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