Archive for June, 2009
Another HOT weekend of racing … temps in the mid 90s, racing midday both days, and small fields meant two races of survival this weekend. I got 3rd in the road race on Saturday and finished 4th today in the criterium. See details and heartrate data below.
Saturday Road Race – Dacula, GA
Small field maybe 20-25 guys. Locos had the strongest team presence with 5 riders. Mike Lanham was the sole representative for Warp9. Joey Rosskopf was the only Jittery Joe’s rider. There were several Pacesetter Steel riders and several Iron Data guys, a few more independents or sole reps from various teams. With 10 laps of a 7 mile course in the heat, the pace started out fairly slow. There were a few short-lived attacks, but everything came back together until an Iron Data rider and a Locos rider rolled slowly off the front. After they had the gap, they picked up their pace and we dropped ours. I was waiting for other riders to show their hand and start a chase, but then I noticed that the Locos rider had fallen behind and was coming back to the group. Locos came to the front and picked up the pace and also launched a few attacks which were covered.
By the end of the second lap, we took one of the hills at a hard pace and before you can say “fry an egg on the road”, there were only six of us left at the front. Two Locos riders including Casey Magner, a Pacesetter rider, Mike Lanham, Joey Rosskopf, and me. We worked together very well although we were going pretty slow in the heat. At one point during the race, it felt like a high Zone 3 or low Zone 4 exertion, but I looked down at my heart rate and saw that it was in Zone 5!!! During the time we were working together, the Iron Data rider continued to extend his lead all the way up to nearly 3 minutes. Then it came down to 2:45 with 4 laps to go and 2:30 with 3 laps to go. Then with 2 laps to go, we saw him standing on the side of the road. I’m still not sure whether he had a mechanical or biomechanical (cramps) but he just watched us go by. We stayed together the rest of that lap. About halfway through the last lap, Mike rolled off the front at a moderate pace and everybody looked to me to chase him down. I wasn’t going to chase him down with two Locos riders in our break. On the first of the finishing hills, I put in an attack to try to bridge across, but I couldn’t get a gap. On the next hill, Casey put in a very long sustained attack that I thought might bring us back to Mike but it was too late. Mike rolled in strong to take the win.
I misjudged the finish which came 150 meters after the last corner and attacked way too early — maybe 350 meters before the last corner. It was a nice tailwind/sidewind and then tailwind for the finishing sprint so even after making this mistake I thought I could hold it by flying through the corner — it almost worked — everyone else was dropped, but Joey was able to grab my wheel and come around in the last 25 meters. So that was the podium … Mike Lanham, Joey Rosskopf, and me.
- Early attacking and covering
- The attack that stuck
- The finishing sprint
Sunday Criterium – Georgia Gwinett College
This race was a mixed parking lot / road criterium that was a blast to ride even with a 180 turn. It even had an orange cone chicane laid out through the parking lot! I was aggressive early, attacking halfway through the first lap before the chicane and getting a small gap that barely lasted through the start line. I attacked again at a different spot on the second lap, but couldn’t get a gap. Then on the third lap, the announcer called a prime for a free entry into a stage of the Gwinnett Bikefest. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do that race in July, but I thought I could use the prime as a launching point for another attack. I ended up winning the prime by launching my attack with just barely enough room to spare to catch the one rider who had been going for the prime. Bonus!
I had a good gap, but Locos was watching me closely and worked to bring it back together. Then there was a series of attacks and counter attacks with wild swings in the pace. This was definitely the hardest section of the race. Towards the end, Casey Magner slipped away, and I hesitated — hoping one of the other riders would chase because I was pretty tired. Instead, Ty Magner (Casey’s brother) put in a perfect attack to bridge up to his brother. Mike Lanham attacked a couple times and I attacked a couple times, but neither of us could get a gap. Meanwhile, another rider slid off the front without a response from Locos who had their eyes on Mike and I. It looked liked it was “game over” once the third rider made it up to the break and there was nobody left to do any work in the small peloton. Jan Koler (Mellow Mushroom) attacked during this time and got away and started to make the bridge over to the break.
I knew that my only hope of getting away was to counterattack something strong. My opportunity came when Mike Lanham put a strong attack on the second half of the course. I had slid to the back of the group, partly out of frustration, and partly wanting to watch things unfold and try to time my attack right. It worked perfectly because a small gap opened up a few riders in front of me and as those riders accelerated to close the gap, I was going even faster than the attackers at the front at the exact moment that Lanham ended his attack since he hadn’t gotten a gap. I used that momentum to launch my attack and got away cleanly with a 5-10 second gap almost immediately. By the end of the next lap, I had extended it to 15 seconds where it stayed for the next three or four laps as I chased hard to join forces with Jan Koler who was still chasing the leaders. Once I made it up to Jan who had slowed to wait for me once he saw that I had a good gap on the group, we worked together very well and started to close on the leaders. Each lap of the course, we could see that we were making up time on the leaders and extending our lead on the chasing pack. But unfortunately we ran out of laps and ended up about 15-20 seconds behind by the end. Jan graciously agreed to let me have fourth since I needed the points for the overall competition. Thank you Jan!!!
