Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sheehan Road Race

The sheehan road race is another race I have not missed.  The first year I did, I road 40 miles to the race from my house, rolled into registration as the p/1/2 race was taking off. Alex Edward's mom was so nice, she saw me, ran in and grabbed the forms I needed, I paid her, and she got me a number.  She pinned it on me just as the Cat 5s were about to take off.  I had awoke at 5am to make the ride. I thought that surely I'd be there with an hour to spare.  That was the last time I road without checking the wind direction to guess my ride time.  It took me 3.5 hours to ride 40 miles solo.  It was a hard north wind.

During the cat 5 race I was able to stay with the group the whole way, never got dropped. I got hungry but not dropped.  The finish was fast and I don't remember being in the top 5, nothing left.  I knew I had a tailwind for the ride home, to complete a 130+ mile day, but accepted a ride in a car home from Brant Ronning, another cat 5 who started racing that year.

The following year, I got a ride to Leavenworth from Eric Schaumberg.  We left the plaza area at about 7:00am.  We missed the exit to leavenworth, paid the I-70 toll, and 3 miles down the road we realized our mistake.  With no turnaround points or exits until Lawrence, we drove an extra 55 miles out of the way.  We still made it in time, just as the 1/2s were getting instructions to race.   I got dropped with 8 miles to go.  I was in the front a lot, I was in a few moves, but I was riding r-sys wheels with very big spokes that slowed me down.

The next year, is the year everyone talks about.  Forecast was for rain in the afternoon, temps in the mid 40s.  10 minutes before the start it sprinkled, then it started raining.  Raining hard.  We started racing and the wind picked up.  Temps were in the mid 30s and it was sleeting.  10 miles in we saw the 1/2 field in front of us turn around and go back for shelter.  We pressed on.  1 by 1 guys were stopping.   I flatted, it sucked.  I think we were 20 miles in and once you hit the turnaround point in Atchinson you'd get a nice tailwind, which warmed you up some.  1 by 1, each field passed me, freezing in the ditch.  Finally I made the cat 5 wheel vehicle stop, the nice man gave me a ride.  I watched Steve Vockrodt pull the entire field the whole way to the finish line to get passed them all.  He said he just wanted to get home, didn't care where they placed him.

The next year there were 15 of us racing the 1/2/3 race.  Not windy, a little sunny perfect.  It wasn't a hard race, I just couldn't finish.

Last year there were 25 of us.  A fun field.  I sucked.  Ended up being my brake being a little loose, and the cable was pressing it to the side, rubbing the pad on the rim the whole way.

For 2012, the race had a good field, considering the upper 40 temperatures and pouring rain.  I didn't get to the starting line till after the judges blew the whistle.  Fortunately it was a neutral start and I was able to catch on soon.  I had no legs the first 10 miles.  I could barely pedal. I had no warmup and was cold, uncomfortable.  By then, 3 guys were away. 3 guys that could easily stay away.  I had one teammate, Blake  racing with me. He had a big bowl of oatmeal in his belly.  He road the front for at least half the race. Whenever there was someone not pulling through, or the pace slowed down, he went to the front and upped it.  I kept thinking to myself that surely he'd get dropped eventually, after all that work.  He didn't.

The 3 stayed away, Coe, Fox, West.  About 12 miles to go Choca and Bradley got away.  They passed Fox but didn't catch Coe/West.  We sprinted for 6th and I got 6th place.  I didn't feel like I had raced. My legs felt reserved, like I could ride another 100.

The next day, I left Kansas City. Made it to Louisburg in 2 hours.  It was here that I noticed my rear wheel was wobbling all over the place.  There were only 20 spokes on it, and 3 were completely loose.  Luckily, I had a spoke wheel and trued it up.  5 miles later, 2 more spokes were loose, again 5 miles later.  Seemed every 20 minutes I was riding into the ditch to tighten spokes.

98 miles in I made a real stop.  Up to this point I had eaten two packs of blocks and a mojo bar.  In Ft. Scott, I ate 2 snickers, 2 twix, 2 liters of coke.  I also tightened all the spokes over, so that the dish was 4mm to the nds.  Doing this and realizing that if I didn't accelerate or stand up to pedal, my spokes stayed tight.

I expected the last 30 miles to be hard.  The sun was out, it was, the wind was windy, a 15 mph headwind.  After 5 minutes of letting the 1000 calories of candy digest, I was going again and made the last 33 miles in 100 minutes. Even sprinting some the last mile.

The ride from KC to pittsburg, is a lot better for me.  Mostly because you hit the hills the first 50 miles.  Then there's 80 or so left that is sort of flatter.  Plus, going back to Pittsburg, I got a rack to bungy chord my bag to.  This made all the difference.  I was way more comfortable with a 35 lb. bag not on my back.   Going to KC, you get the first 80 of flat, but then the last 50 of hills.  Doing hills when you are tired sucks.

5-6  Classic Ride
5-11,12 Tour de grove.
5 26-27 Tall grass stage race
6-2-3 Riverfest crits, wichita. 
6-8,9,10 Tulsa Tough
6-22-24 Tour of KC
6-30 Lawrence Circuit
7-1 Lawrence Crit

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