30 October 2005

Surf City #2 Soquel

Field: 35+ B

used the 44/34 12-25 bike with the 35mm wide Ritchey Excavaders inflated to 55 front and back. The Excavaders are about 3mm narrower than the 35mm Ritchey Speedmax, apparently Ritchey is measuring from outside knob to outside knob. For the first time this year during a race I used the small ring, at the beginning there was so much traffic that some guys had to stop and I downshifted so I could keep pedaling in the first sandy climb.
Teammates: Mike Schaller, Chris Pearson in the 35+ B's. Scott Dino in the 45+ B's, Chris D and Darrel Brokeshoulder in the 35+ A's, Joe Fabris in the 45+ A's. Friendly rivals : Murray and Mark from Pen Velo, Troy Boone and a bunch of guys I recognized from podiums in past years in 35+ B's, and Antonio Diaz and X-Men Eric Balfus, fellow cat 3 from the track in the C's.

Only got the first ten minutes as the PowerTap CPU flew off on an uphill(only about five vertical feet!) rough section after a long pavement/sidewalk. Started thinking, geez I'm an idiot to use a two hundred dollar bike computer during a cyclocross race, plus, I almost lost it once during a mtb race the same way. Thank goodness it's bright yellow as I saw it two laps later and picked it up after the race was over. Need to remember to use packing tape or something like that to hold that sucker on there tight.
S: 13.5
P: 191
W: 70 kg
I felt really fresh after finishing so I obviously did not push myself hard enough, again. They were still setting up the course after the race was scheduled to start so our start was delayed by ten minutes. The race started with a very short forty meter straightaway - not up to UCI/USCF spec dang it, then a 30 yard long climb in sand to a miniloop of the school, then a few hairpin turns until the graveyard, and a 300 meter pavement section that ended with a curb jump that had a short, 5 inch drop (they delayed the start to add in some planks to eliminate the need to do a jump but a jump would be smoothest here), then a short rise, then the traditional Soquel long off camber left into the tennis courts into the only run up. Ten minutes before start time they put a barrier here. The elevation change was about fifteen feet onto the wide trail parallel to the running track onto the paved section behind the sports field onto the ten foot rise onto the baseball diamond, a big loop around this field, a short fast descent onto the sports field with a hairpin turn into the double barriers then a short climb back to the baseball field level with a short sharp descending corner back to the lower sports field, around the sports field to the start finish. The main technical difficulties were in the transitions from fields at different levels as some of these ascents and descents were also hairpin corners or very off camber. Very fast course considering how little pavement there is. On the last lap Mike Schaller caught me (again!) and I followed him and was going to pass him at the line but the other two guys drafting him almost knocked each other over so I had to delay my move. I thought I didn't pip him but I got credit for being ahead of him in the official results. On the bright side I beat some folks that were ahead of me earlier this year and was closer to Troy timewise. Even though this had much more changes in elevation and less pavement than either of the races at Monster Park in San Francisco, the average speed for me was much greater. I think this is due to the fact that one could actually coast and keep one's speed up pretty high on the most of the course and the rough grass and sand sections were much shorter.

Joe Fabris had a cool GPS gadget that also was a HRM so he could download his races and overlay his progress on a topo map or compare his times and progress to others who did the same course with the GPS.

At one point in the race Eric Balfus (Eric Baijos in the results) came flying past me then came to an abrupt halt, a couple of times withing view of me in front of me. It turns out one of his brake pads on his cantilevers in the rear came loose and lodged itself underneath the rim. He had to stop and disabled his rear brake so he could continue.

23 October 2005

Pilarcitos #2 at Monster Park in San Francisco

35+ B
26th/27 ( I know I saw at least two guys DNF!)
Teammates:none. Darryl and Steve Stewart in the 35+ A's.
Friendly rivals:Murray, Mark of Penvelo, Jeremy Ferguson ( Curt raced the day before and was there for support.) and Blake Anton in the Juniors.

Had a good training week, setting a couple of personal best times on Kings Mountain and OLH.

This week registration opened at the scheduled 8:00. There was a line of ten by 7:r5 when I showed up. By 8:00 there were forty people in line. So if you come to a 9:00 CX race with a big turnout, show up even earlier so you don't have to waste too much time just standing in the registration line.

