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


     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
You get some pretty decent scenery in NE GA road races.
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.
Thanks to the race promoter, Dingo Race Productions: https://www.facebook.com/DingoRaceProductions
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