21 October 2010

October 3 - CCCX Circuit Race #3 E3/E4

CTL: 115
TSB: 10

Really wanted to be more active and not just in the first half of the race. I already was able to sit in for a couple of technical, non flat crits in the E3's.

Today was a mixed E3/E4 race but with mostly E3s. I had a good fifty minutes but unfortunately our race was seventy minutes. First four laps, sat in, covered a few moves. Fifth lap worked my way to the front on the four rollers, only sat on the front for a little bit but did too much during that lap and on the sixth lap could not hang on through the roller section. Got dropped and pushed myself to catch back up but totally blew up on the last roller, someone else who got dropped checked in to make sure I was OK when he saw me wobbling! Just did the last one plus laps solo. Probably should have saved my move for later in the race but at least I tried something a little different. Something to build on for next season.

This course is only going to be used for maybe more seasons. A veterans cemetary is being built and they will have a lot more traffic on these particular roads and the roads are probably too narrow to limit a race to half the lane.

2010 October 2 CCCX Circuit Race, Fall Series #3 E3/E4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

CCCX Circuit race #3 E3/E4

06 October 2010

September 26 - Oakland Grand Prix

CTL: 115
TSB: 10

Warmed up for this by doing the Central Coast Cyclocross race in the morning, almost made it through that unscathed but managed to slide out on the last lap and show up for this race with some road rash on my right leg.

Took a few laps to get used to the ebb and flow of the pack on the course but felt comfortable enough to move up on different sections of the course. Never felt confident enough to attack - seems like I would move up to near the front on the straights and not have enough energy or space to move up farther by the time we got to a corner. The lap cards went into single digits and then we had a pretty bad crash coming out of the hairpin, I was behind it and caught back up to the group but we were neutralized to permit an ambulance to treat a downed rider.

We got restarted from scratch with six laps to go. Was thinking more about safety versus finishing position and could not get myself to commit to a move that would better my position so just finished with the group.

2010 Oakland Grand Prix E3 - until neutralization from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 49:28
C: 104
S: 38.7
Pavg: 196
Pnorm: 203
Someone else must have an identical ANT+ heart rate ID because my maximum heart rate is not 238.
oakland E3

30 September 2010

September 10-12 - Folsom Cyclebration Omnium

CTL: 122
TSB: 26

Got in two short easy days on the TT bike to try to make up for not riding it much at all this season, got a decent race, but really need to ride the TT bike more prior to a event. This is equivalent what I can do the second or third time up OLH including this Wednesday so I should be able to do better than this if I am fresh. On the other hand this is the best TT performance I've had this season, faster than last year, had something in the tank at the end, might be able to make up that minute deficit to first place next year.

T: 24:30
S: 42.3
C: 81
H: 186
Pavg: 227
Pnorm: 230

2010 Folsom TT E3

First flat criterium in a long time that was faster than I could time trial. Tried a few moves but too many people interested in a sprint finish. Should have attacked more, had a lot left in the tank at the end. Got caught behind accident with two to go and still moving back up to the middle of the pack by the time the sprint was engaged.

2010 Folsom Cyclebration Challenge Criterium E3 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.


e3 folsom crit

Circuit race was slightly rolling. The uphill portion was relatively easy to float onto the back of the group but I kept losing position out of the hairpin onto the downhill. Didn't think the race was that hard but then made contact with another rider going into the uphill hairpin with two to go and stopped, it was hard enough that I blew when I caught back on just before the downhill, got pulled on the last lap.

2010 Folsom Cyclebration Two Bridges Circuit Race E3 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 36:40
S: 40.2
C: 101
H: 169
Pavg: 174
Pnorm: 216


11 September 2010

September 6, Giro di San Francisco


Originally registered for the E4/E5 and 35+ 4/5 races and just switched the categories when I upgraded. Probably should have done only one race instead. Same course for last five years, small hill, rough pavement in different spots, old trolley track crossing, though the new potholes this year destroyed lots of carbon fiber wheels. I broke out the $80 Bike Nashbar front wheel for this race.

First race up was the master 123's. Went out conservatively and managed to be in front of Larry Nolan (since he started on the back of the field) for three laps and I saw him go to the front on Chris Phipps' wheel and that was the last the whole group saw of Larry until the finish straight on the last lap where he pulled out the win. I pulled out on lap eight. The pace was not that bad, about threshold for me, just had some doubt in my mind about whether or not I could do this effort twice for 24 laps.
35+ 123

T: 14:13
S: 43.1
Pavg: 205
Pnorm: 243
H: 177
C: 103
giro35123 first eight laps

The E3 race had about 90 starters and was a little less smooth and slower than the masters race. It felt hard but ended up being a little easier than the relatively short time I was in the masters race in terms of normalized power. Possibly the heat and some fatigue caught up with me, just not fit enough to do two races twice in day, though other riders were capable of this.

One big difference is that it seems like the E3/M123 races were significantly less negative than most E4/M4 races, I could essentially take it easy during a lot of E4/M4 races with big fields until the last five minutes, versus having to try hard for the whole race to stay with the pack it seems with my current fitness in the E3/M123 races.

T: 42:47
S: 41.2
Pavg: 183
Pnorm: 229
H: 182
C: 106
giro e3

08 September 2010

September 4, CCCX Circuit Race #2 Fall Series

CTL: 131
TSB: 8

Only signed up for one race today so no excuses for not doing well even though it's a mixed E3/E4 field. The 1/2/3 race starts late and I don't want to hang around all day today.

We have about thirty starters, even with the small field a few riders go up the road to animate things every lap. After about forty minutes riders attrition takes its toll and riders start dropping out. Chica Sexy riders start the attacks and soon it's four riders in the lead, four riders just behind with teammate Tony in there and the main group of ten with myself and teammate Dave. I sit in and wait to see if Tony can hang in there or see if we have to do something from this group but right before I can do anything interesting there is a crash on the last lap at the bottom of the hilly section and I have to stop for a few seconds to avoid running into the riders and bikes and lose contact with the group, not strong enough to chase back. Race didn't seem that hard so a disappointing way to end it.

cccx fall circuit race series #2 September 4 2010 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 1:14:17
Pavg: 176
Pnorm: 226
H: 167
S: 33.7
C: 98

August 29 - Vacaville Gran Prix

CTL: 131
TSB: -5

Wasn't sure I was going to make it to this after both legs cramped up yesterday but felt fine this morning.

We had a pretty big field in the E3's so the yo-yoing was going to be pretty bad at the 120 degree turn if one wasn't near the front. Just didn't have the legs after yesterday to move up, ended up tailgunning the whole race and lost touch with the field on the penultimate time down the hill.

I would probably do a lot better if I didn't do Winters the day before!

2010 August 29 Vacaville Gran Prix E3 race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 45:41
S: 40.5
C: 99
H: 171
Pavg: 193
Pnorm: 238

2010 vacaville e3

30 August 2010

August 28 - Winters Road Race 30+

CTL: 130
TSB: 11

Since we have a lot of teammates who are ahem, 30+, we sign up for the 30+ race. The course is flat to gently rolling with one signficant climb. The temperatures are very mild, some racers start with arm warmers.

I am here to support a couple of teammates so I will try to help them however I can, chase down breaks, get water or give up a wheel so they can continue - last year there were a significant number of flats due to goatheads on the course. This year it seems the milder temps and course grooming by Velopromo means much fewer flats.

