Final Thoughts on Gila

The last I’ll say about Gila on my blog.

Lessons Learned

  • Always position yourself in the front third of riders before a decisive section. You can be the strongest climber/crosswind rider/sprinter/whatever but you can’t do jack if you are sitting 40th wheel when the attacks fly.
  • Make sure your brakes will accept your teammate’s wheels if you are a protected rider.
  • Conserve, conserve, conserve. You will need that energy later in the race. But when you do go, unleash all of that pent up fury. It’s an adaptation of Coggan and Hunter’s pearl of wisdom that the guy that pedals least, then pedals hardest, will win.
  • I need 300 calories and 3 small salt packets in my first bottle during a long race. It’s kind of nasty tasting but I need it at the end of the day.
  • Working as a team makes racing so much more enjoyable. Returning the favor of doing work is remarkably gratifying.
  • Never give up until you are truly and 100% dropped. The peloton might slow down and you might finish on the same time instead of 4 minutes down.
  • You can study a course map but there is no substitute for riding the decisive sections.
  • Make friends, give someone a tow back to the group, a gel, a sip of water, a spot in the line. They might save your day in a future race.
  • Patch things up with your enemies. Bike racing is dangerous and things get nervous, you bump bars, yell, maybe exchange a few curses. Be the bigger person and apologize afterwards, you never know when you’ll be that person’s help in the future.
  • Ride hard, ride well, people will respect you.
  • It’s nothing like a grand tour, but racing a crazy hard 5 day stage race will change you as a bike rider.
  • A few crippled kids can toss you in the hurt box. Don’t feel bad for us, feel happy that we love riding and racing bikes as much as you do.

Grit

A few weeks ago Jon accused me, and rightfully so, of having less grit than he does. Thing is, that was all I had when I started riding. I had the ability to ride way over my head because I was able to embrace the suffering. I lost a lot of that over the past few years, but I feel I went a long way in getting it back at Gila.

Cat2

I’m sitting here now with 16 of the required 25 points to upgrade to Cat2; assuming I carry the same fitness and tactical awareness into my next racing block I should collect those points quickly. I’d like a win or two before I upgrade. I’d like a bit more tactical sense, confidence, and strength before I throw myself into the big-boy bike races.

Next Year’s Gila

I’d love to go back and the assumption is that our Cat3 team will all be in the 2’s which gives us 5 in the Cat1/2 race. It will be fun to race with the larger team, but I realize it will be so much harder. I can’t wait!

Tour of the southeast

I’ll arrive in Columbia, SC this week and be there through late June. I don’t expect to do much in the way of real riding ’till Sunday or Monday though. I’mm guessing Monday will be 3-4 hours of general endurance miles if anyone reading this wants to join. Tuesday will be 2×20 on the TT and I’ll cruise over to the crit to heckle spectate that evening.  I’ll be in Asheville for the Mellowdrome crit on Wed and the amazing riding on Thursday. I do believe in intervals, but I don’t believe in Super Secret Training so all of my rides are open to company and my schedule is fairly flexible, so let me know if you want to ride.

Roan Groan RR

A road race with a long, steep finishing climb. I’ll be targeting that.

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