27 May 2007

Mount Hamilton Road Race 35+4

Stats going into this race
CTL: 134
TSB: 7

Lost CPU about two miles before finishing my post ride 38 mile cool down so no data except the parts I remember. Doh.

Also managed to tweak the hip I did not fall on three weeks ago, perhaps as compensation or in a really long hypochondriatic search for a worst case solution - leukemia or the bone necrosis. Whatever, I assume it's just a strained muscle and have to get out of the saddle for pretty much every hill for the past two weeks.

On the plus side, if logistics for the riders is difficult, it's ridiculously hard for the promoters and they pull off an awesome job again this year with reg/marshals/EMT (even for non participants...)/refreshments/and a feed from the SJBC car sweeping the course at the end of the day!

Recognized one of the riders as MVV Bill, at six foot plus it's hard to miss him. The race started off much slower than last year as I was able to ride at close to FTP on the first short hills. Even so, since I lined up at the back, I had to close a lot of gaps when riders got dropped on the descents. On the last hill before the longish flat section leading to junction my chain fell off, but I didn't panic and was able to shift it back on with hand and catch the group pretty quickly on the descent but had to burn a match. Then we started going slow leading up to junction and it seemed a lot of riders were riding really close since they couldn't go faster than the riders in front of them, and they didn't want to give up their position by slowing. Then the slow motion ballet of riders going down started playing out in front of me with eventually three riders falling, and about ten of us slowing or stopping. Since it was still mostly flat and the pace was still slow, the chase to the pack was over pretty quick. Then we started the first rises on the big climb. I remember really having trouble here last year because we went so hard from the gun but this year I was able to follow, along with thirty of the forty five starters, at a pretty mellow for a race pace, at about my FTP. This continued for a really long time. Finally by the mid point of the climb, the mountain goats came out of hibernation and started accelerating out of the pack. I think I was nearly last of the thirty or so but just went at my own pace and picked off about a dozen riders. At this point I thought only about ten total riders were in front with three about one hundred yards ahead when one larger rider caught me from behind. He encouraged me to work with him to catch the group ahead so I rested a bit and pushed the pace a bit as we crested the hill and got us to within twenty yards. We lost them on the next hill. I could not see anybody close to us from behind as we crested this last big rise, and we committed to chasing these three down. This went on for a good five miles and we never saw them again. I thought we were in trouble when I kept dropping my on the road companion from Valley Spokesman as we were descending and he was much bigger than me. We, on the other hand, were caught from behind. Eventually we became a group of ten. This turned out the be the main pack as far as I can tell. At least this made the ride to the final descent much easier as more people could share the load, but it felt like some folks weren't pulling their weight. While I was in the middle of the paceline an insect of some kind flew into my helmet. Ordinarily I would stop and get it out but I really did not want to get dropped so it stung me a couple of times before getting tired of listening to me whine. On one of my turns at the front while going uphill I ramped it up to a much harder pace than before but this only caused a slight separation in the group so I waited until the last two sharp rises before the narrow bridge and attacked in earnest. My Valley Spokesman companion for the two man time trial joined up! So we worked together for half a mile when the other fellows behind us woke up and decided to try, and they chased us down. Since most of the other guys were much bigger than me, wasn't sure of my chances in the sprint but at least the attacks had given me good position in second wheel. On the final, crazy descent, three riders, who hadn't shown any cards in our little group, attacked and were joined by Valley Spokesman and gapped me and the rest. I was able to make up ground on the descent and first accelerated in the final straight to reel in the EMC rider, then got to the front three who helpfully weren't paying attention to the midget on their wheels. I saw the 200 meter to go sign and this finish hill was much shorter than the hill I use for long uphill sprint practice so I just went when it started going up, and gapped the rest of the field by about twenty meters. As it turns out there were fourteen folks ahead of us, so I ended up 15th/45. The max power I had on this sprint was really low, only 11 w/kg but I must have kept it high for a long time.

Compared to last year I felt much better after finishing this year, even after riding back to my car it felt like I had a ton of energy, just not strong enough to keep up on the long hill.

21 May 2007

3rd Annual Mount Hamilton Century Plus, LGBRC/MVV

Someone wanted to see this data. Milipitas to Mount Hamilton, Mines, Del Valle, Livermore, Calaveras, Milipitas.

