30 September 2007

CCCX #2, Salinas, 2007 September 30

CTL: 123
TSB: 14

Still floating by on fitness from the road season, work eased up a bit but catching up on errands, not fitness now.

Teammates: Mike S., Scooby in the 45+ B race, Filip in the B race

Course: starts with a short steep hill (~ 30 seconds) on pavement, a super long descent on singletrack so passing is going to be pretty hard for while after the hill, long flat section of back and forth over barriers, ditches, and serpentine passages of tape back to the start/finish.

The hill doesn't feel so hard the first time up at the pace I would like to go, but then Mike passes me and I realize I need to make myself hurt and pass him back. We keep the group in sight for the next lap but manage to lose them on the next time up the hill. I needed to pass people at this point instead of being satisfied with where we were at. Need to get used to the lung burning feeling, especially since the hill was short and the descent was long.

At this point the only thing I focus on is the race in the race where Mike and I duke it out, sometimes he gains a meter and sometimes I gain a meter. One lap he passes me in the serpentine tape section, then I grit out another attack on the hill and pass him back. This really hurts but in the big picture is a lot less than I normally do for 30 second intervals. Not sure where the sweet spot of repeatability (as opposed to blowing) versus getting close to max ability is. Feel like quitting after Rod says four laps to go, but if Mike can do it, so can I. :)

Anyways, we spot Troy on a singlespeed and follow for a lap and I surge ahead on the climb on the next lap and he and I fight it out side by side on the barrier sections before he tells me to go ahead. Now Mike starts getting closer and closer, and at the same time the B leader laps us and we are down to one lap.

Concentrate on just not making any mistakes and let him get closer until we get to the last pavement section and I surge a bit and pull away from the diesel engine Mike obtained through multiple double centuries over the years. Funny how Mike and I are teammates and manage to end up racing against each other for position in every race!


2007 Sept 30 CCCX #2, Salinas, El Toro Park

24 September 2007

CCCX #1, Prunedale, 23 Sept

Lots of work, little riding so coasting by on fitness from last month.
CTL: 125
TSB: 22
Teammates: Mike S.

The course was changed a bit from past years with the two somewhat steep but very short runup removed so laps were fast and shorter. Usually finish with Mike and Grant from SCCCC so when we started I found Grant's wheel and followed him up the hill the first couple of times. The second time there was a small gap but I didn't think anything of this but we never closed this up. This was Grant's third cross race this week and he was feeling it in his legs and he dropped off a bit afterwards. I felt like I was going hard but the data shows otherwise. Gotta learn to ignore that perceived effort thing and just go till I blow next time. After this, never caught anybody in front of us except for a few stragglers, and Mikey kept the same distance behind me each lap. Loved the new course, just have to push myself harder next time.

T: 43:20
Pavg: 173
Pnorm: 207
S: 21.0 kph
C: 80

CCCX #1 Prunedale Sept 2007

09 September 2007

Benicia Town Race

CTL: 128
TSB: 8

Last planned road race/crit for my 2007 season so hope to be able to produce something positive today. Plus I don't think I can maintain the current weight with my current diet of ice cream every day for breakfast. New course with a lot of character, technical, hilly with mostly good pavement with a few rough spots. Nice change of pace for a crit and right in the middle of a neighborhood, near downtown Benicia. Feels like cross weather, though, with the overcast skies, fifty degree temperature and brisk winds.

The officials start us off with a neutral lap and we get a whistle for a rolling start on the lap after that. That's a new one for the road, used to doing that on the track only.

The start/finish straight is one half of the road, slightly downhill/uphill/downhill/uphill, and into the wind, so what ends up happening every lap is that it gets strung out, then the momentum runs out and no one wants to be first into the wind so it bunches up, we go into the first corner all bunched up, then it gradually strings out a bit on the slight uphill into turn two, then the course goes vertical, a bit harder than Vacaville, but we have the full road so there is plenty of room to pass, then a small descent, then back up another hill, then turn three where we bunch up again, a small descent, a small rise, then turn four back onto the finish straight. The first four times into turn three I can smell burning brake pads from folks wanting to suck wheel a little too enthusiastically, and usually there are one or two guys who are braking so hard that their handlebars are shaking from the front brake pads grabbing the front rim. I assume there is going to be a crash here, but instead after seven laps, there is a crash about thirty meters in front of turn two, where we bunch up due to the headwind. Two riders make contact a few meters in front of me, and I think about squeezing through to the right, but hesitate, then a rider starts rolling to the right on the ground, taking up that hole, then I think about going up the middle, but then more riders hit the deck in the middle, and soon I am at a complete stop. I was actually still in front of some people but decided to pull out and save it for the next races. That's the bad thing about reg'ing for multiple events, sometimes you just think about saving something for the next event. My legs didn't feel that great at this point, and I thought the race was hard while I was in it, but it really wasn't that hard according to the data, which goes to show me that I should just ignore whatever I'm feeling sometimes...

