Posts tagged ‘nationals’
Pre-race pic, happy with 65th given this was only my second road event of the year.
Beautiful cool weather this year unlike last year’s scorcher, so hydration was easy. Sad that this will be the last year for Madison hosting the race, but perhaps Northern California hosting it will be a good reason to take a trip out there in 2016. Next year, however, I am aiming for a Southern California trip for the Race Across America. Already starting my training for RAAM 2015, I thought it would be good to do the race and then do a long point-to-point ride while still tired from the race. With my wife’s family in Northwestern Wisconsin, it made sense for me to ride up there from Madison for the rest of our vacation up here.
I got a good start near the front, but not having ridden in a pack much this year I wasn’t good at keeping my position as other riders edged beside me. By the end of the neutral section I was already near the back of the field. I felt good on the Cat 3 climb to finish the lap and started feeling more comfortable moving around in the pack. On the third lap, I found myself near the back again when the field slowed down on the county road before the climb. I noticed on the previous lap that the shoulder is very nice, rideable gravel. So I ended up passing almost the entire field in the gravel. In retrospect, I wish I had attacked instead of pulling back into line because there was still a few more miles of slow riding. How epic would that have been to have attacked in the gravel in the national championship road race. Oh well!
Instead, by the time we reached the bottom of the climb on that lap I had already slid back to mid-pack. I was running out of nutrition so I asked Kristine to feed me gels on the next lap. I was near the back the next time through the climb and pulled over to grab the gels. I grabbed them with no problem and chased back onto the back of the field, but by this point the back of the field had splintered and there wasn’t enough of us to chase back on even though we tried an entire lap plus mixing it up with the large caravan of vehicles.
Many people pulled out, but Shawn Gravois (Lupus) and I soldiered on eventually catching Andy Scarano (UHC/706). Together the three of us rolled the last half lap until we caught a few more people coming off the lead group. The last person we caught was near the top of the climb, and he came back around us which was kind of the universal sign that we’re still racing. I took off up the final climb to end up finishing 65th.
Cave of the mounds
After the race, we wanted to check out the cave of the mounds since it was right by the course … an hour long tour was worth it even though my legs were tired and my stomach very hungry. By the end of the tour, we were practically running to the car to get to the nearest place to eat. We ended up at the Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb. Very good, in-house produced root beer and cheese curds. Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm.
Adventure in the hills of Southwestern, Western, and Northwestern Wisconsin
After dinner I drove Kristine and the kids on some of the routes through the hills between Blue Mounds and Middleton where we were staying – including Observatory Rd – the views are spectacular. One more trip to Starbucks, and I started this blog while the kids were swimming in the hotel pool. I tried to time my sleep so that I would get exactly 3 hours of sleep (two 90 minute sleep cycles) before getting up. Unfortunately, they were playing a replay of the highlights of last year’s Tour de France so I think I only ended up with one sleep cycle.
“Heading out for a little ride across the state of Wisconsin – 1:15am” – my instagram caption from the hotel elevator as I headed out for an approx 350 mile ride through the hills of southwestern, western, and northwestern Wisconsin.
I’ve included my route map below. I tried to pick the hilliest route I could find through all the hills that was still relatively straight heading in the northwesterly direction. There were many climbs I had to skip because they went too far out of the way, but I was still surprised when I was riding at just how many hills and valleys I went through — totaling just over 20,000 feet of climbing. The upper midwest has had quite a bit of flooding problems this late spring / early summer from all the rain combined with snowmelt. This translated to many bridges being out. That makes for quite the challenge on a point-to-point ride. Only two of the bridges that were out were on my direct path. The first bridge out I came to was actually not completely out, and I was able to cross it by hanging off the side of the bridge. The second bridge was really out with no bridge left. I wouldn’t have any problems with taking my shoes and socks off and fording the water, but it was very deep mud and grass that I would need to traverse — not something I wanted to do within the first 100 miles of a 350ish mile ride. The official detour was miles and miles out of the way, so I took an unofficial detour through several miles of gravel on steep rollers, whole fields of bunnies, and endless fields of corn. Some of the other bridges out meant that the larger roads were detouring onto the route that I was already planning on taking. Fortunately, this part of Wisconsin is really rural … no cellphone coverage for over 100 miles from Blue Mounds to Sparta. Then another 100 miles of no cellphone coverage until the outskirts of Eau Claire. So the traffic was minimal pretty much the entire day.
