29 June 2008

2008 June 29 Burlingame Crit


In my neverending quest to get faster, try alcohol loading again this week.

Burlingame is flat and mostly non technical so not really a good course for a non sprinter like me so I need the race to not end in a field sprint in order to do well.

Turnout is a little low, about 65 riders for the 7 AM Cat 4 race. Get a decent start and slot in at third wheel and stay there for four laps as the first two riders have a lot of nervous energy to burn. Finally they slow and I take a turn just to see what it feels like and to get warmed up again. Doesn't feel that hard to maintain the pace. Peter from Third Pillar takes a flyer and in spite of the shorts I take off in pursuit and he doesn't make it easy for me. We are only off the front for a bit longer before we are caught and his teammate counters.

I spend the rest of the race idling near the back of the pack, there are so many people that we take up the full width of the road in the technical chicane and I don't feel like moving up until the end.

With five to go I kind of wish I was at the front just to lead it out because we are not going that fast and it doesn't seem very safe, but can't manage the nerve to move up too much, just start moving up slowly and work my way up to only about twentieth/thirtieth by the last lap.

The sprint begins in earnest at the start of the gradual arching turn before the finish straight. Am passing a few riders, when I can see the pack hesitate a bit and a rider that I am about to pass starts to move and my slightly overlapping front wheel gets dragged along with him. I hold it up, and see a rider tumble to the ground a few meters ahead, start to slow. Assume I am in the clear and start up again when another rider falls and his bike spins in front of me and I brake hard but can't avoid hitting it and go down at about ten miles per hour.

Quickly assess my very minor injuries as a scratch on the arm and shin and am about to get back up when another racer rides right into me. Elliot, who landed in the grass, advises me to get out of the street. :)

Consider myself lucky because I am relatively unscathed, Peter said he wrecked two wheels and dislocated his shoulder, and I see another rider being attended to with what appears to be a broken collar bone so I ride back to the car and reset for the next race. Mostly upset that this ends a three or four year streak of not being in a crash in a race, gotta start a new one in ninety minutes.

T: 42:28
D: 29.7 km
S: 42.2 kph
H: 171
C: 98
Burlingame 4

Know a few more people in this race, including Shane, Allen, and Jonathan, and Juan.
By the time this race starts, the knee on the leg that got hit by the other rider is starting to give me pain and I am thinking about not racing, but I will try it out and if it gets worse or stays the same I will pull out.

I stay midpack ( of about 65) for the whole race. This group does not fill width of the road so much as the 4's (esp in the corners) so there are plenty of opportunities to move up safely if one is willing to burn a match.

There is an accident mid race at the start of the sweeper. We get semi-neutralized because the rider is down for about three laps and then they let us start racing again.

My knee doesn't bother me anymore after warming up in the race so I plan to attack either from 1.5 laps out or .5 laps to go. I only make it to fifteenth with 1.5 laps to go so plan B will have to do. Attack from about tenth wheel after turn two and take the two turns in the chicane as fast as possible. The only question now is whether I can hold off the pack with a flying kilo. The answer comes at the end of the sweeper when a huge rider passes me. Keep on pedaling and five more riders pass me on the finish straight.

On the one hand, even for me, that was a lousy flying kilo 1:21, 474 watts, on the other hand, it was at the end of a second crit.

35+ 4
Pavg: 190
D: 26.3
S: 41.4
H: 167
C: 97
burlingame 35+ 4

22 June 2008

Mt Diablo Hill Climb TT

CTL: 121
TSB: 5

Spent the last two days standing around watching others race, rode pretty easy both days, but still the legs were sore during the warmup today, not a good sign.

Today's hill climb is not my first preference for a race, but I have never ridden Mount Diablo from the north side, and I already had a prior commitment to do stuff at the track, so the hill climb gives me and opportunity to race this weekend, get a fitness test, and ride somewhere new.

There's a nice start ramp and riders go off every thirty seconds. Due to start by alphabetical order by last name, only have a few riders behind and a bunch ahead of me. Caught two riders and three riders caught me so I didn't get last place.

Looked at some past results last night, but mistook 29 minutes for 25 minutes for some riders that are close to me in ability, so I go in thinking I can do this in 25 minutes @ 285. When I get to the 23 minute point in my race I can tell from the distance elapsed that there is a lot more than two minutes to go and like Gob I realize I made a huge mistake and it's pretty demoralizing, and end up with close to a FTP effort for a short half hour ride instead of something a lot better.

On the plus side I was able to climb Mount Diablo twice today and have some ideas of what I need to do well on the course. I do better in when I have someone to chase in the mass start hill climbs like the Low Key Hill Climbs so may have to try Mt Tam this year.

