Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Des Hanlon Memorial Road Race

Yesterday saw me take part in my second road race, third race of, the year. As I said in an earlier post, I was treating this as purely training. But still, with any 150km+ race, a little preparation was needed. On Friday I picked up my new S-Works Road Shoes from Cycleways (Thanks!). White and very PRO looking – they also drop about 220 grams over my now relegated to training shoes. On Saturday, I had planned on riding off road for 2-3 hours but consistent rain (and a bit of a mechanical) meant that I was home, freezing after 1.5 hours. Well – the next day was going to be long so I was not too annoyed.

Sunday arrived to a bright and sunny day – I was not relishing the prospect of a race in conditions similar to last year. I arrived with enough time to sign on and get ready but not enough for a reasonable warmup – the first few km was going to be neutralised so that was fine, besides, all I wanted to do was sit in the draft all day.

A map of the course

Course Profile with speed

Race was going to plan. 30 minutes in, I had done nothing but stay out of the wind. We were on a bit of a climb and I seen a break of about 12 get away – they were a bit ahead and I seen a few try to bridge so I decided I may as well give it a go. For about 5 minutes a few of us worked to catch them in vain. Then another couple of people joined us and soon the peleton was with us again. Ahh well, it's probably best – I was supposed to only be sitting in. For the next few hours I sat in out of the wind most of the time – watching as people were slowly shelled off the back (sometimes in clumps). It wasn't always easy but I never really pushed anything. The course was basically a leg out to the start of a lap, 3 laps (4 reasonable climbs per lap) and then a fast ride into the finish. On the last climb of the second last lap I was chatting to another guy (sorry, I forgot your name – riding an S-Works Tarmac) that if we both have good legs at this point in the last lap we will hammer off the front. So, we rode the next lap and when that point came along both of us, joined by 3 others broke up the main chase group (we were about 30-40 riders from an original 100+) and 5 of us got away. 3 more joined us on the descent to the finish and we hammered along for what was a sprint finish in the end. I came in in 11th position overall in the S1 (probably equivalent to Pro/1/2 in the US) race – if I had stayed an S2 (as I was last year) I would have come second. For someone who took it (reasonably) easy all day, I was very happy with that. This race is known as been an Irish 'classic' and one of the toughest of the year.

Me on a climb - one of the few times in the wind :) (pics from Peter Purfield)

Coming in for 11th - it was a hard push down the hill

Saint Patrick's day for me is about resting, eating well (my PowerTap reports that I used about 4,000 calories in the race), going on a recovery ride and possibly heading into the city later to see some of the festivities.

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