“All kinds of awesome on a point-to-point ride” – my instagram caption at the first bridge out … before holding onto the outside of what was left of the bridge to cross the creek. They had fenced off the bridge itself well enough that I couldn’t just climb over or around the fence.
I started out at 1:15 in the morning with the moon having already set. The Milky Way galaxy was bright enough to ride through open fields with no lights on! I tried this a couple times on the climbs up to Blue Mounds which have some stretches of open fields. Absolutely amazing. I had a four light setup for negotiating some of the fast descents in the dark – rear taillight, two handlebar mounted front lights (a 200 lumen and a small 50 lumen), plus a helmet mounted 200 lumen headlight. I thought I needed to conserve battery so on all the uphills I rode with just the 50 lumen light on. Then for the faster downhills I turned on the 200 lumen light at its lowest setting, and if the descent really started to turn downhill I flipped on the helmet light at its brightest setting. It turns out I didn’t need to worry about battery at all because this far north, it starts getting light outside by about 4:30AM. By 5AM, you can ride without a light other than a blinkie light for visibility for cars. Plus, sunset isn’t until 9PM with the afterglow lasting until about 10PM!
I also had two Garmins and a cellphone to keep charged during the ride. The cellphone was the most challenging to keep charged because there was so little coverage my phone battery was constantly draining as it boosted the signal to try to find coverage — unsuccessfully. Unfortunately, we had not anticipated so much non-coverage and Kristine was tracking me online. We pretty much gave up on the tracking after Blue Mounds, and I texted her in the two towns that had coverage (Sparta and Eau Claire).
I had split the route into five separate 70 mile courses, which I loaded onto my Garmin 1000. This was my first real course test for the 1000. It followed the courses with no problems, no crashes, no glitches. I know from much experience that my Garmin 800 cannot follow long courses with hundreds of turns without eventually crashing. But since I was doing all the navigation on my 1000, I was able to leave the 800 running without messing with it at all. It made it the entire 315 mile ride without crashing. I had to recharge both Garmins twice. I brought an Anker Astro Mini charger and a Gomadic Solar charger. I completely drained the Anker keeping the cellphone charged but it made it the entire day (21 hours) with a large part of the day spent searching for signals.
The Gomadic I split between the 800 and 1000 and was able to keep both charged although both ended the day with low battery and my Gomadic also with its low battery signal on. Also, in Sparta I knew that I might need extra battery so I bought a wall charger which I also used to charge the cellphone during an extended Starbucks stop in Eau Claire.
I’ll finish this post just with some pictures showing the scenery and describing the road as mixed conditions, a lot of smooth pavement with minimal cracking, the occasional perfectly smooth road, some larger cracks on a few of the heavier traveled roads, a few rough gravel roads, and one smooth fast dirt road which I think was being prepped for paving (county ww outside of eau claire). The terrain was steep rolling hills, long gradual climbs and descents in river valleys, plus the occasional long and steep cat 3 climb up to some of the higher ridges. Usually the top of the ridge would be flat to gently rolling with sweeping views of other ridges and valleys dotted with farms, barns, silos, forests … in other words flat out beautiful.
National Road Race – Blue Mound
Whew. Tough race at the road race. Hot. A cat 3 climb at the end of each lap plus six times up a steep hill in the middle of the course plus a final finishing climb only a couple hundred feet short of a cat 2 climb. This should have been a dream course for me, but it wasn’t happening. I’m a few pounds above my ideal racing weight right now so that doesn’t make for great climbing. Still, I’m happy to have stuck it out and finished 90th out of 200 people with over 100 people DNF’ing.