Cat 4 Race
T: 14:02
Pavg: 190
Pnorm: 232
C: 94
S: 38.5
benicia cat 4 race, quit after stopping for wreck

Lots of familiar faces. One more chance to redeem myself. This feels easier, but the final data shows the race was actually harder! This may be due to having a bigger field where there is more shelter from the wind, but also more people to push the pace.

This time I committed to staying a bit closer to the front, but still could not stay where I wanted to in the top ten. I have little trouble moving up on the hill when I want to, it's just a question of when to do it.

At one point there is a prime and two riders go up the road a bit. Somehow they manage to crash each other out on turn three while in the lead. Then an ambulance shows up for them. This is a bit unnerving, and I don't think I quite mentally got back into it after this, and slide back through the pack.

But the bell works on me like Pavlov's dog, and I start thinking about moving forward after turn one. By turn two I am about thirtieth ( did we drop anybody? these old guys are fit! ), surge up the hill into the top ten. Here I made a tactical blunder and eased up. I should have just kept on going and went for it all the way to the finish. What happened was I thought about the crashes in turn three and near crashes and just bided my time and was only about fifteenth going into the final turn. The eventual winner surged out of the turn, and the fellows behind him hesitated. They were all strung out on the left, so I just went for it up the right. I easily passed four, five, six, seven, eight riders when I noticed there was a photographer standing in the road in front of me at the finish line. I had to ease up off the pedals, and there were seven or eight of us spread across the road at the finish line, and I got about last of the leading group. Since prizes only go three deep, not that upset about the photographer, but geez, hope I am not that oblivious.

Also, I need to not let these races finish in field sprints if my sprint is not my strength...

35+ 4/5
T: 39:33
PAvg: 183
PNorm: 229
C: 97
S: 38.7
Benicia 35+ 4/5

03 September 2007

Giro di San Francisco

CTL: 132
TSB: -1

I was considering ending the road season but have a ridiculous amount of fitness for me and am really close to upgrading via top tens or points (15 points for the calendar year after some points aged over twelve months this week...), and get to see most of the other familiar faces for this end of season crit (used to be), so I pre-reged for a couple of races.

The course layout at the Giro has the start/finish about 150 meters from the final turn. The first, left turn is a slight descent parallel to some old trolley tracks so it's tight, then there's a right after a short block, then another right with a gradual ascent for one block, then a slightly steeper ascent for one block over a bridge that narrows, making passing difficult sometimes in bigger fields, then three blocks of flat or slightly descending to the next to last turn, a right for a steep downhill but short block, then the final right hand turn. Position at the top of the hill on the last lap pretty much determines within a few places where one finishes in a field sprint because only a few places can be made up or lost due to the descent/two corners/short finish straight. In some ways this is good for me as I am not a sprinter but I can go really hard for two to five minutes. The roads are in pretty rough shape as well to add to the challenge.

35+ 4/5
Field: 75
Teammates: Erik O

Haven't race a flattish crit in a while. Since most of my teammates are in different age groups/categories, the best courses for me by myself are a little hilly, which isn't the Giro! Forgot about the thrills and spills.

The race felt pretty tame for the first few laps and was able to move up easily on the hill. I wanted to try to attack on the hill and see what kind of gap I could get so when the next prime was announced I moved up to fifth wheel, then just jumped hard when the climb got steep. By the next to last corner I could see Eugene/ICCC chasing so I took the last two downhill corners without braking and put in a little sprint on the finish straight to make sure I got the prime and was able to coast across the line. Now if I could only do that on the last lap! The pack was about five seconds back when I was in turn two, when I heard the sound of bikes and riders falling, looked under my arm and saw it was in turn one. Eugene had caught up and I hung onto his wheel up the climb then thought better of trying to stay away, then the announcer said neutralize. So we went kind easy/tempo for three laps while they attended to one of the fallen riders. Then it was game on again.

