Posts tagged ‘criterium’
This was a new course using some of the same roads that were part of the circuit race last year. The course was fast with plenty of opportunities for attack. I thought I was racing well, but ended up missing a split with 18 riders up the road. In the last few laps, 3 riders escaped from the field in pursuit. I ended up 2nd in the field sprint for 23rd in the race. One good thing to take away from the race was that I was happy about the field sprint – hopefully next time it will be for something in the top 20. Here is my lap data:
Labor Day Omnium Criterium Pro/1/2 - 23rd Lap Time Mi. AvgPow MaxPow HR MPH 1 1:45 0.7 263 743 149 22.9 2 1:34 0.7 290 775 160 25.6 3 1:31 0.7 316 873 163 26.3 4 1:29 0.7 297 887 175 26.6 5 1:29 0.7 264 734 172 27.3 6 1:31 0.7 268 949 172 26.4 7 2:55 1.4 301 925 179 28.2 8 1:26 0.7 287 805 176 28.9 9 1:26 0.7 293 752 173 28.8 10 1:27 0.7 312 997 176 28.4 11 1:29 0.7 274 906 185 27.4 12 1:25 0.7 276 788 180 28.4 13 1:33 0.7 258 862 171 25.9 14 1:38 0.7 224 785 173 23.9 15 1:36 0.7 263 780 169 24.9 16 1:27 0.7 237 698 179 27.8 17 1:34 0.7 209 703 170 25.5 18 1:35 0.7 242 785 171 25.4 19 1:31 0.7 268 780 174 26.6 20 1:29 0.7 277 799 179 27.2 21 1:27 0.7 304 975 178 27.6 22 1:26 0.7 277 812 185 27.8 23 1:28 0.7 320 1026 181 27.2 24 1:29 0.7 246 577 183 27.1 25 1:33 0.7 242 817 177 25.5 26 1:39 0.7 256 1062 172 23.9 27 1:33 0.7 305 920 183 25.6 28 1:29 0.7 236 1079 182 26.8 29 1:38 0.7 247 954 180 24.2 30 1:23 0.7 359 957 185 28.5 31 1:30 0.7 281 656 188 26.3 32 1:40 0.7 177 564 175 23.8 33 1:43 0.7 192 547 163 23 34 1:36 0.7 196 651 170 24.9 35 1:32 0.7 268 804 174 26.3 36 1:38 0.7 276 990 176 24.5 37 1:38 0.7 214 838 181 24.7 38 1:33 0.7 243 766 175 25.9 39 1:42 0.7 226 740 171 23.6 40 1:30 0.7 212 635 174 26.8 41 1:36 0.7 231 868 169 25.3 42 1:40 0.7 302 739 176 23.7 43 1:29 0.7 343 843 185 26.7 44 1:35 0.7 240 950 185 25.5 45 1:33 0.7 224 569 173 25.7 46 1:33 0.7 269 694 174 25.9 47 1:30 0.7 247 933 178 26.4 48 1:35 0.7 231 854 178 25.5 49 1:38 0.7 267 690 177 24.3 50 1:21 0.7 447 899 187 29.1
I decided to head out 3 hours before the start of the race to ride some of the roads between Clemson and Anderson that I used to train on. I ended up on part of what we called the “sprint loop” because there were so many sprint signs on it (stop ahead, county line, city limits, etc…). I snapped a few pics along the way, and it was one of the best “warm-up” rides of the year, a stroll down memory lane. I went on a couple new roads as well, and there was some sort of hunting going on in the fields on either side of Fants Grove Rd – it was kinda disconcerting to be riding through all the shotgun blasts.
If you are looking for positive happy go lucky race reports, then skip over this one.
Quick summary of results
Time Trial – 46th, 10 seconds slower than last year, disappointing.
Criterium – Big crash with no more free laps. Instead of immediately telling us there were no more free laps so that we could chase, the official ushered us over into the pit to tell us to wait until the end of the race so that we could race two additional laps to sort out placings from 28th place on. I don’t think this got communicated to the results people, though, because as far as I can tell none of the people from my group are listed in the results. Very disappointing.
