Sanpete Classic Road Race

The Sanpete Classic Road Race was today and I raced Cat 5. This was my 2nd ever road race.

I drove down and arrived before 10 am. I picked up my number and got ready. I watched the first starters (Cat 1 & 2) take off. It was a sunny day with little wind.

Cat 3s lining up to start.

Cat 5 starts last so I lined up after the Cat 4s started. There were around 20 of us.I chatted with a few guys while we waited. We got our instructions from the race official then started at 10:30.

We rolled out pretty mellow, but some guys moved up to the front and pushed the pace a bit. On one uphill grade the pace was high and I had my highest heart rate there. I didn't want to get dropped so I hung on. On the downside of this hill I led for a mile. I thought it odd that some riders pushed so hard up the hill then backed off on the down.

For the first 20 miles I mostly hung on the back, just playing it safe and getting a feel for the race, but a few times I was up front or in the middle. There were a few attacks, but they didn't last long.

After Fairview I got dropped on an uphill and rolling section as the route turned west toward US-89. I know it's important to do what it takes to stay with the pack, but the pace was just too much and I gave out. I grouped with two other guys and we pursued. A Cat 4 Ski Utah racer caught us and joined our group. The race official said it was OK for solo riders to jump in with groups of other categories. He pulled quite a bit and helped us get moving. We eventually caught the main pack going down US-89. The Cat 4 Ski Utah racer moved to the front and pulled more. He was trying to catch other Cat 4 racers and was puting out a big effort. I stayed in the back to recover.

We went south through Fairview and Mount Pleasant (again) then turned west heading to Moroni. Not much happened here. I was getting tired of the yo-yoing at the back, but I was out of the wind. The turns always required a sprint to pull back up to the pack, but I was getting used to these.

Moroni was the first neutral feed and being uneasy about how this would go I moved up to the front. I knew where the feed was because I had driven in through Moroni and had seen the tent. I slowed down, tossed my empty water bottle and grabbed one from one of the volunteers. Then I coasted to regroup. Happily, everyone played nice and after we were all together the speed went back up.

From Moroni north to Fountain Green is a 5-6 mile stretch with a mild uphill grade. The pace was brisk, but not killer and I hung in. At Fountain Green we turned south wit ha gradual down slope, but the headwind negated it so it wasn't a fast, easy ride. The pack rode pretty mellow here and many took the opportunity to eat and drink. I was drinking CarboRocket and water and here I ate some ShotBloks. The only other thing I'd taken was an Endurilyte back in Moroni.

Near Whales was the 2nd feed and I emptied my water bottle I'd picked up in Moroni and tossed it before grabbing a new one. To newbie racer me, this was kind of cool. I've seen bike racers on TV or in local events toss their bottles as part of racing, and here I was doing the same. It's a dumb little thing, but it made me feel pro. Like when you pretended to be your favorite sports star when playing with the other kids in the neighborhood.

After Whales we headed east and were rolling down a long slope when a muscular Spin Cycle shot off the front. This was 12 miles from the finish. I was near the front at the time and nobody reacted. It didn't make sense to start a break on downhill, at least not to me. I seem to be able to go faster downhill than others so I took the lead and pulled harder, giving a mild chase. The Spin racer stayed away and as we got to the bottom of the hill I pulled out of the lead to recover. (The Spin Cycle rider was caught by the main pack 1-2 miles before the finish.)

We made a right turn in Chester with around 10 miles to finish. I was still hanging in OK, but was feeling the fatigue. Just before crossing US-89, the pace picked up and I was having trouble staying on. A few hundred yards later I was dropped. The road climbs for 3 miles here and I just didn't have the juice to power up. Plus I was feeling twinges in my legs and felt sure if I pushed hard I'd cramp up and I figured it was better to play it safe.

Near the top of the climb Jonathan Atzet of Porcupine Cycling caught me. I'd look back occasionally and see him gaining on me. I'd been riding near him several times during the race. I pulled in behind him to finish the climb. On the flat we took turns leading and passed some a trio of Cat 4s.

As we neared the edge of town I pulled along side him and pushed the pace. I thought about riding his wheel in and sprinting at the finish, but it didn't seem sporting and I thought there might be a chance he wouldn't be able to hold the faster pace. We rode side by side for a while then he ducked behind on my wheel. I was really rolling now. For some reason my legs didn't feel like they were going to cramp so I was putting some power to the pedals. Jonathan came around and I poured it on. We surged and pushed a sprint right to the finish. It looked to me like our wheels crossed the line at the same time. We coasted to catch our breath, congratulated each other and continued to cool down.

The finish line.

I went to the car and got my ice cold Coke from the cooler and headed over for the included lunch. Pulled pork, chicken, dutch oven potatoes and salad - and peach cobbler with ice cream for desert. As I ate I talked with a few other racers.

A side note, my butt was sore from being in the saddle pedaling hard for so long. It didn't start bothering me on the bike until 50 miles in. On the drive home it was really uncomfortable.

I liked this race. It hurt at times and I had to be vigilant to stay in the pack. I don't think I made any serious tactical errors. I was disappointed I couldn't hang with the main pack at the end, but being my first long road race this was more of a hope and not a determined goal. I'd do this race again - the route was good, it was well organized, the feeds worked and I enjoyed the rural scenery.

22.2 mph Average Speed
73.2 miles
3 hours 17 minutes
2200' climbing


Eat Sleep MTB said...

The yo-yo effect gets worse and worse as you get nearer the back. The constant sprinting takes a toll, that you may not realize until the end. Glad the feedzones went well.

Anonymous said...

Nice report.Good to hear you finished strong.

One thing I think I've noticed about the uphill/downhill tactics is that it kills the weaker riders quickly. The stronger guys can push the pace up the hill and recover on the down. The weaker guys are working hard to stay on, then also have to work hard on the downhill and flat to stay with the group. They don't get a recovery break and end up getting dropped when it becomes too hard to chase back on.

At least that's been my view from the back.

Rio's Rider said...

Great job out there. Sanpete is always a harder race than it seems it should be.

Did you take the finish line pic just as the Cat4 women were coming to the start? I think that's me in the middle riding toward the line.

kvigor said...

Nicely done, Kris. Sounds fun, and congrats on chasing back onto the pack after getting dropped; in my experience, once I'm gone off the back it's all over. maybe next time.

Sorry I didn't make it; I've family in from out of town and there was just no way to make it work. Maybe next time.

mark said...

Nice work, Kris. 22.2 mph on a course that doesn't sound very flat is cooking. Sounds like a fun race--maybe I'll plan ahead and try it next year.

KanyonKris said...

rio: the picture of the finish line was taken before the race started.

In case anyone was wondering, the Spin Cycle guy was caught before the finish. I added this to the post.