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Race Report: Masters Road Nationals by Ed Allbritton

I thought I would send in a little report on Bend, Oregon.

I thought I would send in a little report on Bend, Oregon. I participated in the 70-74 age category in the Time Trial and in the Road Race and passed on the Crit. I was 16th in the TT, 68 out of 349 in the TT GC, and 15th in the RR. Originally there were supposed to be 33 starters in my road race, but 28 actually started and only 17 in my age category. The Masters Nats are where the big dogs come to play and I found it is hard for a "mini-schnauser" like me to keep up with them. The palmares for many of these guys go back many years and most are incredible athletes. I had the pleasure of meeting many nice people which is one of the characteristics of our cycling community in general. Bend was a great town to visit with many good restaurants and absolutely spectacular climate in early September with lows in the high 40's and highs in the low 80's, very little wind, and azure skies. We were very comfortable in our B&B lodgings and there is no scarcity of places to stay. Downtown is active and there are multiple sporting activities in the mountains, the forests, and the Deschutes River.

The TT course was Out and Back along the Crooked River in Prineville, OR. Since it had under 300 feet of gain on the 20 K route, it is technically considered flat and is at 2,900 feet elevation. The only problems on the TT was the "holder" allowed the rider in front of me to crash off the ramp falling on his head and shoulders down four feet, injuiring himself, then damaging his bike. Then the holder was holding me at an angle instead of vertically and I yelled at him and he almost dumped me off the ramp too, but I managed to keep the rubber side down. And I only had 10 seconds instead of 30 seconds to get set as they strove to stay on the time. schedule. Laura said many riders starting behind me yelled at him also, but I did not hear of any other ramp crashes. On the outbound leg I managed to ride my planned wattage and not start too hard, but I was passed by 3 guys and I only passed one guy. I succeeded in making an efficient U-Turn in about 15 seconds, then stepped up my wattage for the back leg. I was at the redline and scooting along OK, or so I thought. Then guys started passing me, and more guys passed me. So I knew I wasn't going to place well. This did not help me focus or motivate me to turn myself inside out. So my 2nd split was faster than the 1st split, and my wattage and heart rate were about 10 watts/beats below what they would have been if I had stayed motivated to the finish. I averaged a little over 20 mph. The winner's speed was 24.3 mph. That is the difference between a big dog and a "mini-schnauser!"

The RR course for my category was 62K (38.75 miles) starting at Crane Prairie Resort (elevation 4,300) and finishing at the ski lifts on Mt Bachelor (elevation 6,300). Terrain was rolling with total gain of about 2,600 feet. The route generally followed the Cascade Scenic Byway and the scenery, lakes, and creeks were spectacular. It was 37 degrees arriving at the start line and 40 degrees at the start and about 60 degrees by the time I rolled into the finish 2:45:15 later. The winner's time was 2:11:18. Since I climb like a slug I got dropped in the middle of the second hill, so my race turned into a solo ride while the big dogs romped on up the road. My heart rate spiked 10 miles in and then stabilized at the top of the hill. I was off the back with the peloton in sight until about mile 20, then the uphill rollers slowed me from my 18 mph pace and I lost more ground. At that point I began to really enjoy the scenery. :) About 5 miles from the finish begins the Sparks Grade - about 8% for 1.4 miles, then a false flat at about 4-5% for 0.5 miles, then the Todd Lakes grade about 6-8% for about 0.5 miles. From there it was almost flat all the way to the finish line. I crossed alone going about 20 miles per hour presenting a modified Contador pistolero salute. I had the pistol pointed at my head. It didn't fool the judges though-they got my time right.

Ride Hard and Ride Safe,

Ed Allbritton