Posted by: anotherclever | February 11, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Cherry Pie Criterium – 45+123

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Cherry Pie Criterium
CATEGORY: 45+ 123 (Combined with 55+ field, picked separately)
TEAMMATES: None
FIELD SIZE: 40 (48 total on course including 55+)

DATA
Duration: 39:02
Distance: 25.78 km
Work: 720 kJ
TSS: 74.5 (1.077)
VI: 1.16
Power: 307w avg (3.57w/kg), 355w np, 1144w max

Training peaks file: http://tpks.ws/dFKG

COURSE DESCRIPTION
1.6km course with an uphill 400m (4.6% grade) finish with a chicane at 250m to go. Hairpin turn on the top of the finish section with a fast downhill to fast right turn into a long fading left windy stretch with 2 sharp left turns before the finish run.

PREVIOUS RESULTS
2009: 34th in E4 (6th race ever)
2010: 16th in E4
2011: 11th in E3

WEATHER
Slight wind, otherwise perfect weather. 16C.

GOALS
1. Prepare my crit engine for Merco
2. Get into a break if possible
3. Keep the rubber side down

PLAN
With 4 or 5 national champion arm bands, one world champion band, and some powerhouse teams around me, I was hoping to be the lone solo rider that makes it into a break with the big teams represented. Otherwise I’d then just try to stay in the top 10 or so and take on as little wind as possible. I’d try to sag climb the finish section as much as possible and see what happens. Regardless with 2 laps to go, I’d take a deep breath and move up as much as possible before the down course turns. This is my first 123 race ever, so I was a little nervous and intimidated.

RACE SUMMARY
I started out fast and held a good position. Every time we went over the hill it hurt badly. They were 450-600w 50 second intervals.

A few breaks attempted and I tried to get into them, but being alone it was very hard to then react to the counter moves that came. After a good attempt that failed a counter move came I couldn’t stick with it. I snapped. I needed to recover but wasn’t getting it. The small break was away for a lap or two and we came up the hill again. I was right behind Larry Nolan as he patiently watched the break, then… I saw him cross the gap faster than I’ve ever seen anyone cross a gap. One second he was with me, then next he was on the back of the break. Wow. Decisive. Fortunately, a few riders followed, and I tagged along. We caught them and the break lost it’s steam and they saw everyone was back on. I was able to recover enough to think I’d actually not get dropped. It got sane for a lap or two, and by sane I mean I only had to throw 430w (5w/kg) to hold on over the climb.

Every time I made the hairpin, I could hear someone (Dana?) shouting my name. It helped.

The next thing you know, we had only 2 laps remaining. I held position and moved up on backside.

At the last lap the power teams (Specialized, Primetime, Hammer CoC) put their lead outs in order. After the hairpin, I tried to move up, but I had to do it alone and into the wind. By the last chicane I was about 15th wheel. We cleared the chicane and it was on. I popped out into my sprint and my HR was pushing 184 now (high for me). I moved left and found daylight. I wasn’t going to win, but I started passing people and no one was catching me. If I was better positioned a podium was a possibility. Next time.

The final 600m I averaged 570w for 47 seconds, maxing out at 1091w. Glad my legs could do that after 15 previous times over the climb.

Way better result than I expected, but now I see how it could have been… way better.

RESULT
8th place in field sprint (2nd among Cat 3)

https://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?permit=2013-571

TAKEAWAYS
* I’m right where I need to be with my training
* I need to have more confidence in my ability
* Last 2 laps, MOVE UP MOVE UP MOVE UP
* I would have provided a great lead out for a faster teammate

Posted by: anotherclever | September 9, 2012

2012 Esparto TT – E3

2012 Esparto Individual Time Trial

Place: 3/9

I ran it 20 seconds faster than last year, but didn’t have a great day. I paced myself well, but fell apart with about 4 miles to go. I held on for a decent time, but could have been 15-20seconds faster, which still wouldn’t have put my in first. Next year I need to work more on the longer TTs, I think I’m more mentally ready for 10milers.

