Saturday, September 26, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
12 September 2009
LOTOJA XXVII Report (7th report in an ongoing series)
I love this race. I admit, there are times every year when the wind is blowing in my face and my legs are contemplating cramping, that I wonder why I have paid money to suffer on the bike for 10+ hours, but by breakfast the following day, I’m already making plans to do it again.
This was a very unique training year. In years past, I’ve had a routine of training with the OC boys and getting in a series of spirited early AM rides during the week and a bunch of long rides on Saturdays during the summer. Since the move to
riding. I knew the lack of preparation was going to come back to haunt me……
On Friday, my facebook update was that I was going to think positive. No longer whining about not training, now I was focused on “fresh legs’. That line of thinking paid off. Friday night the Emmett clan, mom, dad, John, Beth, Jack, Lily, Kristin,
Brian, Jackie, Annie and I enjoyed what has become a traditional pre-race meal at the Olive Garden. At other tables were Tyson and Julia Manning, Mark and Mindy Facer along with Corte and Cheri Haggard. At another table Paul and Kim Badger were having dinner with Paul’s cousin and at a 4th table was the Robles clan - Casey the racer and his support team of his dad, wife, sister and brother.
Peter and Janet Harker were at Peter’s brother enjoying dinner without the hassle of waiting in line for an hour.
After our ‘too late to do any good carbo loading’, it was back to Twin Pine Ranch for the ‘never too late to do any good homemade peach ice cream’ It’s a lot of work for mom and dad – especially mom, who in recent years has been required to do more and more of the ‘heavy lifting’ – to get the house ready, garage cleaned out and all of the peaches cut and pealed and the ice cream made. They keep offering up their house for the pre-race gathering and I know that all of us – both friend and family, really appreciate it. It is a busy night of arranging support, filling musette bags – mostly with food or gu that won’t be consumed, but also energy drink (Hammer Perpetuem for most) and an assortment of Hammer Endurolytes and Ibuprofen. . In recent years, John and I have zeroed in on turkey meat rolled up with a cheese and mustard for our any-thing but sweet snack. This year I was very happy to eat my treat in
My brother Tom was also riding this year. Two years ago in his first full Lotoja ride, he beat my time by a few minutes. This year he was even stronger. He planned to ride in the so-called ‘Fun Ride’ – a non-competitive class that leaves first at 5:45. As it turns out, being first on the road is not always a good thing. In his case it meant a long day in the saddle and most of the miles done solo. When riders finally started to catch him they were always the fastest riders of the fastest groups. He needed to be caught by guys like me, but alas, I started almost 50 minutes later and there was no way I would see Tom until I got to
My start time with the Master’s 45+ was 6:34. Starting with me would be Peter, Paul and Mark. Corte opted to sign up with the Master’s 35+ group just so he could get a 3 minute head start with Tyson. This was not going to be pretty. Our group of 70 Masters was full of former CAT 1 racers who had thoughts of setting a new course record. Not my style of racing, but at least we had an early start time.
Just before our start, I stopped for a photo op with Trent Eyre – something I’m sure will be forwarded to his brother Tait who was not able to participate this year because of his new church calling as a counselor in the Irvine Stake Presidency (I’ve already apologized to Tait, but I’m not sure he bought off on the sincerity of the apology!).
Once I slipped onto the start line, I could see that I couldn’t get across to Peter, Paul and Mark, but I soon caught them as we literally raced out of town. No warm-up. We’re cruising down 2nd North at 25+mph and I looked over to Paul at about 3rd West, less than ½ mile into the ride, and said sarcastically, “how’s this pace?” His reply, “See you later.”
We weren’t even 1/3 of the way to
I missed Brian in
Just outside of
About half way up the climb, John came by with the leaders of his CAT 5 group that had started 20 minutes behind us. John looked strong. Later I learned that just after passing us, he lost the wheel of the 4 leaders. He blamed seeing us as the cause of a bell going off inside telling him that the pace of the leaders was too much. A couple of days after the race John amended his story as to why he let the leaders get away, he told me "Because they were freaking faster than me." That's an excuse I can relate to. Near the summit, Ben Kofoed said hello as the leaders of the CAT 4’s passed us. Ben’s won and been on the podium in past years as a CAT 5. This was not his year as he was forced to spend 30 minutes in a port-a-potty and gave up any chance of a podium finish.
