After a week of training in Tucson Arizona with my teammates and a week of recovering from some illness out of the blue, I was ready to test out my legs with my first race of the 2016 season. Pedricktown is a 50 mile, 8 lap, circuit with 5 turns in a flat and rural section of South Jersey. I entered the Cat 3/4 race.
I was in this race without any teammates. Most of my team rode in either the Masters 35+ or the Cat 4/5 races. Without teammates and some wind to battle, I had to race smart, suck some wheels, and freelance my way around if I wanted a podium spot.
An early breakaway of 2 racers on lap 2 got away and stayed away. I fought an urge to chase down the breakaway or bridge up to them. I felt it was early and there were enough teams of 3+ racers that something would organize sooner or later. That never happened. I regret that decision. As each lap elapsed, their lead increased until they were no longer in sight. Out of sight, out of mind.
By the 6th lap the race for the top two places was over. This was further cemented when one rider on the yellow line decided to use a crack in the road to take himself and probably about a dozen other riders down. This happened right next to me. Luckily I wasn't involved. At this point all I was thinking about was how to finish up this race and perhaps get 3rd for the last spot on the podium.
The only highlight of the race for me came down to the field sprint. I positioned myself within the top 10 racers as we entered the final turn. From there I knew it was over 30 seconds to the finish. I wasn't planning on sprinting all out from the corner because 30 seconds is a long time. However, that plan went out the window when the guys in the front decided to go for it from the corner and started sprinting.
So I stood up, got on with it, and maneuvered my way through the traffic. I was making up ground and I was close to coming out front. I shot through one last gap and bumped elbows with another rider as I came through. Now I was out front with the finish line just in sight but the finish line was still at least 100 meters away and I was giving it all "she's got, captain!". Sprinting all out for 30 plus seconds is not easy. That is pretty much the absolute limit of being able to go at your maximum effort. If you need to go longer, your mind and body naturally go sub-maximal so you are able to finish without completely being exhausted.
In those final few meters, when my legs were aching, screaming to stop, I saw another rider trying to come around me on the left. I had nothing left to accelerate. In fact, I was slowly fading and slowing. So my final move was a bike throw at the line.
Turned out that was enough. I took 3rd place and won the field sprint.
In that final sprint, I managed to put out 800 watts for 35 seconds with a peak of 1042 watts. You can see in those final 10 seconds I was fading. This was my longest sprint in a race. In comparison, for the final sprint in the Bob Riccio Memorial Cat 4/5 race in Pitman, NJ last year, I managed 1014 watts for 12 seconds with a peak of 1169 watts. Pretty good for a little 42 year old and 10 stone guy like me.