River Gorge Day 1 – Time Trial and Criterium
River Gorge Omnium Day 1 went pretty well. I really like the new format with the time trial first on Saturday morning followed by the crit late in the evening. The primary benefit is that everybody is fresh for the time trial and yet the short effort isn’t going to really drain you for any of the other events. Plus, I was able to get my warm-up in by simply riding to the start of the TT doing the Elder Mountain climb and then half of Raccoon Mountain at a slow, steady pace.
My plan for the TT was to push as close as possible to my 5 minute critical power of 393 watts. This really helped focus my effort because previously I would be completely blown before reaching the bottom of the longest (0.3 mile) hill on the course. Within the first minute, I saw that my lap average was 500 watts so I knew I needed to back off a bit. This helped me pace so that by the top of the hill my lap average power was down to 417 watts. I knew that my wattage would come down on the steep downhill and as I started to spin out, I decided to tuck and save energy for the flat portion of the TT across the reservoir wall. I could tell that I had gone out too hard though as I really struggled to get my wattage above 350 across the dam. I took the sharp turn pretty good, but was still fading a bit towards the line to finish with an average wattage of 363 watts and an average speed of 28.5 mph. This was a new fastest time for me on this course by 20 seconds. Here is all the data.
The downtown crit was fast and full of energy. I nearly missed the start because I thought the race started at 8:30. As I went to take a lap of the course after the 3s finished, I saw what I thought was another race lined up at the start line. I figured there was still enough time to take a lap before their race started, so I maneuvered my way through the group and then started to take a lap when the announcer said “And for tonight’s main event – the Pro/1/2 race!” and I suddenly realized that this was my race that was about to start. Fortunately, I had one full bottle and a volunteer was able to get me a plastic water bottle to fill up my empty second bottle. There was still a lot of time before the start of our race (the actual start time was 8:15) but everybody was anxious to get a good starting position with the 80+ riders in the field.
I had an OK start and found myself somewhere in the back 1/3rd of the race after the first couple laps. The course was really wide open so it was easy to move around and pass people – particularly coming out of the last turn up a slight hill with the wind coming from the right. All you had to do was take the inside line and then you were sheltered from the wind across the top of the hill down through the start/finish line into the first turn. By the midway point of the 60 minute race, I was close enough to the front to start to try to cover moves and get into breaks. I made it into one good break towards the middle and tried to drive it after I realized my teammate Pat was also in the break. I made it into one other really good break with just 3 other riders with 8 laps to go when a crash took out or held up a lot of riders including Pat who had a wheel puncture after narrowly avoiding crashing. I worked hard, but it wasn’t a perfectly harmonious break. After we were caught, I counter attacked our own break to try to start another break but ended up just riding off the front solo for a quarter of the course. Then I worked hard to stay at the front and only could get 13th in the field sprint – 15th in the race with Oscar Clark (Realcyclist) taking a solo flyer for the win and Nate Brown (Trek-Livestrong) taking second in a solo chase effort. Frank Travesio (Realcyclist) won the field sprint for third so it was a great day for Realcyclist.
Finally, here are the pedal force / cadence maps from the races that I posted about a few days ago.