First time up the climb I am with the group and manage to lose sight of them on the descent - I think I am the only one who heeded Paula's directions to not cross the center line - having the moto behind me is also an incentive. :) But Joe and Jon are near me at the bottom and we TTT back up to the group in a couple of miles.

The next lap I am gapped a little before the summit after sprinting to close a gap. This time Jon and Sam are near me at the bottom and after a concerted effort we catch the group on the final lap after the right turn. The motoref tells us we are almost five minutes behind the solo rider. Jon and Sam are pacing the group and I move up to help. Understandably the Taleo guys who have a teammate up the road are not helping but everyone on other teams seems to be satisfied with going for second place and not pulling. After a few miles of this and finding myself with a small gap, I just keep going and see if that will motivate other riders to chase. I hope to make it to the feedzone so I can pick up a bottle and carry it up the hill but I start to cramp in my right calf after ten miles and have to ease up and the group catches me quickly about a mile before the feedzone. The vastus medialis seizes up on my left leg and I get dropped at the feedzone and get to TT in the last ten miles. The team got second and third so it was a pretty good race, and this is the best I've ever done at this race, 21st.

What I learned - when it's this cool, I only need one bottle. Carried the other bottle around for no reason for 80 miles. The climb with the group settles into about ten minutes at 4 w/kg then for the last three minutes goes to about 5 w/kg to the peak.

T: 3:28:44
S: 34.7
C: 91
H: 154
Pavg: 162
Pnorm: 196

2010 winters rr 30+

24 August 2010

August 22 - University Road Race

CTL: 130
TSB: 14

Since I only did one lap of San Ardo, this will be the freshest I have ever been for University, on the other hand, I sent in an upgrade request on Saturday morning and Larry Nolan approved by the time I checked my mail on Saturday afternoon so I had the opportunity to make University my first E3 or 35+ 123 race. I chose E3, mainly because I woke up too late to make the 35+ 123 start.

I only last one lap with the group, a gap opens in front of the riders in front of me and that never closes. This is pretty similar to what happened to me when I did the masters 4 race a few years ago. Being rested didn't help, it felt like I was going hard but only 4.2 w/kg for 5.5 minutes on the hill the first time up. Weird how it always feels harder than it is for me.

Anyways, better preparation (other than a much higher FTP) for this race would be 5.5 minute intervals followed by 2.5 minutes of rest, repeated 15 times.

Actually beat about 15 people - they all quit - I kept going but got lapped - twice. I am 853 - unknown rider. I think the issue is changing categories on the day of the race - the registration system really isn't built to handle that unless you make sure the results are right after the race, and I did not do that.

I timed the women's race - there were some early 7:15 laps when Shelley and Devon were establishing the break, but after the sun came out, they slowed down a little to 8:00 plus laps and the top E4 riders passed them, causing a little scoring confusing because the plan was to end the race when the lead women finished.


August 21 - San Ardo Road Race

CTL: 130
TSB: 9

Unseasonable cool temperatures extend to what is normally one of the hotter races of the season. Am racing to assist my teammates so I shelter them from the wind and pace them as much as I can on the first lap in our full 35+ 4 field. Not much action but there are a lot of flats from goat heads. I manage to avoid this fate but there is a section of broken pavement with about two inch diameter chunks in the rollers that I smack with my front wheel and get a pinch flat immediately on the second mile of the second lap. This is probably the only flat I have had during a race that I might not have gotten had I used tubulars. No follow vehicle so that's the end of my race. Pretty disappointing because I felt strong, though I do get to enjoy the entertainment of the sag wagon and watch some of the other races during their second lap.

16 August 2010

August 15, Suisun Harbor Criterium

CTL: 133
TSB: 0

To make for yesterday's total lack of using my fitness, I keep telling myself to spend as much time as possible in the wind, no point in building up fitness all the time and not use it during a race.

The course is a long rectangle, reversed in direction from previous years - a traffic control device blocked one lane on the old finish line, and it's convenient to use the same block to store the stage for the finish line because the block is vacant, just a different street. So instead of being like racing on the velodrome, it's more like the reverse polish notation version.

The winds that abandoned Dunnigan come back to Suisun City, it feels like a crosswind or headwind in every direction on the course.

Told myself I wasn't going to attack from the gun so I slot behind the guys who do surge first, and when they soft pedal after half a lap, I figured that was a long enough wait so I put in a tiny acceleration there. This is enough to get me off the front for two laps solo (each lap only takes about one minute so not as impressive as it sounds). On the third lap I take a look back and see someone gaining and ease up and then dig deep to grab on when Andreas from Bicycle Planet passes.

For the next fourteen or so laps Andreas takes the majority of the pulls. We get out to fifteen seconds maximum but I can see some of the teams in the race are organizing a chase. At one point a rider in black kit joins us, then drops out. Then a rider with a teammate in the pack joins us when the lead drops to ten seconds. It goes back up for a little while with fresh legs but inexorably the pack brought us back.

Glad I tried, a couple of times I considered dropping off the break but it just felt hard, wasn't really that hard, the fifteen minutes off the front was just at threshold. Rest of the race sat in and tried a few surges but some people just wanted a pack sprint and we were all together on the bell lap. Started from way too far back and moved from tenth in the final corner to fifth.

2010 Suisun Harbor Criterium 35+ 4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 41:06
S: 39.2
C: 84
H: 176
Pavg: 202
Pnorm: 223

2010 suisun crit 35+4

August 14, Dunnigan Hills Road Race


Dunnigan Hills is one of the flatter courses in our area, and the main difficulty is usually the central valley heat and winds, both are absent this year and this means that most of the riders that get dropped from our two lap 86 mile or so race are victims of flat tires. The finish has recently featured an 800 meter run in with a longish freeway overpass which breaks things up a bit, then a long flat section before the finish line.

The E4 race was mostly uneventful. There are four teams with lots of representation. Several breaks go on the first lap but since they only have two of the bigger teams I don't work to bring them back, this happens on it's own within the first lap after about half an hour.

On the second lap, someone wants to take a pee break. The whole field slows to let people stop and get back on. This continued (slow riding, not the peeing) for thirty minutes. Finally we get on the traditional crosswind section where the race usually shatters. Nothing doing this year, instead of echelons we have double pacelines rolling through the roads. I spot Rene Palileo taking photos as I am near the front so I roll off for fun. After about five minutes, a serious counter happens from a couple of guys from Bicycle Planet. This is hardest I go all race and it's really not that hard. We are all together, grouppo compacto on the final long straight before the turn and overpass.

Two miles before the turn a moto ref comes up to us. Since we are going 25 mph and there is a slight wind, it's difficult to understand what he is saying other than the finish is a single lane.

This is confusing because the chief ref spent a couple minutes confirming that we would have both lanes for the finish.

What happened was there was an accident requiring a helicopter to land on the course. This happened at the Panoche Road Race, they simply made us stop until the helicopter was away, but here they used a different option, bypassing the announced finish with a bypass "hill" and instead extending the course by a mile with a finish near the start. This is all well and good but very few people could hear that that was the current situation.

Since there are about forty of us left in the pack with a strict center line enforcement on a flat road, we are packed like sardines, and I just go with the surges. There is one not very hard surge and we cross the finish line. From the external video it appears only the front four or five people were that sure of where the finish line was and sprinted.

I guess that is incentive to be closer to the front at the end of a race.

The effort during the race is pretty mild, this is only my third hardest ride this week, it's about 2/3 as hard as the Dave Stahl OLH/Tunitas ride when I am only good enough to be in the laughing group there. I felt like I could do another lap. I should have attacked more to at least get some kind of training effect from the four hours on the bike.

