26 April 2008

Wente Road Race, 35+ 4

Been sick for the past week so had an inadvertent peak for this race:
CTL: 126
TSB: 24
Still coughing up a lung, but feel much better than last week, and I already paid so decide to show up and see what happens, can always pull out if I feel bad.

This year it's only 4's in the 35+ group and 100 signed up so we probably have around 80 at the start. Feel OK and am not dropped on the big hill and make it past the overpass of 580 with the group so I make it farther than last year so even a little sick I'm doing OK.

The short little climbs give me a little trouble as I don't want to try too hard but end up taking it too easy and a small gap opens but I follow some very large guys who were dropped earlier and they bridge up to the group pretty quickly on the descent and it seems like there are still about eighty of us. Riding with the group on the flats is so much better than the forty mile time trial I did last year.

Eat a lot on this lap and find myself at the back on the main climb. Riders start blowing up left and right, then at the last turn, someone gets a flat and I have to stop and reaccelerate. He has a few teammates with him so I decide to rely on them to bridge back up. This turns out to be a mistake because a couple of them brake more than I do on the descent and we never quite make it, close, but not close enough. We do get a group of about ten as we reach the bottom of the descent so at least we can share the workload.

Start to feel a cramp coming on in the outer calf of both legs on the main climb. Now I have to climb with alternating hard pedal strokes with a bit of stretching, which can't be very nice to follow but it's all I can do. Still manage to stay with our little groupetto. Mark Shimahara gives me a water feed ( thanks! ) and I test my legs and am able to gap my companions. Then I make the mistake of pointing my right toe down and my inner right calf cramps up. Have to stop, gently move the foot in the other direction, stretch and start alternating pedaling and stretching and massaging, and manage to get back up to the lead rider in our groupetto. We go back over 580 and I think I'm home free when the other inner calf cramps on a short hill. I stop again and stretch and start pedaling, and then my left hamstring cramps and I have to give out a few choice blergs and fracks, massage, and start my alternating pedal/stretch routine. I can see my former companions a short distance ahead and a large rider helpfully passes me on the descent and we get really close to them by the bottom. Now my inner thighs start cramping on me. I like touching myself as much as the next person but this is getting ridiculous.

After feeling sorry for myself for a minute and massaging, I start pedaling again in earnest, and ever so slowly, start reeling in my companions again. On the last turn on the flats, my right shoe comes unclipped (it turns out two of the four cleat screws have come out) and my foot cramps... More massasing and stretching later, get to the base of the hill and can see four or five of the racers from my group a short distance ahead. Catch and pass seven of them eventually. I think five or six 35+ 5 racers, who started five minutes later, pass me on the last climb, one at the 200 meter line and we go back and forth for a bit but he nips me at the line for a bit of sprinting fun.

Have data from last year's race and it is almost exactly the same, power-wise but I only hung with the group for half a lap last year. I went harder on the hills and easier on the flats and descents because I was with the group this year for a lap and a half and with a sizeable group for most of the rest of the race. I think the main difference is I weigh about five pounds less and the bike I used today weighs three pounds less than the bike I used last year.
T: 2:29:55
S: 30.9 kph
C: 92
H: 179
D: 77.2 km
W: 1463 kJ


06 April 2008

2008 Santa Cruz Criterium

CTL: 133
TSB: -5
Tried to hone my taper for weekends with a race only on Sunday, went hard on Thursday and Friday, and was going to try to go easier on Saturday but ended up doing a forty five mile MTB ride instead to make Saturday the hardest day of the week. Oops. But if there ever is a four day mtb/road/time trial/criterium stage race, I'll be ready.

The cat 4 race was delayed by forty five minutes because they needed to tow twenty cars from the race course. Guess some folks never learn since this happens every year. One of the guys in my race noticed his rear derailleur was cracked at the start but he could use two gears so he would have a lot more fun than usual. Even with our super long warmup period I didn't feel that great, maybe a bit tired from working and training too much this past week. After five laps of tail gunning, I move up a bit and a huge rider passes me on the descent, and I figure I should be able to coast behind him for a few seconds of respite but he manages to lose the wheel in front of him on the approach to the main climb. Faced with the choice of burning a match now or saving something for the second race I decide to throw in the towel.