Posted by: anotherclever | September 4, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Giro di San Francisco – E3

Fun race. I felt great and was in the top 10 wheels until 3 laps to go where I had a close call and lost my nerve. Fell back and finished safely.

Add the ages together of the two riders I’m with in this photo…and I’m still 13 years older. Hopefully, Zeke Mostov (in blue) will make the Tour de France someday so I can claim I held his wheel… once… for at least this instant.

Posted by: anotherclever | August 23, 2012

Race Report: 2012 San Ardo RR – E3

Place: 7/43
Distance: 69.571 mi
Duration: 2:56:28.00

Work: 2381 kJ
TSS: 208.5 (.843 intensity)
Power: 1080w max, 225w avg, 282w NP
HR: 191 max, 145 avg
Speed: 23.5 avg, 42.1 max

Teammates: John, Mike G, Scott, Chef

 

Posted by: anotherclever | August 13, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Suisun Harbour Crit – E3

Teammates: Peter T.
Place: 4/31
Duration: 36:49 (shortened due to crash in race before ours)
Distance: 16.03 miles

Normalized Power: 370w (4.4 w/kg)
Average Power: 339w (4 w/kg)
Energy Expended: 767 kJHR: 192 bpm max, 174 bpm avg
Speed: 33.6 mph max, 26.1 mph avg

After cramping up hard at Dunnigan and going DNF, I was looking for a little redemption and some hope to revive my chances in the E3 Cal Cup. Never raced Suisun before because I’ve always been too wrecked after Dunnigan. The only blessing of my DNF was that my legs weren’t as thrashed as others in the race. Suisun is a simple, flat .52mile 4 corner crit with some narrow bits. I’ve been told it’s a good course for breaks to stick. There was some decent headwind on the backside. Nothing complicated… it’s a drag race course.

I ran into Peter T. before hand and we worked out the plan, he’d play the break card, I’d save myself for the end. We’d chat about 20 laps in to check in.

Fairly decent field showed up with a few guys that had some speed. Squadra SF had 6 guys, so any break would most likely have to include them. Guys who took 2nd and 3rd at Dunnigan they day before were there, along with Michael Claudio, Naveen Molloy, and a good team from Sierrra Nevada.

We started late due to a bad crash in the Women’s 3 / 4 race that involved an ambulance.

From the gun there were a flurry of attacks, mostly led by Squadra trying to waste the legs of everyone. Pete did his magic and covered, and I would come up to the front and do my best impersonation of a cyclist riding hard, aka Glass Feet?. But the field was having none of it.

I lost count of how many attempted breaks there were, it was non stop. Peter did what he could do, but then I had to cover some too, but only ones I saw as promising AND containing Squadra.

After one attempt to hold on to a particularly hard break attempt, I snapped and let them go. I fell back and tried to recover… or mostly just tried not to quit – the thought did pass through my head. But we kept it rolling hard and fast. With 5 or so laps to go Peter found me and I nailed myself to his wheel. We weren’t pushing the pace yet, just holding our position in the front 10 or so.

2 laps to go, Pete takes charge. He leads me through into the last lap. He takes turn 1 and 2, and I am screaming for him to just get me through the backside, but he is toast, and with good reason – I was pushing 320w just holding his wheel. I sense that the whole pack in on our tail, currently strung out, but if I let it slow, the sprint will be crazy and fast guys will have a chance. So, I dig hard and come around him. The next 41 seconds, I will push a record for me at 694w ave. I led out the whole backside, with a rider from another team telling me to keep pushing hard and he’d let me get behind him in the sprint. Ha. Like I believed that. But, my best shot at the race is to keep it HARD. So, I went cross-eyed and shifted into beast mode.

I hit turn 3 and 4 fast. I get about 20m through turn 4, I can’t see straight. My HR is at 192 and I come out into a weak sprint that only peaks at 1015w. I’m passed by the 2 guys that rode my leadout. Oh how I wish Rick  or Greg was here to benefit from that effort. Kovarus then finally pops me for 3rd. Ouch. Painful, but a good result. Actually, other than TTs and Stage Race GC, my highest placing as an E3. Fun.

