Posts tagged ‘circuit race’
Anytime you live close enough to a race to ride to the race instead of driving, you know that no matter what happens it’s going to be a good day. I woke up to cloudy skies, but no rain. Kristine left with the kids to head off to an Easter Egg hunt in Alabaster with the Moon’s. So I finished getting ready and by the time I left at 9AM, it had just started to rain. By the time I had left my neighborhood, the rain had increased in intensity and it was a steady rain shower pretty much the entire way to Barbers. I made it to the race, found out that I had raised enough money for Livestrong to not only race for free but also to receive one of the gift cards to Cahaba Cycles. Thank you everyone for donating!
22 riders lined up at the start of the 7 lap race with a light drizzle keeping us cold and ready to go. I was hoping for a relaxing start, but there were attacks from the gun with Travis Sherman (Moontoast/Tristar) and another rider getting away early. My teammate, Jacob Tubbs moved to the front to up the pace to make sure they didn’t get too far away. Will Hibberts from Alabama Masters ramped it up and we had a few guys rotating through in the chase. Then towards the end of the first lap on the steepest hill of the course, I saw that Travis had dropped his break-mate. I looked behind me and saw Travis’s teammate Mike Olheiser on my wheel and thought “drill it”! Sure enough – my acceleration separated me and Mike from the field and I quickly closed the gap to Travis. We had a small break at that point with a couple riders bridging across to us. We started rotating through with everybody taking pretty even pulls. Even so, the field was too fresh and about three laps later with three laps to go in the race, the field was about to catch us. I felt pretty sure that Mike wasn’t going to let it come back together without trying to get away so I prepared myself for him to jump — which he did through the start/finish line with 3 laps to go. I saw it coming, but when he attacked up the righthand side – I attacked down the lefthand side. I wasn’t in his draft though and he had a 10meter gap on me. So it was me vs. world time trial champion – not going to happen! He slowly pulled away and then, Eric May from Atlanta bridged up to me and we tried in vain to work together, but Mike continued to extend his lead.
So we backed our pace down from AWOL to just really fast and the rest of the chase group with 2 Nashville Cyclists (Tim Hall and Patrick), Joe from Ante Velos and also Mike’s temmate Travis along for the free ride. We rotated through and quickly extended our lead on the remnants of the field. Mike continued to pull away from us so it then became a race for 2nd. Initially, both riders from Nashville Cyclist were pulling through — but then they wisely put one rider back to match Travis who was saving up for the finish. With one to go, I maneuvered behind Travis anticipating him to attack the group before the finish. Attack he did, and I went right with him. But we didn’t have good separation (maybe just a few bike lengths) and so I didn’t pull through when he let off the gas. In retrospect, if I had attacked at that moment maybe I could held off everyone or if I had pulled through and worked with Travis, maybe we could have stayed away and sprinted it out for 2nd. Nevertheless, my instinct was to not commit to that move — maybe I was hoping somebody else would counter attack and I would still be fresh enough to go with that — and then I could counter attack that counter attack to get away solo! Well, if that’s what I was thinking it all went through my head subconsciously as I simply didn’t pull through.
So we all came back together right at the base of the hill before the finish. Travis ended up on the front with me in second position. I was thinking somebody was going to attack from behind us, and I was listening for it to accelerate so I could hop on it and then come around before the finish. It never happened though so Travis was forced to lead out the sprint. He led it out from pretty much the bottom corner as we made it onto the flat finishing area. He attacked hard so the pace was high with me on his wheel. I was waiting, waiting and then with about 200 meters I attacked hard to come around him hoping I could hold it to the line — but one guy (Eric May) was able to come around me right before the finish. With Mike Olheiser taking the win in front of us, that put Eric in second, and me in 3rd.
When the race was over, I borrowed a rain jacket from Ed Whitehorn (Velocity Pro Cycles) — thank you!!! — as I was freezing and started on my 20 mile ride back home. I cruised real easy and thought constantly about the race, replaying it over and over again. My mistake was not maneuvering behind Mike before he attacked. As soon as I realized that we were going to get caught – I should have immediately worked my way behind Mike in anticipation of him attacking. Once that didn’t happen though and we were racing for 2nd, I then should have waited just a second or two longer before coming around Travis. Oh well — live and learn — great racing by all! Back in the field, Jacob covered moves and then took the field sprint pretty convincingly from the look of the photos posted online.
