28 May 2006

Mt Hamilton RR

35+ 4/5 22/~45
Teammates:none ( did see Filip V, JVM, Mark D, Gene R, Steve M, Lisa, Daniel T and others in different fields)
Friendly rivals: Mark S from Pen Velo, Tom F from the topica wattage list, (initially forgot)X, John C and Bob R from EMC.

A little adventure to get to the start on the backside of Mt Hamilton, when doing it by a bike the road seems pretty wide but in the car I find myself hitting the botts dots all the time because it's only slightly wider than my car and this seems preferable to finding the edge of a 1000 foot drop. In the first competition of the day I am the second rider to arrive at the start at about 6:50 AM. I may have to leave later than 5:30 from home next time I do this, but by the time we start, the shoulders are filled with the cars of riders and some have to park pretty far away, so being a little early pays off. The odor of burning brakes fills the air at the start for most of the cars that descended the east side of Mt Hamilton.

We get two numbers, one for the officials, and one so CHP can identify folks who flaunt the law.

Put on two layers on top and arm warmers, knee warmers and a cap for some spinning around the start area and find my teeth chattering uncontrollably on the descents and almost comfortable on the climbs. Dumped the knee warmers for the start.

The starter warned us of a tricky left turn on the descent after the first climb and asked us to be neutral until after this. This did not work at all as a few people went off the front immediately on the first climb. Mark said his one teammate wanted to see how long he could stay away.

Mark's teammate ends up winning the race with the guy in second earning approximately his 40th upgrade point...

The first climb was like a short VO2max interval but not that hard ( I guess that was the neutral part) so I was able to maintain position near the front. The descent passed without incident although after the next climb I could hear someone applying their brakes hard behind me and getting closer and closer and prepared myself for some sort of collision but then I heard a clanging of bike on ground. Tom F was behind this fellow and said the poor guy's tire blew out. After this I was able to hang onto the group without incident to the feedzone. I think we only had fifteen racers left by then. Tom F thinks there was a breakaway off the front but I am pretty sure we caught him ( Mark's teammate) by the base of the climb. We roll through the feed zone before they are ready, but no matter, I brought one bottle and only drank half of it by the finish. There are two small bumps after the feedzone then the first long climb on the backside. I got dropped after the two bumps.

Not sure why I got dropped here. The NP for the race up to this point was only 240, perhaps it was mental, but then again we dropped about 30 guys by this point. I have a higher output than this for a longer period of time when doing long intervals so it's puzzling. Anyways, tried to do FTP up the hill, managed 244 for 11 minutes. This brought a few guys into view. Then a short descent followed. The next climb took six minutes at 244 again, I was gaining on a couple of folks, got within 50 meters but held back a bit, thinking I had them but after we started descending again I never saw them again till the end of the race some 18 miles later. I should have committed to catching them or blowing - at this point the course is mostly downhill or rolling. By the time I got to the finish, no one from my group caught me and I never caught anyone from my group either - the same result as the unofficial Steve Stewart Mt Hamilton challenge after that climb...

A bunch of cat 5's caught me on the descent ( mostly big guys ) but I could not work with them so I had to let them all go ahead.

Rode back to the start with Tom F and learned he's a surgeon so the main time he has available to train is spent indoors on the trainer. I was really impressed with his fitness (he lasted about four minutes with the group in the climb) given the limitation. Riding the trainer that much would drive me insane. He moved from Oregon where conditions are worse for free agent doctors and he had a choice of the Kaiser in Oakland or Modesto, he visited both and picked Modesto.

And he kicked my butt on the ride back, too! The last hill before the Isabel start takes about ten minutes going back, and only three or four coming out, I kept thinking we were done and getting my hopes crushed by yet another switchback.

M: 68 kg

Race only:
TSS: 147
NP: 223
AP: 185
T: 1:46:17

Whole ride:
TSS 295 - so the warmup + ride back was almost as much work as the race itself for me.

The weekly TSS is fairly high for me before this event even with the two days prior being light. Should taper more for better results but I enjoy just riding even more! The other thing I could do off the top of my head is increase the amount of time in intervals at FTP in one workout. The most I ordinarily would do is about 45 minutes so if I upped it to about an hour that would be at least similar to what this race required.

21 May 2006

Stockton Waterfront Crit

Cool, intermittent showers, overcast, sort of like last year without the sun.

The forecast and weather radar did not look promising but I had preregistered so I really felt obligated to go no matter what. The course was changed from last year but the flyer was not fully updated. Fortunately my slight OCD made me check the flyer just before leaving and when I realized there were directions to two different locations, I wrote both down and headed out Stockton.

The course was an L with a very short distance between the right left right corners on the crook of the L. Otherwise the straightaways were so long it seemed doubtful anything would stick without a pretty big breakaway group.

