25 August 2007

San Ardo Road Race, 35+ 4/5 Group A

Field: ~40 riders
TSB: 5
CTL: 129
A couple of teams had pretty big representation, but usually nothing stays away due to the flattish last fifteen miles of the twenty three mile lap. Checked out the finish and it was five hundred feet from the last corner to the finish line with a slight incline, and a much longer incline leading up to the turn. Started the race about as fit as I have ever been so I felt confident. A little too confident as it turns out. Needed a fourth place finish to upgrade to cat 3 or I would have to start earning a lot more points because my points from 2006 would start expiring. Stayed in the top four or five for the first thirty miles, covering moves or leading the group. There are some steep hills but they are very short so non climbers like myself have a chance. As we entered the flat section for the second lap, a small group of a couple was ahead but I figured there's always someone to chase stuff like this down. Started to worry when a few miles past and they seemed to be increasing their lead so I started spending a bit more time on the front to reel them in when a couple of counter attacks went off and two more riders joined the other two ahead making it four, then two more riders went and this made six riders ahead by about thirty seconds. Was a bit stuffed from spending too much time on the front and could not respond yet. When we got to the hilly section on the final lap, and the breakaways were out of sight. At first I was disappointed because it looked unlikely that I would get any upgrade points out of this, but then figured I should just enjoy the ride. Spent a lot of time on the front during the hilly section to try and up the pace, but there were so many teams represented in the break I didn't get much help except from one team.

Finally just drilled it off the front for five minutes and was rewarded by the sight of a couple of the breakaways. The group behind got some motivation from this as well and started closing on me. One rider was off the front and joined me and I was about to rest on his wheel when my left calf just seized up and had to pedal very gingerly for a minute and massage the muscle. The group then caught and dropped me during this muscle spasm. The group reabsorbed the breakaways and now one of the bigger teams in the lead group had some motivation to chase the other breakaways. For a moment felt sorry for myself then gritted my teeth because I was determined to at least finish with this group so I put the hammer down for a couple of minutes and caught them on the next hill.

Now we were racing for fifth place. When we got to the long flattish section, Jay took a break to look behind us and said we dropped half the field by this point. I was scouring the horizon for sign of the break but they were out of sight and had to be at least a mile ahead of us by now. Knowing the distance at this point helps a lot and we had sixty three miles done, and six miles to go. After massaging my calves at the back of the group for a while I went back to the first four or so and waited for the finale, and counted down the miles. Three teams had enough riders left for leadouts, and on the final hill before the turn, Dolce Vita and EMC both were upping the pace signficantly. I had to dig deep to hang onto wheels but pushed through the pain and almost made the stupid mistake and turning onto 101 instead of the finish straight. Made sure to attack hard at the finish turn so I would be passing or on the wheels of the riders in front of me in the final 500 feet. Three riders were ahead of me and I was just able to pass them before the line for fifth place.

After the race I investigated a noise my bike was making since lap one and it turned out that I bent my front rim and the brake was rubbing for most of the race...
San Ardo Road Race 35+ 4/5
T: 3:12:03
D: 112.49 km
S: 35.1 kph
C: 84
Pavg: 171
Pnorm: 213
TSS: 241
W: 1966 kJ

11 August 2007

Patterson Pass Road Race 35+ 4/5

CTL: 128
TSB: 7

Wanted to do this race because I had never done it before. The profile sort of resembles 80% of OLH on the first big hill, and the second hill is like Haskins, so in the prior weeks went really hard on OLH and Haskins and set some PRs just to prepare myself for the probably length and intensity of the race effort. Wind is a big factor as the headwind on the big hill kind of neutralizes the strength of the pure climbers.

The race starts out pretty mellow because there are about sixty of us together and the road is narrow. Even though it's uphill from the gun the pace feels easily doable to me, any time I put my nose in the wind, and the effort required chastens me back to the safety of the pack. It only feels hard for the last couple of minutes, we crest the hill and effort turns out to be a bit less than my best efforts on OLH but with really stochastic with lot more short hard efforts interspersed with a lot of freewheeling. The descent is a bit sketchy with the pack intact but it's fairly easy to stay a bit farther back and catch up, then the right hand turn of the base of the second big hill comes up. It hurts to stay on, and I almost lose the pack when I struggle to stay on and realize the crest of the hill we are on is not the final rise, but a friendly voice encourages me and I dig a bit deeper and we catch back onto the group when we cross over 580. A long meandering descent at about 50 mph follows with a couple of short hills and the start/finish.

The next time up the big hill, the womens' 3 field is neutralized to allow us to pass. We still go up the hill fairly easy. Now we are neutralized to let the womens' 3 field pass us. When we get closer to the top, folks are putting the heat on and it's going to be a close call if we catch or don't catch the women's 3 field, and the moto is nowhere to be seen. It would seem unsporting to use them to cause a gap but this is what happens, if I had the legs maybe I would have done it, too. About ten guys catch then pass the women's field at the top of the hill, I am just behind and with the rest of the men we have a very hairy descent where a lot of people are going on the left side of the road into blind corners. We also have trouble passing the women's field due to the narrowness of the road. An oncoming truck narrow misses several of the riders on the left and I ease up to avoid any potentially cartwheeling bikes/riders. This time on the second hill I am with the second group and we are about twenty seconds back. We are going to catch the women's field and the moto neutralizes them for us, but the effort takes so much out of me that my legs don't respond when we hit the next small rise and I have to recover for a bit and the group rides away from me. Not sure if I didn't eat enough or spent too much time over threshold but didn't have any breathing problems, just no legs at this point.

One thing I would do differently in preparation if I do this again is probably intervals on OLH, then 84 to Skyline, then repeat to simulate the effort required for two laps.

Pavg: 180
W: 1624
TSS: 210
T: 2:26:21
D: 71.8 km
C: 88
S: 29.4

Patterson Pass Road Race 35+ 4/5

04 August 2007

Fort Ord Road Race E4

TSB: 10
CTL: 127

Did the E4 race instead of the 35+ 4/5 race because the E4 race started around 8:00 and the 35+ 4/5 race started around noon.

Start and finish moved from last year. Last year it was sunny and cool, this year, very cold, foggy, overcast and windy until I left at about 1:00.

A little *excitement* at the start due to the no show of porta potties until five minutes after the P12 start, if you visit Fort Ord any time soon, watch your step!

Just rode with the group until the one big hill, and was caught behind a little crash and crested about 20 seconds back, followed a couple of other guys to get back onto the group by the finish line. Really never felt recovered from this effort and on one of the small rollers to the 180, just could not pedal fast enough to keep up and had to recover for a minute, then started chasing and for the next lap and a half, stayed the same distance back from the pack. Lost it on the fourth lap and started losing ground so packed it in - ended up with a similar effort to last years 35+ 4/5 race. Lasted forty five minutes with the pack, not sure if I didn't eat enough during the race or if I was over threshold for too long on the short sharp hills.

T: 2:27
W: 1573 kJ
Pavg: 178
Pnorm: 223
D: 71.8 km
Fort Ord Road Race 2007 E4