T: 31:19
C: 77
S: 19.4kph
D: 10.158 km


14 June 2008

2008 June 14 Pescadero Road Race

CTL: 120
TSB: 11

Am a lot less fit than at the same time last year for this race, but a little lighter, too.

Peaked a week early, had an awesome preride of the course last Saturday and today I was a bit flat. Last week I rode a bit harder on the preceding Thursday and Friday and had a hangover, might have to try that for the next race, possibly minus the hangover, but why mess with success...

The race feels incredibly easy up the first bump on Stage compared to last year, this may be because I didn't try to do anything for the first lap prime this year, too. Of course, as soon as I say this out loud to someone I know, the pace picks up, but I am able to match it. The problem starts on the downhill where there are a few riders ahead of me that are about the same speed, what happens is one will catch them due to drafting and have to pass them or brake, but since the road is pretty narrow, I don't feel like risking anything to pass and have to slow, and a gap opens in front of these riders. Work a little too hard to catch the group and get gapped on the top of the last climb on Stage but I see a lot of riders behind me and figure we will catch back on 84, and within two miles, we do. I think we only drop about ten riders by this point, and gain a few back before we turn onto Haskins.

Once we are on the long climb, I can tell I don't have the legs I had last week and yoyo in position with Todd, who says he's only doing L4/L5 but encourages me to stick with it and we will catch the group on the descent. Go hard until the finish line where I make the mental mistake of not pushing hard over the crest onto the descent. There are four of us and I work my way back to the other three on the technical bits. One of the riders in front of me brakes way harder than necessary and I back off again. I forgot where the descent really opens up again and I miss the opportunity to bridge back up, and Todd and the other two riders leave me behind.

I time trial for three miles, just watching the others get a little bit farther away with each pedal stroke and hating life in general.

But another group of three catches me. Two of them are on the same team and one of them immediately counters. I work with John from ebcyclist an Chris and I figure there's no way Chris' teammate can stay away. He surprises me and stays the same distance away, and Chris is not feeling well enough to help much so his teammate stays away.

It's the three of us to the base of Stage, we catch riders here and there but none of them are in our category, and on the first hill on Stage we can see a few riders ahead so I give it everything I have and we catch them and lose Chris, but it turns out these riders are not racing us. This happens again on the last hill on Stage.

John and I make the turn onto 84 and after five miles of a team time trial we finally catch a rider from our race, I think he was one of the riders with Todd. Then three miles later we catch and drop two more riders from our race, and one of them is the other rider that was with Todd. Woohoo, I think we moved up to 45th place. We didn't see anybody else from our race until we cross the finish line on Haskins.

PAvg: 191


01 June 2008

2008 1 June, Dunlap Memorial Time Trial

Photo © 2008 Mark A. Adkison, Ph.D., Hors Categorie Photography
CTL: 122
TSB: 3

Signed up for the 4 and the 35+ 4/5 races but decide that twenty minutes is not sufficient time to recover from a 40-50 minute time trial so I decide to do the old and slow guy version.

It's a new course this year with similar terrain. The last three times I have done it, it was super windy but we luck out this year and get a slight breeze, probably less than 10mph.

I've done this race on my fixed gear pursuit bike for the past few years but being aero on the fixie doesn't leave a lot of room for sit adjustment and last year I could not ride seated for a week after the time trial so I had someone change my pursuit bike so I could have at least ten gears instead of one and would be able to coast for a bit to change position. This worked out better as I didn't injure myself this year.

Start close to last due to alphabetical start order. This gives me plenty of people to chase. My 30 second man, Sam, thinks I will catch him but I am not so sure. The start straight is long enough that I can still see him when I go, and I think I am gaining on him but it's hard to tell. The first turn happens within 1.5 miles and I am within fifteen seconds at this point, and almost blow the turn because there is a ten second penalty for cutting the first corner for permit reasons. Not sure if I got penalized or not, rode the yellow line on entry, and had to correct my line to make it on exit. But Sam makes the next fifteen seconds take a really long time, it feels hard but the silly competitive drive makes me keep going and after he catches his 30 second man, I catch the two of them, now I have keep it up because it would be pretty lame for me to pass someone and slowdown like the folks on Foothill are wont to do. At first I try to keep my average above 40 kph, but realize that the wind is strong enough that I need to just go above threshold into the head/crosswinds, and slightly below threshold on the tailwind sections. This works out pretty well because my normalized power is exactly what I thought it should be with a SRM equipped bike. But I might have gone a little too easy on the tail wind sections, since the race was much shorter than an hour. Misjudged the final straight and surged (it's close)and slowed(no it's not) and surged and slowed there a few times until I saw the 1KM to go sign.

S:40.8 kph
D:31.0 km