24 August 2008

2008 University Road Race 35+ 4/5

CTL: 118
TSB -4

I've always wanted to do this race.

It's not a good sign when I cramp during my easy warmup spin.

Not much to report, lasted two laps with the group, four laps with the laughing group and three laps solo, got lapped on my ninth lap.

It didn't seem that bad, maybe if I was fresh and peaking for this race I could have done better, but that will have to wait for some other year.

First fourteen minutes of the race just in case you haven't seen the course.

I think I beat at least two people! :)

Gradually went from 5.5 minute times up the hill to 8 minutes up the hill the last full climb.

T: 1:22:53
D: 39.0 km 9/10 laps
S: 28.2 kph
C: 89
H: 160
Pavg: 182
Pnorm: 232

university 2008

23 August 2008

2008 35+ 4 San Ardo Road Race

CTL: 116
TSB: 11

Went back to going below threshold the days before a road race, tempting as track racing on Friday nights is.

The 3:30 wake up really puts a crimp in my already sleep deprived life. Preregistration makes you do strange things, paid for it, gotta go...

Temperatures are much cooler than in past years, this bodes well for my cramping problems.

The course has about 900 feet of elevation gain with most of it right after the start in a series of small rolling hills that go on for about half a lap, then it's flat leading back to the start. The pace is sedate, so much so that David (RPS) and I are able to talk about how the race played out last year with a breakaway.

We start going down the rollers and the group does the typical mushroom because no one wants to go to the front after using the draft of the lead riders so I roll off a few times on the descents to see if anybody is paying attention, and someone is always on my wheel right away, so they are. Still it's fun to be on the front on the descents, and hopefully it keeps things a little safer so not a wasted effort.

When we hit the flat parts I try to start or join a breakway intermittently for about fifteen minutes, going off the front hard, easing up to TT pace and reassessing the situation. Due to the number of riders with teammates who chase down the breaks, nothing works, either solo or with one or two other riders, although a Z Team rider gives a valiant effort and we are off for a few minutes but I can see a couple of teams with larger riders on the front, working steadily to close the gap so I advise my breakmate to ease up, a rider with only one other teammate proudly announces his presence when he pulls the pack up. I decide to draft for a bit and wait to try again.

Nothing major changes on the second lap though the hills except a few riders are dropped, since I am recovering from the break attempts right when we start the hills, I am almost dropped, too, and find myself on the back of the pack, trying to do the minimal work necessary to stay in the draft.

By the time we crest the final hill, about six miles from town, I have weaseled my way back to the front again. One rider goes up the road and builds a seventy five meter gap. Then Michael (Mintie) goes and gets fifty meters, and I figure this is as likely as any other break to go so I jump, too. I go out, find I am not closing the gap, and jump again, just a little too hard ( possibly my best sprint of 2008...) and feel quite blown by the time I get to his wheel, and I cry uncle and wait for the warm embrace of the womb of the pack.

Of course what happens is some organization takes hold in the pack, and we reel in the break, but the counter goes and this has four riders and starts putting in serious distance between us and them. They are aided a little by the fact that we are neutralized while the P12 group passes us - it takes the P12s longer to pass a bigger group. By the time we reach the start area, the breakway is barely recognizable as bicyclists in front of us. This could be a repeat of 2006 where the break stays away for half the race, so I have to decide whether or not I will be satisfied with letting the big teams work on chasing this down. I might as well try, because it didn't hurt my results last year and we didn't catch the break, but I am still recovering from my last breakaway attempt. In fact we are going so fast on the flat section that just drafting seems really hard and quitting passes my mind as we approach the parking lot.

When I do start moving up to the front my right calf cramps, and I have to go into survival mode, pedaling as little as possible even uphill by repeatedly doing a few short efforts followed by coasting and stretching. I considering turning around and going to the parking lot because it is so close and downhill from here and it looks like we are not going to chase down the break. Finally the cramp relaxes a bit and Todd and Jonathan (SJBC) have done yeoman work and brought the break close and Todd has enough left to join the break.

