Race Report: 2014 Gainesville Gran Prix Road Race Cat. 4

This was the my first race of the 2014 season. I think it went pretty well.
  • Gainesville Gran Prix Road Race Cat 4.
  • Sunday March 30th
  • Clermont, GA
  • 18/45
  • Temp: Around 60-65 degrees at the start, wind from the N/NW with average speed of 14 mph and gusts to 28-36 mph.
  • Day before weight: 163.5
  • 4 laps/41 miles with 910 ft. elevation each lap

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     Lets start with the week leading up to the race. I continued my regular routine of fasted morning rides of an hour each day. On Saturday I ate a breakfast of 100gr sweet potato and two eggs then went and rode for an hour. I felt kind of sluggish and slow at the start but better about midway through. I think sweet potatoes are good for longer less intense rides by are to slow to get into the body for the more intense riding; unless eaten well in advance.
     After the ride I had another 100grm sweet potato and another two eggs along with an apple. I rested for a bit and then tried to buy some caffeinated gels but the REI at perimeter was crazy and they only has 25/50mg ones, which I didn’t want. Then I went to the movies and ate a bag of carrots and my protein powder + 1 block chocolate + 10 grams nuts + two Tbs ground flax. Eating a regular meal after riding, some fruit and then protein 3 hours later is really working for me.
    Anyway, after the movie I went to my mom’s and we hung around. I had a corn taco for dinner and then a bunch of junky food. Ate a little too much but felt okay.
     I slept poorly on friday and saturday night. Woke up before 5am both days and cat napped later at 7am. For breakfast on race day I had two egg and sausage sandwhiches, two small apples and a couple of cookies and smaller slices of banana bread.
     I drove to the race and it was kind of stressful because I planned to buy gels at REI but they didn’t open until 11 so I wasted time getting off at the exit and then having to get back on. Later I stopped at a gas station and got a clif bar and a low calorie gatorade just in case.
     I arrived at the race a little later than I wanted and got my number and started getting ready. I wore my regular black/yellow jersey with the red wool base layer, fleece bibs, purple gloves and gaiter that I had my mom sew elastic to so I could take it off while riding. I ate a banana, had a swig of gatorade and rode around for maybe 5-6 miles as a warmup right before the start I ran back to the car and took off the red wool base layer, it was windy and cool but very warm in the sun. This turned out to be a race-saving idea. We lined up and were later to start, maybe 15-20 minutes. On my bike I had one bottle of water, one bottle of 16 ounces cherry coke + 4 ounces water, and a cliff bar.
      Start was neutral but I still made sure to line up near the front (Remembering what happened at the Greenville SRS). Right away I noticed just how much more comfortable I was in the pack. I could move around and follow wheels and just felt better overall. The course was rolling hills with one bigger climb that was only a half mile or so and not really that steep. The day before I put on a 12-26 cassette and new chain just in case but I don’t think I really needed it.
     Anyway, I was doing my best to stay in the top 15-20 and was doing a good job, as soon as we hit the KOM I started going backwards and I think I dropped to the very end of the pack. Emotionally I felt defeated but kept going as hard as I could. It took a lot of work but I bridged back up to the end of the pack and as the course flatted out and got into the tail wind sections near the feed zone an lap start area I got back into the pack and started moving up again. The second lap there was a definite break in the lead group of 20-25 and the chase group of 10-15.
      I was making sure to take sips of both water and coke every 10-15 minutes. I had a little indigestion but I’m not sure if that was from the food or the coke. Probably a little of both. After the second lap I ate half the clif bar and after the third lap ate the other half. Finished my water and coke as we went through the feedzone the final time.
     I stuck with the chase group and the next lap a few riders popped off the main group but our chase group also whittled down, last lap was kind of slow, just five riders. We chatted for a bit and I told them I was going to attack for 1km just to try something and everyone said might as well. But, at the 3km sign the later rider we caught took off so I grabbed his wheel and stuck with him til the finish. He dropped my on the final hill but I kept my head down and really put in an incredible effort at the finish. Felt really great.
     Overall I think I did a lot better drafting, moving in the pack, distance to other racers and tactical choices. I think I do need to work on high-speed cornering.
   Afterwards I changed my jersey, ate a banana and went and rode another 10 miles or so.
All photos from Lee Henson Photography
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You get some pretty decent scenery in NE GA road races.
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The final hill was really just a little bump to the finish but it seemed a lot steeper after two hours of racing. This is the P1/2 finish.
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Moo.
Thanks to the race promoter, Dingo Race Productions: https://www.facebook.com/DingoRaceProductions
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Thanks to Lee Henson excellent photograpy: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lee-Henson-Photography/
Here’s a link to a report from the 2012 edition by Chad Hayes: http://chadsnews.blogspot.com/2012/05/2012-lap-century-and-gainesville-gran.html