2017 Race Report – Red Clay Ramble

https://www.strava.com/activities/1141533560

Gravel Cyclist Video

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How was the race?

Fast. Every year this race has a bigger field and every year I slide further down the results. Oh well. But anyway, it was amazing, very fast and great weather. This race was a great illustration of how anything can happen in a gravel race. After the crash-induced field split I ended up in the 20 strong chase group and after sitting in for a few minutes to recover I attacked and went off the front solo for a little more than 30 minutes. This is a stupid move to make an hour into a 3 hour race but it was fun and felt great. I attacked and attacked once I got caught and still had enough juice to sit in for another 20 minutes until I got dropped on one of the few large hills on the course. What’s funny is that shortly after I got dropped the majority of this chase group ended up taking a wrong turn and coming in 40+ minutes down from my time.

I bounced around a bit but spent most of the last third of the race riding by myself, bike humming along and every pedal stroke feeling really good.

How was the course?

Nice and dry with some dust. Excellent hardpack with just a few rough and loose sections. Some fast descents and although the speeds are always very high this is more a mild rolling course than a flat course.

What did you ride?

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My gravel racer. 46/36 and 12-34 with 40mm Kenda Happy Medium tires. This bike is a pleasure to ride, it’s flexy on the really hard stuff but feels stiff and strong on most of the regular gravel and pavement. It’s cliche but the bike just seems to eat up gravel, every time you turn the pedals it’s like you’re getting a few watts back and it just makes the riding a joy.

What’d you eat?

Regular breakfast, I really missed the Starbucks double shots and sourdough pretzels combination. It really pepped me up and made my morning. During the race I only ate two clif bars and maybe 3.5 bottles of water.

Hydration?

I ate a ton of pretzels the night before the race so all the extra salt seems to have given me a little reserve as usually at this temp I would have needed another 1-2 bottles.

How were the weeks leading up to the race?

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I’m always so fit in August. I’ve been doing my long climbing rides on Saturday all Summer and they really seemed to have helped my fitness. I spent the majority of the race by myself and turned in a faster time than in 2015 when I drafted a really strong rider the whole race. The three rides I did the week of the race were all MTB and the last one was a monster cross ride so I think I was pretty fit before but these three rides really honed my form and fit.

Where’d you start?

Like in the middle in front of all the people who looked slow and leisurely and right behind the fast people who were late. I think it mattered a bunch for this race as there was a huge crash that split the field and caused some serious injury that I just managed to avoid by sticking to the back of the pack.

How’d you do?

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19/31 for category and 40/118 overall. So pretty ok I guess. But really this race has gotten so much faster I’m just happy to have beaten my 2015/2016 times.

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