MONSON Road Race, Great report!!
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  1. #1
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    MONSON Road Race, Great report!!

    Course: 8 mile circuit with a 1 mile long steady climb, 5 laps
    Conditions: Powerful constant winds with gusts up to 25mph
    Goal: Finish with front pack since its first race of the year


    JFerraro and I met about 18 months ago through RBR. Jeff, has similar taste in cycling components and we have shared our opnions on everything. We met a few months ago finally despite knowing eachother very well. Today we hooked up for our first race together. I'll let him detail his experience through the hellish war that is spring racing.

    I awoke at 5am and drove 2 1/2 hours. The race started at a school which was nice to have the facility of. Not sure about you but I have a phobia of porta potties. Thursday I had gone out with a local Cat 1 and we ended up doing a 60 minute double pace line in the exact same conditions the race was held in today. The effort took its toll on my legs since I haven't had any anerobic efforts until this week. I regretted that decision when I was warming up today still feeling the effort from Thursday

    --The Race--

    The wind was brutal. It was the kind of wind that seeks you out regardless of your position and is constantly knocking and pushing you around despite the field moving North,South East or West. The wind spared no one and everyones facial expression was akin to almost confusion since we were fighting the sand and dirt being blasted up under our racing glasses and into our mouths and noses.

    Despite it, I decided to get the most of my 2 1/2 hour drive and make sure I get a good workout by spending the first two laps on the front. I hit it pretty hard on the downhills and even though I have yet to try form sprints my aerobic system and tactfulness kicked in immediately to the familiar pusle of road racing. Hard, easy, hard, harder, easy etc etc. The field was amicable with little shoving except me foolishly attempting to be funny by bumping my handlebars into Ferraros' as a joke but realizing it was the wrong time for such humor. After the first lap Jeff looked very strong and relaxed in the field especially after the first climb. We did our best to stay together despite the ever changing positions

    The hill was tougher then it looked and with each passing circuit became harder and harder as lactate filled our legs and the breathing became laborious. The wind increased its vehemence by splitting up the field by lap 3 and leaving less then half of us to follow our fate.

    Learning that next time I will spend less time on the front the first two laps and if I need a harder workout save it for AFTER the race not during it =D

    After Lap 4s tenacious pace I expected Lap 5 to be fairly easy and sort it all out on the final climb. Alas, some woman in her car decided to drive into the middle of the field forcing what was left of us into a single paceline leaving each man to battle the wind as if he were on his own. This split the field again leaving some of us to fill the gap or join those victimised by the winds ferocity and our physical exhaustion.

    Several futile attemps to get to the front BEFORE the climb to have an advantage when we hit the bottom left me struggling, searching and fighting for every possible draft. There was no place to hide though. Usually I can hide behind almost anyone but these conditions forbid any cover

    About 3 guys from the same team (web cycles?) went to the front and slammed on their brakes. Not the safest way to block but certainly effective in this circumstance. 4 guys went free on a short break. I think 3 were from the same team and a recently befriended rider named Dean. Dean ended up winning and then was admonished by the 3 other riders for not doing any work and taking the win. They went so far as to tell him they had no respect for him and refused his offer for a hand shake. I laughed my ass off at their contentiousness and advised they take a course in race tactics

    The rest of us clamoured to catch them on the climb. When I hit the bottom I suddenly became aware of what a great moment it was. Here I was riding one year after a major accident in addition with Jeff who also was rehabilitated from a major knee operation. I savored the moment and let up on the force of my pedals to enjoy the ascent of the final climb since I had already accomplished my goal of finishing with the head pact. Then I was horrified by the fact that I saw the entire field, what was left of it, had also let up very easy on the climb. I hit the gas as best I could but had a hard time summoning the power after slowing so much. I gained a few places but missed my chance.

    Overall it was a blast and a good start. I was surprised with my performance as I have been training heavy volume weeks,weights and very little to no anerobic conditioning. Racing with Jeff and then getting beers in a local brewery was a blast and made possible through RBR and riding a bike. Surprising and funny what cultivated long good friendships

  2. #2
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    Dropped 2x in Monson

    The wind was wicked and as it was my second race ever I am still looking to learn the ropes. Monson was the SAT, GMAT, MCAS, and CPA exam all rolled into one for me.

