|The first "run-up"|
As the paved roads ended and the gravel began, the climbing also started. Southern Cross starts off with a few rolling climbs before the longest sustained climb to the top of the mountain begins. It was on these rollers that I started having difficulty and fell off the pace of the lead group. My travel companion for the weekend, Ernesto Marechin, also seemed to be having trouble at this point, so we ended-up riding together and did our best to keep our tempo high. But, the lead group continued to pull away from us and we were eventually caught by a small group of other riders.
I had a burning in my lungs and legs that I haven’t felt in a long time as the serious climbing started. I just couldn’t seem to get my legs of lungs to warm-up like I wanted. I’m sure the main reason for my discomfort was the cold (less than 40 degrees) temperature of the morning. My body started to feel better about one hour into the race. By this time, I had pulled away from most of the guys who caught me and also started catching a few guys that also fell off the pace of the lead group. I finally felt like I found my grove and could do what I wanted my body to do.
|The overall 2011 master mens podium with my IUP buddy, Doug.|