28 October 2009

2009 October 25, Pilarcitos #2, Coyote Point, Category C

CTL: 116
TSB: -6
Sand will have to do until we get some mud or snow, making an angel

Racing with 135 other crossers really doesn't feel like racing. The main opportunities for passing came in the first minute and a half of uphill, and the rest of the course was very twisty and slightly rolling so not much separation happening, I think I only saw maybe twenty other riders the whole race, first when I passed them in the first 90 seconds and then when they all passed me back over the course of the rest of the race. I suppose I could race more aggressively and fight for position, but for me that would be kind of an overly serious tactic for a category C race when not a whole lot is at stake. Still could improve on the pacing on the flatter sections.

Touched the camera on the next to last lap to make sure it was pointed in the right direction and managed to turn it off...maybe the first ten minutes is interesting to see what one lap looked like.

2009 Pilarcitos Cyclocross #2 Coyote Point, BASPS October 25 C race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 41:40
S: 15.1
C: 83
D: 10.5 km
Pavg: 157
Pnorm: 199


13 October 2009

2009 October 11, Surf City #1, Soquel High School

CTL: 115
TSB: -3
This week cut my Saturday pre-race ride down to fifty easy miles so let's see if it has any effect on the race.

I don't know why but today's race has a much smaller turnout of 30 versus the 100 plus at the Pilarcitos 2009 debut. It's a shame because the Soquel High School course could handle a much larger field with longer wide stretches and more passing opportunities.

Slot in on the second row of four instead of fifth row of ten. This makes a huge difference because one can actually go as hard as one wants to go instead of having to wait for the opportunity to move up and then have three guys fighting for one foot of trail.

Make it halfway through the first lap with the first group of five riders, which is kind of surreal for me since I don't think that's ever happened. The juniors that started thirty seconds behind us start passing us within three minutes! The elastic between me and the front group snaps at the end of the lap as Lee passes me and I can't hang onto the top six. I am able to maintain this position for the rest of the race. Lee unfortunately flats and has to DNF and another rider in front of me blows with two to go and I move up to fourth and stay there, with Dwayne starting to close the gap from just behind on the last set of hairpin turns but running out of course to catch me so I get fourth. I think that's the highest placing I've ever gotten in a cross race with more than four people.

T: 35:42
D: 11.2 km
S: 18.9
C: 75
Pavg: 178
Pnorm: 210

2009 October 4 Pilarcitos CX #1, McLaren Park

CTL: 115
TSB: -9
This time I bring a video camera, but brought the wrong memory card, no matter because finishing mid pack is probably not that interesting to watch.
Brought only the mountain bike this year after racing it last year on the cross bike and fully realizing the limits of my bike handling skills or lack thereof...
My preparation is similiar to a Morgan, Lee, and a few others, we all did Levi's Gran Fondo less than 24 hours earlier. Surprisingly this has no effect on my result - last year I ended up sprinting against Brian Brooks for our placing and we repeat it this year, with him reversing the order of last year, finishing a place ahead of me this time with me in 55th / 107.

T: 47:18
S: 17.0
D: 13.4 km
C: 78
Pavg: 158
Pnorm: 203

2009 September 27, CCCX #2, Fort Ord Day Camp

CTL: 113
TSB: 17

Have a good 90 seconds of racing when I am close to the lead racers at the start of the race

then the camera starts pointing down and my fortunes go with it as I crash and take a divot out of my leg. Am able to finish the race mid pack but have trouble walking for a week.

On the plus side I mostly survived my first 2009-2010 cross race, still need to work on pacing...

T: 39:13
D: 13.1 km
S: 20.2
C: 78
Pavg: 162
Pnorm: 197

2009 September 20, Chico Downtown Criterium

CTL: 114
TSB: 19

If I'm going to drive 200 miles, I'm going to stay an extra day to try a race I've never done before... It's a flat L, the course is different from prior years due to construction with a very short final straight so position in the last corner is pretty much everything. The main difficulty today is the heat, it's pretty oppressive after ten AM. Next time I need to bring an ice chest to sit in...

Was originally going to do the 4/5 and the 35+ 4/5 race, but my teammate Mark emailed me and asked if I was in Chico so I switched to the 3/4 and 35+ 3/4/5 races so I could race with someone, always more fun with someone you know.