    They combined 4&5 so I rolled out with what appeared to be about 50 riders. First 1.5 laps were an ice-cream ride: a few accellerations but nothing threatning. I made the mistake of staying in that wind for too much of the second lap so at the start of lap three up that hill, I got spit out. No big deal, I felt better at the top of the climb and tried to recuirt a few others who were burning up to catch back on, but as our little group would get up to 4 or 5 riders, someone would fall off. I spent the third lap hammering like a mad man thinking I could pull our group up and ended up doing most of the work (again). We were within 20 seconds of the main group at the beginning of lap 4 but......

    The group I had organized could not keep up with me the third time up the hill so off I was again, chasing, thinking everyone had blown up. I spent lap 4 alone again and in the wind. Unbeknownst to me, the guys I had treid to pull together but dropped were reforming behind me and when they caught me at the bottom of the hill at the beginning of lap 5 I was toast. They rode by like I was stopped and I spent the 5th lap, you guessed it, alone and did I mention there was some wind? I was laughing the whole last 8 miles at the irony of it all. I quit racing triathlons because I hate riding alone yet here I was riding around god-knows-where, alone and in the wind.

    I'm pretty sure I worked harder than whoever won the race but probably rode the least intelligently of anyone in it too. That's fine, I'm learning and at 40 miles and 23 mph average, it was a good workout.

    I'm going to try the opposite approach next race. Sit in as long as I can, never get to the front and just try to stay as close to the front as my ability allows. What's the worst that can happen, I suppose I could get dropped three times...
    http://legolord.blogspot.com/

    early registration is worth hundreds of hours of training

    -avatar photo courtesy of hup united

  3. #3
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    Monson - my first road race...

    Quote Originally Posted by CARBON110
    Course: 8 mile circuit with a 1 mile long steady climb, 5 laps
    Conditions: Powerful constant winds with gusts up to 25mph
    Goal: Finish with front pack since its first race of the year

    JFerraro and I met about 18 months ago through RBR. Jeff, has similar taste in cycling components and we have shared our opnions on everything. We met a few months ago finally despite knowing eachother very well. Today we hooked up for our first race together. I'll let him detail his experience through the hellish war that is spring racing.

    I awoke at 5am and drove 2 1/2 hours. The race started at a school which was nice to have the facility of. Not sure about you but I have a phobia of porta potties. Thursday I had gone out with a local Cat 1 and we ended up doing a 60 minute double pace line in the exact same conditions the race was held in today. The effort took its toll on my legs since I haven't had any anerobic efforts until this week. I regretted that decision when I was warming up today still feeling the effort from Thursday

    --The Race--

    The wind was brutal. It was the kind of wind that seeks you out regardless of your position and is constantly knocking and pushing you around despite the field moving North,South East or West. The wind spared no one and everyones facial expression was akin to almost confusion since we were fighting the sand and dirt being blasted up under our racing glasses and into our mouths and noses.

    Despite it, I decided to get the most of my 2 1/2 hour drive and make sure I get a good workout by spending the first two laps on the front. I hit it pretty hard on the downhills and even though I have yet to try form sprints my aerobic system and tactfulness kicked in immediately to the familiar pusle of road racing. Hard, easy, hard, harder, easy etc etc. The field was amicable with little shoving except me foolishly attempting to be funny by bumping my handlebars into Ferraros' as a joke but realizing it was the wrong time for such humor. After the first lap Jeff looked very strong and relaxed in the field especially after the first climb. We did our best to stay together despite the ever changing positions

    The hill was tougher then it looked and with each passing circuit became harder and harder as lactate filled our legs and the breathing became laborious. The wind increased its vehemence by splitting up the field by lap 3 and leaving less then half of us to follow our fate.

    Learning that next time I will spend less time on the front the first two laps and if I need a harder workout save it for AFTER the race not during it =D

    After Lap 4s tenacious pace I expected Lap 5 to be fairly easy and sort it all out on the final climb. Alas, some woman in her car decided to drive into the middle of the field forcing what was left of us into a single paceline leaving each man to battle the wind as if he were on his own. This split the field again leaving some of us to fill the gap or join those victimised by the winds ferocity and our physical exhaustion.

