Well, I made my trip to Emerald Mountain yesterday for the Tuesday Thunder "training race" and now aI knoww what it is like riding with cat 1 riders with a few Cat 3 guys sprinkled in the mix. The original plan was for a few of the cat 5 guys from the team to show up. They nevber did. Well, the only cat 5 guy from my team that showed up was Dave, and he should be about a Cat 3 but he just started racing on the road and has not acummulated enough mass starts andd points to move up.
Anyway, it's 5:15 and we hit he road. We had 14 guys in the group. Our very own Chad showed up just in time to make the takeoff. We took a right out of Slades gas station and headed to our first big climb. My initial goal was to stay with the pack to the climb where I knew there was no way I would be able to stick with them. So we are moving down the road and within a mile I look down and we are going 24, 25, 26... by a mile and a half, we hit 28, I gotta stand up to keep with the guy ahead of me, 29, man, gotta stand up again to keep up, 30, again, 31, my heart is about to burst, heart rate out the roof, my legs are starting to feel like wet noodles and we haven't even been 2 miles yet!!!!!
At 32 mph (yes, you are reading that correctly) I started to fall off aand there was no hope of getting back on that train of pain. They were still speeding up!! The 3 guys behind me came around and jumped on back. I stayed within about 100 yards of them for another mile or so whn I saw 3 other guys fall off. For the next 20 miles I chased these two guys, catching one of them about 3 miles till the end. From what I heard after the ride is that it got up to around 33 before they hit the first big climb that destroyed the group. It was absolutely the most painful 2 miles of my life and I was sucking wheel as hard as I could trying to draft as much as possible and still couldn't hang on.
By the end of the ride, I ended up catching one other guy and we swapped up pulls down through Emerald Mt. and caught another guy at the end. Rode into the parking and there were 2 cars there, one of them being mine, everyone else was gone.
Next week I will be back for more suffering but I will definitely focus on warming up before doing this again! New goal... make it more than half way to the first climb!