I went to the last road race of the Spring Series as a 'C' race - a race that I used as training and done without preparation - and it was hard.
The course is the 'snake': a 10km loop with a climb about 600m in length with average grade of 10.4% and max gradient of 15.4%. Using my granny gear of 39-27, I was climbing with a cadence of 50's to 60's which was very uncomfortable. The first lap I climbed sitting down (which I prefer), the 2nd lap a coach was yelling "stand up" (to his people that was around me) so I tried standing up. My heart rate shot through to the roof and my quads were sore after the climb.
On every lap after the climb people get away. People like Stuart has the ability to accelerate after the climb. If they were around me I would try to sit in the group and try to bridge back. Because I do not have as much acceleration I would lose contact with the chase group and have to ride in time trial pace all the way down the hill to catch back to the pack. At lap 4 just ran out of gas. Lap 5 I was at "tempo" - a notch below time trial effort and rode with a guy. By lap 6 I have let that guy go at rode at a warm down pace. Climbing that hill was hopeless so I stopped after lap 6.
Anyways not a bad day - weather held up, race conditions was acceptible. No accidents in the C race. Can't really complain.
A couple of things I have learnt that day: when the roads are dirty with manure, you have to spit out the first squish of water you drink to rinse the nozzle and avoid getting sick. It was a bit of a mess but I survived. Also for older cyclists it looks like more training at zone 4 (time trial pace) to 5a (a little bit above) is more useful than short intervals at zone 5b (which is my max range).
Yesterday I did my first Time Trial Test: 8 miles, full pace. It took me more than 20 minutes which averages about 35kph. When I got home I was wobbly and hungry. It was more intense than most of my workouts this year. Definitely more of this type of training in the coming weeks.