29 October 2006

Surf City Cyclocross #2 Watsonville, 35+B

Teammates: Mike S, JD in the C's

CTL is settling in at about 115 and FTP is going down from road season highs.

The venue was double booked so there were some last minute course updates, I really liked the course (as much as one can like suffering...), as it was a change from prior years with a little bit of everything, lots of pedaling opportunities and only one set of barriers, the course providing several natural dismount opportunities, and avoided the stables. Went with the bike with 42mm tires as I have been too lazy to put racing tires on the bike with thin tires.

Weather was cool and slightly overcast, with ground still dry. If it had rained, our laps would have been twenty five to fifty percent longer with all the off road hardpack trails.

At the start I lined up behind Morgan and at the whistle he came to a complete stop after only about fifteen yards. This puzzled me, I saw him afterwards and he showed me that his fork steerer had sheared off right at the stem. Good thing we were going slow. Anyways, found myself even closer to the back and saw lots of folks way ahead of me that I should be near at the end based on this years races so had my work cut out.

After one lap my time was about 9:00 flat and Casey and Tom had set out the lap cards saying two to go already! Think I set my sights too low as I get behind people and get comfortable there instead of trying to pass them to get to the people in front of them, I was with one group of folks and we almost caught the next group. I decided to not pull again at one point because I thought we were going to catch but that was a mistake as they pulled away for good at a technical section and I had to brake hard for the folks in front of me. That's what I get for being too lazy. On the last lap I could see the mountain bike guy who was going back and forth with me for the last three races but could not pull him back, also the C leaders caught me in the last kilometer so I had to try to not interfere with their race as well.

Finished two minutes plus back of the winner which I guess is not so bad but only beat ten people. One more race before I have to go out of town for a mid season break so maybe I will try a different strategy at McLaren Park.


T: 27:02
S: 22.3
C: 79
PAvg: 186
PNorm: 214

Surf City Cyclocross #2 Watsonville 35+ B

26 October 2006

Pilarcitos #2, Superprestige Cyclocross #1, Candlestick Park, San Francisco - October 2006

Teammates: Mike S.
Flat, not that bumpy and a little dusty but since we raced early, the course was still a bit solid and not the sand pits that later racers got to endure. The barriers were set up in a couple of places so that if one got back on the bike, one was going to have to pump the pedals pretty hard to get up a short steep five foot hill or stay off the bike and just run.
Got the usual back of the pack start with Mike and Juan, and got to draft some folks on the long road section on the first two laps, was not feeling too great trying to keep up so on the third had to ease up and duked it out with the folks who caught me.
Could see a few folks that normally beat me just ahead with two to go and turned on the afterburners but could not close the gap. Did catch someone from Cyclesports with whom I race with a lot on the road, he had slowed significantly so I wasn't sure if he was fading or saving something for the last lap so I tried to drop him towards the end of the penultimate lap but he responded with an attack of his own on the long road section and I could not find another jump in me so ended up just behind him. Went with 30 PSI front and back and the tires felt a bit squishy on the road section and too hard on the bumpy sections so that must have been just right.

T: 42:29
H: 184
S: 21.6
Pavg: 170
Pnorm: 191

Pilarcitos CX #2, Candlestick Park

16 October 2006

Surf City #1, Soquel High School, 15 October 2006

Teammates: Bob S.
Friendly rivals: Benoit, Juan

Since tapering didn't seem to help my performance for the last two races I decided to just enjoy the bike on Saturday and did a 90+ mile ride with the LGBRC proto crew, didn't seem to affect my performance today, either.

Cool temps and overcast skies greeted us at registration, so we're getting closer to real cyclocross weather, at least for here. The course was changed up a bit, for the better in my opinion, reversing the hill near the tennis courst from previous years, and adding a new section over some culverts into some unused fields. Bumpy but not like Hellyer, with a long gravel access road thrown in for some variety with a thirty step runup, and 100 meters of road for the final sprint, instead of the 50 meters of gravel we got last year.

Much smaller field than Pilarcitos, not sure why, so was able to get second row out of four on the start line. Since the race was shorter than the other two series, would have to start and go harder for the whole event.

