What to Expect on May 15th

shields_multiple_PRINTTo all of you that participated in the Gruppo Sportivo training rides on Sundays from December through May…

First and foremost – you are ready!

Along with my teammates Omar, Vito, Frank and Ramon, I’ve watched a group of inspired riders take on the cold of winter, the climbs of the course and the typical trials and tribulations of cycling like flats and other mechanicals – and you’ve all come out ahead. The “B” group riders started strong and got stronger; many of you pushed me quite a bit this season. The “C” group riders went from “can I really do this?” to “bring it on!” in a few short months. And many “C” riders have switched from the Bear 50 to the full 100-mile sportive. I cannot think of any riders I’ve seen this season that can’t take on that challenge! While anything can happen on race day to interfere and ultimately sabotage completing the race, your fitness level and mental commitment can be counted on to perform for you on May 15th.

A few quick tips…

If this is a new challenge to you – first century, first Campagnolo GFNY, etc. – here are a few simple tips:

  1. BE CONFIDENT. This is far and away the most important advice. So much of endurance cycling is about your mental well-being and sometimes just convincing yourself you can accomplish a goal can get you there.
  2. DON’T OVER-TRAIN. If you’ve been training till now, you no longer need to “go hard” and it’s time to relax a little. Over these final two weeks, you should definitely ride, but don’t look for hill repeats or lots of extra miles. Just ride to stay fit and in your zone. Be comfortable. Enjoy the time on the bike.
  3. PLAN AHEAD. Everyone is different, but many of us have rituals before big races that require some planning. Be sure your bike is ready – for me that means new tires and new brake pads this week so I can do a few rides but have fresh gear for race day. That also means that I have already bought the tires and brakes – now I just have to install them.
  4. WEEKEND RITUALS. Again, is there a way you like to ease into a big race weekend? I take Friday off work for the Expo, relax on Saturday and, obviously, race on Sunday. But I also make sure I have my ritualistic ground chicken and pasta on Saturday, bagels both mornings and a few bananas.
  5. SLEEP. This one is easier said than done. I always nap on Saturday afternoon knowing that sleeping Saturday night is difficult. For many of us there’s a wake up time around 3 AM and we’re full of pre-race energy, so a full night sleep isn’t likely. Napping can help supplement that and sleep is KEY – so do what you can.
  6. ENJOY THE RACE! Whether you are racing at the front, trying to beat your own time, or just riding to finish – ENJOY IT! You’ve worked hard to get here and race day is an amazing day. Crowds, scenery, weather and attitude all play into a memorable event.

If you see me on the course…

OK – this is a tough one, but I have to be honest here. Sunday’s for the last six months have been all about YOU! Whether I was leading the B group and had to push myself to set the right pace or sweeping the C group taking it “easy” and focusing on coaching, each of those training rides was to get you ready for May 15th. My training took place the other six days each week.

On May 15th, that Sunday is all about ME! There, I said it. I’m not being a d!ck – I love riding with all of you. But on race day, I have a personal goal and to achieve it I need to remain focused and “do my own thing.” I may ride with some of you along the way and we may share conversation at an aid station as well. But if I seem rushed, impatient or inadvertently ignore you, please don’t take it personally. I probably won’t be rude, but I know that when I’m focused, I can really have tunnel vision. Last year someone was talking to me at the top of Bear Mountain and I completely ignored them. It wasn’t on purpose and, thankfully, they found it pretty funny when they saw me at the finish and I had no recollection of seeing them on Bear!

So, Jared, what’s YOUR goal?

I debated whether to include this but decided that putting a goal out there makes it that much more real and forces me to own up to it whether I make my goal or not. Here are my previous times:

  • 2013 – 7:12
  • 2014 – 7:07
  • 2015 – 6:44

My goal this year is 6:30. Six hours and thirty minutes. Including stops. I rode a solid ride in 2015 with no major issues and a strong finish. To take roughly 15-minutes more off that time, I need to do better than a “solid” ride – I need to ride hard. And I need to shorten my stops. My time gains won’t come on the climbs – I just haven’t improved that much in climbing. But if I can retain the energy to ride hard on the flats and rollers, and take shorter stops (especially on Bear!) I can make up that time. Last year I rode “OK” from Ramapo to River Road and then turned it up. This year I need to dial it up from Ramapo right through Dyckman Hill and into the finish.

What’s the bottom line?

I’m racing on May 15th. Granted, I’m racing myself, but unless you are one of the top few dozen riders, that’s what most of us are doing. Am I ready to meet my goal? I think so! And if I don’t? I’ll try again next year. No matter what, I’m out there to ride and have a great time doing it. And to share a few smiles and stories with all of you at the finish line. So, see you there!

One Response to “What to Expect on May 15th”

  • Mamadou Barry says:

    Hello,
    I really like the fact that you did better every year since 2013 until 2015 and hopefully even more better this year. I agree with you the fact that you don’t want to be distracted on race day and some people will understand. On race day there will be some moment when your body will be tired specially in the closing miles. Just think about how far you have come like training in cold days. In other word, all the struggles. I strongly believe you will do better this year than the previous. You have shown that you getting better every year. Keep that thought in mind on race day. I think you already figured out how and what to do on race day. It’s all about mental thoughness My comment is just a suggestion. Good luck

    You story really boost my confidence. It’s going to be my first GFNY race. My goal is to finish less than 6:30. I will do one stop only.

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