Similar to first course at Monster Park, mostly flat but hard to get a rhythm as much of the course was ungroomed and bumpy or turned to sand by the race two weeks ago. Switched the Kelly to a single chainring 40 to accomodate the SRM crank. Probably should have ridden this as I used the 44/34 bike and never used the small ring but felt a bit overgeared. After two laps I lost sight of the 35+ B I was following due to some passing C's and really lost concentration - had trouble forcing the pace without a rabbit. Then Blake and Jeremy passed me in quick succession. The power numbers are similar to what I would get for a crit, but I should really be pushing myself harder as there was only one spot where one would get the benefit of drafting. At least I was able to pass or keep up with everyone when I was running but that may be because I saved up too much energy with too much coasting. Unlike the first race at Monster Park I felt pretty fresh after the finish. Next race I will concentrate more on consistent hard pacing which has led to my better climbing. Other things I noted - there was one small whoop de whoop that would have been fastest to ride down - dismount - run up but I have not practiced dismounting on a downhill so I was a total klutz.

NP: 208W
IF: 0.89
AVG: 182W
T: 39:14
S: 12.2

09 October 2005

Sacramento CX - Granite Beach

Some folks in the club were complaining about the commute time, so for the record it took me 2:15 to get there and 2:30 to get back. There is a seven dollar parking fee but I could not figure out how to do this with self service so I skipped this - later in the day the entrance is manned. There were bathrooms as the race flyer was so proud of but the toilet in the one I used functioned as a bidet - it spit water out laterally about three feet. I was going to do the C's at 9:45 and the B race at 12:45 but the C race took me about forty five minutes to complete instead of the scheduled thirty so I got my entry fee's worth in right there. Tried doing a few efforts after finishing the C's and eating and hydrating to see if I could do anything but had nothing left in the legs so decided not to race the B's. I'm kinda glad because the rider that Curt and I refer to as the worst bike handler in NorCal showed up to race the B's on his touring bike.

Category: C
Friendly rivals: Jeremy Ferguson in the Junior B's, Curt Ferguson in the B's, Blake Anton in the Junior A's and the Junior B's. Juan said he was going to show up but apparently bailed.
Results: 12/18 5:18 behind the winner. After racing in the C's, Master B's, Master A's, and the B's, always seem to be about a minute per lap down on the winner. I am nothing if not consistent.
Needed arm warmers in the shade but overheated quickly after doing a hot lap of the course. This temperature held well into the afternoon. It was tricky to find the maximum speed in some of the turns with a lot of sand. Went with the 44/34 bike with the Excavaders at 60PSI. Never used the small ring. The course was about two miles long and mostly flat. It started with four hundred meters of pavement, a slight turn up hill then onto double track with a bottleneck two feet wide made by a couple of thousand pound boulders, then a slight singletrack descent that was very sandy and twisty into doubletrack on an open field that led into the first sand trap of about ten yards length leading to a road with a slight incline for about five hundred meters, then a 180 turn into a single track descent that led into the fifteen meter sand pit, a few twists, then a descent down to the beach and back to the sidewalk surrounding the beach for a long 400 meters or so of very wide sidewalk, then a short double track section into the double barriers and back to the start finish. Lots of running in sand. On the first lap was with everyone else until the twisty descent when I lost my never and let a gap open. This gap got bigger on the first sand pit as I just grinded my way through when it was faster to get off and run. Had trouble motivating myself to push hard when I saw the gap, either that or my ride yesterday killed my legs. Fell a couple times in sandy sections on the first couple of laps and learned to follow the shallow lines in the sandy areas instead of the deep ruts pretty quickly. After that I was mostly solo with a few riders catching me or me catching a rider. This made the race harder than it needed to be as there were several four hundred to six hundred meter sections on the road or a hard running surface that would have been much easier with a wheel to suck. On the last lap I could see a couple of guys that passed me earlier, managed to outrun one guy during the longer sand pit so he must have been really tired, then after the double barriers, had a 30 meter gap behind the other guy. I sprinted with all I had and came up a wheel short (about 13 w/kg), he didn't know I was there until he heard my labored breathing after the finish line... My average and normalized power are pretty dang low. Had trouble motivating myself when I was solo in those long paved/hardpack sections. Need to pace myself with the power meter or something just to make myself go hard enough, and run more instead of grinding slowly in the sand.

