Ray's Blog

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2003 October 26: Dan Burger Points Race Series #5

This was the final event in a series of five 50K inline skating races
Cañada Road
in San Mateo.  Because of my extremely hectic schedule this summer
(if you know me, you might be aware that I'm being facetious here!), I
had only been able to attend one of the previous skates (write-up here).

The previous race I had skated had been seven laps of a slightly
abbreviated course (it was abbreviated because some other event was
going on on the southern part of Cañada Road).  This time
we used the full course, which meant that the race was five laps of a
5K out-and-back.  Because the bulk of the hills is on the northern
part of the course, I was expecting overall times to be faster than
they were for the previous race.

Instead of starting at some ridiculous hour (7am, I think), this race
started at 9:20am.  It felt even later because race day morning
was the day that daylight saving time ended, too.  There was
plenty of time to get there and prepare for the race. 
Unfortunately, things were a bit warmer than would have been ideal (but
not so warm that it was a serious factor).

I started the first lap in a paceline with some folks, but it
splintered rather soon and I let them get ahead of me.  At the end
of the last downhill on the first half of the first lap, I pulled out
my water bottle, but I dropped it and had to go back for it (well, I
suppose I could have just let
it go and picked it up after the race.  But I didn't).  By
the time I got going again, the guys I had been hanging with were
pretty far ahead, and there was no way I felt like sprinting to catch
up to them.

At the very end of the first half of the lap, I hooked up with a
Russian dude, Vladimir.  We ended up sticking together for much of
rest of the race (at some point, he dropped back, but we had other
people with us then, and I didn't notice that he was gone).  For a
little while it was just the two of us, and we each did our share of pulling (after the first race I did, I didn't feel like giving out any more freebies!).  After a bit, two other guys joined forces with us, and we caught a few individual skaters who then joined our paceline.

At the start of the 2nd lap, I was leading our
paceline.  We came to the first downhill of the lap, and everybody
tucked in tight.  I thought
I heard someone say something like "Go to the right", and I figured
that someone had seen a bad section of road ahead, and so I went to the
right a little bit.  Instead of staying in my lee, though,
everyone else just kept on going ahead, and the whole train of folks
went zooming past me.  I tucked as tightly as I could, but by the
time I reached the bottom of the slope, they were a ways (50 meters?)
ahead of me.  Cursing them all under my breath, I had to sprint to
catch up with them, since I figured that if I lost them, I'd lose them
for good.  I learned a definite lesson there about how much ground
you can lose in a hurry on a good downhill!

(I still don't know if someone really did
say something to me about going to the right.  It's very possible
that I misinterpreted a comment that wasn't even directed at me. 
Communication is pretty bad in a paceline!)

After having had to sprint to make up time, I felt a bit of
recuperation was in order.  So I stayed back in the paceline for a
while, instead of doing any pulling.

Somewhere on the 3rd (I think) lap, we caught up with a guy
("Jeff") who was wearing a De Soto Sports triathlon jersey, and he
us.  For the rest of the race, he and I pretty much alternated
leading the paceline.  The group seemed pretty friendly; Jeff and
I received lots of thank-yous for the ass-kickin' job of
windbreaking that we were doing, and lots of kudos for the pace we were
setting.  I remembered what happened in the last race,
though.  Every time I got a "thank you", I responded crankily with
something like, "Yeah, I know how much that means!  I know you're
just going to try to blow by me at the end!"

Eventually we began the last lap.  We were making pretty good
time, and if all went well, I thought we were looking at finishing with
a time of
around 1:53.  We stayed together through the first half of the lap
(after last race, I was leery of having everybody suddenly drop me with
a burst of speed, but that didn't happen).  Going up the climbs
back to the start, we all continued to stick together.  Finally,
at the start of the last climb, I decided to make my move.  I
pushed hard with each step, speeding up substantially.  To my
surprise, when I reached the top, I saw that I had opened up a pretty
large gap behind me-- apparently the other guys with me hadn't saved as
much juice as I had.  A little more quick footwork on the final
bit of flats saw me finishing well ahead of the rest of my paceline, in
a time of 1:53:01 (more than 10
minutes faster than I had done in my earlier race, despite the
heat!).  The official results are here.


Post a Comment

<< Home