Rest near the back when one of the riders and I collide after turn two, we took slightly different lines but his handlebars go into mine from behind, I steady and after a bit of wobbling he steadies and we both slow and unlock bars and get back to racing. I use this to make myself start moving up.

I planned to attack on the last lap up the hill so moved into position, but let myself drift a bit too far back. Was in about thirtieth position entering the hill but easily passed about twenty riders. The problem for me was the riders ahead were slowly drifting to the right, and cutting off the virtual passing lane. I was about to burst into the lead, right at the corner when the rider two feet to the left of me took the corner really tight and took me into the curb so I had the choice of braking hard or attempting to jump the curb and I braked. What someone told me afterwards was one of the riders behind me locked it up and a few riders went down, but since it was uphill they were not hurt badly. After braking there was a gap to the first ten riders so I had to sprint on the descent to catch up, got in the draft just before the next to last corner and waited a bit too long to uncork my sprint on the finish straight, was gaining on everyone but only got seventh, too little too late.

Pavg: 192
Pnorm: 238
C: 87
S: 38.8
T: 45:03

Field: 75
Teammates: Erik O

OK, after finally being in position for a sprint at this race, what I learned was I need to burn a match *two* laps before the finish to ensure the correct setup for last lap position, so my goal is to attack two laps to go and one lap to go.

This race feels about the same as the first race but more strung out, possibly due to higher winds. Then as I sit in the shelter of Erik's wheel, some riders go down between turns one and two (again!) and one of them is screaming quite loudly. More than anything this is a sign that he is OK, a silent rider would be one that one would worry about. Our race gets neutralized because he's in the middle of the road between turns one and two. So we start riding neutral but it still feels kind of fast to me, just sitting in, we go hard until we get to turn one and we go five miles per hour, then sprint up the hill, that's probably what makes it feel harder than it is. So we get the signal to start racing again after four or five laps, and then we get the signal to stop racing.

Apparently a spectator saw the blood from the downed rider and fainted and fell on his head so an ambulance was called for the spectator. We have to stop and the start and leave room for the EMT's to drive pass on the course. After about twenty minutes we restart with ten laps on the lapcards and a prime a lap. I try to mentally prepare myself - this is going to hurt. The ref says the first lap will be neutral but when the moto pulls off with a 500 meter lead, it's only neutral if we catch the moto... Erik gets a great start and I use him as a carrot. I tell myself I've done track races much harder than this to motivate myself to hang in there when I feel like quitting. Every single time we go into turn one it seems like there is a potential crash or five - we are single file until that corner when we are going so slow that everyone bunches up and there is a lot of close contact and none of us is strong enough to go to the front and keep the pace up. Finally this catches up to us with two laps to go, a few riders make contact, and one starts cartwheel with his bike and the other careens the other direction. Another rider trying to avoid the carnage without braking runs right into Erik and locks bars with him and I see Erik braking hard and I am braking hard to avoid running into him when finally the other guy goes down and this takes Erik's bars out (thankfully at a very slow speed so I am sure he is not hurt badly and this is confirmed after the race). I do my best standing start after forty minutes of racing and chase. The group has about fifty meters now at the bottom of the hill. I pound the pedals and make up twenty meters and keep even for the rest of the lap. The next time out of turn two, another rider rides into my handlebars from behind so we have a side by side tandem for an excruciatingly long time, I can feel him wobbling while I keep it steady and he brakes a bit and we finally disengage. OK, now after that drama, it's last time up the hill, I put everything into it and I make it back to the lead group. Keep up until we get to the start of the descent and I have nothing in the tank. Roll in for a back of the front group finish, with one rider off the front, and my first sixty plus minute crit. Almost threw up after the finish. This made me think it was harder but the data reveals it was only harder for that bridge effort, the total effort was easier than the first race, I just didn't push myself hard enough in the second race to make something positive happen.

Pavg: 175
Pnorm: 231
C: 87
S: 37.1
T: 41:22