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Leesville Lodoga Road Race Report

July 14th, 2016

Leesville Lodoga Road Race – Todd Dodds 7/4/2016

Yesterday, Adam and I raced the Leesville Lodoga Road Race in Williams. We were both pleased we did for a number of reasons: got to race our bikes; we attempted to solve the worlds problems on the drive down to Williams and on the way back up to Redding; had a great meal at the Farwood Café in Orland. My race was the 3rd starting field and the first field racing 60 miles (really 64 miles but the race flyer indicated 60.) The P 1/2 and 35+ 1/2/3 fields raced 80 miles. Anyway, we had about 15 in the 45+ 1/2/3 field. For the first 20 miles, we rode at a reasonable pace which was pretty flat. After 20 miles is when the climbing started. There was an initial climb that was reasonably steep and deceptive because you could think that was the beginning of the long climb. Adam had shared his experience from last year so I knew that wasn’t the main climb but it gave everyone an idea how hard the pace was going to be. Once we got past the first climb we quickly came to the main climb which was about 3 miles long. It started out pretty steep and the pace started to gradually increase as we got into the climb. About a mile in I looked back and realized that there were only five us at the front and the others had fallen back. At that point, I felt great and was climbing well. I turned the pace up a little and soon found myself in front and seeing some of the four that were with me fall back. I knew that if I came over the climb burning a bunch of matches it would have been a mistake because there was 34 miles left of racing with 20 of them on the flats. I was pretty confident I could not hold off an organized group for that many miles so I slowed the pace a little. I topped the climb first and started the descent at a reasonable pace. Pretty quickly I was caught by a Body Concepts rider (not kidding, his name was Todd.)

On the descent, we rode pretty hard and took equal turns in front. Near the bottom we discussed some strategy and decided to maintain a good pace but not kill ourselves. Like me, he was a climber and he had some concerns about the last 20 miles and getting caught by an organized group. Anyway, we kept the pace up until the turn around (it was an out and back course) and that is when saw the chase group. They were about 30 seconds back so we thought for sure they would catch us before the climb. Todd suggested that we keep up a steady pace and maybe they would catch us at the base of the climb which was about a mile long. We thought they would have to work harder than us to catch us then we would drop them again on the climb. With each turn we took in front the one in back would look back and give a report if the group was catching us. Each report looked more promising, they were slipping back. We started to get a little hopeful about our break sticking. At the top of the climb, we could not see them so we pinned it on the 3 mile descent. Our only problem was we caught a pick up truck pulling a pop tent trailer about 2 miles into the descent and he would not move over. It was a little stressful but we remained calm. At the bottom of that descent we knew we had one more slight climb and then we would gradually roll down to the remaining flat 20 miles.

Once we finally got to 20 miles, we both were feeling a little more confident that we may cross the finish line before the group caught us. We traded equal pulls rolling about 23/24 miles an hour. I think my heart rate hovered about 170 the entire time; I wanted this to work. The miles kept melting away and the group was not gaining on us. About 4 miles remaining the race official rolled up to us to give a report on what was going on behind us. The group of four which contained two guys from the same team was not organized and there seemed to be some in fighting going on which was incredible news for us. A little later, one of the four attacked the group which we could see him gaining some time on us. That was about with 2 miles to go so our confidence was growing but we were not letting up. Finally, we reached the 1k marker and we were confident that our tactic worked…we were racing for 1st and 2nd. We were super excited. We agreed that we were not going to draft one another and just make it a drag race to the finish. As we rolled closer I saw the 200m sign and decided to sprint. Believe it or not, it worked. I got 1st place in a road race. I was extremely happy. It was great racing with someone who wanted to work together. If we hadn’t, the chase group would have caught us. It was a fun day of racing and spending time with Adam. Thanks Owens for the support.

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July 14th, 2016 12:31:23