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