It was raining as we approached the intersection of Dye Road and Hwy 67 in Ramona. I didn’t mind the rain really, I found it refreshing on such a humid day. And it wasn’t raining that much, just enough of a sprinkle to keep everything shiny.
I was on ‘Alpha’ Dave Voris’s wheel and he was pulling me up to the leaders as we slowed for the right turn onto Dye Road. I was all on fire inside, ready to attack. Guido was ahead of me and he was the one I needed to gap without warning. If he caught my wheel as I went by I’d never lose him.
The plan (inspired by Voris) was for me to attack the nine-man Descender peloton on Dye Road and see how long I could stay away. Dye Road is a 3-4 mile flat stretch of back country road where we like to get into a tight paceline and go as fast as we can. It would be really challenging for a single rider to try and stay away for the entire stretch of road. My legs weren’t completely fresh after a mad dash to the coast on Thursday and I don’t consider myself to be very good at time-trialing on long flat roads either. So it was a perfect challenge, just the kind I like, one with slim chances for success.
Just as Guido and Jeff sat up to regroup, I took off at full speed. Dye Road is long enough (3 or 4 miles) that I had to beware of burning out early. I got in the drops and hammered a fast tempo that felt hard but not unsustainable. I watched as my HRM went to 101% (more on that in another post). At first I told myself not to look back, but then I did. I had gapped the peloton by about 150m and Guido was in the middle fighting his way up to me. I just focused on maintaining my rhythm.
After a few minutes I looked back again and Guido was only about 10 feet behind me, just about to get into my slipstream – crap! I jinked left to break up the draft and pushed it to 103%. I thought, “If he gets on my wheel now, I’m done!”. I put my head down and gave it everything I had. When I looked back again, Guido was well off my wheel, headed back for the peloton. Whew! I relaxed a little and let my HR go back to 99%.
I began to realize that I might just be able to stay away. I was about a mile from the finish and it didn’t look like the peloton was going to pull me back. I focused on high cadence and keeping my rhythm solid. I looked back again with about a quarter mile to go and Guido was trying to come across again! I hammered it for everything I had one last time, trying to ignore the screaming in my legs and managed to stay away.
I stopped at the light at the end of Dye Road and waited for the rest of the group. Both Guido and I were exhausted and I congratulated him and thanked him for chasing me so hard and forcing me to accomplish something that I didn’t think I could do.
The caveat in this adventure is that I didn’t let the Descenders regroup on Dye Road before attacking so they were strung out when I went and not expecting any aggression. So, the real trick (maybe for next week?) would be to get onto Dye Rd, let the peloton regroup and then attack and stay away. I wonder if that’s possible?