Race Report: Turlock Lake Road Race
The weather for this one was horrendous, a downpour beginning 12 hours prior to start-time continuing throughout the entire event. Sooner or later road racing in the rain is going to happen and as I had already enjoyed the moist conditions of El Niño racing mountain bike at the first CCCX race of the year and had had the unfortunate/fortunate (depending on how you look at it) opportunity to do a lot of training this Winter in rainy conditions, a road race in similar conditions seemed somewhat inevitable. Disappointingly, about a quarter of the pre-registered riders made a game-day decision to not attend due to the monsoon-like conditions- poor form California, poor form…
The course was not overly challenging- very little climbing and no technical sections, basically flat. Pleasingly, for ~75% of the course we had access to the full width of the road. A real positive for any event and in my opinion an excellent enhancement to the race. Due to the placid nature of the course there was not too much to describe in terms of racing dynamics. For the entirety of the race, riders in ones and twos would attack, dangle for a period, then get brought back. The field was having none of it.
About 20 miles from the end a couple of riders achieved a gap and held out until being caught on the line and were engulfed in the field sprint, in which I hustled for 4th place. In hindsight I should have realized that there was a very high chance that the race would end in a bunch gallop and have pre-marked my launch spot prior the the event starting with a quick pre-ride of the last kilometre. My only defense being that it was tipping down at that point and any notion of riding anything a moment earlier than I was obliged to seemed somewhat unappealing.
The race was interesting in one ragard in that it was punctuated by lots of highly intense efforts: my average power for the ~3 hours was 239 w, with a normalised power of 272 w over that period. On over 40 separate occasions during the race I exceeded 600 w. I have not analysed in detail any other events for their corresponding statistics in that regard, but on the face of it that seems like a lot. Although the course was not on paper that hard, the race was by no means effortless.