Beit Guvrin 2/2/2019 - Amir Michael
Beit Guvrin, hills south east of Jerusalem. Second race of the season. Each lap was about 25 km and 400m of climbing, the main climb was at the final part of each lap. First lap started off relatively calm. I was able to stay towards the front for most of the lap until the first climb. I dropped back towards the end of the climb to the back of the peloton. The beginning of the second lap was fast, while working my way through the back about 5 riders in front of me crashed. I managed to weave my way through them and patiently made my way to the front. The climb on the second lap was at a lower pace and I reached the top mid pack. By the 3rd lap the group had thinned out considerably. I stayed mid to front of the pack. Midway through the lap a 3 rider breakaway managed to get ahead of the main group. A fellow teammate who was on the front and working to bridge the gap. He wasn't getting help from others and efforts were shut down by riders on a competing team. I tried to help but lasted about 30 seconds on the front before being swallowed by the peloton. I was towards the front at the beginning of the last climb and slowly fell back and finished about 50 seconds behind the leaders of the main group, good enough for 15th place in my age group.
This race was much harder than the first race at Urim. The efforts were intense for long periods of time and power levels were higher. When I did have a moment to look down at my GPS power and heart rates were always above threshold. Over the last two weeks many of our workouts included intervals at high intensity levels. Despite that, on the climbs I felt that I wasn't able to maintain high enough power for long enough periods of time to keep from falling back in the main group.
After the race I felt completely exhausted but accomplished that I finished relatively well. Slightly disappointed that I couldn't climb as well as the stronger riders in the group. More practice at higher intensities for longer time? The night before the race I didn't sleep well ~5 hrs.
Two bad experiences. First was trying to take down a gels at higher intensity levels. Swallowed 3 of them, about one a lap, did no go down smoothly even though I tried to wait for moments of relative calm. Second was the burning smell by the crash, friction from the road, tires, brakes...etc. Made me think twice about why I was out there.
Best advice came from my daughter after she heard I was struggling to keep up. "Dad save your speed for the end!"