Archive for April, 2011

Last tornado pics (Vestavia) plus Athens Twilight prep

We drove over to Athens yesterday for the Twilight crit tonight. Before we left, I biked a different route through Vestavia on my way back from school. So many people there are still without power, and the pic below is one of the reasons why. It does confirm though the general direction I think the storm traveled as these power lines are snapped in a direct line back from Dolly Ridge (see updated map)

Power lines and power poles snapped

Updated damage map

After I got home, we loaded up the car and drove to Athens, Georgia seeing more trees down at several spots along I-20. I rode over to registration and hung out for a bit. The computrainer grid qualifiers had just finished. Then on my way biking back to Winterville where we are staying with friends, I rode through the UGA campus and took a couple pictures of the stadium. All of these pictures are in the gallery below.

April 30, 2011 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

More tornado damage pics

In between my morning and class and my senior presentations this afternoon at the student research showcase, I was able to bike over to Cahaba Heights and Dolly Ridge and get closer to where the tornado went through. I was only able to snap a few pics, though. Again, these pictures represent the damage from a very small, narrow tornado probably an EF0 or EF1. Imagine the damage from a much, much larger tornado with wind speeds in the EF4, EF5 range and that is what Tuscaloosa and Pleasant Grove look like.

Here is an updated map of where I think the tornado went based on going back out there again today:

4/28 updated damage path satellite view. The green X’s are large trees pushed over or broken in half. Many more than what is shown. These are just the ones that stood out to me. The red lines are where I rode my bike on my commute yesterday.

April 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Tornado damage


I am writing this post from my parent’s house. We lost power this morning at 5:45AM, and I would estimate that we won’t be getting power back for several days. This morning a tornado passed over our house and touched down about a mile away. Trees and powerlines down everywhere from about a mile north of us all the way up into Cahaba Heights past the Summit. In our neighborhood, a tree fell right through a house (picture above). A large tornado just destroyed part of Tuscaloosa and then made it way just north of Birmingham hitting several communities very hard.

At about 5AM, I woke up hearing something, but I didn’t know what it was. As I lay there groggy I realized it was the tornado sirens. I got up, turned on the TV, and saw that it was for the extreme northern part of the county – not a problem. I went back to sleep, but the sirens went off again at 5:30. This time, when I turned on the TV, the forecaster was telling everybody in Bessemer, Hoover, Riverchase to take shelter immediately. I grabbed the kids and we went down to the basement. I settled them on the floor, and everything was quiet for the next 15 minutes. Then it started to get windy, and we lost power. A few minutes later, the wind stepped up in intensity continuosly just getting harder and harder. I rolled over, laid on top of the kids on the floor and prepared to pull the mattress on top of us. Then, just like that, it was over.

I was still able to bike into work. I saw the tree down through the house in our neighborhood shown at the top of this post. And then through Vestavia I saw a few trees down and lots of debris/branches, but nothing really beyond a large thunderstorm. It wasn’t until I biked home and decided to head over to Dolly Ridge / Cahaba Heights that I realized how close a call we had this morning. The pictures below pretty much tell the story. Keep in mind that this was a relatively small tornado, especially compared to the monster that just hit Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, but still it really did a lot of damage on some roads that I ride all the time.

Update – many photos available on http://www.alabamawx.com/. This will take you to the main weather blog for ABC33/40. If you are viewing this days or weeks after the events of yesterday, then scroll down to the very bottom of the Alabama WX page and click on the blog history calendar and navigate to April 28, 2011.

Another update – after going back again today on my bike commute home, I think the more likely tornado path looks something like this satellite one:

4/28 updated damage path satellite view. The green X’s are large trees pushed over or broken in half. Many more than what is shown. These are just the ones that stood out to me. The red lines are where I rode my bike on my commute yesterday.


Damage map – my commute home and back to school temporarily and then home again

April 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm 5 comments

Barbers Ride to Live Race Reports


Wow, what a great day! This picture about says it all. My teammate Pat Allison won the Pro/1/2/3 race, and I managed to hold on for 3rd after putting in an attack on the last hill. Travis Sherman rode strong to finish 2nd after having won the Masters 30+ race earlier in the day.

