Archive for March, 2011

Tour de Tuscaloosa Race Report

As you might be able to see in the video (no audio – Kristine was screaming so loud she broke the microphone), I couldn’t quite come around Dan Holt (Team Type I) in the sprint after he had such a fast jump when he started the sprint, but it was close, and 2nd was good enough for me to take home the state championship! Jacob Brewer (Herring Gas) rode an awesome race, but came off of our three-man break on the final climb with 5k to go in the race. Jacob, who is racing really strong with a great showing at Rouge Roubaix a couple weeks ago, took home the silver medal, and then my teammate Pat Allison got 2nd in the field sprint to win the bronze Alabama medal (5th in the race).

So how did it get to that point? Well, there actually isn’t a lot to report about this race other than at the beginning and at the end. At the beginning, I went with Scott Kuppersmith when he attacked as soon as we made it out of the neutral zone. Our short-lived attack only made it a few hundred meters before the group caught back up to us. Still pretty early in the race, we had a fairly mellow pace up the start/finish line hill. Then as we neared the top of the hill, I saw that Jacob Brewer was about to attack so I jumped on his wheel as he attacked. Then a few seconds later, Dan Holt (Team Type I) had bridged across to us. This meant that three of the major teams in the race where represented in the break. That was the first good sign. The second one was when I turned around and saw the field spread out across the road (meaning that the pace was still slow). This gave me super motivation, and I poured everything into my next pull. I wasn’t the only one, though, because Jacob and Dan both pulled very hard. We had a minute and a half gap by the time we made it to the feedzone on the first lap. By the second lap, our time gap was up to 3 minutes. By the third lap, we had drawn it out to 4 minutes. By this point, our pace had slowed as we were all trying to save energy for the finish. Even so, we held the gap at about 4 minutes for the fourth lap. By the fifth lap, however, the gap had come down to 3 minutes. By the sixth lap, it was 2 minutes. And by the end of the race, our gap had dropped below 2 minutes.

Here is how the end of the race played out. We had picked up the pace on the last lap since the gap had been coming down quickly. Still, all of us were taking shorter pulls because we all wanted to have energy left for the finish. As we approached the start of the feedzone hill, which is split up into two steps, I decided to attack on the first step to see how everyone was feeling. If everybody stayed together, then I was going to attack again on the second step. But when I attacked on the first step, Jacob came off so I laid it down with Dan latching on. Then as we went across the false flat between the steps, Dan pulled through before I took over again on the second step. Coming across the top and the downhill, we worked together and had extended our lead over Jacob enough to cat/mouse our two-man sprint. Neither of us attacked and our pace slowed until Dan led out the sprint with 200 meters to go. His jump was incredible and he gapped me by a few meters immediately. It took about 100 meters to catch his draft, and then with 50 meters to go I pulled out to try to come around, but at 40mph it was hard to accelerate any faster and I ended up only making it about halfway around him by the line.

So Team Type I capped off a great weekend with back-to-back wins. Going to be a great season for them!

Our team had a great weekend, too, taking 5th and 8th yesterday and then 2nd and 5th today in the Pro/1/2. In the Cat 3 criterium yesterday, my teammate Justin Bynum make the winning break to finish a strong 6th. In today’s Cat 3 road race, Philip Thompson made the winning break finishing 5th, which was good enough for the silver medal as the 2nd placed Alabama rider. The state championship win went to Ed Whitehorn of Velocity Pro Cycle who has worked very hard this off season and is showing off great form this season.

The heartrate and Strava data tell the story, too, as you can see the numbers drop from the beginning of the race towards the end before picking up again on the last lap:
2011 Tour de Tuscaloosa P/1/2 Road Race heartrate data

Here are the Strava segments including my lap split times, power, and heartrate average along with my times on the two hills on the course. View the entire ride interactively here –

Saturday night P/1/2 Criterium

Cat 3 Criterium
My teammate Justin Bynum made it into the break of the day, finishing a strong 6th. My other teammates raced well with Philip Thompson snagging a prime, and Timo Stark taking third in the field sprint for 9th in the race. Here is a video of the Cat 3 break finish:

And here is a video of the Cat 3 field finish:

And then here are the photos from both last night’s criterium and today’s road race:

March 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm 2 comments

Tour de Tuscaloosa Crit – Quick Report

We dodged the rain for the Saturday night crit here in Tuscaloosa, and scored a pair of top 10 finishes on the team. Team Type I had a really strong team here, along with Thomas Brown from Mountain Khakis, a strong Hincapie Development team, and strong riders from Herring Gas, Texas Roadhouse, Marx and Bensdorf, Sonic and two collegiate teams (Cumberland University and University of Alabama). There were lots of breaks and attacks, but with the long downhill everything was coming back together. I went a bit too hard at the beginning of the race making it into a couple failed breaks. My teammates Pat Allison and Wes Douglas did a great job covering moves throughout the race. Wes made it into a good looking two man chase just before 5 laps to go, but they got caught on the hill. Pat and I worked our way to the front with Pat taking 4th in the field sprint and me taking 7th in the field sprint. With Joey Rosskopf (Team Type I) powering away on a solo break for the second half of the race, that put us in 5th and 8th place for the race. Fun, fast course, great field, all-in-all a good day. Tomorrow is the Lake Lurleen road race, one of my favorite road race courses, and this year it is going to be our state road race – totally excited.

