Watts and Words: Sarah on OCup 4 in Northumberland

Watts and Words: Sarah on OCup 4 in Northumberland

This fourth OCup (Ontario road race series) event was Sarah’s key event for the 2018 season. She’s had a lot on her plate these past two months with buying a house, a demanding full-time job, and – of course – all the training. Still, that was no excuse for her NOT to log her race report in Training Peaks. I gave her grief. She sent me this gem.
All those WATTS and now you want WORDS?!?!!!
What to say….?! I finally figured out why I was so tired all week. I was sick. Was dragging myself around Friday and just thought I was tired and nervous. Saturday morning I woke up exhausted, sore throat and headache. But you should always do that warm up, right?!
By the time I got to the race I was perking up a bit, my warm up went okay, legs were there… felt a little fatigue at the end and breathing wasn’t my best.
First lap I ended up on the front for too long, pulled up the first hill but was happy with my legs and lungs. Managed to sit in and recover before THE HILL and went in with some confidence. Not long into the climb I was suffering more than I should have been. I kept giving it my all but I couldn’t get the edge I needed to hold the lead group. I spoke to my teammate after, she was climbing next to me and could hear me trying to breathe and knew I wasn’t myself!
The lead group got a little gap on me as I dropped off their pace on the last 100m of the hill. They weren’t that far head when I crested, I put my head down and gave it everything I had. After chasing them solo for 15 mins, I was so close to catching them, but they upped the pace, and I could see they were increasing the gap again. I was running out of steam. I kept hammering away, trying to convince myself that if I didn’t let the gap get too big there might be a chance to grab some stragglers the next time up the big hill. As I neared the lead up to the big hill, I could see the lead pack as they started to climb and kinda knew that was about it. 
Side note – there was a girl sitting on my wheel the entire time that never pulled through on that chase lap. I had thought it was my younger teammate and just assumed she wasn’t pulling through because she couldn’t, turns out it was just a dummy. I’m almost certain that if she’d given me a pull or two, we would have had them. After she enjoyed a free ride for the lap, she finished the climb a little ahead of me and took off – ugh. She got a gap on me but I wasn’t letting her get away. Keeping her in my sights, chased her down in a more control fashion than I’d gone after the lead pack and recovered a bit on her wheel…then I pulled up beside her to inform her that working together was a better option than whatever she was doing!
We worked together the last 2 laps, I did not want to get caught by anyone and I hoped that we might find people up the road, but we’d used up too much energy on lap 2 and 3 to get near anyone ahead.
The last climb I was completely destroyed. I tried to stay on her wheel as we climbed, knowing she had a little on me in the last 30m of the hill. She got a little gap again and hammered down the decent… I pushed hard to the finish chasing her but needed another 100m of road to catch her.
9th place… again… 
9:06 behind the winner.
Then I did everything I could not to throw up!
Looking at the file after I’m left proud and devastated. If I could have just held on for 30 seconds more, it could have been a very different race, it could also have been much worse. But hey, that’s the thrill and torture of road racing!
The race by the numbers:
Duration: 2:55:10
Distance: 88k
Total vertical gain: 1040m
NP: 207W
IF: 0.96! for 3 hours!! (coach’s note: time for an FTP test)
Sarah is a 4.0w/kg Cat II cyclist training with X3 since November 2017. She put in a hell of an indoor build this winter ahead of the 2018 race season.
photo credit: Lauren Daniells
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