a good gap and were reeled back into the pack. I moved up a front to make sure my legs were doing ok. As we ended the second lap on the final climb, my legs started to cramp and by the summit I actually had to stop pedaling as the seized up. The guys behind me yelled as I drift to and off the back for a moment while downing most of my electrolyte drink mix.

Over the top and down the backside I was hoping to be able to finish. I sat on the back the entire lap trying to stretch, hammer my legs with my fists, and feeling sorry for myself. As we approached the final assent I was just hoping to make it across the line without cramping and falling of the bike (been there done that before at ironman in 2002). The climb started with guys seemingly pedaling backward. I maintained tempo. Passing more guys. Then I see one to the Cushman guys that beat me a Copperopolis up ahead. I ride harder to get to his wheel and as we round the bend I see the finish and surge forward to the line missing 5th by half a wheel but beating the C&W. One minute after finishing both hamstrings seized hard. I watched Carl’s field finish as he was in the top 20 and looking encouraged.

All in all a good result…now what to try at Berkeley, pickle juice?

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