    Several futile attemps to get to the front BEFORE the climb to have an advantage when we hit the bottom left me struggling, searching and fighting for every possible draft. There was no place to hide though. Usually I can hide behind almost anyone but these conditions forbid any cover

    About 3 guys from the same team (web cycles?) went to the front and slammed on their brakes. Not the safest way to block but certainly effective in this circumstance. 4 guys went free on a short break. I think 3 were from the same team and a recently befriended rider named Dean. Dean ended up winning and then was admonished by the 3 other riders for not doing any work and taking the win. They went so far as to tell him they had no respect for him and refused his offer for a hand shake. I laughed my ass off at their contentiousness and advised they take a course in race tactics

    The rest of us clamoured to catch them on the climb. When I hit the bottom I suddenly became aware of what a great moment it was. Here I was riding one year after a major accident in addition with Jeff who also was rehabilitated from a major knee operation. I savored the moment and let up on the force of my pedals to enjoy the ascent of the final climb since I had already accomplished my goal of finishing with the head pact. Then I was horrified by the fact that I saw the entire field, what was left of it, had also let up very easy on the climb. I hit the gas as best I could but had a hard time summoning the power after slowing so much. I gained a few places but missed my chance.

    Overall it was a blast and a good start. I was surprised with my performance as I have been training heavy volume weeks,weights and very little to no anerobic conditioning. Racing with Jeff and then getting beers in a local brewery was a blast and made possible through RBR and riding a bike. Surprising and funny what cultivated long good friendships
    CAT 4/5 U35
    Goal: To survive - finish the race (hopefully in the upper 1/2) and learn.

    Unfortunately, I have no race pics this time.

    Things I learned pre-race:
    - get there at least an HOUR before the race instead of a 1/2 hour before, as I had no time for any kind of warm-up or stretching!
    - don't try to put your race numbers on while you're wearing your shirt!
    - be a little more careful while cleaning your sunglass lenses. I broke one of the arms off my only pair being a little too rough while rushing to clean them!
    - try to pre register if you KNOW it's a race you want to participate in (it's cheaper and faster). The registration lady wasted more of my time b/c she initially gave me a number from the over 35 race. I didn't realize it until the next racer registered, and requested the over 35 race from the same woman, and she gave him a number from the same stack.

    Thankfully, I found "CARBON110" in the race line and ask him if he has an extra set of sunglasses. We are minutes from the start of the race but he goes back to his car to get me his extra set of sunglasses - tells me to hold our place in line. Thanks, Jeremy!!

    The race starts and I try to stay towards the front next to or behind Jeremy. The first two laps were rather slow with a few short accellerations, one of which Jeremy warned me about - just after you go under that bridge and take the sharp right hander. During these first two laps, and to my surprise, racers are yelling out "hole" for potholes, "brake" when the field started braking, and even "car right" for cars parallel parked. The braking was getting annoying but I guess that is part of CAT 5 racing, right? At any rate, it was only for the first two laps. On the third lap, close to the end of the climb, I was still riding towards the front when there was an attack from, I believe, several QuadCycles guys. I saw a few coming towards the front as they all yelled for each other. Initially I picked up the pace but decided I didn't want to go that hard that early. It was, however, already too late because now I was in the wind struggling to catch on. The field, or what seemed to be about 1/2 of them, then came around me and I still didn't catch on. I was pushing but it just seemed like I was never going to get on that last riders wheel. I finally do, after expending quite a bit of energy and, for the rest of the race, I never let that happen again. Then a few of us form a small group and I take my turn pulling...only when I feel I can. I believe this is where I rode with "mmyette", who also posted about this race. Once up the hill for the 4th lap I found myself behind a guy who was hauling on the decent. I stayed right behind him all the way down and passed him just after the right hander. Tom, the rider from Pedal Power that I met at the Bethel crit, passed him and said "Good Pull!", and I agreed. Now I could see our small group struggling. As we got to the hill going into the 5th lap my legs were feeling it, and my breathing was quite laborious. Nonetheless, as the top of the hill false-flatted, before the right hander, I started to make up some time. After the right hander I turned around and realized our small group wasn't that far back so I decided to wait for them to catch me, then grab a wheel. There were some small accellerations and different racers tried to pull off the front and/or get away. I took my turn pulling here again, then when small group came around a had a little bit of a hard time staying on. Next thing I know there is a motorcycle behind me...it was the race organizers. I was worried that he/she represented the end of the race and that I was lantern rouge! At that thought I mustered up a little more strength and went up the left side of our small group. I got behind another rider and followed him to the bottom of the hill, where some of the other riders came around for the pass. I ascended the hill towards the line as fast as I could but boy was I feeling it. I certainly didn't feel efficient at whatever I did...sit, stand, mash, *try* to spin....pain, pain. A few passed me. Then, over my shoulder, I sensed another rider and I decided to not let this one go by me so I put my last bit of power down and stayed in front of him. According to the race results I came in 32 out of the 57 that finished. I thought there were going to be many more riders since there were 70+ preregistered and both Jeremy and I registered that morning. I don't know if there were a lot of "no-shows" or if that many racers dropped out or why there was such a discrepancy? Then again, they missed Jeremy's results so who knows how many others they missed. Anyway, although I didn't quite make the top 1/2 racer wise, I had the same time as Tom from Pedal Power and he placed 28th, so in that sense I made the upper half. Overall I was satisfied with my first road race results, especially considering it was a combined CAT 4/5 event.

