29 March 2009

2009 March 29 Ronde van Brisbeen Circuit Race 35+ 4

CTL: 105
TSB: 15

This will be a better test of my fitness since there is an approximately three minute hill on the course with about forty five seconds of recovery on the descent. I feel OK given my relative lack of fitness for me and residual effects of the crash yesterday.

I go to the front but other folks want it more than I do and string it out for the first few laps and I sit on. This feels kind of hard to me - but when I look at the data it's the same as last year and I did the race twice so my deconditioning is coming into play. This is what usually happens when I take a long break - my sprint gets much better but I lose so much aerobic conditioning I am never in a position to use it.

The whole race for me boils down to about two minutes on the sixth lap. The advantage to being small on the bike is that one can draft anyone, the disadvantage is you often have to move a lot laterally to keep an eye on the action. There's a point where I assume I am in the pack but am not at about the 22 minute mark, and by the time I realize it, make another bad move and assume we will catch them on the next lap but the data shows even though I get dropped by my companions, we are still going much slower than we went with the pack on the downhill, so we will never catch the pack. Kind of frustrating but my fault for not being attentive.

Ronde van Brisbeen Circuit Race 35+ 4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 48:03
S: 34.6
C: 95
Pavg: 192
Pnorm: 237
2009 ronde circuit 35+ 4

28 March 2009

2009 March 28 Ronde van Brisbeen Criterium

CTL: 15
TSB: 105
Been sick for a couple of weeks so not been riding as much as usual. Haven't been able to ride hard until this Thursday so not a lot of expectations for this race. Haven't done this race before but it's a short course with a hairpin and some narrow roads so it's mostly an exercise in positioning.

The race gets underway and it doesn't feel too bad considering my deconditioning so I work my way to the front. Then I manage to hit a pedal in the chicane ( I think ) and auger the bike into the ground. Thankfully I didn't cause anyone else to crash so I limp back to the neutral pit where the nice SRAM mechanic and Eric help me get back into the race, the mechanic notes that my rear tire bead has come unseated so I get a Zipp 404 for the rear, losing the power data but gaining aerodynamics. I get to skip two laps, but I would rather have not crashed...

I tailgun the field for the rest of the race, the only hard part is the yoyo acceleration from the hairpin, not really feeling the motivation to get up close and personal for position. The minor road rash I have hurts more than the race efforts.

What really hurts is the friendly EMT cleaning out my shoulder wound where he describes how the base layer has been ground into my flesh and merged so he has to scrub extra hard to remove it and some flesh!

Ronde van Brisbeen Criterium 35+ 4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

14 March 2009

Madera Stage Race E4

TSB: 19
CTL: 114
Had trouble getting motivated for my last few pre race rides which was weird because usually I have trouble holding back, turns out I was just starting to get sick.


The course was a four corner rectangle with the road three to almost four lanes wide on three sides and about two lanes wide between turns three and four. The finish was four hundred something meters from the last corner. This meant there would be a lot of reshuffling of the order if there was not an organized leadout. This is what happened. I tried to stay up front and move up through the race but found myself near the back with two laps to go so I burnt a match to move up on side between turns one and two and felt pretty bad, but then the pace eased up and I was able to catch my breath, and start moving up again. Got to about twenty fifth by the last corner and just moved up on different rider's wheels until I got to the last two rows of riders that were only using the left half of the road so I looked to my right and saw a clear lane and moved all the way to the right and passed one row of riders to finish just behind the front row of sprinters.

T: 45:57
S: 40.5
C: 91
D: 31.1 km
Pavg: 199
Pnorm: 223
madera E4 crit

Time Trial:
Was really aiming to do well in the time trial, expected about fifteen percent over one hour threshold based on past performances for the expected duration of around 24:00. Right away I could tell I did not have the legs, everyone in front of me deserved to be there as we all had to do the crit first :), could only manage less than five percent over threshold so the mid pack finish time.