- Lap 1 attack
- Lap 2 attack
- Lap 3 covering an attack
- Lap 4 attack/winning a prime
- Hard section, covering attacks, the winning break established itself by the end of this section
- Covering an attack
- Launching my counterattack to try to catch the leaders
- Jan and I realizing that the leaders were playing cat/mouse with two laps to go, so we drilled it again to see if we could catch them
Since it has been a little over 14 months since my last crash, I thought I would go out and wreck my bike today. Well, OK, that’s not exactly why I fell off my bike going 25mph, but the end result is the same! Here’s how it all played out: I left my house for a 50 mile training ride armed with three bottles for the heat. I made it about 10 miles just past Liberty Park on Sicard Hollow when I noticed that my rear tire was nearly flat. Fortunately, another rider was stopped on the side of the road making a phone call, and he offered me his pump since I wasn’t sure if there was much CO2 left in my CO2 cartridge that had already been used once or twice. I quickly changed the tube, putting in my spare which I knew had a slow leak in it, pumped everything back up, and rode straight home to put in a better tube. I also decided to put on a new tire that I had bought a while back and not used yet.
Excited to get going again, I railed the 12% downhill outside my house into the 90 degree righthand turn at the bottom of the hill at about 30mph. No problem, everything felt fine. Less than 100 meters later is another 90 degree turn at the next intersection. Still going about 25mph I turned left at this intersection but the brand new tire grabbed really hard and my momentum nearly instantly overcorrected the bike pushing it to the other side. With my pedals still clipped in, this propelled the bike up into the air on top of me with me sliding on my back underneath it all the way across the intersection into the gutter on the other side of the road. I must have landed softly somehow as I’m not sore anywhere other than the middle of my back where I had a bike pump in my back jersey pocket. With just a little bit of road rash on the left side of my body, I definitely call myself lucky. Here’s the maps and my HR data during the wreck:
- Climbing out of my driveway after putting on new tire at the house
- Descending the steep hill on Laurel View Rd
- Wrecking and sliding across Laurel View Ln intersection
- Gathering my water bottles and checking my bike
- Deciding to continue on
- Deciding to return to the house and fix my brake shifter lever (turned inwards)
Crazy hot and humid
95 degrees air temp, 90%humidity, light breeze. I’ve never done a hotter race, although, ironically, the 2nd hottest was this race last year. Even with the brutal conditions this is one of my favorite races. Kristine and the kids love St Louis and when we arrived on Saturday, we met my cousin and his family for dinner. They were visiting St Louis as part of a trip for him to do a triathlon in Effingham, IL. After dinner we headed to the Forest Park and I rode for just under an hour while the kids played on one of the playgrounds. My legs felt terrible at first but by the time I had done a few harder efforts and gotten the blood flowing into them again after the long 9 hour drive from Birmingham, I was feeling good and ready for the race the next day. After the race we stayed one more night and spent about 5 hours exploring only a small part of the St Louis zoo — which is free!!!
As far as the race went, it is definitely a race of survival. I made it into the front split of 20 with all the big names including four or five of the Jelly Belly pros. This was after a small break of 3 had already established itself. There were lots of attacks from within this chase group of 20, and I made it into a few of the breaks, but the rest of our group always came back up. Finally, an attack went that stuck leaving seven of us to try to finish the race ahead of the remnants of the pack. Unfortunately we were all cooked, so we couldn’t muster much more than 17-20mph. Even with a huge lead of close to 2 minutes over the remnants of the peloton, we got caught with about 5 to go. And in the field sprint, I could only manage 13th, for 27th overall. About 90 starters, only 50 finishers.
2009-06-21 Tour de Winghaven Circuit Race
- Riding conservatively, staying towards the front but not going with any moves.
- Bridged to a good looking break here.
- This major drop in heartrate signifies the fact that our break wasn’t working well together so we sat up.
- The major split went at the beginning of this section. We were worked well together during the early part of the move.
- This increase in heart rate was from a series of attacks people started to launch from within the group. I made it into several of the moves but none of them worked.
- The drop in heartrate here is from missing the move that left our group. The rest of us that were left rode so easy that eventually the remnants of the pack caught up to us.
- Here is the final sprint, couldn’t even get back up to zone 5, completely exhausted.
