Type 1 Cycling

Type 1 Cycling

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Race Day - Negba

This past weekend I had my first race.  Some of the guys from the group have raced before, one or two race regularly.  For me this was going to be a learning experience, as I am hoping to race more in the future.  The next race I plan to go to is the National Amateur championships.  So hopefully everything learned from this race would go towards a better performance at the Nationals.  The race itself for my category consisted of 5 laps of a 15KM course, totaling 75KM, around Kibbutz Negba. For maps and course profile you can see how it looked on strava.

The team before heading to the start line
The team had done some training on the course a couple of weeks earlier so I was familiar with the route.  Mostly it was flat, however there were two steep rises.  They were not major climbs however they would present a challenge staying with the peloton.  I was not going to with this race.  I did set myself some goals.

Negba Kibbutz

  • Stay with the peloton as long as possible.
  • Get comfortable riding in a big peloton
  • If I could help out my teammate who had a chance of winning.
  • Take water while racing
  • Complete the race in a reasonable time
  • Eat enough before and during the race that I finish with good numbers.
  • Have fun
The tl;dr version is that I learned a lot.  Staying in the peleton is hard work.  If you miss the back you will not get back on.  At the end of the first lap I slowed too much to get water.  I could not get back to the peloton and I was left riding out 4 laps at a much slower pace.  I was not able to be much help to Alon, though he still managed to claim second place.  I got much better at taking water while moving quickly on later laps.  I felt that my time for finishing 75KM was pretty good. According to my Strava data I held 225 watts for 2 and a quarter hours, which I think is damn impressive.  I managed to get my eating right and didn't finish the race with blood glucose too high or too low (massive win for me).  I had a lot of fun.

Pictures from the race here.

For those who want more detail read on.

The night before the race Alon came over for dinner.  I had lowered my long term insulin to 22units and I took only 7 units of short term insulin for dinner.  We discussed tactics a little but mainly ate huge amounts of pasta.  A big worry for me usually because so much carbohydrate late in the evening makes me sleepy.  Considering I had to get up early (4:45am) the following morning feeling sleepy early on in the evening was not likely to be a problem.  After dinner I got my bike and kit ready for an early start in the morning.  I checked my sugar before bed and it was in 74mg/dl.  I started second guessing the amount of insulin I took.  I finished everything I had to do and checked once more - 92.  Ok it was heading in the right direction.  I decided to risk it and went to bed.

I woke up at a time that I have previously gone to bed on a Friday night.  Dressed, coffee, blood test 234, a bit higher than I would have liked.  5 units of insulin, to bring myself down and to cover the sandwich that I ate on the way there.

Alon was already attaching his bike to the rack when I got downstairs.  We finished loading up the car and got on our way.  Thankfully the roads were clear and we got to the car park at 5:55.  There were many people there already and a good contingent from our team.  I walked Leehee to the water tent that we had set up on the hill.  Aviv was organizing things, I introduced them and left them too it while I while I started to warm up.

We took a group photo and made our way to the start.  I realised as I was doing my final BG test and grabbing a snack that I still had my glucagon kit on me.  I quickly went to find our support car that would be following my group around, unsuccessfully, and just made it back in time for the start.  Final check before the start, 229, I stuff half an energy bar in to my mouth and waited with my teammates.  We got moving at a decent pace.  Generally I was feeling fine, a little anxious about being in a large peloton but I was up for it and I felt like I could hang with the pace.  I was getting used to the movement of the group and trying to get into a rhythm.  But my legs weren't feeling nearly as relaxed as I wanted.  My glutes and hamstrings were really tight and worse my heart rate was at 171bpm.  This was really bizarre because at this level I should have been struggling, but I felt ok and I was getting the power out of my legs.
some of the elite racers coming past the water tent.

The first lap was at quite a pace and I was happy that I stuck with the peloton.  I was pretty happy that considering my high heart rate which was starting to settle down and my tight legs I was still able to ride in the pack.  It was all a bit nervous, certainly that's how I felt and I figured others were this way as well.  There was a lot of jostling for position, I was finding myself near the front and within a few moments near the back.  I worked myself into the middle but I was on the right hand side coming towards the end of the lap where the team water point was.  I couldn't find away through so I let myself go back to the pack and round to the right hand side of the road to get water.  I collected the water from Aviv at pace but too slow to stay on the back of the pack, the next 50 meters continued to rise and I had to put in a big dig to catch them.  Unfortunately I could not.  The pack were getting away from me and I was fast approaching my limit. 

dropping off a bottle 
I chased hard, giving it everything.  I took a corner too wide and almost crashed out, thinking if I could just make it up the next rise I could go all out on the descent and catch up.  I could see them pulling away with every peddle stroke and towards the end of the down hill they were out of site and I knew I had no chance.  I saw some individuals in front of me and as I got closer I saw some green shirts.  They were members of X-Team from the 40+ and 50+ starts.  I caught and passed them and Shai came back up to my wheel and we decided to work together for the rest of the race.

I was now at a much more comfortable pace, switching between leading, on the flat and downhill, and following on the rises.  My heart rate had come down into the mid 160s and my legs were loosening up.  I could now think about feeding.  I was worried that my sugar might be dropping after the second lap and I had a gel and some energy chews.  I was trying to eat something small but regularly.  Alternating between energy gels, bars, dates and chews.  I mistakenly did not record exactly what I ate but made sure to eat something small when I could.  I drank at least a bottle a lap.  My first two bottles had electrolyte and the rest were just water.

As the race went on we got passed by the Elite riders and they flew passed us at quite a pace.  The last lap I was feeling really good.  I was glad when it start to rain briefly that we weren't in a big group.  The roads were very slippery and it caused many accidents around the course.  We came up to a big group from X-Team, they were not riding so quickly so Shai and I went past them.  I rode up the rise following the turn off the main road, able to stand up on my peddles and power up the hill.  I took the down hill carefully and when I saw that I was riding away from Shai I slowed up and let him come to my wheel.  Eventually though he couldn't hold my pace and I rode away.  Finally on the last hill, I pushed myself.  I stood up on the peddles and gave it what I could.

Final lap, final hill.
I have never been so motivated coming passed my wife and the rest of the X-Team crew in the water tent loudly cheering me on giving me the power to speed up the final rise and on to the finish.  I was about 15 minutes behind the peloton.  Not as good as I was hoping but still happy that I finished and certainly good that I did not get lapped.

pushing hard to finish strong
The most encouraging part was that I finished the race with a blood glucose of 146mg/dl.  This is better than I had expected.  Not too high or too low.  I had something to eat to keep my sugars from dropping and went to the awards ceremony.  Out team did quite well.  Alon came second in our race, the 30-39 category.  We also got second in mens 60+, womens 30-39, and second and third in women's 50+.
Alon in second place 30+
Avi in second place 60+
Vered in second place womens 30+

Following the ceremony the team got together and had brunch.  It was a great day, everyone had a good time.  There were a couple of scrapes but we all survived the race well.
Team brunch

I look forward to the next one.

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