Summary
Before I go into the details from the races, here is a quick summary. We fielded large teams for both the Masters 30+ race and the Pro/1/2/3 race. My teammate Wes Douglas made it into an early break with Joe Ruf from Madison and Travis Sherman (Marx and Bensdorf). Wes eventually took third with Travis taking the win. I attacked with two laps to go and then broke away from our chase group to take 4th.

For the Pro/1/2/3 race, we took 1st (Pat Allison), 3rd (Me), 6th (Terry Duran), 7th (Stuart Lamp), and 9th (Darryl Seelhorst). Pat and I bridged up to the winning break on the 2nd lap, and for a while we had five guys in the break. Eventually we finished with 3 guys in the break working our numbers perfectly to get the win!

The details – Masters 30+
For the Masters 30+ race, we lined up with six guys and were aggressive throughout the race. Wes made it into the day’s winning breakaway with Travis and Joe from Madison. Once their break was established, I decided to sit in and mark the strong guys to get the free ride across if they attacked. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much attacking so we lost our advantage in numbers as Wes was on his own to battle it out with Travis and Joe. With three laps to go, one of the Pacesetter Steel riders attacked hard, and I covered it. But the pack was still fresh enough to reel us back in. Then with two laps to go, I drifted to the back and then attacked into the headwind after the first turn. I bridged to another Pacesetter Steel rider who was already off the front bringing Will Hibberts (Alabama Masters) and Travis Werts (Sonic) with me. We worked together for a lap, but then I was feeling that our pace wasn’t fast enough so I attacked again on the last lap. Only Travis Werts was able to come with me and then came off on the last hill. So I rolled in for fourth. Sammy did well in the field sprint for 10th.

2011 Barbers Masters 30+ heartrate summary

2011 Barbers Masters 30+ heartrate data

The details – Pro/1/2/3
We had eleven guys line up for the start of this race. I think that is the most riders we have ever had in one race! We raced this race pretty much to perfection as we were attacking and covering everything. I countered one of Stuart’s attacks at the end of the first lap and only managed to string out the field. Coming through the start/finish, there was a counter attack to my attack and we had 3 guys cover the move — Terry, Darryl, and Paul. Also in the break were Travis Werts, Travis Sherman, and Joe Ruf from Madison. The break was working well together and starting to establish itself. Meanwhile, back in the group we took turns covering moves.

Towards the end of the second lap, Ed Whitehorn (Velocity Pro Cycles) attacked and Pat covered it. They got a good gap right away and we were on the most difficult part of the course, so I decided to bridge across to it. I got away cleanly from the field and as I came up to Pat, I yelled “Let’s go!”. Pat thought the entire field was still there so I went flying right by. As soon as Pat realized that we had a good gap, he attacked the small group he was in and bridged back up to me. So the two of us were away. We caught up to the break into the strong headwind after turn 1. We came up fast and tried to rally the troops, but some of the guys in the break were already struggling when we tried to ramp up the pace. The end result was that we lost one of our own riders (Darryl) from the break and disrupted the rhythm of the break temporarily. It was a tricky situation because we did ramp the pace up quite a bit, which we definitely needed to do in order to get enough of a gap before the corkscrew downhill where the pack would make up some time on us if they were chasing hard.

Within half a lap, though, we had settled in and started a good rotation and had started to put some good time into the field. We continued at a blistering pace working well together all the way until just before the start of the last lap. Travis Sherman knew that we would begin attacking so he decided to jump the gun and put in his own attack possibly to see if he could reduce the odds against him. Pat led the charge and chased Travis down as the rest of us strung out behind. Travis attacked again before the corkscrew. Then coming into the headwind after the cork screw, my teammate Terry Duran put in a perfect attack because it forced Travis to chase. We caught Terry at the base of the final hill, so I put in a counter attack right away. I was pretty much dying by this point so I wasn’t going that much faster but it was enough to get a gap to force Travis to chase again with Pat sitting on his wheel. Coming down the finishing stretch, Travis closed the gap to me and came around, but Pat was waiting and came around easily taking the sprint by several bike lengths. My initial attack had given us enough of a gap that I was able to hold on for third with Travis Werts charging hard for fourth followed by Joe Ruf and Terry.

