From the Back of the Pack: 2008 Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Classic

Posted: May 5, 2008 in Bicycle Racing

The short story is I finished for the first time in my last several attempts at this race and I stayed in the peloton longer than I have over the same period of time. Though this doesn’t sound like much progress, at my age you have to savor any progress that you make.

I really didn’t start the race in a good frame of mind. I’ve been worrying about getting dropped quickly — especially after last week’s debacle race at Devils Punchbowl. My teammate and I stayed at my parents’ house in Murrieta on Saturday night and we got to the start not-so-bright but early at about 6:15 AM. Got ready, warmed up a little, and waited with 65 other riders for the start.

I felt OK on the initial climb up to Old Highway 395. Going over the top I faded to the back but I didn’t have a problems on the descent or being right in the peloton after the hard right-hand turn at the bottom of the hill. I was conserving energy on the back side of the course and the we made the very hard right on to climbing section back to the start / finish. I felt pretty good until we got to the 1 Km to the finish sign. I started coming off the back but I was hoping that the pack would slow a bit approaching the steeper climb. I was maybe 50 meters off the back when we crossed start / finish but once we got to the steeper climb I was history.

I stayed within myself back up to Old Highway 395 and just as I got to the top another racer caught me. Cutting to the chase, we ended up working together for the duration of the race. I dropped him (not intentionally as we were finishing the race — 4 laps) but as we were approaching the finish I realized that he was charging up next to me. We sprinted to the line for next-to-last (56th) and last place. I beat him by inches.

So two weeks in a row with next-to-last finishes (of those who finished). However, after comparing my Garmin data to last year this year is a marked improvements. I take my small victories where I can.

  1. Jeff S says:

    glad you hung in there, it’s a real tough loop to do solo because the headwinds on the bottom are just brutal then the climb around the corner doesn’t help. The course is part of my normal training ground and you have to time the recovery just right before getting back on Lilac. On the backside, after you cross the bridge you make 2 left bends, recover after the second bend cuz 8 out of 10 times those head winds you gritted your teeth over are either blocked a lil by the trees or transformed into crosswinds now. Looked like ALLOT of people were out there racing the course at the same time. Glad you had fun in SD.

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