P: 148
NP: 177
D: 10.33
S: 13.4
T: 46:something

02 October 2005

Pilarcitos CX #1 at Monster Park in South San Francisco

Category:35+ B
Cast of characters
Teammates: Mike Schaller, David Puglia in 35+ B's. Darrel Brokeshoulder, Matt McNamara, Mark Kurashige in the 35+ A's. Friendly rivals Curt Ferguson, Juan Ortiz, Mark from EMC, Mark and Murray Swanson(?) from PenVelo in 35+ B's, Jeremy Ferguson, Joel Shaffer in the Juniors, Keith, Antonio, Channing and Gregg Machaz in the C's.

Was sick since Santa Cruz Crit so didn't ride much or was "well rested" coming into this race. Course was flat. Two sets of barriers. Pilarcitos up'ed the race time from last years' thirty minutes to forty minutes this year. Juan said he had been standing for the past two days at Interbike and hadn't ridden in while. I got there early and this year Pilarcitos opened registration early so the thirty minute line of last year was not repeated, thank goodness. Got in two easy laps and two hot laps of the course, the main difficulty was there were two very big holes that could knock you off your bike if you were unaware of their presence ( this eliminated Mark from PenVelo as he was solo in the lead on the first lap and hit one of them and broke off one of his STI levers in the ensuing carnage), a couple of turns on loose stuff that had a very high entry speed and a five foot hill after the second set of barriers and two five foot hills separated by about ten feet of riding including a 135 degree turn. About twenty feet of elevation change per lap so my kind of course. Chose to use the slightly higher geared 44/34 12/25 bike with 60 PSI in the Ritchey Excavaders. Juan was on the front for the start, invited me up there but I didn't think it would matter that much but I was wrong as the course was too narrow by modern standards and did not permit passing very easily in many spots. Mike got to the start late and was in the back row behind about forty guys. Did not see Juan again after the first lap, he finished up two minutes ahead of me. Mike was behind me until the next to last lap when I let a fellow knock me over in one of the many narrow sections of the course. I almost caught up to Mike at the end, 2 seconds back, but ran out of room, waited too long to try to catch up. I thought I was suffering pretty badly after the first lap and pretty much each lap afterwards was hoping to hear a lap countdown while passing through the start finish. When we got it, I was expecting the bell but heard three laps to go. For whatever reason I was doing better in the off road sections that many of the other people around me but they put the hurt on me in the long pavement section, which was the opposite of what I was expecting given my tire pressures - perhaps the tread is better for loose stuff? The course deteriorated and turned to a very sandy loam in many spots, I fell once on my own in each of the last two laps. I felt better about this when I watched the Master A's race and many of them fell at various points during their race. Channing (I think) caught me after just five minutes even though he staged 30 seconds back, and young Jeremy caught me after 18 minutes after spotting me one minute. Ran into Mark Kurashige at the end of my race. He had left his shoes and helmet at home (I like to bring two pairs of shoes to each race for some reason) and raced back home to get them and missed our 35+ B start and chose to race the 35+ A race with three different national champions instead.

The average and normalized power were both much lower than I expected as I know I can do much more than that, even accounting for the fact that the running is not included in the power data. I hope it's just the aftereffects of the cold/flu as I felt I was pushing as much as I could. And my quads and hamstrings felt a little sore afterwards, I thought this was pretty unusual as there were only two dismounts per lap for a total of fourteen x five yards of running, and my legs never get sore even after really hard bike rides. Some of the fast guys I saw were running the two hill junction and were running farther after the first set of barriers but this may have been due to the course deteriorating under the load of hundreds of guys doing lap after lap. On the plus side no mechanical issues for me as I saw plenty of others quit due to mechanicals which was somewhat surprising on a flat, nontechnical course.

M: 70 kg ( got down to 68 last week but then got sick so may stick around here for a while...)
T: 45:24
P: 178
S: 12.4
D: 9.34 miles
NP: 200
IF: .83