    Unfortunately, I forgot to stop the ride timer on my computer after the race was over, so that threw off my averages. Figuring my time of 1:49.02, my average speed was about 22mph. Other stats not effected by this error on my part:

    Max speed = 39.6mph
    Max hr = 213 (again I'm surprised by this high figure. hmm...)
    Max cadence = 143
    -Jeff

  4. #4
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    Hey myette...

    Quote Originally Posted by myette10
    The wind was wicked and as it was my second race ever I am still looking to learn the ropes. Monson was the SAT, GMAT, MCAS, and CPA exam all rolled into one for me.

    They combined 4&5 so I rolled out with what appeared to be about 50 riders. First 1.5 laps were an ice-cream ride: a few accellerations but nothing threatning. I made the mistake of staying in that wind for too much of the second lap so at the start of lap three up that hill, I got spit out. No big deal, I felt better at the top of the climb and tried to recuirt a few others who were burning up to catch back on, but as our little group would get up to 4 or 5 riders, someone would fall off. I spent the third lap hammering like a mad man thinking I could pull our group up and ended up doing most of the work (again). We were within 20 seconds of the main group at the beginning of lap 4 but......

    The group I had organized could not keep up with me the third time up the hill so off I was again, chasing, thinking everyone had blown up. I spent lap 4 alone again and in the wind. Unbeknownst to me, the guys I had treid to pull together but dropped were reforming behind me and when they caught me at the bottom of the hill at the beginning of lap 5 I was toast. They rode by like I was stopped and I spent the 5th lap, you guessed it, alone and did I mention there was some wind? I was laughing the whole last 8 miles at the irony of it all. I quit racing triathlons because I hate riding alone yet here I was riding around god-knows-where, alone and in the wind.

    I'm pretty sure I worked harder than whoever won the race but probably rode the least intelligently of anyone in it too. That's fine, I'm learning and at 40 miles and 23 mph average, it was a good workout.

    I'm going to try the opposite approach next race. Sit in as long as I can, never get to the front and just try to stay as close to the front as my ability allows. What's the worst that can happen, I suppose I could get dropped three times...
    Were you wearing a yellow and red team outfit from Cyclonauts and wearing Specialized gloves? If so, I remember you...and I remember you trying to organize our groups chase.
    -Jeff

  5. #5
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    Dean is from my club

    Quote Originally Posted by CARBON110
    Dean ended up winning and then was admonished by the 3 other riders for not doing any work and taking the win. They went so far as to tell him they had no respect for him and refused his offer for a hand shake. I laughed my ass off at their contentiousness and advised they take a course in race tactics
    Dean is new to NEBC and strong as hell. Of course, we teach all our 5s to race like that (you know, crossing the line first and all). He is a 5 and won that 4/5 race. I think he will be out of their way soon and making trouble for the 3/4s.

