There were ominous twitters coming out of the Davis Wheelworks on Wednesday afternoon. The county were resurfacing a mile long section of the Putah Creek with Chip seal and the race was in the balance. The organizers, Davis Wheelworks, decided to go ahead with the race but warned riders that one corner was particularly dangerous.
On my warm up ride I discovered that they had repaved the section from around mile 2.5 to just after the 90 degree corner (approx mile 3.7). The straight bits were not too bad if you kept in the car wheel tracks but occasionally there were some deeper sections of gravel to make things a little squirrely. The 90 degree corner was very sketchy and even at a slow speed it was dangerous. On the return leg the 90 degree corner wasn’t quite as bad but the following mile really dragged. The wind was moderate but from an opposite direction to last week.
In the race itself I didn’t feel the same sparkle in my legs as I did last week but still felt strong. When I hit the chipseal section I could feel it dragging and I was unfortunate to catch some people which meant having to ride in the more gravely bit till I got past. I really slowed down for the 90 degree turn but my front wheel still slid pretty dramatically and I had to put my offroad skills into practice. It was nice to get out of the rough section and back on the fast bit (tailwind I think) but I could see my time was not so good. My actual time to the turn was 11m22s.
On the return leg I caught another 3 riders and one of them was on the chipseal section where I got a little wobbly as I went past but not enough to slow me much. By the time I hit two miles to go I was pretty tired and it felt like a cross/headwind but I dug extra deep and just tried to keep my speed as high as possible.
My time was 22m36s which was 30 seconds slower than last week. I didn’t feel quite as good as last week but I have no doubt that much of the time loss was down to the sluggish surface and the pedestrian cornering speeds. I was encouraged to see the winners time was just a minute quicker than me and that the rider is normally in the 20 minute range. The return leg took me 11m14s.
Speed traces of this week vs last week show the dramatic effects of the chipseal (2.5 to 3.7 and 6.4 to 7.5). The 4 to 6 mile section reflects the opposite wind direction out and back from the turn.
- Time : 22m36s (26.55MPH)
- Result: 8th/37
- Winner: Jesse Moore (21m32 – 27.86MPH)