Here is my heartrate data for the crit -
2011 Tour de Tuscaloosa P/1/2 Criterium heartrate data

March 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm 1 comment

Fun climbing commute

Yesterday, I had to run by the bike shop to fix a problem with my shoe. Thanks Bob’s Bikes for the quick fix!!! Jonathan at Bob’s is the fastest Specialized tension knob replacer on the planet. On my way home, I climbed up and over 12 ridges both large and small. It was a fun meandering commute, but one that I have done a few times now. Thought I would share the TopoCreator map of the ride.

12 ridge commute topocreator map. Click for large version.

Speaking of TopoCreator, at the risk of sounding like I am “crying wolf” since I have been “almost ready” with the new site for the past 2 years, I really am getting close to going live with the site. A good sign of this is that I am currently working on user management issues. Previously, I was just basically focusing on features and not worrying about users. Now I am trying to make the site robust enough to scale to many users. Look for an update soon with a link to try out the new site!

Update 3/25/11
I had to update this with a couple more maps I made yesterday and today!

First, this is the route that took me up and over 500,000 feet of climbing for the year today. I took it pretty easy on all the climbs except the Woodridge climb. Everything else was pretty mellow because I am racing this weekend at Tour de Tuscaloosa. A note about the route, it only crosses itself twice – once on the out/back portion of the Woodridge descent / climb and then again on South Cove because when I did the descent the first time a pick-up truck was driving the speed limit on the descent so I went ahead and did the Renfroe climb so that I could try the descent again – 57mph!

This commute from Samford back to my house took me up and over the 500,000 ft mark for the year!

The second map shows a zoomed in view of my last 100 commutes, which includes both my commutes yesterday and all the commutes back to the beginning of February.
My last 100 commutes from the beginning of February 2011 until March 24, 2011.

This final screenshot shows my standings in the Strava KOM challenge contest. I was the first person to reach 400,000 and 500,000 feet!

March 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Birmingham to Mount Cheaha

Yesterday, I opted out of a race to enjoy a little adventure with my family before spring break was over, and before my race schedule is completely full. We haven’t been to Mount Cheaha in a little while now, so before spring break was over I wanted to see if we could go for a short hike and have dinner up on Mount Cheaha. We picked the perfect day because after watching a beautiful sunset, we got to see a very cool red moon rising (supermoon). It was awesome! A video, pictures, and data below tell the story.

The ride was great, and I hit the early climbs hard before settling into Zone 3 to set a fast pace with the intention of pushing it back into Zone 5 for Cheaha after a long ride. Unfortunately, the rough roads of the past few weeks caught up to me and I managed to lose a chainring bolt! The consequence of this being that I couldn’t push it hard in the small chainring without dropping the chain. So I had to climb up Cheaha sitting down grinding a somewhat large gear (39×21 and 39×19) or spinning in my granny gear.

First, here is a TopoCreator map of the route:
Hoover to Mount Cheaha via Lake Logan Martin and Talladega

And here is a screenshot of the Strava data and link:
Strava ride data.

A short video that Analise took after dinner:

And finally, here are the photos. These are all taken with an old iPhone 3G while riding many of them one-handed so that is why they are all slanted!

March 20, 2011 at 8:49 am 1 comment

Birmingham 10,000 feet revisited

Strava achievements, 4 personal bests, 3 second bests, and 4 third bests

Today, I incorporated one of my favorite climbs into a 10,000 foot climbing route. Rouge Roubaix was a long hard race on Sunday, and I took Monday almost completely off (1.9 mile bike ride with the kids). So I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel today. I started out easy, but then when my heartrate soared into Zone 5 on the first climb with what I thought was just a medium effort, I decided to hammer the rest of the ride. I ended up setting four personal best times on climbs, 3 second bests, and 4 third bests.

Heart rate zone summary (25 minutes in zone 5!) and calories burned (3944)

The ride itself was awesome with very little traffic. Everybody must have been out of town for spring break. I guess I couldn’t get enough of the dirt / gravel roads from Rouge Roubaix because I added Cahaba Beach Rd in the downhill direction – very, very similar to the dirt sections of Rouge Roubaix when you ride it in the downhill direction. I normally ride it the other way (uphill). I also added a new climb I have never done before which basically parallels Oakdale and ends at the same spot. The climb begins in a drainage ditch at the bottom of a neighborhood, climbs very steeply at first (>15%) and then rolls its way to the top at an average of almost 7% – shorter and steeper than the Oakdale climb. I did four Cat 3 climbs and one Cat 4 climb pretty much one right after the other at the end of the ride. Whew, that was painful!

Lastly, I snapped both of these photos on the steep climb leading up to Renfroe when my Garmin was getting close to ticking over to 10,000 feet!
Garmin annotated – about to tick over to 10,000 feet.
Purple flowers next to the road at the same spot as the Garmin pic.

And finally the TopoCreator map and Garmin .GPX file in case you want to try this ride yourself! A couple notes of caution – inspired by the photo below from a toy airplane instruction manual – most of the descents are crazy fast and dangerous so use caution and don’t go as fast as I do until you have had a chance to do them as many times as I have (e.g., I have descended South Cove almost 60 times!)

Use lots of caution.

Annotated topocreator map and elevation profile.

Strava link:

Garmin GPX: Oak 10K.gpx

March 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

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Hazy, even by late Alabama standards. Is it my imagination or did the past two days of rain turn everything even greener here in tropical Birmingham?! Tornado siren at the top of ballantre. Water tower at the top of kings crest.

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Brian Toone

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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