I raced the RFK crit on Sunday.
I didn't really prep for this race, since I've been dieting and building to ride stronger in July / August, and had a few hard rides over the week, including a ride that James (Artemis) didn't think was bad - but then he's a skinny guy, and my zone 5 efforts on some hills were probably tempo for him.
Anyhow, Hub Racing - a sorta courier-based women's pro team (that has cute girls with nice legs, BTW, just in case you're into that kind of thing) makes you pre-register three or four months out, so I figured I'd sit in and see how I felt rather than waste the entry fee. It should be my kind of course - flat, fast, technical-ish in places. Too bad I am just building up to racing fit right now and not actually fit.
Anyhoo, rather stupidly, I tried to carb up with big bowls of pasta on Saturday night and Sunday at lunch to compensate for the dieting. Instead of giving me lots of energy, it gave me twisted up guts. It felt like my stomach had been stretched out, tied in a knot, and left there. I was also really dehydrated feeling, with a dry mouth, which was weird.
The race went pretty decently for a while since I only wanted to sit in and wasn't really scrapping. It took a while to figure out the easy (smooth) way around the course, but you would have to be really close to the front to ride it that way. The magic formula (why am I telling you? I'm an idiot) is to go wide and keep pedaling in turns 1, 3, 5, 6, and 8 (assuming you count the schwerve at the end of the back straight as a curve) and to carve inside and stop pedaling in 2, 4, and 7, and maybe 9 if the crowd isn't too heavy. I should let you figure that out for yourself, but frankly, I'd rather that you stayed on the gas and eased off on the brakes a bit next year. Anyhow...
My Powertap showed a long series of intermittent heavy efforts - 1000, 1100 watt efforts to close up gaps. I was sitting in and towards the rear intentionally, but riding with the Powertap proves to me - man, riding anywhere but the front is just plain bad ju ju. After a while, between the effort, the screwed up diet, and maybe adrenalin, my guts got really twisted up and I had bad stomach cramps. Still, it wasn't bad. We managed to attrite half the field or so by the time I blew up. How did that happen?
Around the 5th or 6th lap, halfway through the race, when I came down the back stretch, the cramps were so bad I came off the back and blew chunks into the gravel. It also felt like I was going to poop my pants too. I had enough in the tank to bridge a few yards to chase back on and to move up if I was taking the race real serious, but I really didn't want to see what other surprises the guts had in store for me. So I limped off the course and back up to my truck. I wasn't thrilled because I am sure if I had just worked up to the front (which wouldn't have been hard, the way half the field was misreading the turns) that I could have stuck around to the end. But I wasn't destroyed, because I was looking at this as a "C" priority race, just doing it in lieu of a short hard workout that coach Bill G gave me.
So how bad did my stomach hurt? I turned down a beer that some bike messengers offered me - yeah, my stomach really was bad. Those of you who know me, understand that as a sign I was in pretty desperate pain. Fortunately, I soon discovered that the cramps were coming from bad stomach gas, probably due to my misguided carb loading. So I was sort of bent over at the truck pulling my clothes off cursing and farting, and maybe belching a bit too. Okay, fine, I wasn't just farting. I was ripping these extremely loud, 10-15 second screamers. And grunting afterwards. Sorry, but it just felt good to relieve the stomach pain after the severe cramps. So anyhow, I'm there sweating and farting and grunting, and starting to feel good, and I look up and notice this older lady -probably in her 60's - standing about 10 feet away on the other side of the truck. She was nicely dressed, looked upper middle class, probably there to see her wonderful adult son, or her pro racer daughter, or her kick-ass grandson. She was there... and she was staring daggers at me.
I wanted to say something clever but couldn't think of a thing to say, so I just pulled my shorts on and went back down to cheer for the other guys in the race. So that made it sort of memorable.
Yeah, it's amazing the depths to which roadracing will drive you.