Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race- April, 2003 (Cat 4/5)
Finish: ~60th

I was happy to be able to participate in this race since I have driven the track quite a bit. It is a great track that is well blended and your tires stick like crazy. The weather was so-so for the race. It was supposed to rain on and off all day, but that did not happen until after the race. We were lucky that the track was dry since it was a Cat 5 race. I got to the track on time, I spent the night in a hotel the night before. I went looking for my friend Chris (CSUS team member too) who is a Cat 4 and racing in the same race. I could not find him before the race, so I decided to just get warmed up and find him during the race. I was a little nervous warming up since this race is a bit bigger than the other 'local' races I have done. I got warmed up and headed over to the restroom for my pre-race urination.

When I finally found my way onto the track I saw that everyone was already at the start/finish line and ready to go. There goes my plan to stage early and get a good starting position. I figured I would just make up the bad position during the first climb since it pretty much starts off climbing. You can see by the datalog of the event that the first climb I pushed pretty decent to move up in the field. I moved up about 20 spots on the first climb and then passed another 5 or so on the decent. Knowing the track and how to decend made it easy to make up positions early on when no one else knew the track to well. After the decent you start another small climb (4%) and that is where the race went bad. I felt good and went to shift into the small chainring to keep my cadence up and move up a few more spots to get with Chris. As I shifted into the climbing ring, I threw the chain. I lost around 20 spots as I raised my hand and tried to stay out of others way. Since I was in the middle of the pack, I did the best I could while pedalling and trying to get the chain back on. For those of you that have this problem during a race, just keep pedalling and shift into the big ring. This will make the chain catch on the small ring and then you are back to racing. You can always stop, and put the chain on manually, but stopping is not always easy to do in a pack. Back to racing, I lose around 20 spots or so (I did not really count, had my mind on other things) and started back to trying to get back a few postions I made up about 3 or 4 on the climb and then crested the hill. Oh my was there a head wind, speed decending down was the same as the climb. I found a wheel and just cruised on through until the next climb. I made up another 5 or so spots on the main climb after the start/finish line. I was near the back of looked like the second pack and slowing moving up. I decended and past another one or two people. Coming back onto the front straightaway I started to climb again and trying to make up spots and stay with the pack. Once again I have a mechanical problem and throw a chain. I got it back on, but not after dropping another 5-10 spots. I was now around 3rd from last and was not in touch with the pack. I found a wheel down the front straightaway and around up to the start/finish again. As we started the main climb the second pack was about 3/4 of the way up. This is where my mistake was made in the race. I did not give a strong effort to regain contact with the pack, I paced myself and climbed decently. From there the race was pretty much over for me. I rode along and passed quite a few people during the climbs, a few of them looked good climb, but did not have the power or fitness to really do much. I continued to ride and just when I go to start my last lap, I was asked to leave the track. After getting off the track I noticed that Chris was just ahead of me by about 30 seconds. Oh well, I felt strong during the race and made a mistake that cost me a decent finish for myself. I am still learning the tatics/strategies, and naturally I have learned more from this race. I have a month before my next race :)

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