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Ride report: 28th Annual Jamestown Classic (long).

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Old October 14th 03, 07:45 PM
David Kerber
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Default Ride report: 28th Annual Jamestown Classic (long).

Monday was the 28th running of the Jamestown (RI) Classic bike race.
It is a whole series of races for everyone from kids to Cat 1 racers.

I ran the "Citizen's" race, which was one lap of Conanicut Island,
(the island Jamestown on), about 19.1 miles; my goal was to beat 1
hour. The weather was wonderful: about 60 F at the start, with a
moderate breeze out of the North. The course is basically a long
narrow oval with the major axis oriented north-south, so the wind
would be in our face for about the first 6 miles and the last 3. On
this course, that is how you want it for good times, because the
southbound leg is much more exposed than the northbound, which is
mostly in the trees. The Rotary club does a great job organizing the
race, and they have people stopping the cars at every intersection, so

if you aren't way behind they will stop the cars for you and wave you
through stop signs; it's a chance to really make a good time or just
not tire yourself out by stopping and starting all the time.

Because I was a little late getting registered, I was toward the back
of the starting pack, which probably numbered 150 or so (when they get

the results posted, I'll know exactly how many there were). It
probably took a full minute or so to get to the starting line from the

time it started, and another half-mile or so for things to thin out
enough that I could get into a rhythm and find someone to draft for a
bit. On the first leg to the north, I discovered that I was really
too far back in the pack for the speed I was riding: I passed a bunch

of people and was only passed by one or two.

By the time I rounded the top of the island at about the 6 mile point,

approx 20 minutes into it, I was with people who were much closer to
my speed, and was able to grab a draft every so often and rest a
while. One guy was going just the speed I wanted to, so I drafted him

a while, then as I went around him, I offered to pull. He stuck on my

wheel for a while, but at one small uphill section, he fell back and I

didn't even notice until he was probably 100 ft back. It turned out
that this was the pattern through most of the race: I would suck a
wheel on the flats or even be unable to keep up, but once we got to a
hill I would pretty much ride right past the group when they slowed
more than I felt comfortable with. There was one guy on a very
squeaky road bike whom I must have passed at least 8 or 10 times on
the hills, then he would blow past me on the downhill or the flats,
and I couldn't even grab his wheel as he went by.

Just after the 12 mile point (35 minutes) we cross a short wide-open
stretch where the road runs across a low neck of land about 10 feet
above sea level, with open water on both sides and the wind catches
you broadside, and then it quickly turns uphill through the trees
again. After a couple of leg-burning climbs (because of their length,

not the steepness) and a stretch down a tree-lined street, you are on
a short stretch through an open section of a park where you are going
down a shallow hill with the wind, make a fairly sharp curve around
the lighthouse, and then it feels like hitting a wall: you are now
going back up the hill with the wind right in your face. The two or
three miles back to the low neck are rather miserable: the trees act
like a wind tunnel, funneling the breeze directly into your face. At
least it's mostly downhill with only a few short uphill stretches, but

even down the hills I couldn't hit more than about 25 mph into the

After crossing the neck back onto the main island again, it's the home

stretch. Last year I didn't realize how close this is to the end of
the race, and took it kind of easy for a bit, but this year I knew
better. There is a long uphill straight, moderately steep by Rhode
Island standards. Looking ahead, I saw a lot of people struggling up
the hill or spinning at slow speeds. I put my bike into the 52/20
(IIRC) gear, stood up and chugged at about 60 rpm and passed a bunch
of them. One of them was the guy on the squeaky bike and another lady

who I had passed and been passed by several times over the last 5
miles or so (she was also chugging and passing a bunch of people, but
seemed to run out of gas just before the top, and I passed her just
before topping it).

When I topped the hill I sat back down, dropped a couple of gears, and

tried to put the burning in my thighs out of my mind for the last
half-mile. There was a rather sharp left turn onto another road a
couple hundred yards further along, and I took it at about 23 mph,
nearly killing myself: I tried to start pedaling too soon out of the
turn, and hit my left pedal on the pavement. It bounced me straight
sideways a couple of times before I was able to recover my control.
It had so much sideways force that I twisted my seat about 30 degrees
out of position. During the time it took me to get my foot back into
the clip and get the seat turned to where I could pedal, the guy on
the squeaky bike passed me and I couldn't catch him again before the
finish line (which at that point is probably only 1/4 mile away). If
I hadn't been so stupid on the corner, I might have beaten him home,
though it would have been close. No apparent damage done except for
leaving some aluminum from my pedal on the road, and the wheel still
seemed to be true, so it was just a learning experience.

I ended up with a time of about 1:02 (didn't think to stop my
stopwatch until well after I crossed the line), averaging 18.6 mph
according to my computer. Just missed my goal time, but I pretty much

left it all out on the course, so I was pretty satisfied with how I
rode. I think if I had started up toward the front of the pack and
been able to find some people of my speed earlier in the race, I might

have been able to beat my goal (of course, saving that minute it took
just to get TO the starting line would have helped as well!). It's a
great race, and I'll definitely run it next year if the weather's nice

again; it's been great two years in a row now.

After the citizen's race was over, I stuck around to watch the pro and

masters races. It's amazing to me how long some of those guys can
maintain their speed, even when they're 20 years older than I am.
Maybe by the time I'm their age, I'll be as good as they are...

Dave Kerber
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