Road Race – 7th, best finish ever at this race, but disappointing to cramp so badly on the final climb and not be able to fight for the win. Disappointing.
Omnium – 12th. Surprised as my only omnium points came in the road race.
The River Gorge road race is amazing – entering three states (TN, GA, and AL) – and traversing a wild topography consisting of deep canyons and steep mountains. Click to enlarge – annotated power data for the Sand Mountain climb
Road Race details
I’ve included today’s (Sunday) road race details first. We started at the Covenant Transport Center headquarters about 2 miles down the road from the normal start, so this shortened the race from 62 miles to just under 60 miles. I started at the very back. It took until the righthand turn onto the first hill of the day for me to move about halfway up the large pack. The hill was a bit slower pace than previous years, so everybody was still bunched up. I moved up some on the long gradual descent after the first KOM. When we hit the wider road heading towards the Tennesse River, I was able to move close to the front not too far behind the BMC train as they chased an early 6 or 7 man move that I never even saw get away I was so far back in the pack at the beginning.
BMC timed the catch perfectly at the bottom of the Sand Mountain climb. I had slipped a little ways back and started the climb about 20 riders from the front. I chased around a few people who opened gaps and then latched onto a large group led by two BMC riders. I was struggling to maintain a good rhythm but hung on all the way up until the 200 meters to go sign for the KOM. I was really cooked, but fortunately Ryan Sullivan (United Healthcare/706 Project) had also just come off the group, and he and I were able to work together to catch back up to the group (with Ryan doing most of the work as I barely hung on).
A few more riders caught up to us before the long descent back down to the Tennessee River making our group about 15-20 riders with all major teams represented. We were not a harmonious group as there was an attack or two across the top of the mountain, and even one attack at the top of the descent. I covered that one and made it back down to the Tennessee River just behind John Murphy (Kenda Pro Cycling) and one or two other riders. The others in the group caught back up quickly, and nobody seemed like they wanted to work so I attacked hoping to get things goings – but little did I know what a firestorm of attacks would ensue. Attack, chase, counter-attack, chase, counter-attack took us into the medium climb up off the Tennessee River. I looked back expecting to see the rest of our group closing fast, but they were gone. At this point, I knew this was the move but I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it over the climb with the group. I dug as deep as I could and made it.
There was maybe 7 or 8 of us. The attacking didn’t stop as John Murphy really wanted to get away. This ended up dropping two riders from our group to bring us down to 6 riders. John eventually got away twice. Both times Oscar Clark (UHC/706), Shawn Gravois (Globalbike), Ty Magner (BMC) and I worked together to bring him back, although the first time was before the stair-stepper cat 3 climb and Shawn did most of the work to bring John back. The second time, it was all four of us working together while John’s teammate, Robert Sweeting (Kenda) was able to get the free ride with his teammate up the road. We caught John right before the turn into the TVA area on a gradual hill. Immediately, Oscar put in a hard dig taking Shawn, Ty, and Robert with him – whereas John and I went straight out the back. I had bad cramps in my right leg. These cramps subsided fairly quickly so I hit it hard to catch back up to John and together we chased on the descent (hitting 58mph) back down to the TN river before the final climb up Raccoon Mountain.
John joined back up with the other four right as the road pitched up. I, on the other hand, started cramping again so I didn’t catch back on. As the climb steepened, both legs locked up and I had to coast to a stop up the hill, unclip, and wait for the cramps to subside. A few seconds later I was rolling again for another couple minutes. But right as I caught back up to John again, my leg locked up again and I had to coast to a stop again. This time after the cramp subsided, I was able to pick up the pace to catch and pass John. I thought for sure I had 5th place locked up, but 500 meters before the finish Tanner Putt (BMC) caught and passed me. A few seconds later Jake Rytlewski (Astella/ABD) came by, too. Jimmy Schurmann (Globalbike) was closing in fast when I hit the 200 meters to go sign. Fortunately, the grade had lessened enough that I was able to stand up and hit it hard to stay just in front of him to finish 7th.