Kristine told me after the race that Tria was all over everything back in the field, covering every single move that tried to get away from the group. At the end of the race, Stuart attacked on the last hill and was able to stay away for 7th place with Jan Kolar just behind. Then Darryl won the field sprint for 9th. So that’s about it, what a great race!

Coming off the last turn into the finishing straight, still with a small gap. Travis still chasing. Photo by Alan Laytham

Travis Sherman finishes closing the gap to me with Pat waiting to take the sprint. Photo by Alan Laytham

Pat Allison takes the win followed by Travis and me. Photo by Monika Duran

2011 Barbers ride to live pro/1/2/3 heartrate summary

2011 Barbers ride to live pro/1/2/3 heartrate data

Here are some videos from the Pro/1/2/3 race courtesy Kristine.

I ran out of battery on my iBike because I had left it running in between races and forgot my iPhone charger so for power data, I only have the first three laps of the Pro/1/2/3 race. I have annotated the attack as follows – 1) My initial attack 2) Waiting for Pat after he attacked to bridge back up to me 3) Finishing the bridge together to the group (400w min through here)

2011 Barbers ride to live pro/1/2/3 iBike power data

Pro/1/2/3 first three laps
Dist:        7.87 mi (0:18:16)
Energy:     329.7 kJ
Cals Burn:  315.2 kcal
Climbing:     248 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  300.8   924  W
Aero        0  152.6   564  W
Rolling    16   47.2    72  W
Gravity -1287    4.3   754  W
Speed     8.6   25.9  39.6  mi/h
Wind      0.0   18.2  34.0  mi/h
Elev      353    386   416  ft
Slope   -10.0   0.05   9.9  %
Caden       9   82.7   106  rpm
HR        118  174.3   192  bpm
NP 344 W; IF 1.148; TSS 40.1
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0055
168 lbs; 4/23/2011 1:27 PM
88 degF; 1013 mbar

Our entire bridge took just over 1.5 minutes and here are the stats on it:

---------Selection Stats---------
Dist:        0.75 mi (0:01:35)
Energy:      44.2 kJ
Cals Burn:   42.3 kcal
Climbing:      17 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  465.7   893  W
Aero        0  247.7   564  W
Rolling    34   52.0    65  W
Gravity  -647   29.7   706  W
Speed    18.8   28.5  35.3  mi/h
Wind      8.7   21.6  31.6  mi/h
Elev      388    397   409  ft
Slope    -6.5   0.31   9.7  %
Caden      63   84.7    99  rpm
HR        165  182.3   190  bpm
NP 437 W; IF 1.456; TSS 5.6
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0055
168 lbs; 4/23/2011 1:36 PM
88 degF; 1013 mbar

April 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm 4 comments

Which is tougher? Athens Twilight (USA Crits) or Sunny King (NRC)

Hmmm, just got asked this question by @Nashvillcyclist -


@nashvillcylist – an interesting question

The short answer is that Athens Twilight is the more difficult race because there are so many more variables that have to work out perfectly for a good finish (or even to finish at all). On the other hand, Sunny King is normally harder aerobically because there is no place to rest on the course. If you saw @AdamMyerson’s power data from the previous year’s Twilight race, (link below), you’ll notice that you get a “rest” every lap in Athens Twilight. This is not the case on the Sunny King course, you never really get a chance to rest on that course.