When the pack gets within fifty meters, it senses blood and there's another surge, naturally my calf cramps again and I have to conserve and massage for what seems like forever til we get to the shallow rollers leading to the flat section and I can relax a bit, and turn on the camera and gradually work my way from back of the pack to the front in five parts of video:

Finally mid pack of forty riders. This is not the best spot for a non sprinter in a field full of sprinters so I need to move up some more. Move up, relax, lose some spots, repeat.

Still in fifteenth place two minutes out from the finish. On the one hand, this doesn't look good. On the other hand, always tell the juniors at the track to never give up if one is still in the hunt, would be kind of silly if I could not follow my own advice.

Added higher quality version of blurry video to here.

T: 3:02:12
S: 36.9 kph
D: 112 km
C: 95
H: 161
Pavg: 152
Pnorm: 211

17 August 2008

2008 August 17 Suisun Crit 35+ 3/4/5

CTL: 120
TSB: 4

I feel much better than I did yesterday when I was fresher. Weird.

Signed up for this race because the field size was limited to fifty, and several teammates said they were going to do it. The small field size will make it easier to move up if the urge arises, despite the very short course ( about one minute to do one lap). I would have done the cat four race, too, but that one only ends ten minutes before this one. Decide to put all my eggs in one basket.

None of my teammates makes it. So I am flying solo today. Since I am not much of a sprinter will just have to see if I can make this as hard a race as possible for me, just to get a good workout. I have trouble doing that on a flat course because it's so easy to just suck wheel and fool one self into thinking one is going hard when one is not.

Apparently 1/4 of the field is a no show, and we have to wait ten minutes for some riders that were on the wait list get signed and waivered/lawyered up. Since any warmup benefit has been lost, just decide to go at the gun.

The winner takes off about four or five minutes into the race, and we never see him again.

Have the entire race on video, so enough writing, already!

part 1:

part 2:

part 3:

part 4:

Had fun and got a good workout, lost my concentration for a couple of minutes at the end so no notable results. Next time!

T: 38:30
D: 26.0 km
C: 92
S: 40.6 kph
H: 177

Pnorm:240 ( highest I have ever gone in a flat crit, usually I am too lazy to work this hard )
Pavg: 220

16 August 2008

2008 August 16 Winters Road Race 35+ 4

CTL: 120
TSB: 14

Short version: I sucked. This was a lot less than I have done in other races this year.

Only went hard during the race for less than fifteen minutes, six minutes on the biggest climb or set of rollers, then less than three minutes on the steep part, then five minutes during a concerted chase to catch the group. Otherwise the race felt hard to me but it was not according to the data. Puzzling. Maybe it was due to lack of motivation after I got dropped?

Did change up workouts this week due to a lack of time, did some shorter, harder L6 intervals on Thursday, will go back to what I have been doing with L4 intervals this week to see if it makes any difference.

Was with the group until the top of Cantelouw and figured I don't need to try that hard - I can see everybody ahead of me, at that point the women P12 caught us, and after a few minutes they eased up, a big group of racers in my race was still ahead of the women and a smaller group including me was behind. I worked with four guys and we caught and passed the women, and then the other guys started dropping like flies. We could see the field in front of us - I put in one last effort to catch them and got within a hundred meters or so but just blew at that point. Maybe I should have gone a bit easier and just taken a longer time to catch them, or maybe that's all I had in the legs today.

Rode another lap with the other two riders until we got to the big hill and they dropped off, the women caught me again, and I just rode in solo to get some miles in for the day.

I felt really fresh after the race and only had a little bit of cramping problem when I was in TT mode with the other racers on the flat section, eased up for a few minutes and the tightness went away.

