by Jimmy Davis
Last year, 2014 I raced in the Bike the Bluff Road race. Once that race was complete it was on my radar for 2015. I wanted to go to this race in tip top shape and stand on the podium (or at least top 10).
On the day of the race I felt really good, except that my stomach was unhappy again and I made several runs (no pun intended) to the bathroom. I got to the line along with my teammates and we waited to be sent off. I was very happy to have so many IC3 members (me, Ken, Greg, JJ, Eric and Michael was in the Cat 4's) in the race along with many JKG racers.
As we began the neutral start I felt pretty good. One racer came along side me and said, “Jimmy Davis, Jr…when are you gonna move up to Cat 4, I’m tired of racing against you!” I was glad to see folks that I had raced against in the past. I felt pretty comfortable.
As the lead car moved out of the way the race began. My first goal was to get over the hill that I was dropped on last year. It is only about 10 miles into the race and I did not want to spend an hour chasing like last year. I was able to stay with the group without any real difficulty although I knew that we were moving at a pretty good clip.
During the race the only teammate that I saw was Greg. I was unsure where the other guys were in the pack but hoped that they were doing well. After getting over the hill that killed me last year I began to focus on saving energy. I had a few rides earlier in the month that had exposed a weakness and Buzz had counseled me on minimizing the issue during a ride. The group was big enough that there was plenty of shelter. In our race there was a break away that went out fairly early. The breakaway had a rider who had some teammates in the Peloton and those guys went to the front of the pack at one point to slow down the Peloton, to which I was grateful. We caught these guys with about an hour left in the race, however. My next goal was to get through the little neighborhood that we had to negotiate. Fortunately, this year they did not take the turns like a crit and we went through pretty safely.
This year I paid closer attention to eating and drinking on the ride. A friend of mine had called me prior to the race to remind me to drink plenty of water. I did feel a slight wiggle of the hammy at one point but the cramps never materialized…I backed off a bit to keep the cramps at by. Finally we came to the turn that takes us to the final 3 climbs toward the finish line. I still felt pretty good but once the climbs began I slowly started to fade. I began to look at my power meter and try to ride at an output that I thought I could maintain at that time. I ended up riding near 3 other guys but we really did not work together. I waited for a guy coming behind me because he looked like he had his second wind…he brought me up to two other riders. However, one of them kept riding away from our little group and we would catch him until he’d ride away again…then we’d catch him (like a yoyo on a rope).