Most of the last lap -

2010 Dunnigan Hills E4 race, lap 2, first 100 minutes from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 3:57:50
S: 35.7
C: 88
H: 133
Pavg: 133
Pnorm: 169

2010 dunnigan E4

August 8, CCCX Circuit Race Fall Series #1 35+ 4/5

CTL: 132
TSB: -2

The same rolling, full road closure course in Fort Ord we road on for the spring CCCX series is utilized again for this race, with a 45+mph descent leading into a small hill with a turn about 150 meters before the finish line. We have four team members in the race and I am the lucky designated rider this week, I am supposed to sit in behind my teammates and not work and save everything for the last lap, and this is what I do. There are attacks every lap after the first, but I don't worry about them, by the last lap the field brought them all back except for two riders, they worked hard and earn first and second so I and the rest of the field are racing for third. Teammates Jon and Sam and Jeff worked pretty hard for the first five laps, and repeated attacks on the last lap force a selection and it's just me and Jeff. Jeff is able to pace me up until the next to last hill when more sharp attacks reshuffle the field. I am maybe 15th at the top of the descent, want to move through the pack but some folks who get close to the front insist on flaring out instead of pedaling through - this is the only lap I really need to brake on the descent. This continues in the leadup to the final turn. Since none of these riders has any interest in leading it out and I have a lot of momentum, I just choose to not brake and don't slow down after the descent and hit it a little hard to get some separation about 45 seconds out and hold it all the way to the line for third.

August 8, 2010 CCCX 35+ 4/5 Circuit Race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 59:43
S: 33.7
C: 92
H: 172
Pavg: 172
Pnorm: 221

cccx fall circuit #1 35+4/5

09 August 2010

July 31 - Copper Town Square Circuit Race

CTL: 125
TSB: 3

The course is the same used for the Copperopolis Stage race earlier this year, undulating with a u-turn turnaround, a high speed chicane through downtown Copperopolis and a finish line two lanes wide but only for 100 meters, the part before that is downhill and single lane for quite a bit.

Last time I came in fourth, need to be on the front by the 100 meter point to do well since I am not a sprinter.

Our field is only fifteen riders but four teams represented. Lots of attacks and finally two riders, Derrick/SJBC and someone else get away. I try a few surges but people are on my wheel right away so I bide my time and see if the break works or if the guys with teams will bring it back, I go to the front a few times if only to not brake on the downhills. At one point the break got so far ahead I assume they are going to win. After the lead goes up over 15 seconds it's out of sight.

On the last lap the attacks come fast and furious but nothing sticks, one Sierra Nevada rider buries himself ( I assume for his teammate ) for half of this lap and all of the sudden Derrick/SJBC is back in the field at the turnaround. I wasn't sure if he had lapped us or what and where was the other guy. What happened is we caught them but I didn't realize what had happened. I thought we were sprinting for 3rd but we were actually back in it for the win.

On the run into the finish, a rider attacks with about 1K to go, I am on the two man Taleo train, then the leadout guy finishes his work but I boxed myself in behind him as he blows and have to wait a bit and can only start sprinting after the first six riders have already engaged their sprint. Pass two of them for fourth.

T: 57:14
S: 37.5
C: 102
Pavg: 181
Pnorm: 219
H: 171

03 August 2010

July 17 - Watsonville Criterium E4

CTL: 125
ATL: 5

Thirty plus riders today, with the one fellow Cameron who has won five of his last six races being the odds on favorite. The small hill is not enough to break up our group as we surge up it and ease up, the stiff headwind leading into the final turn giving pause to anyone going off the front. The first few laps feel hard so I was hesitant to try attacking all the time like the races at Atwater, but it eased up so I should have just gone with my initial reaction. Cameron went a few times but guys would bridge then just sit on his wheel. Kind of surprised other teams didn't try anything.

We would surge then slow up so much that it felt a little dangerous with all the swarming so with three to go I just went for it on the hill. Didn't get much of a gap and was slowly reeled in by the next time up the hill but no one wanted to pull through. At this point since I knew Mitch was still there but not behind me, I just got as small as possible and tried to string out the group for as long as possible which turned out to be one more lap. On the bell lap there was another big surge, I got gapped and I almost got back on to lead group of fifteen or so just as they sprinted out of the last corner.

Felt ridiculously fresh at the end and wishing I had tried attacking more often to split the group up, the pack really didn't break up until there was a crash with two to go way behind me. We went almost a mile an hour slower this year, not having junior phenom Eamon pulling us around for the whole race made a huge difference.

T: 42:02
S: 37.0
C: 99
H: 177
Pavg: 191
Pnorm: 223

2010 watsonville e4

11 July 2010

July 5 - Big Creek Lumber Atwater Criterium

CTL: 118
TSB: 4

My arms are still sore from Leesville and the blisters on my hands haven't healed, this puts me in a little better shape than Xeno, who says his whole body is still sore!

The course is D shaped with the two 90 degree corners being the last two turns before the 260 meter dash to the finish line. The next to last corner as a big pot hole and this is patched just before the start of our race, leaving a bit of gravel there.

We have sixteen riders in the 4/5 race. Anything less than about thirty riders means the race is going to be super hard and this holds true to form as riders attack continuously trying to get away.

Sometimes I go with an attack and sometimes I let them go and let others bring them back. One time through the loose gravel a rider almost loses it by braking in the exit of the turn and locking up his wheels in front of me and he just saves it. This is enough to make one rider set out to determine his own fate. If I'd have known it was this guy, I would have gone with him but given the success of the prior moves I sat back. He got out of sight within a few laps but then when we closed the gap to about ten seconds people started attacking out of our diminished group. The rider off the front disappeared and we had two, Adam and Eric? slightly off the front. Now I started to work in earnest just to catch these two. I had a lot of help from the LGBRC rider and got to within about 100 meters, but then, the rider off the front lapped us! LGBRC didn't know we could draft off of the leader and gave up but I just kept following him. He was clearly the best rider in our group, confident in the turns and very steady.

He easily brought back the last two riders off the front and the four of us sprinted for the end, even the guy +1 laps, I got second in the field sprint for third overall, because I stopped pedaling before the finish line when I didn't realize Adam was on my wheel and he pipped me at the line!
atwater crit e4

Twelve riders for this race. Temps started getting into the 90's. Adam said he was going to try and break away again, so I tried to keep an eye on him. Mid race there was a $10 prime and since I was second wheel I could not resist the temptation to sprint and unlike the first race, I sprinted to the finish line and won it. This took a lot out of me. Three laps later I was still panting when Adam attacked and got a nice gap, joining a couple of other riders. Two riders I thought I could bring back, three, that would take some cooperation and work, and it turned out we didn't do enough. We kept them in sight on every straight for the rest of the race, getting closer by the 3 lap to go mark but then we started jockeying for sprint position with 2 to go, so the first three positions were off the table and sprinted for fourth, I came in second again in the field sprint.
T: 39:41
S: 37.8
C: 89
H: 181
atwater crit m4

04 July 2010

July 3 - Leesville Gap RR

CTL: 118
TSB: 6

35+ 4/5 race

I haven't done this race in about five years. Wasn't planning on doing it until the Oakland Grand Prix was postponed, then decided on Wednesday night to do this road race and cancel my entries into the Oakland replacement crit but I forgot the part about cancelling the Atwater Crit entries. Doh. At least I should be a little heat acclimated after the Chico Stage Race last weekend.