It's kind of easy to tell from the speed profile there was a part tailwind, full tail wind, part head wind, full headwind leg. Only met or exceeded my goals on the full headwind leg, just overestimated my perceived exertion on the other legs. I geared up to 51 on the front for the tailwind section but maybe should have stuck with the 50 in order to make myself spin more as I usually am going at 90+ rpm for a time trial.
T: 24:42
S: 40.8
C: 80
D: 16.75 km
Pavg: 249
Pnorm: 251
2009 Madera TT E4

After the time trial my throat was really sore and I just wrote it off as the aftereffects of the effort but then it became really painful to swallow and it didn't go away for the rest of the weekend. Thought about just heading home but since I'm here, and the only symptom was the sore throat and not coughing, might as well do at least one lap of the road race just to check it out for the future.

TSB: 10
Felt pretty miserable and I swear this course is not as flat as people claim it is. Anyways, manage to hide in the pack for one lap until we get to the rollers at the end of the lap and get dropped like a rock. If I were feeling better I think I could do well on this course. Do another lap and the five riders who flatted pass me and I cannot even hang on their wheels for long. Hit the rough section and then it's my turn to flat. Rob from Alto Velo gives me a tube, but then Bob Leibold shows up and offers me a ride and I take it.

Even though I felt like the race was really hard, the data for the one lap I was in the pack show it was really easy, so looking forward to the next time I do this race.

Also need to remember to put more than 100 PSI in the tires for the bumpy section...

While in the pack:
D:26.7 km

09 March 2009

2009 March 8 Menlo Park Grand Prix

CTL: 117
TSB: -11

Racing this weekend mainly to get some race practice of team tactics, and boy do I need to practice...It's easier on the track cause there's almost always room to maneuver where you want to when you want to until the last couple of laps versus vying with 95 other racers, even on the long 1.4 mile lap.

Went into this pretty tired from hard days on Friday and Saturday in attempt to make up a little bit for rain days and to simulate next weekend's stage race.

I almost run over Mary Maroon on the way there but she apologizes to me afterwards!

Masters 35+ 3/4
Was number fifteen on the waitlist so had to prepare for both racing and not racing, and I am one of the two people on the waitlist to actually show up so I get in.

No video so words will have to do, it's easy to float in the pack but I have no snap to move up so I stay pretty far back until the last lap, keep moving up until I find some teammates and try to help them move up, then we get to about 250 meters and teammate Steve gets out of the saddle for his final kick so I follow suit and I think we finish about 20th or so.

T: 37:36
D: 26.0 km
C: 97
S: 41.4
pavg: 180
pnorm: 216

Menlo Park M34

E4 race
This race feels smoother only because for some reason we don't brake as much in the chicane - part of it is probably because lots of the riders in the first race had done or were doing multiple races and there were plenty of fresh legs in this race. But it turns out the average speed works out to be almost exactly the same. What's really weird is I can time trial faster and harder than this on my road bike but while I am in the race it feels harder than a time trial so it's one time you really have to ignore what your body is saying.

Float around the middle and back of the pack until two to go and move up behind a teammate and tell him to get on my wheel. I start moving up whenever I see a gap and think it's safe and find myself on the front with one to go, lead the group into turn one, let some guys pass, lead the group out of turn two and look back going into the chicane and don't see anyone I know behind me so I get pretty discouraged and start to soft pedal. On the road I have a relatively strong initial acceleration so that point I dropped my teammate but on the track I have learned to never rely on my sprint so I never worry about dropping anyone during a leadout so I have to do things a little differently on the road, at least while I am still a 4. Roll in mid pack somewhere.

T: 37:23
D: 26.1 km
C: 100
S: 41.7
pavg: 181
pnorm: 212


02 March 2009

2009 March 1 Merco Credit Union Foothills Road Race

CTL: 123
TSB: 15

Since I didn't ride much yesterday other than the crit my fitness actually went down a bit - the perils of racing every weekend sometimes...

Vance thought my saddle was high a couple of weeks ago, and Dale said he was changing his saddle height in response to his cramping issues so I had to take a look at mine. I checked my race bike and somehow the seat managed to be almost a centimeter higher than the bike I train on - if I spent 8000 miles on the training bike last year and never cramped, I'm going to stick with that formula.

This is the first time I've done this race but I've heard it's flat and there's always a huge bunch sprint. I check out the finish and with one kilometer to go there is a small hill for about maybe 150 meters, then it's 850 meters to the finish where it's slightly downhill/flat with a tiny roller. Ride it a couple of times and feel that it would be a perfect finish for me if it finished on top of the hill. :)
It resembles the Giro di San Francisco and Cat's Hill that way. Decide there's only one way to know if you can attack on the hill and stay away...just have to wait two laps to find out.

