A week after my first ride with Topical Edge’s Performance & Recovery (PR) Lotion, I arrived in Dunnigan, CA for my first road race of the year, the Dunnigan Hills Road Race. (I had raced several crits already, but this would be my first and only road race for 2017 thanks to cancelled races and conflicting schedules.)

Last Year’s Race

I had ridden this same race this last year, during my first season of true road racing, and finished 10th as a Cat 5. Last year’s race was super tough for me: the pace was fast, and I began to cramp up at mile 25 of 45. I got dropped from the front group with about 5 miles to go, and came in solo with a finishing time (1 course lap) of 1:53:32. (See the ride on Strava)

This Year’s Race

Race map from Dunnigan Hills RR

This year I was a Cat 4, which meant we would ride two laps of the same course (so 90 miles). (See the ride on Strava) Field size was roughly the same as last year’s race, but we turned in lap times of 1:51:21 and 1:52:36 (both faster than last year’s single lap race!)

Note: if you compare my power numbers between the two years, you’ll notice the first year’s is ~30 watts higher. These power numbers are from two different power meters, though, so I would take them with a grain of salt.

This time around, I applied PR Lotion in my truck just before kitting up. The first 85 miles of the race were easy–much easier than last year’s single lap. I had no problem hanging with the front pack, and in fact went off the front with ~5 miles left to catch and attack a solo break. One other rider joined me, and while we did reel in the break, the rest of the pack also reeled us in after I began cramping and my breakaway partner slowed. I must say, it felt good to have enough left to attack at the end!

My big mistake was in the last 500 meters of the race. We had a pack of 20+ riders heading into an uphill finish with a center line rule, and I was positioned a few riders back from the front of the pack. When a strong rider took off to gap everyone for the finish, I was boxed in and could not respond quickly. I fought my way to an 8th place finish, but just positioning myself better would have given me a shot at the podium. Lesson learned.

My cheering section!

Speaking of Lessons Learned…

Managing your hydration is a challenge in long amateur races. This time around, I felt the urge to “go” about 20 miles in. It wasn’t a strong urge, but between what I perceived to be a fairly easy race effort on my part, a full bladder, and brain depleted of glycogen I didn’t drink nearly as much water as I should have. In fact, I only drank 1.5 bottles during the nearly 4 hour race in August heat!

I didn’t realize how much of a mistake this was until I got back to the parking lot and started changing out of my kit. That’s when my vision blurred, dizziness set in, and I made my way to the nearest gas station for lots of cold liquids. I would nurse a headache and nausea the rest of the day.

The PR Lotion Effect

Once my brain started working again I drove home and thought through the race. Did PR Lotion make a difference? I felt it absolutely had. My legs never burned until the finishing sprint and in fact, when cramping set in during my break with 5 miles to go I was surprised because I felt I hadn’t worked enough for cramping to be a problem!

So this was another lesson I needed to learn: since PR Lotion decreases acidity, you feel less burning and your heart rate is slightly reduced. If like me much of your rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is based on heartrate and the burning in your legs, your RPE for any given hard effort will be lower with PR Lotion. But your body is still doing the work. You still need hydration and fuel, and those muscles will still cramp up if pushed beyond their limits.

COMING UP

Stay tuned for additional posts where I test PR Lotion in various ride conditions. If you haven’t tried it yet, you absolutely should. Buy it now > (use promo code “ZBBOGO” to buy one, get one free thru 11/23/17)

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