We started out up on top of Blue Mound which rises 1000 feet from the valley floors with amazing views. The official kept us neutral on the long four or five mile descent, which made for a crazy amount of braking on the way down with at least one tire explosion from overheating. Once the race was on I had already lost a lot of positions and with 200 riders in the field — even with a rolling enclosure — made it challenging to try to move around. Our field was so large that when we hit the bottom of any steep hill, the guys at the back (including me) had to come to a complete stop before proceeding forward up the hill.
I had a 39×28 so it wasn’t too hard to start spinning again up the steep slopes, but I still feel like it was quite an advantage to be at the front and start the climb at 15 mph instead of being at the back and starting the climbs at 0mph. I made it up the 2.5 mile end-of-the-lap climb (cat 3) the first time still connected to the back of the field – but just barely. After flying across the top flatter section trying to keep up with the front of the field already charging down the descent was crazy hard. Pretty much the same story the second time up the climb, but this time the elastic snapped somewhere in front of me and there were about 20 or 30 of us who had to chase back on the descent and through the valley. We finally made the juncture with the back of the field after chasing in the caravan for quite a while right before the start of the third time up the climb. It turns out I had a great view for the race-winning move as I could see the attack stringing out the front of the field while the rest of us were still bunching up going into the steep part of the climb. I was at the very back and pretty much cooked but it didn’t matter b/c huge gaps opened up in the back of the field as many people started to drop out of the race.
I continued a steady hard effort and found myself with another group that swelled to maybe 20 riders at its largest, but people started coming off our group as the heat started to get to people. I was really struggling, too, and amazed how hard it felt to be going so slow with such little wattage (well under 300 watts) on the climbs. We eventually caught Brendan Sullivan and Johnny Brizzard who had survived in the field longer than I had. After two more laps, our group had shrunk to just seven riders. I wasn’t sure how many people would be left in the race, and I was hoping it was maybe as few as 50 people so I went hard on the final climb coming in 2nd behind Brendan Sullivan out of our 7 man group which pretty much exploded at the bottom of the hill. It turns out, though, that enough people had stuck it out that our efforts were for 89th and 90th places with only 99 people finishing and 101 people DNFing.
National Criterium – Madison Capitol Building
My confidence level after six disappointing races (including the five races at the end of Dairyland the week before) was pretty low heading into the crit. Still, I had done really well on this course before (9th place in the final stage of the 2011 tour of america’s dairyland) so I was hoping for a good result. I started out towards the front and then slid backwards gradually. I think I never made it farther than 3/4 of the way towards the back of the 150 rider field, but it was hard to tell. I didn’t think the race was too hard, but it was still tough to move around until people started to get tired. Then you could move up fairly easily coming out of the last turn as people slowed down after drilling it up the hill into the turn. I used this strategy to move from about mid-pack with 3 laps to go all the way into 38th place by the time it was all said and done. Definitely my best result of the two weeks in Wisconsin, but as I detail below with some of my favorite instagram pictures the trip was a fun family vacation despite mediocre race results. Plus, I was happy to race with the best amateur racers in the country and spend a week exploring Madison – I ended up riding 441 miles for the seven days I was in Madison!
Also, a big shout-out to racers from the southeast … Nathan Brown (Memphis) and Ty Magner (Georgia) both took home national championships. Brendan Cornett did well in the crit (9th place). Andy Scarano, David Guttenplan, Winston David, Brendan Sullivan, and a bunch of other people from the southeast were all up there racing and had good results … way to represent!