In the group ahead, Oscar took the win, followed by Robert and Ty. Shawn was fourth, although he should some award for all the work he did on the step climb to bring back John the first time.
Road race heartrate summary
Time trial details
This year’s Pro/1/2 field was one of the best ever at River Gorge, which has always had a strong field. This year there were more than 60 pros and cat 1s plus an additional 30-40 cat 2s. I knew that I had no shot of getting into the top 10 in the time trial for omnium points, so technically it might make more sense for me to soft pedal the time trial to save up for the criterium. But what would be the fun in that? Plus, how could I compare to previous years?
So I got a good warm-up in riding to the start with my teammate Borris. We headed up to the top of Raccoon Mountain via the finishing climb of the road race at a nice easy pace. Packet pick-up, several back and forths across the part of the reservoir dam not being used for the TT course, and it was time for me to go. I started out easier than last year, but then hit it hard on the short climb. My power average ended up being about 5 watts lower than last year (358 watts vs 363 watts), and my speed was about 1/2 mile hour slower (10 seconds slower). Last year I raced Mercx style with no TT equipment, whereas this year I raced with clip-on tt bars, an aero helmet, and a front trispoke wheel. I can’t help but think that the extra baggage slowed me down more than it sped me up. Definitely going to race this time trial Mercx style next year for another comparison.
You know what, this race was so disappointing I don’t really want to relive it by writing it up. Instead, I’ll just say that I need to work on paying a little closer attention to when the free laps end before the start of the race. I thought it was 5 to go, but apparently they had announced 8 to go. I got caught up in a crash with 6 to go and thought we had one more lap to get back into the race. I have included the annotated heartrate data below.
Downtown Chattanooga heartrate summary
Annotated power map
It worked so well yesterday, I thought I would try it again. So as soon as the chief official said “riders ready” – the secret codeword for “go” in crits, I clipped in and attacked hard – leading most of the first lap. This strung out the field with a small separation, but shortly through the second lap the field came back together. Oscar Clark (United Health Care / 707) rocketed off the front with a Lifetime Fitness rider. They got a small gap, but one lap later Dave Gearheart (Team Mission Soruce) drilled it hard on backside of the course through the tricky schoolyard turn and up the hill towards the start/finish turns. Dave had closed a significant portion of the gap, but when he pulled over to rest, none of the next couple riders pulled through so I immediately jumped hard to finish the bridge to the leaders.
At this point the three of us were off and flying. Oscar was drilling it so hard that I could barely hold his wheel and the Lifetime rider came off after a couple laps. We got into somewhat of a rotation where Oscar pulled maybe 90% of a lap, and I would pull 10%. Even so, I was way above threshold. My heartrate was well above my LT heartrate of 180 for the first 10 minutes of our break – eventually settling down to my threshold heartrate of 180 for the 35 minutes it took us to lap the field.
Before lapping the field, though, I got to witness one of the best displays of sacrificial teamwork I’ve seen in a while. Dan Holt (Team Type I) attacked to bridge to us. Oscar’s teammate, Oneal Samuels (UHC/707), covered the move forcing Dan to do the majority of the work to make the bridge up to us. Once there, Dan was outnumbered by the two UHC riders so he wouldn’t commit to the break (especially after having to go so hard to catch Oscar and me). Oneal recognized what was going on so he went to the front and drilled it super hard for a couple laps and then peeled off – knowing that Dan would work with Oscar and me, but not if he was outnumbered. Sure enough, Dan fully committed to the break, and the one-two punch of Dan and Oscar meant that it really was all I could do to hang on. Eventually, our pace started to slow a tiny fraction and I was able to pull on the short uphill section before the course’s one righthand turn.
I was very thankful once we lapped the field and initially tried to hold Dan’s wheel in the group. Once I had rested for a few laps, I decided to move farther up and mark Oscar. Then a couple riders slipped off the front and started to unlap themselves (Buddy Spafford – Florida Velo and Claudio Arone – EBP Racing). I was fighting off some cramps by this point in the race having already gone through TWO bottles and trying to figure out when was a good time to retrieve my third bottle from my back pocket. Fortunately, Oscar’s team was committed to chasing back Buddy and Claudio. Still, I knew that it was also in my best interest if we stayed away so whenever the pace really slowed down if somebody was interfering with the UHC train, then I would roll through and try to pick the pace back up again. I think this only happened a couple times as the UHC riders were committed to drilling it at the front.