We had a good strong field with Team Type I, Moontoast/Tristar, and us all having good sized teams. We lined up with seven guys – Terry, Sammy, Jacob, Philip, Darryl, Paul, and me. It was attack, attack, attack from the gun. We had guys in every move. I made it into a break with two TriStar riders, Dan Holt from Team Type I, and one other rider. We worked hard and rotated well together, but it was too early in the race and the pack brought us back after a lap and a half. Then there were more attacks but nothing got away on that next lap. Then I attacked again near the beginning of the 3rd lap and got away with another good looking break. This one only lasted for a lap. I felt like we were rotating well, but the team representation must not have been right because we got drilled back again by the pack. As soon as we got caught, Tiago Depaula (Depaula Racing) launched off the front. My teammate, Terry Duran, saw it coming and latched onto it immediately. A few more riders bridged up and eventually it became a break of 5. Terry got out-maneuvered in the end but still finished a respectable 4th having already won a Masters 40+ race earlier in the day! For our field sprint, Jacob and Sammy both finished high up in it to finish 11th and 14th for the race.
No heartrate data from my masters race as the rain must have been interfering with the signal. But here is the HR data for the P/1/2/3 race along with the map of my ride from my house to the race.
- 1st break
- 2nd break
- The finish
Wow – what a great weekend of racing in Oxford, MS. The organizers did a great job of picking fun courses, having plenty to do for the family and kids, and making this an enjoyable race weekend. This was my first time to Oxford, MS. Mike Lackey and I got up early Saturday morning to drive 3 hours before the start of his Category 3/4 race. My race was a little bit later so I ended up having plenty of time for a good long warm-up that turned into a bit of a training ride itself. Here’s how my race (P/1/2/3) played out:
Saturday, Circuit Race – 2nd place
Eric Spina and his Absolute Racing team had a tent set up near the start/finish with fans blowing cooled air. It was the perfect place to warm-up on rollers with it being very hot and sunny outside. Thanks Eric!!! I warmed up for over one and a half hours and during that time drank four large bottles (20oz) of gatorade. The race began, and the largest team was Marx and Bensdorf with about 5 or 6 riders. Herring Gas had a couple riders (Frank Moak and Clark Butcher). I was by myself representing Tria Market. Eric Murphy was there by himself for Myogenesis. On the first lap, Frank Moak put in an attack and got away solo. Marx and Bensdorf responded by sending a number of riders on the attack. I pulled back each of these as none of the other riders in the field were responding except for Debbie Milne (recently crowned women’s road race champion mixing it up with the 1/2/3 men!). Finally, after a couple laps of this and as I was getting pretty tired, Eric Murphy put in a hard attack to which I had to respond — the end result was dropping everybody in the pack except for Clark. Behind us, M&B were organizing a chase, but they were tired and losing ground. Eventually we all came together to form a break of 4. There were some attacks from within the break and we got separated again with Frank and Eric up the road, and me and Clark behind. I tried and tried to close the gap but I was keeping it steady at 5-10 seconds and no closer. Some unexpected help came from Eric Spina who drilled it right as we were getting ready to lap his group. This gave me just enough rest to then put in one more hard effort to finish the bridge to Frank and Eric Murphy. Thank you again, Eric Spina!
With one to go, Clark was keeping a steady pace at the front and I would pull through at 85% but Frank and Eric were getting ready for the finishing sprint and not working. Clark put in an attack to which I expected Eric to respond, but instead Clark was motoring away. Eventually Eric attacked and I was able to hop on as Eric brought Clark back. So we were all back together with a little more than 1 mile to go. Clark stayed on the front and rode at a high pace. Eric put in the first attack with maybe 1k to go. Frank grabbed his wheel and I was in third position as Clark had finished his work for Frank and went off the back. I thought this was the perfect situation, but coming out of the last corner (there were three corners close together) as Frank and I split to pass Eric on either side, Eric stepped it up again just enough to finish maybe a bikelength in front of us with me getting second only inches in front of Frank.
- Covering attacks from Marx and Bensdorf
- Covering Eric’s cover of Clark’s attack
- The finishing sprint
Sunday Ole Miss Criterium – 2nd place
This was a fun long crit course on the Ole Miss campus. The start/finish line was near the stadium and the course climbed a longish hill with a chicane in it followed by a 90 degree left at the top, another 90 degree left, a gradual right, one more 90 degree left, a short straightaway and finally a 90 degree left to the 400 meter finishing sprint straight downhill with a tailwind. There were more riders in the field today with several of the 3s including my teammate Mike Lackey deciding to join the 1-2-3 race since it was the last race of the weekend. Several riders from the Memphis Velo team were in our race, the same Marx and Bensdorf riders were there, and Herring Gas had one additional rider in the race.