Adam Myerson’s power data for 2010 Athens Twilight

As far as numbers go, here is a side-by-side comparison of both races. I’ve posted my 2009 ride file as that is the only time I have finished. In 2008, I was in a wreck on about lap 60 that stopped the race. My rear derailleur cable was broken in the wreck, and the SRAM neutral bikes had already been given out. I lasted about three more laps in my 53×11 unable to shift and then crashed out for good on Lap #64 coming into turn #1 too hot so that I could try to carry my momentum up the hill on turn #2. I decided to call it a day. In 2009, I had a great race and made it into a late race breakaway very late in the race. When there was an attack from within our break (Heath Blackgrove), I was one of the riders who got caught out. Three riders stayed away with Heath taking the win. The rest of us in the break (maybe five of us) got caught by the field with about 5 laps to go. I finished 24th in the field sprint (27th for the race).

2009 Athens Twilight heartrate summary

2011 Sunny King heartrate summary

Here in tabular form is a side by side comparison

2009 Athens 2009 Sunny 2011 Sunny
Avg speed (mph) 28.0 28.2 27.5
Avg heartrate 175 175 181
Max heartrate 186 186 192
Distance 47.0 41.6 42.0
Total time 1:40:33 1:28:21 1:31:46
# Laps 80 60 60

2009 Athens Twilight heartrate data – annotated

2011 Sunny King NRC Criterium heartrate data – annotated

The last statistic (number of laps) seals the deal for Athens Twilight as the more difficult race. To put it in perspective, the second lap of Athens Twilight is the most difficult lap of the entire race. The first lap bunches up and you are still full of adrenaline. By the second lap, everyone has separated enough for the race to be completely strung out single file through the start/finish line. You are absolutely crushing it as you fly through the start/finish line wondering if you can even hold onto the wheel in front of you. You look up and you see 78 on the lap card, which means you get to go around 78 more times before the finish. Ah yes, this is Athens Twilight.

April 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

Equipment update: iBike Dash Power Meter, wheels and tires galore

Before I go into the equipment meltdowns I had a couple weeks ago, I want to give a huge shout out to John and the rest of the mechanics at Bob’s Bikes who have kept me up and running even when I put extreme loads on all of my equipment to the breaking point. They get me back up and running again every time!!!

Also, I’m reviewing an iBike sports product below. I believe these guys have put together a product, the iBike Dash plus Power, that gives data junkies like me everything they could ever want to know about their rides and their training! Here is a review of my initial experience with the iBike Dash plus Power after a couple weeks usage and the essential features that I am using day in and day out. First, let me point you to this Velonews article which has much better pictures of the iBike. Here are my pictures: (yes, my bike is filthy, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow and what point would there be in cleaning it up before it rains!!!)

The iBike Dash plus Power phone booth setup (click to zoom in)

The wheel speed sensor mounted on the front fork.

The cadence sensor mounted on the non-drive side chainstay.

Initial review
Setup was super easy. You simply slide the iphone into the phone booth, and the iphone automatically connects to the Apple appstore to download the free app which is the display for the power meter. Make sure you either have a phone signal or are connected to a wireless network before inserting the iphone.

You can customize each of the training screens, but I primarily keep mine on the power gauge screen shown above. This has the most important statistics for me: power, average power, speed, slope, max slope, cadence, and heartrate. Note that power and heartrate are both color-coded based on user-configuable Functional Threshold Power and Maximum Heartrate. Also, note that these statistics are completely customizable in very much the same manner as any of the Garmin bike computers.

Downloading and analyzing the data is accomplished via email. Click on Options, click on Send Ride Files, and then click Send next to the ride file you want to send. The iBike stores the email address so you don’t have to type it in each time. Once you receive the data file, save it to your computer, fire up the iBike software, and then click open. Browse for the .ibd file that you just downloaded from your email. iBike automatically reads in the file and saves it to a .csv file compatible with Trainingpeaks. Or you can analyze the ride file from within the iBike software. I personally think that the iBike software has the best graph layout of any software on the market! Here is a screenshot of a typical ride file:

iBike software ride view from top to bottom (power, speed/wind, elevation, slope)

Comparison with iBike Generation III
Prior to switching to the iBike Dash plus Power, I was using the iBike Generation III power meter. The Generation III meter is smaller, less expensive, and lighter than the iBike Dash plus Power. The larger size of the iBike Dash enables it to have more accurate wind sensor readings. Also, it allows the iBike Dash to have a beautiful large easy to read user interface. The older Generation III had an acceptable user interface, but there was no backlight so you couldn’t read it after dark.