19 May 2007

T: 6:53
D: 171 km
S: 24.9 kph
TSS: 391
kJ: 3554
AP: 144
NP: 185

LGBRC/MVV Mount Hamilton Century Plus

When I got home, I was so hungry I could almost eat what was on the kitchen counter:

It's what's for dinner

12 May 2007

Berkeley Hills Road Race

In the interest of sabotaging myself worse than last race, managed to unclip from a pedal during a sprint and roll about thirty feet on Foothill on Wednesday, then went out on Friday to watch yet another sequel and subsequently spend way too much time discussing the merits of different zombie flicks, i.e. any time.

Also lost fellow race carpooler with cold feet, in spite of this, managed to make the start of the race with plenty of time to spare.

The 35+ 4 race filled in forty eight hours so I signed up for the elite 4 race. Conditions were about fifteen degrees cooler than last year and also nobody had done Cat's Hill the prior day as we did last year so the race would probably be harder.

In this regard the race did not disappoint. For the first forty minutes, even though I was just sitting in, it was about ten percent harder than last year. A combination of younger and fresher legs probably contributed to this. After the turn from the flats, it was strung out for the next six miles and we passed the P12 women pack. Tried to rest a few times but at no point could I really coast and hang with the pack due to the terrain and pack speed.

What was really irritating is that the exact same spot as last year, about forty minutes in, at the middle of the first longer hill, I lost contact with the pack. By itself this hill is not that hard, the rollers in the leadup to the hill compound the difficulty.

Well I've paid so still need to race so for the next forty miles. Chase and am chased by a few fellow refugees from the cat 4 pack. Played the game of trying to see how long I could hold off the P12 women's pack since we had passed them. This only turned out to be one lap. Just for fun followed at a discreet distance up the last hill and the P12 women were going at about 4.3 w/kg for the four plus minutes, but they seemed to all be pretty comfortable as no one was dropped.

Actually felt stronger than last year and did not cramp (and fall over) and ended up finishing in about the same time this year, even though was solo for most of this year and with the groupetto last year. Also didn't want to disappoint all the kind folks yelling in support, so had to go hard.

CTL: 134
TSB: 6
Pavg: 181
Pnorm: 217
S: 29.5
C: 90

Berkeley Hills Cat 4

05 May 2007

Cat's Hill 35+ 4/5

Teammates: none, one registered, DNS :(
Field: 75
As prep for this, did a century + going over Mount Hamilton and back over Calaveras last weekend so was able to ride a bit less during the week and still have a fairly high level of fitness after a small taper:
CTL: 133
TSB: 9
Lost a bit of weight with the century but the ice cream and movie popcorn at work dashed the best laid plans so only squeezed a one kilogram weight loss compared to Wente. Too hard to say no to cherries on top of chocolate covered chocolate ice cream, then there's the 31 cent scoop day at Baskin Robbins...

Have not finished this so my first goal was to get farther than before with the pack, then finishing without getting pulled, not much but gotta start somewhere. During the warm up going up Kennedy, dropped the chain every time I shifted to the small ring, so I had to fix this, and make sure it worked. Last year I just used the big ring the whole race so I wanted to try something different. Was able to downshift to the small ring on the straight before the hill every lap, stay with the pack and go up the hill in the 34.

The first two laps it felt kind of easy, but probably was that way for every one's fresh legs. By the fifth lap, I was ready to cry uncle. Cheers from friends and teammates kept me going as I did not want to let them down. It's only about twenty five seconds up the main part of the hill to the stop sign so I made myself think - every one else is suffering just as much, and then trying to work as little as possible anywhere else. Found I was able to gain a lot of ground by just not braking during the last turn onto the finish straight, being in back helped as I could choose whatever line and follow distance, but made it a bit chancy as one had to constantly maintain vigilance and pass folks who were giving up. By the eighth lap it felt like every one let up a bit from the ferocious start so tried to recover whenever possible on the descent/flats while the respite lasted. On the next lap came round the corner at the bottom of the hill and there was someone stopped about ten feet in front of me, had to look behind, steer around and not think about how close we came to a collision. By the last lap only about half of the field was left.
Going out of turn one I could see some riders getting really close to the outside curb, then riders and bikes falling. Tried to go for open ground to the inside but the domino effect went too rapidly and had to slow to avoid hitting someone in the back. This left a big gap to the main pack of twenty or so ahead of the crash. Went to try and close this gap on the hill and did not have the legs for it, so cruised into the finish, meeting a couple of goals: getting farther than before, and finishing, but oh so close to something more...

T: 29:14
S: 36.1
C: 92
Pavg: 198
Pnorm: 273
D: 17.6 km

Cat's Hill 35+ 4/5