Mike covered a lot of the early moves forcing other riders to chase since I could be content to watch the other omnium threats. Mike also helped me monitor the position of the other riders in the race. And then finally, Mike pulled out a second place in the field sprint for sixth in the race. Thank you Mike! Eric Murphy instigated the attack about halfway through the race that led to the same selection of four riders (me, Clark, Frank, and Eric) in the break. We worked together well to establish the break. With three laps to go, Eric put in an attack on the hill right after I had pulled. The three of us started to work together to bring Eric back, but we couldn’t do it. With one lap to go, I attacked on the hill and only Frank could come with me. The two of us made the last turn with me in the front and 400 meters of a downhill sprint, I watched and listened and moved to the opposite side of the course from which the wind was blowing so that when Frank started his sprint he would have to come around and block the wind for me. 350 meters, 300, 250, 200 … he still hadn’t attacked and I had purposefully kept it in an easier gear for jumping quickly since I knew that I was going to have to lead it out. So at 200 meters, I attacked as hard as I could pedaling as fast as I could without shifting gears. Frank started to come around but the finish line came first, my cadence must have been 130+, and I had again beaten him by inches. So the order of finish was the same as yesterday with Eric taking the win, me second, Frank third, and Clark fourth.
- Watching everything, letting Mike cover the early moves – note the mostly Zone 3 heart rate
- Initiating an attack myself, short-lived
- Covering an attack from Eric
- This was the decisive move started by Eric
- This is where Eric attacked our break and got away
- Attacking on the last lap to separate the Herring Gas riders
- The finishing sprint
All-in-all a good strategic weekend of racing. We leave on Wednesday for our big trip out west. I’m looking forward to riding in a few different places along the way, and I will definitely be taking a few pictures to share on my blog. Until then…
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.
Wow – it is not every day that you get a chance to race your bike on a spectacular speedway normally reserved for cars and motorcycles going well over 150mph! My top speed for the day was just over 40mph, but that was fast enough to make the podium of the Pro/1/2/3 race.
It is also not every day that you get to ride your bike from home to the start of a race. With the race start only 20 miles from my house down a very popular cycling road, I couldn’t resist leaving the house at 7AM to ride Sicard Hollow / Rex Lake road to the Barbers Motorsports park for the Masters 30+ race at 8:30AM. I made it to the front entrance just after 8 and around to the registration area, up the stairs to the registration desk right at 8:15 and was the last official person to register for the race! I ran into my college cycling teammate and friend, Bert Hull (check out his new Warp 9 bikes and components!!!) who graciously pinned on my number. I made it down the stairs and onto the track in time to do one warm-up lap and then the start of the race! Kristine and the kids drove out to make it just after the start of the race to cheer me on.
The Masters 30+ field was very strong with about 30 riders and constant attacks. I covered a lot and launched one or two of my own. It all came back together when Travis Sherman (Warp 9) and Terry Duran’s (Citigroup) late race attack got brought back with half a lap to go. I found myself on Terry Duran’s wheel going into the sprint, but when I pulled out to come around him I just couldn’t quite get on top of the sprint to do it and managed to get passed by two other people in the process! It was still very close with a photo finish separating all of us in the top 4. Terry Duran was the winner, and he deserved it as he was riding super strong. A pixel-width (maybe 1 mm) separated him from Will Hibberts (Alabama Masters/Bob’s Bikes). Check out the amazing photo finish on the ride to live website:
After the race, I cruised home at a very easy relaxing speed taking almost an hour and 15 minutes to ride the 20 miles back home while Kristine and the kids drove down to Highland Lakes for our church easter egg hunt. I spent a relaxing day working on topocreator.com and then at about 2:45, we loaded up the kids’ bikes and my bike to head back to the track for my second race – the Pro/1/2/3 race.
Here’s my race report that I sent out to the team:
We had a strong contingent of six riders lining up at the start of the P/1/2/3 race. Lots of riders in the race with probably close to 60 guys. Team Type I had three strong riders. Hincapie Development had a squad. Tristar/Warp9 had a lot of riders, too. Our pre-race strategy was to cover moves early and then be aggressive in the second half of the race. Sounded perfect to me since I had raced earlier in the day in the Masters 30+ race. Everybody rode strong covering moves. Every time I saw somebody launch off the front and then one of us cover it – I thought to myself “I sure love having a team strong enough to be in every break!” I only covered maybe one or two moves and bridged across to Ty in one of his many break attempts. On the last lap, I worked my way to the front and hopped onto the back of the Team Type I train but then realized that would push Sammy one farther spot back so I decided he would be better off on the back of their train and I would go for it on the last hill. I attacked hard and got a good gap on the field except for Darrell O’Quinn who saw the jump and got right on my wheel. I drilled it as hard as I could not knowing at the time that Darrell was on my wheel. I kept waiting for the sprint to come around, but it only ended up being Joe who saw the move and left his leadout train to bridge across and then take the victory and Darrell coming around me at the end. So I came in third with Sammy winning the rest of the field sprint for fourth. Lennie and Stuart made it into the top 20 with Darryl attacking a lot and making it into a lot of breaks – but the field was reeling everything in. Jacob survived the beatdown!