T: 2:22:45
D: 79.6 km
S: 33.5 kph
C: 91
H: 170
Pavg: 177
Pnorm: 210
2008 Winters Road Race 35+ 4

09 August 2008

Esparto Time Trial

CTL: 119
TSB: -3

Hurt my neck last week so had to raise the bars a bit to compensate. As long as I don't have to use my arms or head I can ride my bike, and it wasn't a factor at Patterson Pass yesterday.

I did this in 2004 on my road bike and managed a 50:41, I think I can do 43:00 on the time trial bike *if* I can go out at a little above threshold.

Not much to write about except after five minutes I couldn't keep pedaling as hard as I wanted to, and thought about just quitting but didn't want to waste the drive out there, so just kept on going. Then on the way back I had trouble just soft pedaling but it turns out there was more wind on the return trip.

On the bright side, I could walk and sit down after the race, probably because of the new saddle. On the down side, this was about twenty percent less power than I have generated for this length of time this year.

T: 44:35
S: 39.7 kph
D: 29.5 km
H: 182
C: 92
Pavg: 233
Pnorm: 237

Patterson Pass Road Race 35+ 4/5

CTL: 122
TSB: 12

Not trying to taper for this, just too much work, not enough riding.

Last year was with the group until we mixed up with a different field on the descent of the big hill and lost contact with the field.

Hope to improve up on that this year. Same weight and FTP, and lower fitness so we'll have to take what we can get.

This year we go much harder up the big climb that doesn't matter because AFAIK very few people get dropped here in our group. Where people start getting shredded is on Flynn, it only lasts about ten minutes but the steeper climbs start to make a difference. It seems we drop thirty riders here. I am about to get dropped, then figure, I can just catch up on the descent when I almost highside it into the 90 lefthander on Flynn, lost my composure and just couldn't close the gap.

After crossing the freeway, have to enter time trial mode which is exactly what I do not want to do the day before a time trial race... briefly consider calling it day after one lap, and saving it for the time trial but then a group of five or six riders catches me.

This makes life so much easier. The only problem is that on the descents when the group sort of mushrooms across the road, I just pull into the wind to go to the front and try and get the others to go a bit faster but only Matt is willing to play, and the other guys are mostly satisfied with just following. This is kind of surprising because most of them are bigger than me and I assumed they would descend faster than me. I keep probing until we get to the last hill and Bill (I think) goes to the front on the climb and keeps the pace high.

Last time up the big climb it feels like it's hard (but it's actually not) and we all stay together until about a kilometer from the top when Erik puts in an attack and quickly distances the remaing six of us. I assume there's no way that's going to work but he makes it stick!

Anyways on the descent, Matt and I trade pulls, I want it strung out just to keep things safe. The last time up Flynn it feels hard, but once again, the data shows we took it pretty easy.

Once we get into the high speed rollers after the overpass, I keep rolling off the front an I keep getting reeled in, by the time we get to the last part on Midway I give up and reset for a sprint finish. I don't know how I got a reputation as a sprinter, cause whenever I race at the track I get spanked ( and I don't mean that in the good S&M/Nancy Botwin way, either) if there is a sprint, but Matt is telling his teammate Brad to watch out for my sprint!

Anyways my assessment after looking around is that most of these guys are bigger than me so I need to drop them, cause the final part of the race is downhill then a short 200 meter flat section.

The Z Team rider goes off the front early on Midway and we slowly bring him back. Then we get to the last hill and there are now only five of us. Brad puts in a attack and only I can respond. The other three riders are close and I am just biding my time, and Brad asks me to take a pull so I take a really short one right into the last two corners and Brad goes back to the front. I shift into the gear I want to use and when I hear Brad start shifting out of the last corner, I attack and take the coveted 25th place or whatever the heck for which we were sprinting.

T: 2:22:56
S: 30.1 kph
C: 91
D: 71.7 km
H: 177
Pavg: 192
Pnorm: 231


03 August 2008

Timpani Crit - Cat 4

TSB: -3
CTL: 120

Field: 80+

Hoped to work out the kinks with the video camera today, and got a little more video, but not as much as a I can get on training rides for some reason. I think my knee or hand is hitting the shutter button inadvertantly.