NOTE about my iBike Dash plus Power setup: I am using my wife’s old iPhone 3G with no cellphone account activated on it, but it still works great recording all the GPS information and transferring files when connected via wireless network. But one of the big complaints against the old iPhone 3G is its slow processor, and you do notice that when running the iBike app. I would definitely recommend using an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, which have much better processors than the old 3G. Having said that, I am using the iPhone 3G and can put up with the slow response time especially when switching between windows.

Summary If you are a data junkie or looking for a more affordable way to measure power, the iBike Dash plus Power is the way to go. You get a sleek user interface, a handy carrying case for your iPhone, and all the data you could ever want. Contact me if you have any questions about the iBike Dash or shoot me an email to setup a ride with me where you can see it in action.

AND NOW ONTO THE EQUIPMENT WOES…

Broken spoke #1
Broken spoke #2
Extra wheel tied to backpack, mid 90s Spinergy, iBike and Garmin mounted together

Here is a bulletted list for what didn’t make it into the picture:

  • Sunday 4/3 – Broken front derailleur – I was climbing a steep grade and all of a sudden I hear a clunk/ping. I continue the climb but notice that my chain is rubbing on the front derailleur. On closer inspection at the top of the climb, I notice that there is a rivet missing from the front derailleur and so the whole derailleur is essentially split into two halves with the bottom part rubbing on not only the chain but also the front chainrings. I rode home very slowly trying not to ruin the chainrings. I ended up swapping out bikes and riding my old Trek after a little bit of work on it to make it rideable again and ended up just doing tons of climbing near my house – http://app.strava.com/rides/387911
  • Monday 4/4 – Double flat – I was enjoying a slow, easy, wandering commute home with a ton of climbing when I started down the descent of Hackberry. I hit a small rock and heard the hissing sound of leaking air. Well, it turns out that it was a pinch flat (probably from not having pumped up the wheel in a week). I patched the tube and pumped it up to as high a pressure as I could with my frame pump (maybe 80psi?). I continued on my way home and then at the steepest part of the descent, which I was doing slowly, the tire went flat again. I was only a couple miles from home so I called Kristine to come pick me up, and she and Josiah came to my “rescue” a few minutes later! http://app.strava.com/rides/390412
  • Tuesday 4/5 – Broken spoke – I was riding an old Cane Creek wheel because my Mavic training wheel was in desperate need of an internal hub cleaning to the point that it was no longer safe to descend at above 40mph without pedaling fast enough to keep the freewheel from spinning. The Cane Creek wheel was in pretty bad shape to begin with, but held together well on my Monday ride. Tuesday, though, I broke a spoke at the farthest out point of my ride. The rest of the wheel still had enough tension for me to ride home slowly. http://app.strava.com/rides/393157
  • Wednesday and Thursday passed without incident.
  • Friday 4/8 – Another flat tire – This was a puncture flat from a 10 week old tire with about 3600 miles on it. This was a rear tire which hadn’t worn through to the threads yet so I was surprised to puncture. I patched the tire up and made it home with no problems. http://app.strava.com/rides/401319
  • Tuesday 4/12 – Another broken spoke – I was climbing up a hill in Mountain Brook and as I pulled over to a shady spot to pull out a powerbar from my backpack, I heard the familiar sound of a spoke breaking. I looked down and sure enough, I had another broken spoke. This one really put the wheel out of true, and I had to ride very slowly home to keep the tire from rubbing the frame. Definitely time to say good-bye to the Cane Creek wheel. $5 or best offer. Needs new spoke. Other spokes are frozen in place if you are looking to part out the hub you may need to cut the spokes off. http://app.strava.com/rides/419270
  • Wednesday 4/13 – Extra wheel ride – All of this brings us to me riding home with my Mavic training wheel strapped to my back (photo above). And hopefully my run of bad luck / equipment breakdown is over for a while! http://app.strava.com/rides/424389

After hearing about all my equipment woes from the previous week, Roger hooked me up with these sweet Michelin racing tires, which I used for Dothan and Mississippi Gran Prix. Next up for these tires is Barbers this weekend and then USA Crits Speedweek (Athens, Roswell, Spartanburg, Dilworth, Sandy Springs). Also in this pic are the Rudy Project strydon sunglasses that I won from the January KOM climbing competition on Strava.