The course setup was running a bit behind and the first race, cat 5, was started about 15 minutes late. I assumed they were going to start cutting down races to get back on schedule but this did not happen and things stayed late until there was a late crash in the 45/55 race which led to the 35+ 4/5 race being cut short by about five minutes.

Cat 4
Friendly rivals:Adam from EMC, Jason K from Tieni Duro
It was sprinkling at the start and the roads were pretty slick. I did not feel that comfortable at speed in the corners so I quickly found myself slipping from the front to the back. A few riders were always going off the front and the pack inexorably dragged them back. I kept getting gapped by one rider or another and having to bridge up. The race felt pretty hard but the data indicates it was not that hard, probably just a mental thing. The course dried out about 3/4 of the way through the race. With three to go, a rider in front totally blew and almost took out a teammate of his who asked him to ride steadier. After taking some extra care to get safely past this goober, there was a sizeable gap to the group. I found myself with about eight other folks, four of us got together and tried to get back into the race. After about half a lap we were not making up any ground so one of the guys went off solo to try to bridge. I went a short time later and held back a little which was a mistake because I did not make it up there, falling about 20 yards short. Sprinted for fun against one of the other guys off the back.

35+ 4/5
Friendly rivals:Adam again, John from EMC, Nakamura-san from Trumer
Course was dry at the start then it started sprinkling. Watched the end of the 45/55 race and Mark Patten won the sprint easily from his breakaway companions. He then jumped in our race. I followed him for a bit and he was a much better handler than the four guys leading the pack as they did not have a clue on how to properly setup for taking the apex of a corner. The first third of the race after this felt taxing but doable, then the next third felt really easy, then in the last third, the pace picked up every lap until the three to go when the pack slowed and no one wanted to pull. This was a bit dangerous because this permitted some guys who were poor handlers back into the pack - I think the first race they would have been dropped early. I started moving up, with two to go one unattached rider tried to attack but was brought back quickly and the field slowed down again. I was considering attacking myself by one to go, but we had now slowed so much the entire width of the course was filled during the apexes of the corners which worried me a bit. In the second to last corner I could see five riders abreast when the familiar sound of metal on asphalt and riders scattered everywhere. I had to slow to almost a complete stop to avoid some riders who had made contact and were still moving diagonally across the road and went past when it was safe. Now it was just a 300 meter race and about twenty(?) folks ahead of the crash had a huge head start. I think I passed about ten of them.

14 May 2006

Berkeley Hills RR

35+ 4
Teammates: Mark Kurashige, Jim Werle
Conditions were chilly in arm warmers and vest at the start but soon heated up toasty conditions in the shade. From what I remember last time I did this race I got dropped on Bear Creek pretty quickly so I hoped to do better, but we had a longer flat run into this part of the course with the latest configuration. Felt pretty good and made it to the base of Mama Bear with the group. This hill only takes about three minutes with the group, unfortunately this was only good enough to best about ten guys and this left about thirty five in the main group. There was a scary encounter with a cow in the middle of the road just before Papa Bear where I had to slow significantly and our little groupetto had to hope the cow made no sudden moves. My right calf started getting a knot but I still felt really good otherwise. The descents after the finish hill were really fun, long sight distance and lots of shoulder so hitting 40+ mph was fun and fairly safe. About eight of us including Mark K worked for one lap after the descent so I decided just to have fun with this little race within the race and never felt in danger of getting dropped except for the bothersome calf. On the last lap on the little steep climb before San Pablo Dam road my right calf which had been quivering every now and then took the opportunity to seize up and I could not pedal any more so I had to stop for a minute. One of the course marshals was nice enough to get me a short massage but I had gotten gapped by the others and would not see them again until after the finish.

13 May 2006

Cat's Hill Classic

teammates:Jim W, Gene R, George F.
friendly rivals:Juan O from Bianchi, Mark from PV

Set personal best on OLH by 40 seconds this week so felt somewhat confident. Did a practice run with about 15 laps earlier this week with the 11/23 cassette and felt comfortable doing it in the big ring with a 50 in front so planned on doing that during the race to eliminate any issues with dropped chains during downshifts on the front on the hill.

Did six laps with the group which is twice as many as I did last year but was feeling some side stitches during laps five and six. Saw George have a shifting issue on the hill during the fifth lap and would have gladly pushed him up as I was passing but he had to come to a complete stop and the difference in our speeds was too great. On the seventh lap, would have been doubled over in pain but was already bent over the bike. Gave up after climbing the hill a seventh time and was unable to pedal to keep up with the pack. Somewhat disappointing in that I did not have any leg or breathing issues when keeping up with the pack this year. I'm blaming the stomach issues on the free pizza I ate beforehand. :)

06 May 2006

Mt Hamilton Challenge

Milpitas to CA 130 up and over Mt Hamilton to Lick Observatory to Livermore via Mines road, then back to Milpitas via Calaveras.

NP: 185
TSS: 428 - so it was the equivalent stress on my body of doing 4 one hour TT at my FTP in one day.
IF: 0.76