Congrats to Eric Davis of Squadra for the win. You can just owe me for the leadout. ;-)

What did I learn?

Having a good plan, even I it’s with one teammate will work wonders. Pete did what he said he would do and I did the same. It didn’t work perfectly, but pretty well all things considered, and it was fun.

Thanks a million Peter for the work, and as always Carlos for the “official” encouragement.

San Ardo E3 is next. Leaving the cramps at home.

Posted by: anotherclever | August 4, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Warnerville TT – E3

Place: 2/4

Duration: 51:46 (51:55 official)
Distance: 22.428 miles
Normalized Power: 317w
Energy Expended: 971kj
Average Power: 313w

HR: 179 bpm max, 173 bpm avg
Speed: 54.1 mph max, 26.0 mph avg

After missing the Calaveras TT last week, I was looking forward to getting back to my best cycling discipline. I haven’t been at race pace in a TT since May at the Chico Stage Race, but my training in the past weeks has been very strong and I felt confident I could put in a great effort.

We’d have a small field, but both Oli Ryan and Michael Claudio signed up, so for a small field we we’re fairly strong for E3.

Warnerville TT is a 22.5 miles out and back course that is essentially bowl shaped. The last 5 miles are uphill, and this year into a strong headwind. My threshold for an hour effort is 335w, so I aimed to be a little under that on the way out, and then go a little over that on the way back, putting harder efforts on the steeper sections of the course.

I got a great night of sleep in a no-tell motel in Oakdale. I put in a solid warm up and was dressed and ready at the start with 5 minutes to spare. They called 1 minute to my start and I got to the line and was held by VeloPromoRick, but my feet weren’t in the right position, so I had to spin backwards to get them right. They counted down and I pushed off. Within one revolution my chain jumped off outside the big ring. It sounded like the chain had broken. After falling over and banging my thigh against the top tube hard, I unclipped and pulled the chain out of the crank arm and got things back to right. I lost maybe 15 seconds, but that was 15 seconds I wasn’t heading downhill… so it was a huge setback.

I jumped back on it and got rolling downhill, trying to not go too hard, but make up some time. I hit almost 55mph down the hill, which I think is the fastest I’ve ever gone on a bicycle. I could feel the strong tailwind at my back. I was spun out many times at 54×11. Everything went well out, and at the turn I was at 21:51 at 324w normalized (318 ave, but this includes some sections where I was totally spun out). I didn’t feel like this was too hard, and as I made the turn, got back up to speed and took a huge drink.

I started back out and saw Oli Ryan at the marker where I had passed when I still had a little more than a minute to the turn. I was putting time into him at this point. I think around 10 sec. Good.

The next 7:30 was solid at 325w (ave and normalized). Then I hit downhill into the trestle bridge and “the wheels started coming off.” I started feeling shallow “shock” cramps in my right leg. I know these well. I can push through these kind, but it was disconcerting to know I was cramping after only 28 min of work. Odd. I started to favor my left leg a little more, but then it started to cramp too. Crap. I had to stop pedaling and coast several times to rub out my legs. I stopped looking at my computer and lost track of my effort. Not good.

The next 4 miles are where I lost this race: I averaged only 292w for the next 9min. Slow. Very slow. When I hit the 4 miles to go sign, I realized I had to pick up the pace into the climb, or lose for sure. I powered through the pain and was able to push out 315w for the last section – way below my usual ability. The last miles sucked, but at least I was pushing more like 340w.

I crossed the finish under 52 minutes, my best time for this course, but I knew it was not a good time. I immediately hit my lap button and waited for Oli Ryan to come in. His start was 2 minutes behind me, and I was sure he made up time on me on the way back. At 1:00 I saw him crest the hill. Damn, this wasn’t going to take a minute. He crossed some 30 seconds faster than me. Great effort.