I’m still trying to get used to the Garmin Edge 705 features and every now and then I think that Start/Stop will take me to the next Lap even though there is a nice button labeled “Lap”. So suffice it to say that I managed to record my HR data for the ride to the race and my HR data for the ride home from the race, but I exactly missed my Masters 30+ race data!!! Grrr. But I did get it straight for the P/1/2/3 race, so here is my HR data for the afternoon race:
- I attacked here to bridge to a break with Ty Stanfield (Kenda Pro Cycling)
- Here is my attack on the last hill, look at the spike in my heart rate. Amazing what adrenaline of the moment will do!!!
Quick summary: 53rd, “the ramp”, “the roller coaster”, moved up to 60th in the GC
The stats: Power (348 avg / 800 max), Heart Rate (158 avg / 179 max), Speed (27.8 avg / 41 max), Cadence (85 avg / 123 max), Climbing (3196′), 72 miles (2:35:25)
The details: I was a little nervous about this race because I got dropped from it pretty early in 1998 when I was racing with the pros as a college student. We raced the same exact course as we did back then, but this year I was able to hang with the pack which dwindled each lap until there was only about 50. Mike Olheiser was able to lead Stefan Rothe out for several of the intermediate sprints moving him solidly into second place in the points competition. Mike got boxed in at the finish and wasn’t able to move up but still finished with the front group. With a few crashes and people getting spit off the back, Mike moved up a couple spots to 10th in the GC.
The race wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, probably thanks in part to the feed zone, but it was still amazingly fast — 27.8 mph for just over 2 and a half hours. I staged at the designated area, first in line thinking that I was going to get a great start. Unfortunately, half the field knew that there would be no punishment for going to the real start line and jumping in as soon as the course was clear. So I started not in the first row, nor the second, but rather the 6th row about halfway back in the peleton. By the circuit’s long descent, I had moved close enough to the front to attack off the front so that I could cruise up the climb on the first lap. I had a decent gap, but the group was moving faster and I wound up towards the back of the group by the top of the climb. The next lap was tough until a break got up the road without Colavita Sutter Home. They moved to the front and set tempo for the next 50 miles or so gradually bringing the break back.
After the first few insane laps, I got into a good rhythm on the climb always making sure to carry some momentum into the bottom of it no matter where I found myself in the pack. I also made sure to be in my little chain ring before the bottom of the climb so that there was no chance of dropping my chain — which lots of people did and quickly found themselves off the back of the group. I was nervous about the top of the climb which had a 90 degree corner followed by a flat section, then a downhill onto the “roller coaster” (which I’ll describe in a minute). I thought that the pace would be insane across this section, but the feedzone was positioned there and I think that caused enough confusion to keep people from hitting the afterburners until the start of the downhill. But the afterburners were definitely hit on every lap, starting with “the ramp” that marked the start of the “roller coaster”.
What am I talking about? The “ramp” was a one foot paved angled drop from one section of pavement to another section of pavement that stretched across the entire road. This marked the start of “the roller coaster” — an extremely fast slight downhill that had a 90 degree righthand turn towards the beginning, then a very bumpy road with a gradual lefthand bend. We would hit between 35-37mph on almost EVERY lap. It was hang on to the wheel in front of you for dear life, single-file, until you hit a gradual climb marking the end of “the roller coaster”. At the top of the gradual climb, we made another 90 degree turn and the start of the circuit’s primary downhill which today was into a slight headwind. At the bottom of this downhill, a 90 degree turn put you immediately onto the steep climb to the finish.
With two laps to go, I was caught in a group of about 25 gapped off the back. I helped a smaller group of about 10 emerge from this and bridge back up to the pack which had dwindled to maybe 75. Then the same thing happened on the last lap accept this time, I wasn’t able to bridge back on. I finished at the front of the first main group behind the pack 1 minute back from the winner in 53rd.
Here is my HR and power data:
- My attack off the front on the first lap
- A little bit easier while Colavita was riding “tempo” at the front
- Getting harder here
- Gapped off, chase back on with 2 laps to go
- Last lap!