With five laps to go, I cramped hard and stopped pedaling drifting all the way back to the pack of the field. Fortunately, my cramp subsided just as the pace slowed down. So I got to rest for nearly two laps as our pace wasn’t super fast with 4 to go or 3 to go. With 2 to go, it was full gas again and fortunately I didn’t cramp again until the finishing sprint. So I sat up happy to take third. Meanwhile, in the sprint, Team Type 1 and UHC had competing leadout trains with Oscar edging out Dan for the win.
Moon and church – our race started at 8:30, lasted an hour and a half, and this was the night scene after the race.
Five days of racing, car is getting messy, text annotates the tile I got for third place
Tough race tonight. Team Type 1 again played it perfectly taking 1st and 2nd with Dan Holt and Alexey Schmidt. Here is how it played out. There was an early break that got a good gap, but I think it was missing TT1 so I was pretty sure it would all come back together, which it did.
Then it gets a little fuzzy but Dan made it into the next move along with Stephen Hirsch (UHC/707) and one other guy (maybe Tim Henry from Litespeed/BMW). This move quickly got a good gap until Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) went to the front and started to bring it back pretty much single handed. After three or four hard laps he sat up and no one else took up the chase. The gap to the break quickly ballooned to close to a minute – in fact I figured we were going to get lapped.
But then the attacking started. Primary instigators were Mike and myself, but there was also a guy with a black kit and national champ markings on his sleeves (from a different country) who attacked several times. We could never get enough separation in a chase group to escape the field.
Then at the perfect moment when an attack was coming back, Alexey rolled off the front of our group with one other rider. It was a thing of beauty to watch as nobody could respond quick enough. There was a chase again led by Mike but the gap was too big. The break must have been getting tired b/c the two quickly crossed the gap to the leaders making a lead group of six.
The gap from our field to the leaders had come way down to only 15 seconds, but then it was only three laps to go. I found myself on Oneal Samuels wheel, a great sprinter from UHC/707, with two to go and followed him to the very front of the field by one to go. Another rider came around and led out the sprint, but Oneal hopped onto his wheel with me still attached to his wheel. And that is how we finished in the field sprint coming around the other rider by the line. It was only good for tenth in the race, though, as two other riders must have been b/t us and the break of six.
My power meter is still broken, so now power data from the race – but I can tell you it was hard!
Summary – 2nd in the masters 35+ criterium, 3rd in the pro/1/2/3/4 combined criterium, plus 5 points on a bonus points prime gave me just enough to tie Beth Hollingsworth (Velocity Pro Cycles) in the overall, combined omnium. With the tiebreaker being the time trial time, I ended up winning the tie breaker to take 2nd in the omnium behind Chris Brown (Litespeed – BMW).
Masters 35+ criterium – this race started out fast, so fast that the field split at least once before the first prime. The field was back together by the first prime, but I wasn’t in good position to go for it. A couple laps later, however, there was another prime that I thought was for a bouquet of roses. In a field full of masters, I thought that this would be hotly contested (to bring home to give to our wives) so I jumped really, really hard on the inside on the short flat stretch before the final turn. I was sheltered from the cross-wind by the pack when I attacked and then when I made the turn I had a strong tailwind. It turns out that I jumped hard enough that nobody else contested the prime, and I had opened nearly a 10 second gap by the time I won the prime — (unfortunately, after the race, I found out that it was a gift certificate to a restaurant named Rosie’s).
About halfway through the next lap, I looked back and saw Chris Brown closing in fast bridging the gap by himself. When he got close, I jumped back up to speed and together we worked to try to fend off a chase group of 5 riders that had split off of the blown apart field. We worked together well, but the gap stayed at just a few seconds for several laps. Then finally after several really hard laps, the gap started to increase by a second or two every lap so that it eventually got out to 20 seconds. But then it started coming down again — by 5 seconds in a single lap to take our gap back down to 15 seconds. Then, the next lap it was down to 13 seconds. Fortunately, by this point we only had five laps to go in the race. So we turned on the gas one last time and held it to the end where Chris took the sprint.