Michael Claudio came in some time later and we sat around chatting after. My left leg was killing me where I hit it on the start. I couldn’t even bend it without a lot of pain.

I spun out a cool down and then got ice packs in Oakdale for the ride home.

 

Not happy with my effort. If you look at the profile you’d say I went out too hard, but I was not having a good day and my effort going out wasn’t outside my ability for an hour effort, in fact is was under it, just as I planned. Maybe I wasn’t having a good day. Maybe my body wasn’t ready for 22.5 miles of TT pace. Maybe the Warnerville TT is f***ed up course that dishes pain. Maybe all of those facts. I also need to figure out what the cramping is all about. Stay tuned.

What I learned:

  • Don’t spin your cranks backwards on the starting block, you might drop your chain. This time, not might… WILL.
  • This was my first TT effort over 10 miles this year. I need to get a few practice 40k TTs in before I expect to do well in a race situation.
  • Don’t mess with British time trialists this summer.

Dunnigan Hills RR is next for me.

A new kind of post for me – pro tech tips from a totally non pro dude. Also titled, “I’ve been sick and haven’t been on my bike for 4 days and am bored silly.”

I ride a 2011 Trek SpeedConcept with HED Stinger crabon wheels when I race ITTs. The combination of the internal front brake and the 28mm wide wheels makes adjusting the front brakes for optimum stopping while not rubbing a challenge, to say the least.

With more and more wheels being made with wide profiles, like the Zipp Firecrest or Bontragers D3, Trek needs to also make sure that the front brake on the SpeedConcept will be able to accomodate the width on the internally hidden front brake.

Maybe they’ll do this in the 2013 models, but until then, here are my tips on how to make this work, based on real world, trial and error, experience:

  1. Get the Bontrager RXXL Aero brake levers. They have an adjustable barrel that makes fine tuning your brake setup on various wheel widths possible without having to pull of the brake cover. For me. that means being able to switch between 23mm wide HED Belgium training rims and my 28mm wide HED Stinger 9 race wheel.
  2. Shave down your carbon wheel brake pads. This sucks, because essentially, you are wasting money by cutting off braking life from the expensive pads, but that’s bike racing for you. If you already own a SpeedConcept, then losing a couple bucks on brake pads shouldn’t phase you. I use a Dremel tool and a utility knife to cut mine down. I like to imagine steep downhill descents as I grind down the pads to get at least some effect from the loss.
  3. Replace the spring in the front brake with a shorter spring of equal strength. My main problem was that once I had cut down the brake pads, the brake itself didn’t have enough power to snap back and return to the fully “off” position. This not only meant that the brake was occasionally rubbing against the wheel, slowing me down, it meant that brake was sticking out from it’s aero default position, negating all the money I paid to have a bike with a hidden front brake. Remember, time is money. For more details on this reality, see my previous post. I replaced the stock spring with a slightly shorter one that gave it more pull back. I used a 1″ length (9/32″ outer diameter) .045 gauge extension spring from Serv-a-lite at my local hardware shop. I bought several in case for when it fails.

That’s it. Now my front brake works awesome.

Now, just remember, if you have to use your brake in a time trial, you’re doing it wrong.

Posted by: anotherclever | July 19, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Colavita Gran Prix – M35 3/4

Place: Unknown. Not first, not last.

Duration: 42.14 ( started computer late!)
Distance: 18.597 miles
Elevation Gain: 423 ft

Normalized Power: 349w
Average Power: 329w
Energy Expended: 833kJ
HR: 172 bpm avg, 186 bpm max
Speed: 26.4 mph avg, 34.5 mph max

We started off clean and easy paced. I was in the top 10, actually more like 2nd or 3rd wheel for the first several laps, but decided to take on no wind and let someone else push the pace. Some attacks happened and Ted moved up to cover one of them. Nice work by Il Presidente.