So that about sums up things, and randomly, here is my 4 year old mountain biking through the woods in our neighborhood. Check out those skills and no training wheels!

April 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm 8 comments

Mississippi Gran Prix Race Report

Quick summary – I had to miss this race last year, but I was reminded again this year of how lucky we are to have such an amazing stage race within a few hours drive of Birmingham. This race is an amateur only stage race, meaning that the overall winner is determined by the cumulative time from all of the individual stages – just like the Tour de France. But this race is only open to Category 1, 2, and 3 amateurs. Tria Cycling p/b Infinity Med-I-Spa and donohooauto.com had a great weekend as summarized below:

Friday downtown criterium: 2nd Pat Allison, 3rd Brian Toone
Saturday road race: 3rd Pat Allison, 5th Brian Toone
Sunday circuit race: 3rd Pat Allison, 4th Brian Toone
Stage race overall: 3rd Pat Allison, 7th Brian Toone, 17th Justin Bynum

Another teammate, Mike Lackey, raced with us and was a strong workhorse all weekend sacrificing his chances at the overall to help cover moves throughout the weekend.

The details

Our weekend started out with very high heart rates, but it wasn’t just from the race. On our drive over from Birmingham, we had to dodge several tornadic storms that seemed to be following the interstate. We were driving through Meridian when it was under a tornado warning, and I snapped this picture.

Downtown Meridian wall/shelf cloud (Tornadic storm #1)

We were so focused on this storm that we didn’t see the other tornado that was much more of a threat to us. We made it past this second storm JUST in time. The map below this second photo shows our route (in green) and where these two pictures were approximately taken from.

Tornadic storm #2, we didn’t even see this one until we were almost in it!


The tornado map and our path (shown in green). We were in downtown Meridian while the tornado sirens were going off. We were VERY lucky, but there were many people — even some on the same interstate as us, that weren’t so lucky.

Friday night downtown Brookhaven criterium
By the time we made it to Brookhaven, the weather had completely cleared out, and the Friday night block party / activities / fun zones / entertainment was just getting under way. I have got to figure out a way to convince Kristine to come down with the kids next year. Plus there were three trains that passed within 50 meters of where we parked. Josiah would love to see those trains going right through the middle of town!

One of the great things about this crit is that the Cat 1/2/3 field is the only field racing on Friday night so you can do your entire warm-up on the course for over an hour on blocked off streets. I was a little slow getting everything together, so I only had about 45 minutes to warm-up, but that was more than enough time to ride nearly 15 miles of warm-up on the course! Almost everyone was warming up on the course so it was great to chat with riders from the other teams during the warm-up. We had four riders representing Tria Cycling. Herring Gas and Marx and Bensdorf had really large teams (about 8 riders each). Team La’Sport had a small but very strong team with the defending champ, Matt Davis, and super-domestique Russ Walker. S3 Racing, Sigma, and Tiger Cycling Foundation all had teams with about 3 or 4 riders each. In all, there were 41 people that lined up to start the criterium.

After a color guard ceremony by local firefighters including the national anthem that wasn’t quite finished when the third train of the night passed through within 50 meters of the start, we were off! And we were off fast! I clipped in first and made it to the first corner first, but having learned my lesson this year from both Tuscaloosa and Dothan, it is better to let someone else put in the first attack. So I let up a bit and got passed by a few riders before digging in to maintain my position near the front of the pack. On the third lap, I was sitting in maybe 10th position when I saw Matt Davis (Team La’Sport) and a Herring Gas rider (Bain Foote) attacking from near the front going into the only lefthand corner on the classic six corner course (Turn #4). I had to wait just a second for somebody to move out of the way, but once the lane was clear, I shot up the lefthand side between turns 4 and 5 and then latched onto the two-man break before turn #6. We had a couple second gap and absolutely buried it (the average speed for Laps #4 and #5 was 29.5mph).

