Posted by: Travis | April 16, 2011

Turlock Lake Road Race

Race: Turlock Lake Road Race, E4
Location: Turlock, CA
Date: April 9, 2011
Result: 37 (of ~70)
Course: 26 mile clock-wise loop around Lake Turlock, constantly rolling hills
Weather: Cool (mid 60’s) and clear, pretty good wind out of the south
Teammates: Oddvar, Amin, Allen, Saeed

This was the first year of the Turlock Lake Road Race, so going in nobody really had an idea of what to expect. We knew it was going to be rolling hills, likely a course that suited a power rider. With our race start time in the second wave at 12:05pm, Rachel and i had time to sleep a little later and get a big breakfast before making the drive out.

I raced mainly to get some race miles in my legs before Copperopolis in 2 weeks. With the course likely more of a power riders course, my goal was to hang on and finish with the bunch, and help my teammate Allan go for a result.

Most of the first lap was pretty tame. There were a few times when someone would try to take advantage of the wind and attack the field, stringing things out as we chased, but none of the early moves came anywhere close to sticking. The course was non stop rollers. Initially i was a little scared about my ability to hang, but none of the rollers were big enough to really cause me any problems. There were a handful of really sketchy guys in the race that caused some pretty serious headaches. A few guys would grab a handful of brakes unnecessarily at the start of a hill or on a downhill and send ripples through the field as everyone reacted. You really had to stay honed in the entire race or you might go down. Luckily, we didn’t have anyone go down, but there were a few very close calls.

At the end of lap 1 my teammate Oddvar found himself in a group of four. Oddvar is a very modest guy from Norway, but he’s strong as hell, so i was happy for him to go up the road and get into a move. Oddvar was the only guy in that group that wanted to work, so they sat up and got brought back, then Oddvar went again, this time drawing out a few guys that were more willing to work. They quickly got a few hundred yards up the road. Despite having a guy in the break, a few SJBC guys went to the front and started working hard, stringing the field out single file. Allan and I moved up to 4th and 5th wheel to keep and eye on things and make sure that we marked anyone that tried to bridge up to the break. Just before the break got brought back, an SJBC guy came up from the back and started yelling at the guys pulling to get off the front because they had a guy in the break. At that point, the gap was pretty small and another team that was not represented in the break (Rio Strada?) went to the front and finished the job. We came back through the start/finish just as the group was caught. Everyone sat up, took a drink, and ate something.

A few more guys tried to go at the start of the second (and final) lap, but nothing even came close to sticking. As we came into the last 5k of the race, it was clear that it was going to end in a bunch sprint, but none of the big teams could or would control things to the finish. As a result, the pace slowed, and rather than being stretched out, single file (the safest way to finish a race), the group rolled along as wide as the road (very dangerous). With the state of my health care coverage kind of blurry as i transition from one job to another, i opted to sit back and not get involved in the crap going on at the front of the race. If something opened up, i would sprint, but otherwise, just roll in in one piece.

All of the guys sprinting moved to the left, opening up the right side a bit, so with 100 yards to go, i did a little mini sprint, making up a few places, but not a lot for 37th place. It sucks to finish a race with quite a bit of gas in the tank, but i wasn’t really looking for a result here anyway, so i can’t be too bummed about it. On the bright side, i felt great after 50 miles and felt like i could have gone another lap or two. Considering where i was when i started racing, that’s a pretty huge improvement. Two years ago i would have gotten dropped a few miles into this race, now i’m hanging around for the whole thing and finishing with a lot left in the tank.

This was a great race. The course was awesome, the promoters did a great job, results were released in a timely manner, just all around great. If i’m around next year, i will definitely be at this race.

Race Stats
Time: 2:18:24
Distance: 53.8 Miles
Work: 1419 kJ
Normalized Power: 222 Watts
Max Power: 1021 Watts
Avg Speed: 23.4 mph
Max Speed: 38.7 mph

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