I froze all my bottles and the temps were mild enough that by the end of the race at noon, the water was still cool, not unpalatably hot like at Paskenta at 3pm, so heat was not as big a factor, starting at 8:30 instead of 12:30 helped.

We started off the race at a very easy L1 zone pace for thirty minutes - the 45+ 4/5's caught us and passed us. Then we hit the long rough section, paved mostly but lots of potholes. We caught and passed and then it seems like we merged with the 45 4/5's. This made the thirty minute gravel/rough road section a lot more interesting, sixty some riders vying for position (with maybe two good lines) instead of thirty riders. About ten percent of the riders flatted out here. I wasn't sure which group they were in, only caught a glimpse of a couple riders' numbers in our group. We hit this section kind of hard, high L3 zone for me and I was drafting the whole time. I lost count of the water bottles shaken loose from bikes, and then I lost one, and was down to two. Ended up with blisters on my hands from all the vibrations.

There's a nice four mile descent later in the race where even I can hit 80kph that almost makes this part of the race acceptable. :)

There is a small bridge and a left turn and the road turns upwards for about 6 kilometers. There was immediately a breakaway of what appeared to be about twelve riders, could see some guys from my category. The roads were still in such bad shape and the two combined fields in front of me so there was no way I could move up to close the gap, and I assumed the race was over only about twenty miles in, and sort of gave up and eased up. Looking back, this was a huge mistake. Went over the climb in about 24 minutes at the low end of L4 so very simil$ar to OLH. A rider from my group overtook me at the summit and I found the motivation to start racing again. The views from the climb of the valley below are pretty nice, maybe next time I will bring a camera.

We caught six riders over the next twenty miles of rolling terrain (one mile of gravel road, nothing compared to Paskenta...), then some riders from another group caught us and I threw in the towel, just followed wheels in at that point.

Ended up 12/25 some how. Kind of frustrating because I had a lot in the tank, and been going harder than this in training on Tuesday and Wednesday, though maybe I should plan ahead farther and not go that hard prior during the week of a race...

T: 3:23:49
D: 104.3 km
S: 30.6
C: 85
H: 165
Pavg: 159
Pnorm: 191

leesville gap rr

28 June 2010

June 27-28 Chico Stage Race

CTL: 118
TSB: 6

Paskenta Road Race
This course is interesting, not really a flat section anywhere. Starts off with some very gentle grades going up/down for a good hour at race pace, then enters a roller coaster section similar to Madera, then a right turn, and more rollers but longer, and at the thirty mile point, a gravel road section that consists of more rollers for five miles! This section ends with about three miles of road to go, with a couple of gentle climbs, the last one ending about 700 meters from the finish. But the most difficult part of the day was the heat, even if it was a dry heat, at 10AM it was 85, and by the end of our race it was 107.

Field of 33 and pretty spirited start with lots of attacks, even I spent five minutes off the front testing the legs. This happens every race because we're all fresh, but this was also the least challenging part of the course for those unaware of what was coming. When we hit the roller coaster section the field split up immediately. Was sitting about tenth going up the second hill when my front wheel felt deflated, just like my chances in the overall were about to be. Luckily I had placed wheels in our follow vehicle. It took a minute for the vehicle to reach me since our field was so shattered, and I started a pursuit of the pack. Caught ten riders, then Jeff from Chico confirmed that the neutral feedzone was closed and we might have to do the last 17 miles without additional water. Kept on pushing until I threw up, then I had to settle down and nurse my last half bottle of hot energy drink for the rest of the race, only able to catch a glimpse of some other riders on the last hills ahead, at least I was able to flag down some vehicles to get some much needed hydration for survival.

T: 2:24
S: 30.0
C: 88
Pavg: 138 (with pack for about an hour before the flat, didn't go much harder after the flat)
Pnorm: 174
H: 173 (minus the missing parts - looks like when I stopped to change wheels the HRM transmitted stopped getting enough perspiration to work)
Chico Stage Race, Paskenta Road Race

Agua Frias 10 Mile TT
Since I technically didn't go that hard yesterday except for the heat stress, had high hopes for doing well in the TT. Placed 20 minutes back of the lead pack so only racing for pride today in this stage. Have a decent outbound leg, get close to my threshold power, but completely blow the inbound leg, fool myself with the high average speed and barely break into L3 territory. Either that or the bag of ice I slipped into my skinsuit was super effective until it melted away.

Outbound into wind
S: 40.3
Pavg: 232
Inbound with tailwind
S: 41.0
Pavg: 207

T: 23:50
S: 40.7
C: 86
Pavg: 219
Pnorm: 224
Chico Stage Race, Agua Frias 10 mile TT

Chico Downtown Criterium
Same course as last year's separate criterium event, going around the fountain and plaza in downtown Chico. The fountain is very refreshing, though it's disconcerting how quickly the water evaporates from your bare skin in the 100+ degree heat.

First six laps attack after attack, sometimes including me. I take a break for the next six, but stay close to the front. Jeff from Chico goes off the front, I briefly consider joining him but decide to let him have his hometown glory. Another rider joins him and by the time I think I should have gone, too, he's already almost up to Jeff. They get a sizeable gap that stabilizes at 30 seconds according to the announcer. I work to bring this back, I have a teammate Josh in the pack so it won't be in vain if we catch. With about eight to go, Jeff starts fading back to the pack but the lead isn't falling quickly enough. Soon it's just me, Josh and Mike working and that guy off the front is earning a well deserved victory because we can't close the gap from 25 seconds, and with three to go I decide to save it for the sprint.

With two to go, Josh and two others get a small gap, so I soft pedal on a straight, others pick this up pretty quickly and chase back, I made a tactical error here, should have countered right away, instead just slot in at about tenth which is way too far back on the course - the finish is only 150 meters from the last turn. This is what happens when you think about surviving a race instead of trying to do as well as possible. End up staying there until the last turn and I moved up to seventh in the field sprint.

T: 43:51
S: 39.3
C: 90
H: 177
Pavg: 170
Pnorm: 181
Chico Stage Race, Chico Downtown Criterium

June 20 - CCCX MTB XC #6

CTL: 119
TSB: -6

35-44 Beginner (or cat 3 as NORBA calls it now...)
Hadn't raced in a while, and after not doing Pescadero because I didn't want to risk showing up and not being able to get in needlessly (100 pre reg no shows!), looked at the calendar late on Saturday night and saw this race and decided to do it on the spur of the moment.

For once my strength is climbing and my weakness is descending, my choice of mostly slicks might play a part in this, also, riding the MTB only once a month. About 600 feet of climbing and descending per lap. Since the lap is six miles, decide to not carry the tool kit and camelbak, and just ride the bike and quit if I get a mechanical, the start finish is centrally located. This works out, because nothing went wrong with the bike.

Pretty easily able to keep up with the front runners on the first lap, until one rider passes me before the single track descending section. A huge gap opens up in front of him by the end of it and we can't see any of the leaders, I pass but am only skilled/motivated enough to try to keep ahead of the riders near me. Spent the rest of the race duking it out with them, closing gaps on the climbs and seeing them vanish by the descent to finish 7/13.

T: 1:13:35
S: 20.6
C: 80
Pavg: 182
Pnorm: 216

June 6 - AT&T Pacific Grove Butterfly Criterium

CTL: 118
TSB: 8

Missed this race due to a scheduling conflict and now that I've done it once, sorry to have missed it. A challenging, technical course, hills, high speed descents, and my favorite, and uphill sprint into the wind.