Annotated heartrate data from both days
National road race – heartrate zone summary
National criterium – heartrate zone summary
2013 National Criterium Lap data ... auto-lap missed a few laps as indicated Lap Time AvgPow MaxPow HR RPM MPH 1 1:25 326 838 151 86 26 2 1:18 292 806 167 84 27.5 3 1:16 297 828 171 84 28.8 4 1:17 292 774 173 83 28.9 5 1:12 284 844 173 82 29.9 6 1:15 280 864 175 83 29.7 7 1:11 258 892 174 80 30.6 8 1:16 238 825 173 79 28.8 9 1:14 250 831 173 78 29.3 10 1:17 259 830 172 79 28.9 11-12 2:27 268 888 176 79 29.8 13 1:11 283 718 179 81 29.9 14 1:15 274 835 178 81 29.3 15-16 2:29 264 943 177 78 29.7 17 1:13 255 827 176 75 29.9 18 1:16 241 768 178 79 28.8 19 1:19 241 821 173 82 27.6 20 1:19 259 836 174 78 27.5 21 1:17 231 810 176 73 28.1 22-24 3:44 260 884 178 76 29.4 25 1:16 237 787 177 77 28.7 26-28 3:51 246 867 177 76 28.4 29 1:23 249 773 177 78 25.7 30-32 3:48 243 820 177 76 29 33 1:11 265 693 176 77 30.4 34-35 2:20 293 815 181 79 31.1 36 1:17 231 937 180 72 27.9 37-38 2:32 249 756 178 80 28.2 39 1:12 259 778 179 74 30.2 40 1:15 221 715 176 76 29.1 41 1:14 249 773 177 77 28.9 42 1:17 243 809 175 75 27.4 43-44 2:24 249 790 177 74 29.8 45 1:18 246 777 178 73 27.9 46 1:17 240 885 178 76 27.7 47 1:14 235 546 179 79 28.3 48 1:12 242 653 177 79 29.7 49 1:15 226 744 175 72 28.4 50 1:13 264 646 175 77 28.6 51 1:14 204 648 175 73 28.7 52 1:14 215 757 170 72 28.6 53 1:13 247 794 178 76 28.4 54 1:13 263 775 176 78 28.7 55 1:17 231 794 176 79 27.4 56 1:15 252 730 178 79 28 57 1:14 242 758 177 77 28.5 58 1:15 224 805 177 77 28.1 59 1:14 216 873 174 76 28.3 60 1:14 242 919 169 76 28.6 61 1:11 249 778 178 73 30.1 62 1:10 255 821 178 74 30.1 63 1:11 245 914 177 73 29.4 64 1:19 211 688 178 78 26.6 65 1:17 243 729 172 75 27.5 66 1:15 209 716 170 75 28.4 67 1:13 239 679 171 74 29 68 1:17 214 770 169 71 27.1 69 1:14 232 690 174 72 28.6 70 1:12 231 741 173 72 29.2 71 1:11 244 923 178 73 30 72 1:14 227 805 177 73 28.4 73 1:18 252 833 181 80 27.4 74 1:17 242 736 183 73 27.5 75 1:16 213 718 178 75 27.8 76 1:12 256 721 175 76 29.2 77 1:14 224 759 180 75 28.4 78 1:16 248 783 182 74 27.9 79 1:14 295 855 185 77 28.8 80 1:08 348 921 189 74 31.6
iBike data from the road race … this was recorded on Wednesday before the race when I pre-rode a lap of the course with Jimmy Schurman.
Me with Josiah and Analise after our cool-down lap riding the course together.
Our cool-down lap … Analise and Josiah are on the far right of the picture behind me.
Between turns 3 and 4 climbing the hill (I’m towards the left of the pic)
Just before the start of the race – 150 cat 1s ready to take off
A little bit of bike path, a little bit of alley, a little bit of climbing, and a whole lot of awesome warming up for #roadnats criterium in Madison WI
One of my favorite pics from the trip – Analise and Josiah crossing a creek
Josiah had to wrestle @ktoone for the packers horse – Ella’s Deli
Me and Josiah after the road race
Quintessential Wisconsin country-side and rolling hills
Spent a lot of time at the Holiday Inn waterpark
The Blue Mounds finishing hills
Awesome bike paths in Madison
Got a chance to ride with my friend Lennie who happened to be up there on a day-trip
Celebrating 10 awesome years together