Another great weekend by the folks at Swagger and the Georgia Cycling Gran Prix … this time in beautiful Beaufort, SC and Port Royal, SC. This was a long 7 hour drive (8 hours with stops for the kids), but it was fun to have a mini-beach vacation and visit my grandmother in Florence not too far away. Kristine snapped this picture of the last 150 meters of the finishing sprint of Sunday’s road race. Jafer Bezier (Jittery Joe’s) led out the sprint followed by Casey Magner (Locos Grill and Pub) and me (Tria Market / DonohooAuto.com). In this picture, Casey has already passed Jafer and I’m in the process of trying to pass both of them, but Casey was way too fast and I only started to come alongside him by the finish line for second place. Jafer rounded out the podium after a strong aggressive race (see details below). Here are my race reports:
Time Trial (Saturday AM)
I skipped the time trial so that we wouldn’t have to drive over on Friday and spend an extra night in the hotel. Instead, we left by 6:15AM central time to make it there by 3:00PM eastern time to have a nice long warmup before the crit.
Port Royal City Criterium (Saturday PM)
There were some pretty heavy thunderstorms just a few miles away from the crit location in Port Royal, but fortunately they drifted north and we stayed dry and sunny. The course was flat and fast with four corners. The strategic part of the course was Turn #3 and #4 which were narrow and rough. I made it into a couple early moves that got brought back and then went hard for a $20 prime, but Cleve Blackwell (Myogenesis) was able to outsprint me for it. Late in the race, Nick Housley (Myogenesis) got away solo and built up a 15 second lead that he was able to hold until the end. I thought I had worked my way into a good position for the last lap sitting in fourth position after Turn #2, but I hesitated instead of attacking and a move went up the rightside while I got blocked in on the left. So I started the sprint in 15th position and passed a few people to finish 11th.
US Marine Corps Air Station Road Race (Saturday PM)
What a unique racing experience! We did six 10.5 mile laps on beautifully paved roads entirely within the US Marine Corps Air Station. We basically made a loop (with lots of twists and turns) around the runways and through the forests surrounding the perimeter of the base. Check out my topocreator map of the race below:
Here is how the race played out:
It was pouring down rain the entire race. I attacked several times on the first lap to try to get away with a small break. No luck. Towards the middle or maybe end of the first lap, Jafer Bezier (Jittery Joe’s) and Joseph Collins (Locos Grill and Pub) got away on the second lap. Myogenesis was the team missing from that break, but because neither of those two riders threatened their omnium position, they were content to let them ride away. I wasn’t content with it though and tried to ride aggressively to get away solo or with a small break. By the end of the second lap, Jay Charles (Palmetto Velo) launched a solo attack and got away. Then two more strong riders, Nathan Smith (Lenovo) and somebody else made a move which Myogenesis worked to bring back. Finally, it was my opportunity — as soon as Myogenesis brought that move back, I counter attacked as hard as I could hoping to get away solo to chase down Jafer and Joseph — but instead I pulled two other riders with me — Chad Madan (Pacesetter Steel) and Casey Magner (Locos Grill and Pub). Chad and I worked together well to bring back Jay who still had a gap. Casey couldn’t work with us because he had Joseph in the break. Eventually, once the three of us (Chad, Jay, and I) had about a minute on the field and as we closed in on Jafer and the other Locos rider, Casey started to roll through too so that we would have more chance of staying away from the field which Myogenesis would be driving.
I kept driving the break as hard as possible and once we merged with Jafer and Joseph, we started to extend our lead on the field to about a minute and a half. On the last lap, shortly after the moto official informed us there were five riders chasing hard at less than a minute behind us. I attacked our break because I noticed riders skipping pulls or taking short pulls. I was hoping to drop a couple riders and revamp our pace with maybe three or four of us instead of six. Well, nobody got dropped and instead there were a series of attacks and counter attacks from different riders. Nobody was getting away, though, so our pace started to drop. I was worried about the chase group and felt it was my responsibility to get things moving again since I had started the attacking — so I rode a steady 25mph at the front for maybe half a mile and we got it rolling again. Still, with less than a mile to go the chasing group was within sight maybe 30 seconds behind us. Locos played the team tactics perfectly sending Joseph up the rode first with a strong attack. Fortunately it was shortly after I pulled through in the rotation so I was towards the back of our group meaning the other break riders were in better position to respond and chase. They did and once Joseph was caught he just stayed on the front to ramp up the pace for his teammate Casey. Jafer was on Joseph’s wheel and had to lead out the sprint. Casey was behind Jafer and I was behind Casey. At the end I was able to come around Jafer, but not Casey finishing about halfway beside him to take second place. Two weeks, two podiums!!!
The weekend in Beaufort ended well for me with a 2nd place finish in the rainy road race. Kristine snagged this picture with her iPhone after the race. We’re on our way home right now, but I’ll check in later with a full weekend report.