Skipping the 4/5 race turns out to be a stroke of good fortune since half the field is crashed out and DNF's. This also delays the rest of the AM races and shortens our 3/4 race by fifteen minutes.

I am just going to try to help out where I can, Mark is already pretty good at positioning himself and sprinting so my primary help to him was probably over when I rented a hotel room!

The race is pretty hard from the gun and we drop quite a few folks, almost half the field. It's strung out for most of the race. There's a lull towards the end and I see Mark sitting around tenth instead of his usual fourth or fifth so I move up towards the front to up the pace a bit and he moves up to, it turns out the rest of the race will have no more lulls. In fact I am last in the pack at about 20th and we go so fast into the final turn I ease up because there's no point in sprinting and it's much faster than I would have considered going into it! But it's all worth it as Mark get's second, he said he entered the last turn in second and sort of boxed himself in against the rider in first and could not accelerate until it was too late.

T: 34:47
D: 24.8 km
S: 42.7
C: 92
Pavg: 202
Pnorm: 219


We have a long three or four hours until our second race. I probably spent too much time outside because I felt exhausted by the time we started. This race felt much harder than the first and Mark confirmed this but the data shows it as about the same or a little easier so the heat took a toll on both of us. Three riders escape mid race. I feel miserable and consider quitting but will soon find out what miserable is. Didn't realize the riders were off the front until it was too late.

We drop almost half the field in this race, too. Lap cards come out and I just hang on for dear life at the back of the pack. One disadvantage to being lower on the bike than most of the riders is that one's view is limited when a larger rider is directly in front of you. This lesson is served up when I have about one second of braking time when the rider in front of me swerves abruptly to avoid an accident and I brake hard but am unable to stop in time and hit Gino who has stopped for a rider who crashed in front of him. I guess that's what I get for making fun of people who run into the back of me at full speed...On the plus side this gives Gino a genuine reason to get a free lap since I can vouch for him. I am not too badly hurt, it does take four weeks for my elbow to fully heal, but I join Gino near the start finish for my free lap and we rejoin with six to go.

After a few laps we catch Todd Manley who was off the front in the break, leaving two others still off. I counter with three laps to go. At first I just accelerated to get to the front and up the pace but no one responded so instead of braking I just kept going, at least someone else would have to chase me and Mark would get a free ride. Unfortunately I only lasted two laps so the pack gobbled me up but Mark did great again in the finale and got third for his second podium on the day.

T: 40:45
D: 26.8 km
S: 39.4
C: 86
Pavg: 184
Pnorm: 209


2009 September 19, Henleyville Road Race, 35+ 4/5 A

CTL: 114
TSB: 26

Takes five hours to get to here if one leaves at 6PM on a Friday evening so next time leaving at either 4PM or 8PM to see if traffic is any better...

I am here to help others out so I just need to carry water bottles and offer my wheels up. Kind of fun to not have too much responsibility. The center line rule is somewhat strictly enforced, from what I remember, lots of people went over, but from the results only my teammates got relegated. Since the course is not very challenging and only three to four riders fit across a lane the pace is glacially slow even with sixty plus riders. At one point someone flats and I think it's our sprinter so I turn around and go back to help out but it's not so I have to turn back around make up a minute gap or so, and the pack is going so slow I am able to close it easily.

Based on what has happened in the first two laps, I think one will have to go to the front as early as possible since we only get to use the full width of the road with one kilometer to go. I start moving up when I heard someone say one kilometer to go. It turns out they were lying, so we had a lot farther to go but I end up at the front. Since I am not here for my own placing I bide my time near the front. When I can see we have about one kilometer to go I get a bit worried because none of my teammates are near me and I really don't want to lead anyone else out, so I start fading backwards to try and get close to a teammate. The field gets to about 500 meters to go and I am around 20th and still no teammates so I have to fall back on plan B and start getting position back and sprinting but only manage twelfth.

The race ended up being so easy I wished I had just lead the field out for the last lap to get a good work out...the normalized power for 2.5 hours ending up being lower than the typical flat criterium average power.

T: 2:30:20
D: 87.4 km
S: 34.8 km
Pavg: 129
Pnorm: 171