After warming up by taking a ton of photos, start the masters 4/5 race with about twice as many racers as last year. Immediately this race feels much easier. Made a point of using the small ring for the climb, since I used only the big ring last week. I noticed I managed to stay in the field by using the small ring for the entire lap the middle three laps. The data shows that this race and the plain 4's race were the same difficulty, dunno if the difference is the temperature/amount of warmup/caffeine in my system/or if we just braked less in the masters field today. I find it pretty easy to move up when I want to on the steep section of the hill, though it always feels a little bit harder than I would take it if I were riding solo. Just sit in until the last three laps and start moving up. Manage to biff a shift with two to go and lose ten places on the descent while getting the chain back on. This puts me in about thirtieth on the last lap. Move up about ten spots on the descent and two little climbs leading to the last corner, have to brake hard as the field mushrooms here and can't move up, then we sprint from the corner. Start passing people left and right towards the end of this block when a rider dies mid uphill sprint and I have to brake again, I thought I slowed a lot but it looks like I only went from 25 to 20 mph, then I have to pass and reaccelerate to contest the sprint and only manage a twelfth.


30 March 2008 Brisbane Circuit Race

CTL: 127
TSB: -3

Coming into this race fit, and not that fresh but since there's a longish hill, need fitness more than freshness. Need to work on my taper for Sunday races, seems a shame not to get a good ride in on Saturday for us working stiffs. Our producer at work thinks Krispy Kreme Donuts and KFC are good for the team so I gain five pounds this week. Not the best preparation but I'll make do.

First time I did this race got dropped after three laps, and did the race last year and got dropped on the last lap so hope to improve on that, plus do a second race for *fun*.

The first race was pretty uneventful. Go hard a few times on the hill, hide in the pack, coast down for a bit and repeat ten times. Only felt hard a couple of times on the hill and was able to close gaps and pass people whenever necessary. Ended up using the big ring the whole race. On the descent it was always possible to catch the group either on the lefthander after the sweeper because the group always had to brake or on the right hander at the bottom of the hill for the same reason. At one point a rider started moving up past me on the descent, only to end up almost causing an accident by trying to gain one more place by filling the space of the rider in front of me. I marked this rider so that I could use him as a cushion in the event he went down. He managed to repeat this same feat on the next lap so I just backed off a bit to give him more room to crash. But nothing ever happened so I guess he came to his senses.

With two to go I knew I had to stop being lazy and started moving up from the back of the group. By one to go I was about thirtieth. I was thinking about throwing in the towel and just finishing safely when people started blowing up left and right on the hill. Moved up to twentieth after a quarter of the hill. Then found myself boxed in on the right side against the curb, cursing my bad move. Then someone inexplicably moved over in front of me and opened a lane and I started moving up. Made the mistake of jumping too early here, and moved up even with the first row of riders, but on the outside of the turn, into the wind so this stage of the race was especially hard. Finally ran out of gas after passing almost every one and died with about one hundred meters to go, ended up twelfth.

cat 4 masters
Pavg: 197
Pnorm: 248
S: 37.6
C: 102
T: 44:17
Brisbane Circuit Race, M4

The wind picked up a bit for my second race. This started feeling hard to me after three laps but from past experience I know this is mostly in my head and kept on pushing myself. Then after seven laps, started to get the cramping sensations in my right calf. Just rolled in for the last three laps with a couple of other riders, gaining ground on the hill and losing that and more on the descent. The data shows that while I was in the pack this race was easier than the masters 4 race. Sometimes the cat 4 race is harder and sometimes the masters race is harder, never know unless you do them both. Also, I tried harder today than I did at Copperopolis, having a carrot in front of me helps a lot.
cat 4 men
Pavg: 198
Pnorm: 240
C: 98
T: 53:00
Brisbane Circuit Race, Cat 4
Steven Woo