Monte Sano – climbing
The Rapha Rising climbing competition had also begun today so I headed out after the masters race to do some climbing. I ended up breaking a spoke at the bottom of Monte Sano, turning around and getting my spare wheel, before doing the climb again. It was a long, steady, gradual climb but my legs were tired and I needed to rest for my the pro/1/2/3/4 combined crit later in the day so I only did the climb once. I’m in a deep hole for the climbing competition right now, but I am hoping to make up ground by Wednesday.
Pro/1/2/3/4 combined criterium
One of the unique things about the Huntsville omnium is that it is combined over all the categories. And to finish the combined omnium off, there is a combined Pro/1/2/3/4 criterium for the last race of the day. By the start at 2:00 – it was very hot – well over 100 degF in the sun on the start line. Combine that with the humidity that somehow hadn’t burned off from the morning, yet, and it was going to be a sweltering race that I wasn’t sure I could finish.
On the start line, as the race official said “go”, they also rang the bell for the race’s points prime – 10 pts, 5 pts, and 5 pts for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I was on the front row so I thought about just taking off and going for it from the gun — especially since Chris had started farther back. But I also knew that it would be a long race and that if I won the prime, I stood a very good chance of not being able to finish the race at all. So I hung back in 2nd and 3rd position as a couple riders drove the pace pretty hard anyway. I started the sprint for the prime, but Chris was able to come around me just before the line. I figured that the race was over and that Christian Parrett (Global Bike) and maybe one or two riders would bridge up to us for the break. But instead, the field came back together.
Shortly after that, Christian began a series of attacks that eventually saw him get away solo. Chris’s teammate Anders got away in a chase group of 3. But one of the riders got shelled making it a chase group of two. Our average pace in the field slowed way down as there would be an attack and then when the attack was chased down the pace really dropped. After only 20 minutes into the race, Christian lapped the field which was down to less than 10 riders by this point – but the chase group of two still hadn’t caught us. So Christian went immediately to the front and began driving the pace. He very slowly started extending the gap on the chase group (we had been getting splits to the chase group behind us). At one point the gap from the chase group to the back of the field was only 20 seconds.
I had won a couple field primes during this time, but then while Christian was driving the front they announced a $230 giro helmet prime. I need a new helmet, so I went really hard for this one. Will Fyfe (Birmingham Bicycle Company), however, just got me at the line. Our effort for the prime, however, shelled some more riders from the group and later when Chris attacked I was able to go with him. He was in an awkward position because he couldn’t work too hard or we would catch his teammate. At the same time, though, it was safer to be off the front then contesting the field sprint. So we settled into a rhythm that looked like would keep us in front of the field but behind the chase group of two.
The chase group had been out front for a long time in the hot conditions so we ended up catching them with about 5 laps to go. This put four of us working together to stay in front of the field. In one of the corners, I felt my rear wheel slide a bit. It felt like I had a flat tire. But I bounced on it and it didn’t seem to be bulging out too much so I kept on going. By three laps to go, though, the tire was rolling on the faster corners. I went to the front to drive the pace so that hopefully I would have enough time to get a wheel from the pit and stay in front of the field since there was no more free laps. But in the end I decided to just risk it since it seemed to have enough air to not be rolling on every corner. Fortunately, the sprint at the finish didn’t start in earnest until after the last corner and I was able to give it max effort up the hill to finish just behind Chris for 3rd place. Here is a picture I got right after the race – I’m guessing that the slow leak had taken it down to maybe 40 psi by the end.
All the data
With five separate races this weekend, I have gobs and gobs of data. So I’ve highlighted what I consider the most interesting data and then put the rest into a gallery. First, I set three new power records this weekend … the first was during the masters road race over the range from 17″ (916 watts) to 20″ (878 watts). The second was during the time trial over the range from 1’07” (607 watts) to 1’30” (545 watts). And the final power record was during the P/1/2/3/4 combined crit (probably sprinting for either the points prime at the beginning of the race or the giro helmet prime) over the range from 2″ (1107 watts) to 16″ (930 watts).
