Race Report: 2014 Foothills Classic Road Race Cat.4

This was the second race of the season, I had a blast but made some poor tactical decisions.

  • Foothills Road Race
  • Piedmont, Alabama
  • Sunday April 6th, 9:20am
  • Cat 4, 16/27 40 miles
  • Day before weight 162.5
  • Cloudy, chance of rain and a little cooler than expected
Another race defined by my eating habits on Saturday.
I ate way too much Saturday and had a very hard time getting restful sleep. Day of breakfast was a sweet potato, one sausage patty and one egg. I also had some carrots. I had the same thing as my earlier race where I had heartburn the first 15-30 minutes. I think maybe I’ll try to race on just coffee?
The race was at a civic center with full locker rooms! It was easily the best set-up I’ve seen. Very comfortable and accomidating.
I wore bib shorts, my red jersey, arm warmers, neck gaiter and gloves to start as well as a plastic grocery back under my jersey. It was cool and threatening rain. I had half a low-calorie gatorade and a banana before the start, For the race I had a 16oz coke and a full water bottle as well as a clif-bar.
My legs felt tired and sore, I had only really riden my fixed gear all week and I think I was just fatigued. Still riding just 1 hour a day so I think maybe the recovery from eating too much was the main issue. It was also a little colder, windier and had some rain that may have made me a little bit more fatigued than expected. Didn’t have any early legs but may also have needed to warm up a little more. Only did maybe 10 minutes of warm-up.
The roads were kind of rough in the middle section and it was much more up and down than the course profile suggested. Lots or rollers with a few steep but short bits. There was also a fair bit of chip seal and rough sections. Especially right near the mid-point there was a chip seal hill that had seen some rain and was very wet. My rear tire kept slipping while trying to climb standing. Tire pressure was around 100 psi, maybe go lower if it might rain or there was rain on the course?
I had a lot harder time staying in the middle/front of the pack. Not sure why but I was much less comfortable than the previous week at the GGP. Need to work on putting in the effort early to stay near the front and benefit from the draft.
There was one hill that just killed me as well, I think it was that little guy up there after the 21ish mile mark. I ended up staying in my big ring since it got so steep so fast and looked short but it really cooked my legs.
Managed to stay with the pack until about the halfway point where the wheel I was drafting started falling back and I just wasn’t looking up the road enough to notice so we both got dropped. Rotated with two other riders to the finish and then took off a little more than 1k out. I really felt my heart rate get up there and felt awesome, now I actually need to get to the finish with the pack and try it out from there.
Afterwards I rode for a little less than an hour. That area of Alabama is really beautiful. Although I did get chased by three different dogs.
One of my favorite parts of the state.


Here’s a link to some excellent photography of the race by Philip Darden: http://www.philiciousness.com/foothills-classic-road-race-2014/

Here’s a link to a race report for the 2014 Masters 40+ 4/5  by Dave Purinton: http://alabamawheelmen.org/2014-foothills-classic-road-race/

Here’s a link to a race report for the 2013 P1/2 by Brian Toone: http://toonecycling.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/2013-sunny-king-criterium-and-foothills-road-race/


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