I still could not convince myself to go hard at the start due to fear of blowing up so stayed with the others with a tiny bit of precarious front wheel right on someone elses skewer action even with only about thirty guys during the gravel road start.
During the first lap, I had to brake heavily to avoid hitting people from behind in most of the corners, managed to pass most of these guys by the second lap and behind a new group. There was quite a lot of back and forth action and the occasional super C from the second wave catching us. The runup was a bit long for my five second running sprint so I ended up making up most of my ground by not braking as much for the road corners, and the long fast descents. On the third lap one of the guys I passed in the first lap retook the lead and I ended up chasing him until the final straightaway and fell short by two seconds. Could see Bob S coming up on every long switchback and was surprised he did not catch me, was more surprised to learn this was his first cyclocross race!

T: 28:43
H: 180
C: 72
S: 20.1
Pavg: 159
Pnorm: 193

Pilarcitos Super Prestige Cyclocross #1

08 October 2006

Pilarcitos #1, Superprestige Cyclocross #1, Hellyer, San Jose - October 2006

Teammates: Mike S.
Friendly rivals: 54 including Juan, Benoit, Mark from Pen Velo, former LGBRC Chris P
Got to the velodrome early and met the usual suspects. Chris D insisted on preriding the course on the bum leg. The first thing one notices due to the lack of recent signficant precipitation is that the course was hard and bumpy and stayed that way or the somewhat loose descents that would become more loose and more sandy as more traffic went over it. The laps were surprisingly short at a leisurely warmup pace as well. The longest incline was less than twenty seconds, and the course used the other six foot tall bumps for runups and descents and we ended each lap with a tour of the velodrome. Even though the course was mostly flat it was still hard to get a good rhythm as the bumps threw me all over the place and I could not stay seated except on the trip around the velodrome and out back to the course. I ended up going with 30 PSI in the front and 25 PSI in the back.

Went out conservatively and heard Benoit cajoling me towards the front but the other 52 folks up there were not cooperating during the crazy start so we would have to wait until the barriers or the runups to make any ground. The *big* runup was short enough that I convinced myself to sprint up it to try to make up ground, and to not let down the people gathered there to yell for us, this was where I passed the most people. I got passed mostly on the bumpy double track or the one descent that took one right into the tree trunk, pictured here:
Hey that's me, at the 2006 Pilarcitos Hellyer Cyclocross race
Juan got a good start and it took me a while to reel him in - I am not sure if I should try to get a better start as I have blown up every time I have gone from the gun in a cross race. Maybe next time...

The best part of the day was the San Jose Bicycle Club's junior program season ending picnic. Andrew Lanier barbecued food and handed out prizes to all the kids.
Apres Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross race #1/season ending SJBC junior picnic

30th out of 54
T: 38:47
C: 80
S: 20.2 kph
Pavg: 161
Pnorm: 187
Pilarcitos Super Prestige Cyclocross #1

01 October 2006

CCCX #2 1 October 2006, Fort Ord, East Garrison

Teammates: Mike S, Benoit D.
Friendly rivals: ~30

Great day for a race with moderate temperatures and an overcast sky in Seaside. Course started in the middle of a gradual road road with a circuitous route off road with a mix of single and double track typical of the trails around Fort Ord, back to the bottom of the road climb.

Started in the back because the first descent was sketchy with tree branch barrier that would cause a big bottleneck, we would all be rushing to funnel into there, just like Sea Otter, so no point to burn a match to get in a line. We started so close to the prior group that it was possible to catch them on the first time up the hill. Maybe that would have been a better strategy, dunno, but I don't think I passed or got passed by that many people in our group.

I could see Mike just behind me on every switch back so he was doing pretty good for someone who was sick and hadn't ridden during the week. :)

The one big hill took less than a minute so even though it looks intimidating, I should have pushed myself harder as I was trying to only go at a little over FTP, this was way too low.

I was dueling with the same Sycip rider from last week and was pulling him back when he had an unfortunate mechanical. This left me riding by myself for most of the rest of the race. During the last two laps a SCCCC rider starting catching me so I concentrated on riding hard on the hills and flats and under control and not making any mistakes on the technical spots. He actually got pretty close on the last straightaway but I was able to hold him off for the glory of 17th place.

Managed a bit higher NP for this week's race so that's an improvement.


T: 46:02
S: 22.0 kph
C: 78
H: 179
Pavg: 164
Pnorm: 204

CCCX #2, Fort Ord, Seaside, CA