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.
May 31, 2009 – Brian Toone winning the 2009 Dahlonega Omnium Road Race
Photo credit: Chase Lanier. A big thanks goes out to Chase Lanier for snagging this picture of me winning the Dahlonega Omnium road race! Eric Murphy and Adam Ray who finished 2nd and 3rd were still below the crest of the hill from the angle where Chase took this picture.
May 31, 2009 – 200 meters to left to go in the climb!
Photo credit: Kristine Toone. My wife took this picture about 200 meters before the finish – it gives you a good idea of how steep the hill was! I believe 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place are just off the lefthand frame of the picture not visible. Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth place are all visible with eighth being just in front or beside the red support truck.
I am very happy to report that I won my first road race of the season yesterday! Here’s how the whole weekend of racing played out:
Time Trial (15.4 miles) – Saturday AM
I rode the course late Friday afternoon and thought the course was going to be a good one for me with so many ups and downs, twists and turns, sharp corners, etc… It was a really fun course — until you tried to ride it at Zone 5 – which just took all the fun out of it. I don’t know if my warm-up wasn’t long enough or what but my legs felt dead and after I got passed pretty early in the race, I rode at high Zone 3, low Zone 4 and ended up 8th. Paul Tower (Warp9bikes.com) was flying and he got second place just behind Eric Murphy (Myogenesis).
Circuit Race (3.2 mile circuit, 6 laps) – Saturday PM
The course was very technical and quite fun. The start/finish was at the top of a steep hill which dropped off about 150 feet on a switchback descent with average gradient of about 10% and one section of about 15%. We then worked our way up a gradual hill on another technical road with S turns eventually making it out onto a main road with a 5% climb for about 1/2 mile before diving back into the Winery (Montaluce Winery). From the entrance of the winery there was another drop with a couple sharp turns before hitting the steepest hill on the course … a short 15% power climb into two 90 degree turns to the finish. We went neutral down the hill on the first lap and as soon as we made it out of the winery, we were free to race. It was very fast and there were a number of break attempts that were all reeled back in. I made it into several breaks, but it always came back together on the technical gradual uphill on the backside of the course. On the last lap though, Oneal Samuel from Myogenesis and one other rider rolled off the front with about 1/2 lap to go. Dan Holt (Team Type I) put in a big attack with Eric Murphy and the rest of the field close behind. This brought us very close to Oneal who was still holding a 5 second gap going into the last climb. I was in about 8th position at the start of the climb which was way too far back, and I ended up passing a few people to finish 6th with Oneal just staying away. Omnium points were only given to the first 5 places so I still didn’t have any omnium points after Saturay’s racing.
Road Race (13.5 mile lap, 5 laps) – Sunday AM
We had our biggest field for the road race — about 20 riders, including Joe Eldridge and Dan Holt from Team Type 1; Oneal Samuel, Eric Murphy, and Adam Ray made up the Myogenesis team; me and Wes from our team; a couple riders from Pacesetters Steel, and then about 10 independent riders. We used the same start/finish as the circuit race, but in the reverse direction. Once we left the winery, we went out onto the area roads for most of a lap before returning into the winery in the reverse direction of the circuit course to climb back up to the finish. The course was constantly up or down with two distinguishing features amongst the rolling hills — a 1k climb with five or six switchbacks and a 1/2 mile steep finishing climb. We were neutral the first mile and a half as we left the winery, but as soon as we left the winery the race was on and I attacked right away. That didn’t work so well as we were all back together by the top of the hill out of the winery. We then had a pretty long descent before the first time up the switchback climb. I don’t think anybody attacked on the climb because the former pro from Colombia rode a fast pace at the front of the group. Once we made it up the climb and down the other side, we were all together and I attacked again on a false flat climb. When I was caught by the chasing field, a Pacesetters Steel rider took off and nobody chased. He quickly got a 1 minute lead on the group heading towards the end of the first lap where three KOM positions (points towards the omnium) were up for grabs. The Pacesetter rider stayed away to take maximum points on the KOM with me, Eric Murphy, Adam Ray, and Oneal Samuel to fight for the second and third position. Eric and Adam attacked on the 15% gradient part of the climb and I moved from about 5th into a chasing position. Right as I caught Adam, Oneal came around me so it was Eric an Oneal taking second and third on the KOM. That was all the excitement on Lap 1.