The next two most interesting data items are the heartrate plot and summary for the Pro/1/2 road race Saturday morning. This was a particularly difficult race to start out the weekend with!
Pro/1/2 road race heartrate summary
Pro/1/2 heartrate and power plot (power smoothed with 30second smoothing filter)
The time trial power plot is interesting … speed data is from GPS, but it looks like there is a second in the middle where my Garmin dropped the power reading right around the time that the GPS-based speed was getting goofy. I wonder if it was because the Garmin was devoting more processing power to trying to pin the GPS signal and dropped the power reading. I stayed big chainring the entire time trial and never stopped standing so my power should never have dropped to zero.
Heartrate plot for the timetrial
Finally, here is my lap data from the two criteriums on Sunday.
MASTERS 35+ criterium - 2nd place Lap Time AvgPow NormPow MaxPow AvgHR Avg Spd 1 1:47 234 205 725 138 23.6 2 1:38 197 176 626 144 25.6 3 1:38 197 169 528 142 25.4 4 1:38 215 186 668 145 25.8 5 1:39 188 155 636 150 25.3 6 1:38 220 204 664 149 25.7 7 1:38 267 238 1092 146 25.6 8 1:31 323 268 647 170 27.6 9 1:27 364 319 1067 167 28.5 10 1:29 333 281 775 180 26.6 11 1:32 306 259 594 179 26.9 12 1:34 299 251 610 177 26.4 13 1:30 299 243 624 178 25.8 14 1:31 281 229 718 178 25.9 15 1:36 291 242 643 179 25.8 16 1:38 286 242 546 179 25.4 17 1:36 267 231 577 176 25.4 18 1:40 268 223 539 176 25 19 1:39 268 229 536 174 25.2 20 1:34 290 239 548 176 26.1 21 1:35 281 235 639 176 26.2 22 1:31 269 212 499 176 25.8 23 1:31 287 234 699 177 26.1 24 1:33 284 225 571 176 26.8 25 1:34 263 222 600 174 26.4 26 1:36 270 224 696 173 26.2 27 1:34 234 194 613 172 25.1 28 1:42 252 226 759 165 24.3
Pro/1/2/3/4 combined criterium - 3rd place Lap Time AvgPow NormPow MaxPow AvgHR Avg Spd 1 1:37 398 321 1108 151 26.6 2 1:28 326 265 801 171 27.8 3 1:28 344 297 1086 170 26 4 1:30 341 282 1039 171 25.9 5 1:31 262 232 1033 176 25.3 6 1:36 234 202 673 165 26 7 1:40 214 181 784 162 24.8 8 1:38 166 146 451 158 23.7 9 1:49 168 149 773 150 23 10 1:44 216 190 931 152 23.9 11 1:46 254 253 968 151 23.5 12 1:37 247 198 780 168 24.2 13 1:25 361 303 1110 171 27.7 14 1:43 238 205 918 171 22.8 15 1:26 270 240 897 170 26.5 16 1:40 241 208 793 168 23 17 1:46 212 187 933 158 23.8 18 1:47 186 167 722 157 23.3 19 1:42 218 192 951 153 23 20 1:36 205 184 645 162 23.8 21 1:33 232 192 910 156 25.2 22 1:31 222 182 568 156 25.3 23 1:33 213 176 775 156 24.9 24 1:39 220 186 662 156 25.1 25 1:33 221 184 674 155 24.9 26 1:37 284 253 1125 154 25.6 27 1:36 230 193 623 165 23.9 28 1:30 405 378 1044 168 27.9 29 1:28 289 239 627 181 26.5 30 1:29 274 222 619 179 26.3 31 1:32 292 238 654 178 25.1 32 1:32 243 200 630 176 25 33 1:34 283 235 899 171 24.7 34 1:33 274 230 862 174 24.8 35 1:33 348 292 1111 177 24.8
And here is a gallery of all the data and photos from the race weekend… organized by race.