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Mar. 26, 2008
Will’s Workday in the Milan-San Remo Office
This just came in from Will, who spent a good chunk of last Saturday off the front at Milan-San Remo, a personal favorite of mine and one of the coolest one-day races on the planet.

How much Clif can a guy eat in one day? I put this one to the test this past Saturday at Milan-San Remo, and found that the answer is: a lot. MSR is a pretty epic day; the longest race we do all year by a solid 50k, with the total on the Powertap reading 311k by the time I reached the bus after the finish. It had been beaten into our heads time and time again by the veterans on the team, notably Maggy (Backstedt), that every 20k you aren't putting calories in, you can lop 20 off what you'll be able to do before going flat. So, if you forget to eat the first 20k you'll be done by 280, forget for another 20 at some point mid-race and you're cooked at 260. With the race pretty much decided in the last 30k, slightly bizarre really, it's pretty damn important to have your legs as full as possible for the showdown.

This time however I was one of the guys targeting the long bomb breakaway so typical of, well, just about any race you see. In MSR however that long bomb is a really, really long bomb—the ICBM of breakaways. At the start of the race, having already downed a few hundred calories since a breakfast that was indisputably the most food I've ever consumed before 10am, riders took no time to get the day going. It was a weird sort of "slow motion" (though still at 50+kph) first series of attacks, everybody, as normal, wanting to be in the move, but with bulging stomachs and the food-burps that went with them, and the fact that we all had 300k in our minds, everything was a bit sluggish. Somebody would attack, but the second it appeared that it wasn't the right move everybody would fade off and somebody else would give it a go. After a bit of time you could feel that people were ready to stop all the nonsense and let something go. I was the lucky guy to put in the right attack at the right time and almost instantly the field sat up and the 4 of us looked at each other with that "uh-oh" look, and dropped our heads until we established a good solid gap.

It was about this point when I realized I'd forgotten to eat for the first 50k, but with a few minutes between us and the peloton and pockets overflowing with grub, I settled into the rhythm of pull for a minute, drift back, recover, eat, "digest", and pull again. That was to be the pattern for the next 5 or so hours. By the end of the day I did a rough mental tally of what I'd put down and it was straight up silly: somewhere in the range of 6 fruit tarts, 2 little sandwiches, 3 Mojo bars, 5 packs of Bloks, and at minimum 6 or so Shots, not to mention 3 cokes and somewhere in the range of 15 bottles of Shot drink mix. All of that plus the mass of food still lodged deep in my belly from breakfast, and maybe a couple of winter pounds in the reserve tank, managed to get me through the day.

As for the race itself, all I can say is that it was a pretty amazing way to experience one of the true classics. Being able to settle in and "enjoy" the ride along one of the more stunning coastlines, packed with Easter weekend crowds, was unforgettable. And then to watch the race really throw down right when they caught the 3 of us, thoroughly spent, at the bottom of the Cipressa, was impressive—and also a bit of a relief knowing that my day was done. While the hitters threw down for the last 25k, I got to gimp it in to the line, satisfied with the effort, and feeling fully cooked. Fortunately a few days off were on the books for the week ahead and it's been nice enjoying them to the max Now it's back to the "grind" for a bit before heading up to Belgium next week for a few weekends of cobblestone action—can't wait!



Photo credit: Slipstream Sports
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Le Sensation American
Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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