19 July 2009

2009 July 18 Watsonville Criterium

CTL: 117
TSB: 2

Gave myself an extra hour to get hour for traffic and needed two so got there with only fifteen minutes to spare. There's a theme running here that I need to break, since there were no bathrooms or portapotties for the first couple of hours I had to race with a full bladder...

No warmup meant I felt like dropping out after ten minutes but forced myself to stay in there - it always feels harder than it really is. I can see Josh and Mitch well positioned at the front near the man child from VOS, barely hanging onto the back of the field, a couple of times I am behind someone who is dropped and have to bridge back up and that almost breaks me but the pack goes slow enough in the technical sections that I can catch up again.

Finally with two laps to go try to move up to help and am thwarted by being almost last to begin with, luckily some gaps open up on the last lap so I can move up, almost get to the front and hesitate - should I just lead it out and hope the teammates can get over or what, and the time I spend thinking uses up the window of opportunity and we are on the finish stretch before I can do anything else and just sprint in for a 15th or so.

Rear camera malfunction so only the front view.

2009 July 18 Watsonville Criterium E4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 40:42
D: 26.2
S: 38.5
C: 111
Pavg: 189
Pnorm: 218

11 July 2009

2009 San Rafael Twilight Criterium E4

CTL: 117
TSB: 5
Gave myself an extra hour to travel to San Rafael through San Francisco traffic and it turned out to be not enough, started worrying a little bit when I had thirty minutes to show up at the race and was still on the Golden Gate Bridge. With five minutes to spare, change into the cycling clothes, and get to the course, Josh helpfully pins the number on so I don't have to do it during the race and my warmup consists of the first twenty minutes of the race where I get to consider the sin of not warming up and struggle to hang in the pack. The course is the same one used for the *daytime* San Rafael Crit, a long, slightly uphill drag for the start /finish, a short hill (the steepest section of the course) between turns one and two, a long, slightly downhill drag between turns two and three and a short hill between turns three and four to the finish straight.

I try to help our designated sprinter move up in spite of struggling to hang on while wheelsucking most of rest of the time. We get to three to go and I see a teammate closer to the front and move up to join him. With two to go I am on his wheel and then when there is a surge on the backside, I let it go, but others close the gap by the turn. On the last ascent of the steep hill I pedal as fast as I can but am somewhat disappointed to find myself only keeping even with the ten to eleven riders around me. Do not have anything left in the legs after this and roll in for somewhere around tenth to twelfth.

On the plus side this is the hardest I've gone in a crit since I got sick in February so slowly getting back in the groove of racing.

2009 San Rafael Criterium E4 front view from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 38:39
S: 40.7
C: 109
Pavg: 196
Pnorm: 237


05 July 2009

2009 San Luis Obispo Criterium

CTL: 117
TSB: 9

This course is in downtown San Luis Obispo. It passes through the brick *sidewalk* in front of the Mission there. It's wide so it's not too bad but there are some short brick walls on either side that tend to push riders in the gutter back to the center. Besides the sidewalk section there is a short, one block hill from turn one to turn two, a little more rise to the sidewalk, then a long gradual rise after the sidewalk to turn three, a very short straight, then turn four.

I am here to help my teammate, but I have a lot of trouble doing this - he is on the front of the field for most of the race! Not sure how to help. :) The course gives me difficulty in that I move up a few spots on the long gradual hill but lose them right back on the descent/finish straight. I try to minimize the amount of work I am doing to advance but I end up moving up one steps forward/one step back the whole race and staying about twentieth out of seventy - the twenty guys in front of me have the same plan and are as strong as I am or stronger. When it becomes apparent on the last lap and a half I am not going to move up from twentieth or so I ease up to reload for the next race.

T: 43:19
S: 41.3
D: 29.9 km
C: 106
Pavg: 186
Pnorm: 207

For this race our team plan is to just stay safe since my teammate won a prime and placed in the first race (weekend mission accomplished) and even at the front of the field it was sometimes dangerous. I just sit in tenth to twentieth wheel. I didn't think it was possible but there were more close calls in this race than the first, and I'm only responsible for a few of them. :) Towards the end I think I might be close enough to the front to help out so when there is a lull in the pace with two to go I make a move to the front. Go a little too hard and find myself off the front, and figure I might as well go for it. There is a determined chase behind me, normally I could go this hard for about two laps of this course but looking back is can be fatal to motivation in these circumstances...so I am caught near the sidewalk section. My teammate counters. I hesitated and figured, he should do well, and ease up but I should have gone with the people who chased after him because he was really fatigued from being on the front in *two* races and faded before the finish. Gotta always be on your toes and react and not overthink in these situations.

2009 July 5 San Luis Obispo Criterium 30+ 4/5 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 40:13
S: 40.8
C: 106
D: 27.4 km
Pavg: 181
Pnorm: 215

2009 San Luis Obispo Road Race

CTL: 118
TSB: 8

Plateauing at February fitness, hard to get it up where it was with work and the racing all the time business.

This race is on a military installation. There is one short climb of significance, and only one lane of the road is open for the riders for the flattish part leading up to it.

Previewing the course indicate the climb is not exactly what is described in the flyer or the online profile at the race web site and the first time up confirms that the climb might only be 6% but it comes in a stair step fashion so some parts are much steeper. The narrowness of the roads makes for a lot of contact/close calls in a large field. Since I am near the front the first time up, it is pretty easy to hang in and sag climb, and still we drop about a third to half the field. This is kind of surprising because I only went at the equivalent of 4:30 pace up Mt Eden for 4:00 and this is not as hard as we usually do the *first* climb up Stage Road at the Pescadero Road Race where very few riders get dropped. We have the full 1.5 lanes for the descent, it seems a bit hairy due to the size of the pack that is left, and one 90 degree turn at the base of the first long, steep section, and the trip back to the start of the climb is uneventful.

Since I am at the back on the climb, I have to be more attentive and when a gap opens up in front of me, I panic a bit and go a little too hard to get back on, was just too hard for a short time but it's enough to force me to ease up on the last part of the climb. Consider chasing the pack down but some crashes on the descent by riders ahead of me discourages that and I pack it in at the end of the second lap to save something for tomorrows criterium.