The course is pretty non selective - on the first lap one rider drops out when his left crank arm comes loose. Since we have at about eighty guys and the roads are about 1.5 lanes wide, it can get pretty sketchy and there is one crash about halfway through the lap that takes out a couple of riders and delays the riders behind them, not sure if they all got back on or not. Then in the rough section my camera falls off and looks like it rolls into the bushes, doh. This is actually rougher than the rough part at Snelling or Copperopolis from what I remember. Now I am going to have compose a lot more prose and remember what happened for this silly report. I think I was closer to the front so it would have been problematic to pull out at this point so I decide to consider it lost forever and just keep riding. There is one 80 degree left turn onto the finish road, I am third wheel at this point and the rider at the front indicates he is turning right instead of left, this is almost surprising...so I leave him room to crash but he makes it in spite of taking the turn from the far left so we must not be going that fast...

Most of the starting pack is still there on the second lap. It's hard to move up on the flats due to congestion as everyone wants to draft but no one wants to pull hard enough to string it out, but if you want to, it's easy to move up on the few short hills. On one of the roads that we also ride in Snelling I manage to hit a pothole so hard everyone asks if I am OK - I thought for sure I was going to pinch flat but everything seems OK for now. Our pack makes it intact to that left turn with two or three miles to go when it gets really interesting and several riders go down. This leaves about ten riders off the front while the rest of us are delayed and get started again, then some of the riders starting up end up crashing again. We chase (the guy in front of me chases while I draft) and we catch the group with about one mile to go. Had to work hard but not that hard and no signs of cramps so the saddle height must have been the problem, so sticking with plan A.

When the pack slows on the final hill, I hit it as hard as I can. It turns out I have enough in me for a good sixty seconds but it's about ninety seconds to the line so I am caught by riders in ones and twos right up until we get to the line so I eventually wind up in tenth place. At the least I was able to try to do what I wanted to do and didn't cramp this time.

After the race I did another lap to try to find the camera but no luck then noticed my rear wheel was a little out of true and rubbing the brakes so there was a little damage from the pothole, just not a flat, but not enough to make a difference in the outcome.

D:75.75 km

P.S. someone else did find the camera and the race director was going to send it to me!

01 March 2009

2009 Feb 28 Merco Credit Union Grand Prix

CTL: 124
TSB: 15

Was not planning on doing this race as I am not a sprinter but one of my teammates was going to do it, signed up to help out. He got sick and had to DNS so I was on my own. The last time I did this race I remember there being five crashes in the last two laps so essentially anyone had a shot at winning if they were strong enough to be near the front and lucky enough to avoid the carnage.

I don't think we can top the comments at the start line for this event - you know you might be in the wrong race when everyone says you need to eat more. and then someone else claimed "below the waist I'm built like a black man" ?! Too much material, not enough time...but we'll try next race...

2009 Merco Downtown Grand Prix Cat 4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.
Anyways, I put my nose in the wind for the lap, switch to TT mode at around 25-26 mph (you never know...) and look back and see two folks gaining on me so I ease up and see if this might work and they get a little ragged after they both stayed on the front for half a lap each and we get caught by the group, since I am racing tomorrow so I will just sit in and survive and move up for the finish, just like the other eighty guys.

All goes according to plan until there is a crash in front of me about halfway through right when I was going to start moving up. Burn a match to catch the group then we are instructed to stop at the start finish so we can restart the race with eight laps - this will be like a longish track race but I have to start at the back. There are two places where it's safe to move up a lot of places, exiting the turn after the chicane, and the main straight, for some reason it's easier on the shorter back stretch so I start moving up a few spots every lap with four to go, but waited a bit too long and enter the last lap from what I think is 20th but after review looks like 30th or so of the 60 riders left. There is lots of contact and close calls but no crashes until Brian has a rear tire blow out in the last corner while leading the race, and a rider behind this incident crashes, delaying most of the rest of the field. Oh well, get this far, should at least sprint once it's safe and end up 20th.

This data includes the neutralized lap
D: 32.8 kilometers
S: 40.9 kph
C: 94
Pavg: 186
Pnorm: 213