First up is the 35+ 4/5 race. We have about 40 entrants. This is the borderline number where the race can be really negative - where it's easy to sit in because someone is chasing down every single break, even if they have no teammates or no sprint, or it can be a positive race where it is strung out and we're shedding people every lap. Several people put in attacks early. I go with a few. Nothing sticks. Then Josh from LGBRC goes solo as we reel in another break, and gets a huge gap initially. Since I don't have teammates I figure if he wins solo he deserves it and just wait. He stays out there for about ten laps! but finally he comes back and then pace eases significantly. I just try to move up and avoiding the riders with suspect pack handling skills, with two to go I am about fifteen back working my way to ten, when there is a crash out of the last corner, going uphill. See a gap between crash victims and try to squeeze through but a rider that is going down falls over onto my front wheel as I pass. This tacos the front wheel so I can't even turn it or try to ride to my spare wheel only 200 meters away, decide to call it a race, regroup for the E4 race.
T: 35:18
S: 37.2
C: 101
H: 172
Pavg: 183
Pnorm: 231
butterfly criterium master 4/5

After the debacle that was the 35+ 4/5 race (for me), decided to string things out no matter what, even if I get dropped, to keep it safer. Unlike the first race, after I pull over, multiple people are willing to share the load, even though we have a smaller field. By the half way point we had dropped more than half the pack. I was barely hanging on and had to resort to motivating myself by saying just one more lap, just one more corner. Then there was a pause for a lap, I could see the eventual winner and his teammate start moving up, and the attacks started up again and this split up the field even more - there were three or four riders up the road, and the other ten of us trying to catch back up. We got closer, and closer, and closer until the last two laps when individuals were able to split our group up, on the last time up the finish straight, the four in my group could see the seven ahead sprinting for the line as we started our sprint, ended up getting ninth.

We had less riders doing the work and we ended up going a full mile an hour faster.
T: 38:59
S: 38.5
C: 107
H: 181
Pavg: 193
Pnorm: 238
butterfly criterium e4

07 June 2010

June 4 - Friday Night Hellyer Track

CTL: 118
TSB: 6
Mounted video camera on road bike, didn't feel like moving it back, so no video this time, but I did remember to changing my gearing from 50x15 to 51x15 so I would spin *less*. Temperatures are about 40 degrees warmer than the last Friday night race so finally no arm warmers required.

P123 40 lap scratch
For a simple race this felt pretty hard, I was in the main pack until seven laps to go and could not close a gap after a rider in front of me got dropped (I have to stop doing this...) and got lapped on the last lap. Using the OLH unit of measurement about the same difficulty as OLH in 22 minutes but just for 19 minutes. The bigger gear did seem to help.
T: 18:49
S: 45.2
C: 105
H: 184
Pavg: 246
Pnorm: 260

P123 50 lap points race
This race felt harder but it wasn't, my perceived exertion meter is way off. Since it felt difficult I didn't try to score points, just maintain contact with the pack and was able to hang in there until the finish. No points but didn't get lapped. Using OLH units, this race was equivalent to doing OLH, if one surged and eased up all the time.
T: 22:30
S: 46.2
C: 107
H: 185
Pavg: 233
Pnorm: 248
June 4 Friday Night Track racing

06 June 2010

May 29 - Get Ready for Summer Series #4 Hellyer

CTL: 117
TSB: 4

I barely wake up in time for the 1:00 PM race start so I have to use the keirin heat as a warmup, get dropped when the speed hits 58kph but I eeked out a placing over Ben Stern who sat up in the last 100 meters.

T: 4:44
S: 47.5
C: 111
H: 183
Pavg: 278
2/3/4 scratch race - Not a spinner so a bit undergeared when the average speed is almost 30 miles an hour. A gap opened up in front of one of the riders in front of me and spent the last four laps or so trying to close it. Fun but not in position to sprint at the end.

May 29 Get Ready For Summer Hellyer Track Scratch 2/3/4 10 laps from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

30 lap 2/3/4 points race.
Moral victory, don't think I got lapped, but not much else accomplished. Still thinking about gearing up for next weeks' racing. Well, haven't done much track racing this year so have to pay my dues in specficity now, hope for better results down the road.

T: 13:55
S: 43.1
C: 101
Pavg: 237
Pnorm: 254

May 29 Get Ready For Summer Hellyer #4 30 Lap 1/2/3 Points Race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

GRFS Hellyer #4

May 23 - Panoche Valley Road Race

TSB: -8
CTL: 117

I did a lot better than last year, but I would have been hard pressed to do worse. Still got dropped on the one hill longer than four minutes. One fellow dropped his chain at the bottom and I stopped behind and once we caught back up was redlining it, and had to soft pedal for a minute to recover. Weird because the effort by itself was not harder than some intervals, but it was at a much higher cadence, either need to do my intervals at that cadence or be more careful about gearing up for these vo2max length hills during races.

OTB with a few other guys and we each have different strengths and mainly succeed in tiring each other out by surging on different parts of the course, until the three strongest guys leave us behind at the feedzone on the way back. There was a serious crash in another field so everyone had to stop three kilometers from the finish to permit the helicopter to land and take off. I counted the number of riders in the main field and it was about thirty and the grouplet I was with was about ten so it didn't matter where we placed, led out the sprint for fun.
T: 2:53:11
S: 30.9
C: 87
H: 160
Pavg: 167
Pnorm: 197

2010 panoche valley rr

23 May 2010

May 21 Hellyer Friday night racing

CTL: 120
TSB: -13
Decide to be a little less ambitious and race just the 3/4 instead of the 1/2/3 races after getting dropped all the time. This worked out OK and I am able to finish mid pack most races, need to do this again one more week and change my tactics a bit to mix things up.

T: 9:49
S: 43.6
C: 102
H: 177
Pavg: 271
Pnorm: 291
Led it out the last lap until Rick took over at 200 meter line and I was able to nip Rick for sixth I think.

May 21 Hellyer 3/4 20 lap scratch race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

30 lap 6x5 points race
T: 15:04
S: 42.4
C: 99
H: 180
Pavg: 245
Pnorm: 276
Raced too conservatively, just hung in the pack until the last two sprints for a grand total of one point.

May 21 Friday Night Hellyer 3/4 30 lap 6x5 points race from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

Miss and out
T: 5:15
S: 42.1
C: 98
H: 179
Pavg: 286
Pnorm: 320

May 21 Hellyer 3/4 Miss and Out from Steven Woo on Vimeo.


May 9, Berkeley Hills Road Race 35+ 4/5

CTL: 115
TSB: -5

Fitness a lot less than it needs to be for this race but since this fills so quick, can't wait till the last second to register and have to commit to this early in the season. The day turns out a bit cold and drizzly so probably could have skipped the pre-reg and just showed up.

Kind of surprised as I am still with the group after the first bear hill despite my lack of power/excess weight. But I am undone when I stay too long on one rider's wheel before going around him to realize we got dropped on the descent! At this point I hesitated to bridge up and should have just buried myself instead of being lazy and waiting to get pulled back, wasn't strong enough to close the gap when I tried to pull through. In a improvement over last year, am able to stay with a group of two to five other riders and finish feeling pretty good and avoiding a flat on that lip on the road that was kindly marked this year.

