Result: DNF (likely 5th-8th)
Starting Row: 2nd
Call Up: 13th
It was the season opener, hopefully a validation of all of the work that I have been doing since January and it almost paid off. To keep a long story short, I was staged in the second row and, after the initial sprint off the line, I moved up to fourth before being caught by several riders behind me, placing me in 8th. However, I clearly had better technical skills than the 3 guys in front of me, although less power, so I was making up time in the back two thirds of each lap. With a minute or two left in the third lap, I went up a steep section that immediately went into a hard left hand turn and pushed my tubeless tire off of the rim, unsealing it causing me to flat. Thankfully, being so close to the start, it was a pretty short walk back to the car. I would like to have a spare set of wheels, but that’s not in the financial cards at the moment.
Overall, I feel really good about this race and the course might become one of my favorites. It had a fair amount of technical stuff, but also a good mix of power. This was almost perfect as I prefer courses that are more technical in nature since I’m a light rider without as much sustained power as someone 20 lbs heavier. That said, I felt that I held back too much on the power sections. I was so concerned with not blowing up that I road too far within my comfort zone when I should have been mashing the pedals. In the future, if I am on a power section like this, and Colorado courses are full of them, I need to be at no less than 95% of FTP. I was around 85%-90% and could feel that I was too recovered when it came time to navigate some of the more technical sections which are, inherently, easier aerobically.
Another place I need improvement is on technical skills when I am fatigued. Everything was clicking the first two laps, but, as time went on, I started feathering the brakes more and struggled in some of the technical sections that helped me get into fourth place to begin with. I’m not sure how I should go about training this, but it’s something I’m going to have to figure out if I this season is going to be successful.
On a side note, I chose to wear a long sleeve skinsuit when the temperature was going to be ~60 at the start. In hindsight, I short have gone with the short sleeve version as I was a bit overheated although I don’t think it was too much of a detriment.
I ran the Specialized 2Bliss tires at 25 PSI and I think, given the tame nature of the terrain, I should have run them at 27-29 PSI. Additionally, this would be an excellent course to run a file tread on.
- Excellent start (best I’ve ever had)!
- Technical skills coming around
- Need to commit to sustained power sections
- Fatigue in later laps lead to some major mistakes
- Should have worn short sleeve skin suit