Meanwhile, back in the field, my teammate Pat Allison began covering moves and made it into a two-man chase group. When those two guys ran out of steam, he attacked and finished the bridge solo up to our break. We kept the pace super high, but two more Herring Gas riders (Frank Moak and Tim Reagan) and Bryant Funston (Marx and Bensdorf) and an independent rider were able to bridge up to us bringing our break up to a total of 8 riders. The independent rider fell off after a few laps (probably exhausted from completing the bridge up to us!). The seven of us established a pretty good rhythm and flew through the entire course.

One disruption came when they called a $50 prime. I was feeling very good so I attacked going into Turn 3 and was able to hold it all the way to the line to claim the $50. Matt Davis got a gap chasing me, and the two of us tried to get away, but the three riders from Herring Gas were able to pull us back in after a lap. For the next 10 laps, we worked well together. I felt like several riders were struggling so I wanted to attack to see if we could get a secondary break going. Pat gave me a leadout from the back of the group through turn 6 into the start/finish area, but as I came off of Pat’s wheel to attack, my left foot cramped behind my toes. So here I was trying to attack and trying to calm down the cramp at the same time while surprising no one! So even in the moment of all this happening, I chuckled thinking how comical it must have appeared. By this point, our break was getting closer to lapping the field and despite my foiled attack, we continued to rotate and fly through the course.

When we got within a corner of the pack, I attacked again to bridge up to the group. I was hoping that in the chaos of lapping the field, that we would have a better shot at winning the race. As soon as we caught the field, I found myself on Pat’s wheel, and he wisely moved all the way through the group to the front. By this point there were only two laps to go. Just as we made it up to the front of the group, we could hear a crash happen in Turn #2 behind us. We were ahead of the crash, so we made it safely through. With one lap to go, Matt Davis’s teammate Russ Walker got to the front and drilled it for the entire lap. This worked out great for us because we didn’t have to fight for position since it was single file and we were lined up right behind Matt, but Russ had done such a fast leadout and Matt launched such a strong kick that none of us could come around anyone so we finished in that order. Bain came up the right side and almost caught me at the line, but I held on for third with a photo finish bike throw.

Check out that average speed! 27.4mph. NOTE – this is only 0.1 mph slower than Sunny King, but my average heartrate was 7 beats higher in Sunny King. The reason is because we bunched up so much in turns 3 and 4 in the Sunny King crit, whereas in the breakaway in this race we flew through the entire course without touching the brakes at all!

2011 Mississippi Gran Prix Friday criterium heartrate data

Saturday road race
This was a great race for our team with Pat Allison making it into the winning breakaway and securing a position on the overall stage race podium. And I got to rest easy in the pack and save up for the field sprint, which I won by a lot. There isn’t a lot to report about the race, other than that it was windy with a headwind through the start/finish stretch and a tailwind on the backside of the course. There were lots of attacks, but there were also lots of strong riders able to bring back each one. My teammate, Justin Bynum, made it into a great move with Ben Gabardi (Herring Gas) on the third lap. The two of them got a good gap on the field forcing other teams to set tempo at the front to real them back in. The two of them were away for quite a while. By the start of the final lap, we had caught the break, and I realized that there was pretty much no way that both Pat and I were going to be able to make it into a break together. When I saw Matt attack again with Bain right on him, I yelled up to Pat who was in much better position than me to go with it. He did, and I stayed back which meant that both Team La’Sport and Herring Gas were happy to let the break get away from the field. Travis Sherman from Marx and Bensdorf was already up the road and latched onto the break when it came by, so they too, weren’t going to chase. The other teams in the race (S3, Sigma, and TCF) chased and kept the break very close for a while, but eventually the elastic broke and nobody was left to chase. I realized that Travis would be passing me in the overall if the break got too far up the road, so I went to the front and tried to set tempo. Eventually, I realized it was hopeless and that it would be better to go for the field sprint than to try to conserve one spot on GC. So I stopped working and just sat near the front waiting for the field sprint. The field sprint came, and I rode wheels navigating through a tight bunch sprint. The uphill drag though really favored me, and I won it by a lot. Meanwhile, in the break up front, Matt eventually took the sprint win followed closely by Bain, Pat, and Travis in that order.