T: 2:51:57
S: 30.5
C: 91
H: 163
Pavg: 172
Pnorm: 211
2010 berkeley hills

09 May 2010

May 1 Sonora Road Race

CTL: 110
TSB: 5

Had trouble sleeping and breathing in Sonora, apparently I'm allergic to air that isn't full of smog. Didn't clear up by morning but the weather and course are nice so one might as well race.

The course is as Chief Ref Paula puts it, like Copperopolis, without the smooth parts. It's not flat but not mountainous, more rolling hills, with one small hill about 450 meters long and 80 meters high that reduced some folks to paperboying or walking by the final lap and a sort of uphill rolling finish past the winery that lasts less than ten minutes.

I think we only had twelve starters in our group. We stayed intact for the first lap as folks got familiar with the new for 2010 course. After we passed the finish line a second time, a couple of riders got dropped, then I got dropped, too. Was able to work with the riders to bring the group within about 100 meters on the steep hill but I couldn't close the gap, though the Metromint rider tried to bridge up, but over the next three laps he came back to us after cramping. At one point I dropped a bottle, let the Bicycles Plus racer I was riding with go up the road, and after I recovered my bottle it took me two laps to catch him. So we weren't really working all that well together behind the pack, we each seemed to have different strengths on the course. :) I think I eeked out a top ten or third or fourth from last...

T: 2:39:30
S: 26.8
C: 86
H: 170
Pavg: 163
Pnorm: 206
2010 sonora rr

21 April 2010

April 18, Santa Cruz Classic Criterium

CTL: 110
TSB: 11
Had an easy week in an attempt to get out of the funk, seemed to work mostly. Last year I did this race while a little sick and couldn't keep up with the pack for more than a few laps. Hoped to do a lot better than that, but the only times I've done well on this hilly course, my FTP was ten percent higher than what it is now.

The E4 race seemed manageable as I just tailgunned it and made sure to not get stuck behind anyone that was getting dropped too far behind. There was an accident in the hairpin on the second lap, so this made the pack come almost to a complete stop for a good five to six laps, followed by an extreme acceleration. Was starting to get comfortable when on the eleventh lap of twenty, I had a mechanical and had to retire. At least I did not get dropped due to lack of fitness or illness this year...

2010 April 18 Santa Cruz E4 Criterium, first ten laps from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 21:55
S: 36.5
C: 102
Pavg: 192
Pnorm: 243
2010 santacruz e4

Last year the masters race was much harder than the E4 race but that did not happen this time. It seemed easier than the E4 race, but that is probably because I did not have to jump from a dead stop in the hairpin and avoid a body in the road a bunch of times. There were a couple of close calls in front of me in the last few laps so I had to burn all my matches to keep up with the pack, and did not get into good position for the last lap, started the last corner from about 30th so just rode in with the pack.

T: 28:43
S: 37.1
C: 101
Pavg: 180
Pnorm: 243
2010 santacruz m4

12 April 2010

April 10 - CCCX Circuit Race #3

CTL: 115
TSB: 20

Not trying to peak, still not feeling 100% after the two stage race weekends. Had a sore throat off and on this week, probably would not have done this except I was the driver in a carpool and I prereged so off to the races...

E4 race :
This turns out to be easier and shorter than the first race of the year where I got second but this time I got dropped on the last lap on the next to last roller.

CCCX Circuit Race E4 April 10, 2010 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 58:34
S: 35.5
C: 97
H: 168
Pavg: 182
Pnorm: 227
cccx e4

35+ 4/5 race:
The winds have picked up to make the race even harder. Not feeling that great but when someone goes I follow to get a warmup in and we are off for about a mile before the pack reels us in. After lap two I guess fatigue from the first race is setting in because even though this race is slower than the E4's I have trouble hanging on and the elastic snaps at the end of lap 4 and I have to TT for a lap, almost catching the pack on the false flat but losing them on the next hill.

T: 1:02:33
S: 33.3
C: 97
H: 177
Pavg: 175
Pnorm: 220
cccx m4

April 3 - Copperopolis Road Race

CTL: 115
TSB: 20
It would appear that was trying to peak for this race but just a consequence of the legs not cooperating and being unable to ride very hard this week. Maybe still in a stage race hangover.

Fourteen riders pre-reged for the 35+ 4 B field and ten riders show up so not only is the race going to be hard as always, there's going to be not a lot of places to draft. We do get lucky with no rain and only a few sprinkles during the race with temperatures in the forties.

Not much to write about, legs still flat after the epic road race at Topsport, got dropped on the main climb at only 3w/kg. Weird. Manage to make myself time trial the next forty miles to at least get a work out in today, snag seventh after a couple of guys in front of me DNF.

T: 2:28:10
C: 79
S: 27.8
Pavg: 174
Pnorm: 203

2010 Copperopolis Road Race 35+ 4 B

29 March 2010

March 27 - 28 - Topsport Copperopolis Stage Race

TSB: 10
CTL: 115
My taper needs work...
New stage race that goes through Copperopolis, not the outskirts like the famed road race. Only fourteen people sign up for the 35+ 4 category ( and two DNS ) but that just means every mass start event will be hard, not a lot of hiding in the pack.

First up is a circuit race that winds it's way around the new town square, staying in the left lane for most of the course. It's gently rolling with a small rise for the finish with a larger downhill before the finish. There are a few time bonus sprints but the time available for winning is small so I don't contest these. A few riders attempt to get away solo but nothing sticks so it comes down to a field sprint. We go much faster on the last lap, wait too long, so I have trouble moving up until it's too late and just manage a fourth place way behind the three riders duking it out for first place.

Topsport Copperopolis Circuit Race 35+ 4 second half from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 1:13:24
C: 99
H: 169
S: 36.5
Pavg: 170
Pnorm: 205
topsport circuit race

The time trial is much harder than it looks on paper, gently rolling to be sure, the E3 riders give me some helpful hints. Go hard on the uphills and easier on the downhills. I just didn't go hard enough on the uphills and too easy on the downhills, though once I hit 35mph I coasted since I was more concerned about hitting a pothole versus performance. (The pavement is on average in better shape than Madera.) It's kind of weird that my practice runs are so much better than this, guess fatigue and heat took it's toll. On the other hand this is good enough to put me in third place.

T: 27:52
C: 79
S: 38.2
H: 180
Pavg: 211
Pnorm: 223
topsport tt

The road race excludes the big hill from the Copperopolis Road Race but includes the main descent, and cuts back through some farmland on an unpaved gravel road to avoid the finish that goes through Milton. It's a nice preview of the road race happening next week and pretty challenging given the heat of the near noon start and hilliness. Not feeling so great but the pace is sedate on the first lap. Attacks start coming from the strongest three guys on lap two (based on Madera). I can only respond until the mid point of the second lap and start to fall off the back. This leaves five riders off the front, Anthony just ahead, and Greg and Jeff just behind. Anthony, Greg and I manage to group up and finish together and I drop from third to sixth in the overall, mostly happy to have gotten through a pretty tough road race.
No video, camera malfunction or user error.
T: 3:30:39
S: 30.2
C: 89
H: 163
Pavg: 149
Pnorm: 190
Topsport Cycling Stage Race Copperopolis Road Race 35+ 4

22 March 2010

March 21 - Grassroots Salinas Criterium

CTL: 119
TSB: 10

Small field of fourteen, windless, foggy central valley morning race. Three teams make up the bulk of the racers.

Attacks start going every lap after the first. Cover most of them. The problem with being low on the bike is that one has to stick one's nose into the wind to see around the other riders - at about the mid point of the race a break gets a huge gap while I am behind someone. It looks like someone is going to pull us back so I hold back, we get pretty close, then the elastics snaps and they start pulling away.