  6. #6
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    Monson RR will no longer be held. :(

    Monson Road Race Will No Longer Be Held (from http://www.ne-bra.org/News.asp?id=234)
    Wednesday, April 28, 2004

    I just want to inform everyone that the Monson Road Race will no longer be
    held due to a variety of incidents that occurred this past weekend. You
    should also be aware that the incidents that I am referring to are a direct
    result of many of the racers themselves. Unfortunately, their
    inconsideration and inability to respect the town and community has resulted
    in the Chief of Police denying any further request to hold this race in
    Monson.

    I have just been informed by the Town Selectmen that the Monson Road Race
    will no longer be approved due to several reasons: (1) Unsafe warming up
    on the race course. Many racers thought they could warm up on the course
    prior to their event, forcing cars toward oncoming racers. You were warned
    not to warm up on the course, yet many of you disregarded this announcement
    and it resulted in unsafe conditions and one of the main reasons for the
    denial of future events here. (2) Many riders off the back of the main
    pack felt that the entire road was now theirs. Again, this resulted in very
    unsafe conditions and traffic backups. The Police felt that these
    straggling riders were unprotected since they seemed to be riding all over
    the road.

    As many of you know, it is very difficult promoting bike races. I have
    strived to provide the best racing conditions possible, trying to create
    optimal racing conditions for everyone. After eight years of putting on the
    Monson race, it is my extreme displeasure to announce that it is over. I
    think that we, as conscientious racers, need to be more aware of our
    surroundings when we race. We do not own the town when we race there for a
    few hours, and need to be aware of the communities who are kind enough to
    allow us to utilize their roads. Unfortunately, Monson will no longer be
    one of those communities, but you have only yourselves to thank for that.

    Please be aware of what you do and how you conduct yourselves at future
    events or else Monson will not be the last to begin denying events. As is
    usually the case, it is the actions of a few who ruin many things for the
    majority. For those of you who raced responsibly in Monson this year and in
    years past, thank you.
    -Jeff

  7. #7

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    That is AWFUL!

    Although I don't live in the area anymore I recall that as a great race, coupled with Palmer the day before. My condolences to those in the area.

  8. #8
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    yup, that was me

    Quote Originally Posted by jtferraro
    Were you wearing a yellow and red team outfit from Cyclonauts and wearing Specialized gloves? If so, I remember you...and I remember you trying to organize our groups chase.
    No red (the cyclonauts uniform is yellow and black only) but I did have the full finger spec. gloves. Funny, you and carbon 110 were right in front of me at the start and I heard you telling him how you had broken your glasses. I saw 110's madone and almost asked him if it was he before the race (as I had seen him post a few weeks back that he'd be in Monson) but decided not to.

    It was me organizing that chase, I should have stuck with you guys! The group whiddled down up that hill at the start of the 4th lap and I thought everyone was fried so I tried to go solo. You guys looked strong as you went by! I've got lots to learn....

    Too bad about future Monson races... Our team did pretty well $$$ wise. Will you guys be in Sterling on 5.8.04?
    http://legolord.blogspot.com/

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    -avatar photo courtesy of hup united

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by myette10
    No red (the cyclonauts uniform is yellow and black only) but I did have the full finger spec. gloves. Funny, you and carbon 110 were right in front of me at the start and I heard you telling him how you had broken your glasses. I saw 110's madone and almost asked him if it was he before the race (as I had seen him post a few weeks back that he'd be in Monson) but decided not to.

    It was me organizing that chase, I should have stuck with you guys! The group whiddled down up that hill at the start of the 4th lap and I thought everyone was fried so I tried to go solo. You guys looked strong as you went by! I've got lots to learn....

    Too bad about future Monson races... Our team did pretty well $$$ wise. Will you guys be in Sterling on 5.8.04?
    Oh, ok...yellow & black uniform - that's it. Funny that you were right behind us at the race start. You should've said something! When you came by me and spoke about bringing back the leaders I was game but I knew I wouldn't last at that initial pace you were driving and I chose to conserve some energy. I gained on the hill on the 4th lap too but then I was alone and I slowed down so the field would catch up and I could get out of the wind. I won't be at Sterling on 5/8, but will be doing a CT crit on the 9th.
    -Jeff

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