On Lap 2, there were again several attacks and some of the independents started to get to the front and work hard to try to bring back the pacesetter rider. I couldn’t understand that because Myogenesis and Team Type I and our team were the strongest teams there and so if anybody should have been chasing it should have been us … but it was a long race and the rider wasn’t too far ahead so we weren’t in any hurry to bring him back. We did catch him towards the top of the switchback climb which we flew up. There was a gap from the first three or four of us towards the top so I drilled it across the top to try to get a small break going. That was incredibly fun to be on the attack on the switchback descent down the other side. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the intended effect as I also gapped the people who I wanted to be in the break with me. So by the time they caught back up, the field was almost all back together. This is when Wes made his move attacking on the false flat hill and getting a good gap. Adam Ray (Myogenesis) attacked to bridge and then shortly afterwards the Pacesetter Steel rider who was away earlier attacked again to bridge. This threesome quickly got a good advantage on the field. This was perfect for me because now Wes was in a break with a real chance of staying away to the end — so all I had to do was cover moves. Again, the independents came to the front and tried to pick up the pace, but it wasn’t until Dan Holt from Team Type I stepped in that the gap started to come down.
By the start of the fourth lap, the Pacesetter rider had fallen off the break leaving Adam and Wes alone to work together to the end. They made it until the switchback climb on the last lap when we caught Wes near the top of the climb and then Adam shortly after the descent. A few miles later, Wes attacked again and got a good gap by himself. Myogenesis had to come to the front to chase. A couple miles later, they had brought Wes back and I believe there may have been one or two other short lived attacks from other riders. With about 5 miles to go, Wes attacked hard again and again Myogenesis was forced to chase. I attacked when Wes was reeled back in, but I didn’t make it very far. Dan Holt (Team Type I) put in a strong counter attack which sent me sailing backwards to about 8th position before I could catch back on. The pace slowed again after Dan got caught by Myogenesis, and so we entered the finishing climb going pretty slow. I had worked my way up a few more positions when Eric attacked hard on the 15% part of the climb. I was able to follow and get right on his wheel heading into the very short flat section before the final kicker. I took advantage of the little bit of draft to come around him hard at the start of the final kicker. I figured both he and Oneal were going to be right on my wheel ready to come around, but it turns out that my attack opened up a gap that I was able to extend all the way to the line! I couldn’t believe it after I crossed the line and looked back after the finish to double-check that they weren’t still racing with maybe one more lap to go!!!
Again, perfect teamwork with Wes taking the pressure off my shoulders so that I could surf the pack and cover moves while he had a chance to stay away and possibly win from the breakaway. When that didn’t work out, he kept on working by putting in attacks which softened up the other teams and enabled me to have the freshest legs for that finishing climb. Awesome!!!
My win in the road race earned me enough omnium points to move me up to 4th overall for the weekend.
- Got caught here by Paul Tower who had started 30 seconds behind me
- Caught Brendan Sullivan, who had started 30 seconds ahead of me
- Repassed by Brendan, note how low my heart rate has dipped
- Almost repassed Brendan finishing 2 seconds behind him on the short, steep, curvy downhill finish
- End of 1st lap
- End of 2nd lap
- End of 3rd lap
- End of 4th lap
- End of 5th lap
- End of 6th lap (The Finish)
- LAP 1 – My 1st attack as soon as we left the neutral zone
- LAP 1 – The first time up the switchback climb
- LAP 1 – My 2nd attack, countered by a Pacesetter rider who got away solo
- LAP 1 – The first time up the finishing climb (i.e., the end of the 1st lap)
- LAP 2 – The second time up the switchback climb (fast pace)
- LAP 2 – The second time up the finishing climb
- LAP 3 – The switchback climb
- LAP 3 – The finishing climb
- LAP 4 – The switchback climb
- LAP 4 – The finishing climb
- LAP 5 – The switchback climb
- LAP 5 – The finishing climb (1st place!!!)