Note: This season, GPS City is sponsoring Mark Stuart, a cyclist for the Cyclepath Oakville Race Team. While racing, Mark uses a Garmin Edge 800 with cadence sensor, heart rate monitor and City Navigator. Below is an excerpt from one fo Mark's race recaps.
"On May 22, I participated in the Nith River Ontario-Cup Road Race. My final placing was 35th out of 47 participants and yet I consider it one of my best races. This was my fourth event since upgrading to the Master 2 category, and it turned out to be quite a large field. Not having had a chance to pre-ride the course, I wasn't sure what to expect so I hung around mid-pack for the first lap of our five-lap race and took in the surroundings."
As the rain started to let up on lap 4, another rider went off the front and was neutralized by one of my teammates. Then another went, and he managed to get a bit of a gap. I took a turn pulling at the front of the peloton, and then a strange thing happened - some open air appeared between me and the rest of the pack. Not sure what to think, I let off the gas a bit and rolled back into the fold. The pack slowed with me. I figured I would try pulling the group along so we could go after the guy who had ridden away, but again I found myself rolling off the front. This time I allowed myself to keep rolling away and after I had 20m gap, I started pedaling a little harder going up the hills without making it look obvious that I was trying to pull away."
"Another kilometer down the road, I started winding it up some more. The Garmin started showing some bigger number (in the speed AND heart rate departments) and I could see the rider in front of me getting closer. Coming up to the third corner (a 110 degree right hander) it appeared that the rider in front had stopped, which is exactly what had happened - he had fallen mid-corner."
"Head down, and thinking about round pedal strokes, I pushed into the wind along the rolling countryside. The odd glance back showed my gap increasing and all I could hear was Jen Voigt in my head speaking about why he goes out on breakaway. 'If I finish with the group, I have a 0% change of winning. If I got out on my own I may only have a 10% change of winning, but that is better than 0%, isn't it?'"
"Going through the Start/Finish on the bell lap, I was all by myself with about a 400m gap back to the group. If I could keep this up for another 16km, it really would be proper breakaway dream come true. Unfortunately, the chances of a breakaway succeeding are slim - even more so for the solo breakaway. Not far unto the final lap, the data I was getting from my trusty GPS was not telling a great story. My pace had fallen off slightly, and I couldn't seem to get my heart rate to settle down into a reasonable, sustainable zone. I made one or two final kicks before surrendering to the fact that my time in the limelight was over."
"So, was it worth cooking my legs for 20km by myself, and thereby giving up any chance I had to win the sprint in the slight hope that I could stay away to the finish by myself? You betcha!"