When we came to the first prime lap, near the midway point on the back side, I put in a little dig to see who else was interested in playing. If no one followed I’d keep the pace strong and take the prime.  I had 3-4 guys on my tail, but now I was leading the group out. I came through the final turn fast and looked down and back to see them still on my tail. I continued to push, but decided to not contest the prime. I’d save my matches for later. 3 guys sprinted out the prime. They had maybe 3 bike lengths on me at the finish line – then they rang the bell again for a back-to-back prime.  The three attacked again and I was now driving the chase. I decided not to bridge up quickly because I didn’t want to be the one dragging the rest of the pack up with me to them. Mistake #1.  So, I tried to keep them within a reasonable distance, but near the end of the next lap I decided to stop working – that I wasn’t going to be the one to nail them back myself. Mistake #2.

My experience with this course has been that breaks don’t stay away. I decided to let them go, but in hindsight, getting into that break would have been a perfect team tactic. I would have given my guys a break from having to do much of anything and we’d have a great chance of making the podium and maybe even a win.  But, back to reality…

They now had 8 seconds and then pushed it out to 10. Classmates.com and Squadra were represented, so they came to the front and blocked without doing it like jerks. Good clean racing tactics. I came around when I could to push the pace, and some other lone riders helped out here and there, but we couldn’t organize the chase very well. Other teammates came around and did his fair share, but they we now up to 15 seconds. Nothing worth panicking over, but it had to be stopped.

I decided to put in hard digs each lap on the uphill back side to keep the pace fast. Scott B. cam around and helped out also. Then I saw that the Squadra rider from the break had been dropped. Perfect. They we’re 2 now and Squadra would be motivated to work now – which is exactly what happened.

I kept the break timed at two points of each lap. They were coming back, but slowly. Next thing I knew we were down to 5 laps to go. I ramped up the pace (in the end it would be the final 12 minutes at 372w, with last 2:40 at 416w) to a steady “very f’ing hard” pace. Others rotated through and we caught them on the back side of the second to last lap. I was hurting with my HR in the 180’s at this point. Scott came up and pushed the pace with Greg on his wheel. I did my best to move up and help, but the damage was done to me working on those last 7 or so laps. I moved up into the top 10 or so and then moved up into the top 5. We hit the last turn with Greg #1 through the turn. My heart was in my throat. I should have been up there to lead him out, but couldn’t make it up. He came out into a sprint and it cascaded through everyone else. There was a long way to go still, but I came out and started to sprint, but had zero left in my tank. I sat back down and soft pedaled through the finish, letting everyone in the field sprint past me.  We put two into the top 10. Nice.

My goal was to work and get high HR work. A successful day.

Calaveras TT is next for me.

Posted by: anotherclever | July 14, 2012

Race Report: 2012 San Rafael Twilight Criterium – M35+ 3/4

Place: 7/38

Duration: 37.16 (short!)
Distance: 15.698 miles
Elevation Gain: 669 ft

Normalized Power: 328w
Average Power: 297w
Energy Expended: 664 kJ
HR: 174 bpm avg, 185 bpm max
Speed: 25.3 mph avg, 34.6 mph max

Coming back from a mid season reset to avoid total burnout, I was out just to get some high heat rate time and help out my team. I rode up from SF to the race (45min ride) and then rode home after. It was a good workout day.

The photos say it all. I was on the front quite a bit, keeping the pace fast and protecting my teammates. Nothing of note happened until the final lap. On the back side, near the second to last turn, the pace exploded and I was out of gas.

In the end, we almost got the win, and I pushed in for a weak 7th place. We put 3 in the top 10.

Good to be back racing.

Posted by: anotherclever | May 7, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Cat’s Hill Classic – E3

Ouch. 26th out of 72 starters, of whom only 42 finished.

Was it a race or was it a workout with 18 x 20′ lactic sprints, 2:00 at Threshold for recovery?

I spent 41 minutes at 357w normalized. First 6 minutes was at 427w normalized. Whomever dropped the hammer from the gun, thanks for that. That’s gonna leave a mark.

I still feel like I smoked a carton of cigarettes.

Maybe, just maybe, I can’t compete at this race weighing 187lbs. Who knows.

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