Not much to report, start at the back, work my way to the front, get swarmed, start moving up, repeat about six times.

With four to go, give it one more shot. Work my way up and with two to go am second wheel. The rider in front of me is on the front for about ten seconds when he starts to slow, and I hesitate to pass. This was the end of the race for me because we got swarmed and I could not move up safely again. Should have just gone for it then. On the last lap am about fortieth an the field balloons across the backstretch and slows. The inevitable crash happens in front of me and thinking of Burlingame I slow enough to let the tumbling riders come to a rest and can only watch as forty riders keep on going.

Was just going to soft pedal it in but Anthony passed me so I *had* to pass him back. :)

For me this was kind of hard for a flat crit, I probably worked a lot more than I ordinarily would, trying to get different stuff on video that didn't come out...

S: 42.6 kph
C: 99
Pavg: 195
Pnorm: 230

01 August 2008

Fort Ord Road Race 35+ 4/5

CTL: 118
TSB: 10

Field ~35

The last couple of times I have done this race, spent too much time in the wind and in the big ring and then getting dropped on the only long climb ( about 400 feet of elevation gain in 3.25 minutes...) so this year I decide to make myself use the small ring as long as possible and suck wheel as long as possible.

This makes the race much more manageable.

I brought along the video camera but I managed to turn it off as we were starting so only got footage of the guys in front of me when we staged for the start. :(

The course changed a bit this year with two out and back sections versus one last year. Still lots of small rollers with 1000 feet of elevation gain per ten mile lap.

On the first lap it's pretty uneventful except for a crash on an uphill roller near the finish. One of the riders involved managed to catch back on after a long chase but he is dropped on the next lap. We really only go hard for an extended period on the long hill, about 5 watts per kilogram. Since I have been spinning, this is hard but doable the first three times. Each lap we lose five to ten riders on this section and I enjoy using the big ring for a few minutes on the rollers to the finish line.

On the last lap, my faithful companion the calf cramp raises its head. I spend the rest of the race either coasting and stretching, cramping, or pedaling in alternating patterns. There is a small hill for the feed zone, about five minutes before the big hill, and I accelerate a bit to get into a good position for a bottle and feel really good and just move up close to the front when my calves start cramping again so I have to drift to the back and hope for the best.

At the bottom of the last hill there are about fifteen of us left. I have to let the other riders go and slowly ramp up my effort, unsure of if or when I am going to cramp, and continue stretching every once in a while. Find a way to pass four riders on the way up.

When we crest the top I can see a long thin line of riders, this time, it took me twenty seconds longer than the first three ascents, and this is enough of a gap that I have to make a decision - should I risk cramping or just work with the riders behind me, and I go conservative and trade pulls with the riders I just passed. We are not making progress on the riders ahead of us until one fellow gives up on the small but steep rollers leading to the finish. Then another rider is on the side of the road putting his chain back on but he catches on and now after a bit of shuffling of riders we are four.

With about two kilometers to go I am on the front, and no one wants to get in front of me - I also really want to catch the two riders I see ahead of us but I don't want to pull these guys up and then cramp, and I don't know who among is has legs and who doesn't at this point. End up just waiting for the end game, speeding up, watching everyone follow, slowing down, everyone sits behind, repeat a few times.

The sprint is uphill for about three hundred meters, so I decide to go for it when I can see the two hundred meter sign ahead. Surprisingly no one responds ( or did I miscount, I thought we were going for tenth place). This works out well for me because I cramp up really bad after about thirty seconds and have to coast for the last thirty or so meters.

not including neutral bit
T: 1:53:38
C: 98
S: 32.3 kph
PAvg: 170
PNorm: 236
This was sort of like a crit in terms of power, but about twice as long.

P.S. I am a legend in my own mind, official results show me as 15th, not close to tenth! :(