At the false summit a strong group of CAT 5 riders caught us. I said to Corte, “Let’s try to hang with these guys over the summit” – easier said than done. I did my best to hang on, but after a few minutes I knew Corte was off the back and that Tyson and Mark would probably explode right along side me if we tried to hold on. The last mile of that climb is deceptive. Never has Corte been stronger so it was a no-brainer for Mark, Tyson and I to back it off at the summit and take a nature break while we waited for Corte. Just as he rolled up, Mark and I jumped on a small but strong group. We caught Tyson off the bike just over the summit and he never had a chance to jump on. Corte also missed this train. Mark and I stuck with these guys and worked a fast pace with them all the way to
Julia later told Annie that Tyson was a little depressed and in pain with a sore back at the thought of having to ride the last 120 miles on his own and was very happy to see that Mark and I had waited.
We all stuck together on the Geneva Climb. I was a little disappointed at how hard this supposedly easiest climb was. This year it really kicked my butt. We had a fast descent . Tyson noted that his top speed was almost 55 mph – the fastest he’s ever gone on a bike. That’s pretty good descending for the rookie.
We had our only real tail wind of the day for the first few miles heading toward
Off we headed for
Right outside of
We found out in Alpine that Kristin had missed John at the feed zone. She had passed him on the road in with what she thought would be plenty of time, but parking and getting the iced bottles ready took more time than it took John to fly into town. John has a good attitude and knew that he could get some water at the neutral at the end of the canyon. Note: at the end of the race I witnessed what looked like a husband berating his wife for missing him in Alpine. She was crying as she said, “but I didn’t even have time to go to the bathroom!” It’s a ton of stress if you’re one person supporting a fast rider. I can’t say enough about Kristin. Her organizational skills really shine Lotoja day. She coaches Beth and Jackie along with newbies like Mindy, Cheri and Julia. She’s the BEST! Honestly, I couldn’t do this race without her.
Soon after we heading into the canyon, Mark, Tyson and I hooked up with two of the girls we had been following. The stronger rider, from Porcupine Racing was apparently off the front. They were setting a good pace and I was content to follow. I might have been tempted to follow a couple of other small groups that went by, but I knew my limit and while I felt like I had a little reserve in the tank, I was pretty sure Mark was closer to his limit because he’d been fighting off cramps since the first climb. I wasn’t sure about how much Tyson had left, but I knew he was content to sit in with Mark and me.
About 2/3 of the way through the canyon I spotted Corte up ahead. As we went by I slapped him on the butt. He said he jumped on the back but couldn't hold on for long. By now the girls had picked up the strongest rider who had been off the front and we stayed with them into
Mark hooked up with a fast guy and came within about 10 yards of Tyson at the finish, and they both finished a minute behind me. It was over for us. Not my fastest time, but without a doubt the easiest race ever. I rarely was at my limit and for the first time ever, I didn’t even come close to cramping. Maybe the Optygen works!
Corte rolled through about 20 minutes later. All in all a good day with the four of us working together for almost the entire day. I have my work cut out for me convincing Mark to come back and ride Masters 55+ next year.
Selected Results below. Check out how close Casey came to missing the sub 11 hour time:
39 417Bob EMMETTNORDAS 10:49:34.875
40 419Mark FACERNORDAS 10:50:40.083
28 426Peter HARKERTEAM SHO-AIR 10:08:11.856
56 402Paul BADGERNORDAS 13:03:22.294
29 333Tyson MANNINGNORDAS 10:53:39.126
35 322David HAGGARDNORDAS 11:15:44.033
9 5318John EMMETTNORDAS0 9:41:08.412
23 5337Casey ROBLESNORDAS 10:59:58.447