I take a lot of pulls but Josh and the other LG rider are the only ones working and we don't get organized so the break of three stay away. I keep trying until two to go in order to get a decent workout in today, and then it starts to get tactical. I sprint a little late and then the guy in front of me almost falls down solo, so not much of a sprint for me in the end.

2010 March 21 0 Grassroots Salinas Criterium E4 from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 36:30
S: 37.8
C: 91
H: 169
Pavg: 202
Pnorm: 232

March 20 - Bariani Road Race 35+ 4

CTL: 117
TSB: 14

Riding to help escort a teammate to the finish line so spend most of the race trying to keep him out of the wind. Race is pretty negative and not windy, the only hard spot is the short climb and descent into the start finish. Nothing really happens for the first three laps. I made a stupid mistake on the last lap, I thought we were racing for five laps not four, so after I paced my teammates up the climb and got gapped on the descent, didn't worry about it and assumed I would catch back on with the group. This did not happen, in three minutes it looks like I lost about 30 seconds, this was enough for me to miss the huge crash at the finish.

2010 March 20 Bariani Road Race 35+ 4, most of last lap from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 1:42:40
S: 37.7
H: 169
C: 100
Pavg: 169
Pnorm: 193

15 March 2010

March 13-14, Madera County Stage Race

CTL: 117
TSB: 14
Was sick here last year and it got so bad I got dropped pretty hard in the road race so hoped to improve upon that and get another top ten.

The 35+ 4/5 category has the criterium first, there are some time bonus primes and small bonuses for the top three so for the 70 or so starters, about 60 of them just want to finish with the group and get the same time and ten will contest the sprint. The race was uneventful tactics wise, I got brake checked a lot during the last two laps and wasn't willing to spend any time in the wind to move up so had to start my surge to the front way after the last turn, got a decent sprint in but too late to catch the top ten riders, finishing in eleventh.

First lap - camera turned off after thirty minutes so missed the sprint.

T: 40:37
C: 95
D: 25.8 km
S: 38.1
Pavg: 168
Pnorm: 198
Madera County Stage Race Criterium

Last year had a bad time trial for me personally because I didn't come close to what I did in training but I wrote that off to illness. This year I manage to top that, in the wrong way, but managed a decent placing. The winds picked up significantly and it was cold so any warmup was probably wasted, I should have brought a jacket to the staging area. In spite of the winds, I went with a disk in the rear and a 1080 in the front. On the first leg that was with a tailwind I glanced down and noticed I was averaging close to 30mph and thought to myself that's pretty good, but then noticed my average power was only 80% of what my FTP is. On this leg I had to spend a lot of time weaving to avoid the potholes. Instead of looking at my time on the computer I should have been paying attention to my cadence because I was only going about 75rpm. Tried to make up for the lousy first leg by slowly ramping up the effort on the last three legs, only really managed a good effort when I could see the finish line from about one minute out. The deep front wheel might have been a mistake, took the turns very conservatively to keep the bike under control and the distance I covered was about 500 meters farther than last year - was that all the weaving I had to do to keep the bike under control? At this point I was worried I was sick again but worse than last year since I went slower and had a much lower performance but it turned out I placed 11th overall so I was on a hot streak of 11th places now.

T: 25:12
C: 72
D: 17.0 km
H: 178
S: 40.2
Pavg: 218
Pnorm: 222
Madera County Stage Race TT

The two eleventh places put in twelfth place overall - time bonuses for another rider in the criterium put him in eleventh just ahead of me. The top ten was stacked with riders from Taleo and Rio Strada. Since they had the largest teams and the strongest riders, really didn't have to do anything in the road race except go with anything that had riders from both teams, otherwise they were going to chase anything else down if they were paying attention. I planned to use this and just sit in until the end and let attrition from mechanicals and the last short but steep hills take its toll. I also didn't want a repeat of last year just in case it wasn't just illness holding me back but lack of fitness compared to the field.

The road race went as predicted - we stayed together for the whole race with about ten riders getting dropped or flatting out leaving us with fifty or so the finale. Stuck my nose into the wind once and it felt pretty difficult so whomever was pulling the pack around was plenty strong. Just needed to be patient. Attacks started once we got out of the rough section (rougher than any other road race in NorCal...) and riders started dropping off by ones and twos. Then it was down to about twenty in the last 300 meters. The rider who eventually won (with authority) took off with Mike in pursuit. Waited for an opening, not wanting a repeat of going too late at the crit, and also not wanting a repeat of Merco where I was boxed in for the last 200 meters, and jumped when I had an opportunity. As I closed on Mike I slowed a bit to draft - this was a mistake in hindsight - maybe I should have just committed to the effort, then went again when I felt someone on my hip but just didn't have the legs to contest the sprint and lost six places in the last twenty meters it seems.

2010 Madera Stage Race - Daulton Road Race - 35+ 4/5 last lap from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 2:05:07
S: 36.1
C: 91
H: 156
Pavg: 138
Pnorm: 156


09 March 2010

March 7, Merco Foothills Road Race 35+ 4

CTL: 118
TSB: 12

Feel so much better than last week, don't care what happens result-wise today. I am here to help get our sprint train to the line and help however I can along the way and to conserve what I can for the finish since a couple of our workhorses had to back out of the race at the last second.

Spend most of the race out of the wind, and only sticking my nose out there if a team mate is behind me as I was directed. A few times help pace riders back to the pack after some of the turns and the small hills, trying to keep the pace for us at tempo instead of going crazy and going anerobic to keep up with the surges of the main pack. We went about a minute slower this year over forty eight miles but we also got neutralized several times for passing fields, I felt much better after the race this year so conserving made a huge difference.

This year we did not have the crash within two miles of the finish so it played out much differently, instead of about twenty five guys contesting the finish we had fifty. Last year I had to do a pursuit effort to catch back up to the group and then I went all out for the last kilometer. This year our train was actually working OK, but at a critical moment when I was in front of our sprinter, I followed my teammate and we that were leading our group next to the pack boxed ourselves in, and our sprinter passed us. I was able to get back on his wheel to serve as a sweeper until there was a surge at the last turn before the base of the hill, and someone moved onto his wheel before I could get on it. Frack. Just then Michael attacked and I was stuck behind a sea of riders unable to do anything to help out. I resigned myself to finishing at the back of the pack, but held out hope for getting back up to our sprinter to help out and stuck my handlebars into any gaps that opened up in what felt like a sea of sardines. Before I even had a chance to try to sprint, I could see the finish banner ahead, there were only four riders ahead of me but the riders adjacent to me didn't give me the space and opportunity to pass safely so I finished fifth without even sprinting. On the one hand if I had been free to move up maybe I would have just blown up like the thirty guys I passed and ended up much farther back, on the other hand I really wish I had been able to be part of the leadout train that we had planned so the ending would not have been such an anticlimactic affair. It seems a lot of our races end up like this, with a lot of people able to finish with the group but not able to contest the sprint due to not having space to move or the legs to do anything. At the end of the sprint my power is low (8w/kg...) and the heart rate is super high probably because of adrenaline and forgetting to upshift so I am spinning at the max the computer can measure.

Thanks to Elizabeth Freer for capturing this moment in pictures, it really was that crowded.

Did another lap to get a video of the last six miles of the course.

Merco Foothills Road Race course, last 6 miles/9.6 kilometers from Steven Woo on Vimeo.