2011 MSGP Saturday road race hr summary

2011 MSGP Saturday road race heartrate data

Saturday evening time trial
The time trial was the start of the race within a race. Three guys battled for the podium spots (Matt, Pat, and Bain), while Frank, Tim, and I battled for fifth place. Travis had fourth place locked up after the road race. The time trial course was the new three mile course from last year. Since I missed last year, this was my first year to race it, and it was awesome. The course was rolling, fast, and into a headwind. I pushed the pace as hard as I could riding Eddy Mercx style, but ended up sliding behind Frank and Tim in the overall. Pat raced a strong time trial, but slid back to third pace overall after Bain won the time trial with a blistering 6’01” (nearly 30mph). A couple things to note in my heartrate data – I averaged 168bpm for 6’40”, whereas at the Sunny King race, I averaged 181bpm for nearly 90 minutes. Obviously, the fact that we had raced a long road race in the morning would impact my TT heartrate, but there has to be something else too – any suggestions out there??

2011 MSGP Saturday time trial hr summary

2011 MSGP Saturday time trial heartrate data

The best part of the time trial, though, was trying out our new “bib skinsuits”. All three of us in the picture raced this way, whereas Mike was the only one of us who had a real skinsuit and raced that instead.

Sunday morning circuit race
Due to a scheduling conflict at the technical college where the circuit race is normally held, the circuit race was held on a 6.5 mile loop around Lake Lincoln State Park. The course was a great course pretty much constantly rolling with sections of rough pavement and sections of good pavement. The finish was a long gradual drag leading to a steep final 200m uphill kick to the line. At the start of the race, Matt Davis was in lead over Bain Foote by 7 seconds. Pat trailed Bain by 32 seconds. Meanwhile, Frank held the fifth spot 7 seconds ahead of his teammate Tim who himself was 3 seconds ahead of me. With a maximum of 16 seconds of time bonuses available, the time bonuses could help me move up in the GC. It wasn’t to be, though, and with a good uphill finish, Pat and I were able to take 3rd and 4th in the final sprint just behind Ben Gabardi and Matt Davis.

2011 MSGP Sunday circuit race summary

2011 MSGP Sunday circuit race heartrate data

Summary
The weekend was a great weekend of racing. Pat Allison had his best result ever in a stage race, and we all worked really well together in the team. Check out his excellent recap of the weekend. I’m SO excited for the rest of the season and know that we are going to take home many more wins before the season is done! Happy cycling everyone!

Strava data
Check out my Strava data for all four races, including my lap split times for the crit. Also, the MSGP capped off another 400+ mile week for me this season. I’d like to give a shout-out to Sport Legs and compression socks (aka leg warmers) for helping me with amazing recovery this season. Now it’s time to taper a bit before Athens Twilight – maybe 350 miles this week and then 300 for the week ending with Roswell.

Friday night criterium – http://app.strava.com/rides/433284
Saturday AM road race – http://app.strava.com/rides/438401
Saturday PM time trial – http://app.strava.com/rides/438403
Sunday circuit race – http://app.strava.com/rides/443934

April 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

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Lots of climbing via double oak rollercoaster repeats. Caution bham cyclists ... I flatted halfway down Hugh Daniel descent today - don't know if there is something in the road so be careful! This pic doesn't have anything to do with that other than Hugh Daniel is the gap in the middle ridge line. 10000 ft of repeats on double oak. Started my repeats with 3000 ft of climbing already in the ride. Love that there is a railroad tie at the steepest part of the climb on the tower side. Finally, the tracks may be hard to see, but there are a bunch!

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
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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