T: 1:57:25
D: 75.3 km
C: 98
Pavg: 140
Pnorm: 186
H: 155
Merco Road Race 35+ 4

02 March 2010

February 27 - Snelling Road Race 35+ 4/5 B

CTL: 118
TSB: 34
Those look like really good numbers but I spent most of the prior sixty hours in bed and not in the good way. Left racing to a "morning of" decision and the sore throat was gone when I woke up so I had to race - a priority race for the team and my role didn't require me to finish if it came down to that.

First lap, we approached the end of the neutral area and we could see a sheriff's car was parked on the road to help direct emergency traffic around the huge crash in the P12's so I slowed a bit, in case the moto was going to stop us, but everything got cleared up by the time we got there and the racing was on, did not attack at the gun like last year, and barely held onto the pack as it surged, considered letting someone else do the work but saw a lot of teammates near me so just dug deep and chased. Mostly uneventful lap, felt hard, but wasn't, perception was probably altered by the lingering effects of whatever flu bug I just had. Second lap attacked a couple of times and every one bit but I wasn't going to drag everyone around for long. Covered a couple of other attacks and tried to disrupt the chase when teammates went up the road.

Third lap I could not keep up with the pack, the race up to this point was much easier than the circuit races last week, so the illness finally caught up with me. Could see the pack ahead for a long time so I did the third lap mostly solo so I could give up a wheel to anyone who might need one, and did the last lap for fun. Our designated sprinter for this race won so it was worth the effort to come out and contribute.

T: 2:17:11
S: 33.8
C: 86
Pavg: 163
Pnorm: 197

21 February 2010

February 20 - CCCX Circuit Race #1

CTL: 123
TSB: 11

E4 race
Got to the course early enough to preride a few laps and could see it was going to be a hard race due to the constant rolling up/down nature of the course and what felt like a headwind on the hardest set of exposed hills. This was a totally different course from the circuit race in prior years, the new course shares some of the same route as the district road race course, somehow minus the largest climb, but including the long, fast 40+mph descent leading to a right hander then
less than 200 meters and a short climb to the finish line. We got use of both lanes except for some of the corners which we were still able to take at full speed while it was raining.

The first lap was hard, and I got dropped and had to claw my way back up and then rode conservatively as I did not want to get dropped early, even though I spent a lot of time wheelsucking, we went out at about a 20:00 OLH pace for the first two laps.

Attrition due to the hills and flats reduced the pack by half. It was like a VO2max interval workout but with only one to two minute intervals. Thankfully the pace eased up but we still did what amounted to a 24:00 OLH pace for the full length of the race which turned out to be around an hour and fifteen minutes or the scheduled length with 15 bonus minutes thrown in at no charge. :) Several of my teammates were active and trying moves on the hardest hills after the first right hander but the wind and relative brevity of the climbs and some riders actively chasing meant the pack was catching back up to everything.

With two to go I was feeling pretty miserable, and had to bury myself to keep up. At this point Jay asked me how I felt and I said that I was truthfully barely hanging in there.

On the last lap after the right hander into the hills I thought I might have been done when I got dropped again. I saw Jay off the front and I felt a little guilty for not being able to help out much so put in all I had and was able to regain the pack at the top of the next hill and catch my breath for a second when Jon who had been working to disrupt the chase told me to go block so I went to the front and faded back. Had trouble recovering from this and got gapped going into the last repetition of the high speed descent. Wasn't sure if I was going to catch but when I realized I was, I tried to pass and lead it out because I had so much momentum and we were so close to the finish, but a few riders fanned out and shut the door on that idea. Then I just had to sit in and wait for an opening, we reached the point in some races when it seems like there is a pause and that's generally when one should probably just go for it. The group slowed for the turn, a rider who blew and moved laterally closed an opening and caused a slight reshuffling of the pack, and a Cal Giant rider had chosen this moment to start his sprint. A hole appeared and I just filled it and was able to start my sprint, a little late, and come in second a bit behind the winner.

Don't ever give up! At least when the hills are small...

Sadly this race was so long that I went over the length of my 2G memory card, only the first 50 some odd minutes of 1:15 in here.

T: 1:14
S: 33.9
C: 96
Pavg: 172
Pnorm: 232

CCCX Circuit Race E4

35+ 4/5 race
Fatigue set in hard and I had to sag climb every hill on every lap to stay with the group. I even had trouble on a long false flat section that was exposed to the wind. After forty five minutes of what turned out to be a not too hard pace (if I hadn't already raced hard), NP~ 25 minute OLH, I cramped and had to stop pedaling. When I recovered, could not get back up to the group and tried to work out the cramp and stay warmed up for the next race which started about five minutes after this one ended.

T: 1:09
S: 30.5
C: 94
Pavg: 156
Pnorm: 203
CCCX Circuit Race 35+ 4/5

E3/E4 race
I got dropped after about ten minutes. It was actually a slightly easier pace than the E4 race start , partially due to drafting available from the much bigger pack, but I was unable to keep up and did a few more laps as a cool down for the day. Ended up with a TSS of 300 and almost five hours in the saddle. That which does not kill me...

This is the first road ride where my arms and legs were sore the next day.

15 February 2010

2010 February 13 - Cantua Creek Road Race

35+ 4/5 A race
CTL: 125
TSB: 19

Got to race early and was planning on doing a little bit of course recon refresher but took a nap and woke up to find a super long registration and bathroom line -
uneven queue

Am here to help support someone else so no pressure for results on me. The first lap is uneventful except contact and off road riding that I hear behind around me near the two turnarounds, and I just sit in or try to shelter my teammate from the wind. Even so, it's apparently so dull my heart stopped beating a few times according to that silly chart.

Second lap and more people try to get away. Move up to the front to keep an eye on things and have to accelerate a few times to keep things in view. A few of the attacks are from riders sitting at the very front of the group, I am a little puzzled by this but let them go and none are strong enough to TT away from the field and they come back soon enough. When we get close to the turn around I put in a slight acceleration of my own, just because I want to avoid any of the closer calls we had for the other turn arounds and claim first - to the 3/4 point anyways.

Lots of riders attack but nothing sticks. Finally there is one Wells Fargo rider off and after a couple of minutes has a pretty big lead. Another rider sets off to join, since I don't have to save myself for the finale, I spend a lot of time on the front to keep their lead to a manageable gap. Not really going that hard, but it's much harder than I worked the first lap. I only notice this when we hit the rollers leading to the finish. By itself this effort to the end is not bad but cumulatively stacked on top of the last lap my brain tells me it is hard. I just need to HTFU.

Stay midpack with the final selection of thirty riders over the first climb. My closest teammate is sag climbing so I wait and try to help them a bit. Downshift to the small ring but am kind of stuck in my thinking of keeping up at all costs and when they sag climb the next hill I have to wait and spin back up again. Try to sag climb the next hill but still go a little too hard and have to wait at the peak again but cannot spin back up to speed this one last time and have to roll in at the back of the pack after I lose about 195 meters in the last 200 meters.

This result is still an improvement over the last two times I tried this race in the E4's, only made it about thirty five to forty miles of seventy two miles with the E4 groups, OTOH those races were filled with a lot more attacking on the first lap including from me. The drive there felt more exhausting than the race, but the race obviously wasn't easy or I would have had better results. Probably should save more for the finish and use the big ring last time up the hills.

T: 2:05
S: 36.6
C: 88
H: 137 (first lap data probably lacking due to lack of sweat, second lap 173)
Pavg: 136
Pnorm: 187

2010 cantua creek