Posts tagged ‘power’

Greenville Fall Cycling Extravaganza Day 1

Quick update from Greenville, raced hard tonight, made it onto the podium in 3rd place. Small but tough field! Strong teams from Hincapie and Subaru (3 riders each), and then a lot of strong solo riders, too. I made it into a couple good breaks, but with the downhill backside of the course and lots of strong riders not wanting to see the race go up the road, it always came back together. With maybe a lap and a half to go two riders slipped off the front and got a few seconds on the field. With half a lap to go, I attacked and was closing when I clipped a pedal hard in the last corner and thought I was going down. I still had a pretty good gap, though, so I was able to hold onto third with only one rider passing me before the line. I believe it was Darius from Myogenesis who passed me just before the line, and congrats to the Hincapie rider (and the whole team) who won. Great race. I think it was Wilmar from Hincapie taking a well deserved win.

Here’s my power stats…

Dist:       24.95 mi (1:00:40)
Energy:     858.7 kJ
Cals Burn:  821.0 kcal
Climbing:     949 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  235.9   842  W
Aero        0  168.3   512  W
Rolling    19   32.8    46  W
Gravity  -551    0.4   466  W
Speed    14.2   24.7  34.8  mi/h
Wind      9.6   19.8  30.9  mi/h
Elev      712    730   753  ft
Slope    -5.1   0.00   5.4  %
Caden       4   79.4   113  rpm
HR        139  172.0   188  bpm
NP 303 W; IF 1.091; TSS 120.4
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 10/9/2010 3:39 PM
81 degF; 1011 mbar

Ibike power and wind speed data …

Ibike power and wind speed data

Heartrate and power data …

Heartrate and power data

October 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Race Report

Zoomed in view of the start/finish stretch before the start of the Cat 2/3 race.

Race report
Raced and fought hard to a 30th place finish out of a strong field of about 100 starters. I got caught up in a crash near the middle of the group about 10 laps into the race ultimately skidding to a stop holding onto the original rider who went down – a United Healthcare rider – who had just stood up as other riders squeaked past us. The hardest part of the race was when we were put back in one lap later at the very back of the peloton, which was being led by the entire Hotel San Jose team as they were chasing a six-man break that had gotten away without them because of the crash. About 10 laps later the pace had eased up, and I was able to work my way up to near the front of the group where I stayed for the remainder of the race. In the end, I missed a seven man move that escaped on a $1000 prime lap. One lap later, I moved into position to keep ahead of the “swarm” on the downhill, when Ben Zawacki from Team Ion attacked off the front to chase the group of seven. I had an opening, and so I launched off the side of the group, thinking that if I could reach Ben then perhaps the two of us could make the bridge — but Ben already had a great gap by the time I attacked, and I couldn’t close any so I sat up after the downhill to conserve energy for the finish. In the end I fought hard for position, finishing 18th in the field sprint, which meant 30th for the race with twelve riders off the front.

The course was a nice 4-corner around the American Airlines Center arena in Dallas. The course had a short (but steep) 6% uphill immediately after the start/finish and a longer but more gradual downhill on the back side of the course. The uphill was with a tailwind and the downhill was into a headwind/sidewind blowing from the west on the most exposed part of the course. I got a call-up before the start, and that is the first video posted below my heartrate/power data. Two helicopters were hovering over the course to stream the race for a local news station. Also, there was a giant jumbotron screen for spectators – so it was an exciting race to end my 2010 season – although I am planning on racing the Alabama state time trial (Oct 2) and the Tour de Cullman (Oct 23) for some good fun and training!

Trip details
This race was a crazy trip for Kristine and I as we made the 650 mile drive (one-way) from Birmingham to Dallas on Wednesday after I finished teaching my Wednesday afternoon class. Then Thursday night after the race, we “turned and burned” and drove the 650 miles back to Birmingham to make it back in time for my 9AM Friday class. We were gone for a total of 40 hours, 22 of which was spent driving, about 3 hours of racing and warm-up, a few hours during the day on Thursday hanging out with friends, and only 8 hours of sleeping. We shared the driving on the return trip, spent the night with awesome friends at the Christian missions organization (Mercy Ships) where the two of us met which was on the way to Dallas, and had an all-round great time.

TopoCreator map of our return trip from Dallas back to Birmingham

Texas Tough, Dallas, TX, USA Crits Finale 2010-09-16
Dist:       38.22 mi (1:24:04)
Energy:    1207.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 1154.2 kcal
Climbing:     549 ft
Braking:    -13.9 kJ (-1.2%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  239.4   793  W
Aero        0  112.3   661  W
Rolling     0   36.3    50  W
Gravity  -508    0.5   436  W
Speed     0.0   27.3  37.8  mi/h
Wind      9.1   16.3  31.5  mi/h
Elev      363    375   387  ft
Slope    -4.5   0.01   6.1  %
Caden       0   78.2   115  rpm
HR        128  178.9   192  bpm
NP 271 W; IF 0.979; TSS 134.2
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/16/2010 5:56 PM
87 degF; 1012 mbar

Annotated heartrate data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The race started with a neutral lap – riders inches from the pace car completely surrounding it on both sides, too!
  2. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  3. The hardest part of the race, hanging on and trying to move up with Team Hotel San Jose drove the pace chasing the break
  4. Easier – fighting to stay at the front

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Heartrate Data

Annotated power data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  2. Bridge attempt late in the race (about 6 or 7 laps to go)

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Power Data

Note the drafting differences (i.e., difference between the white line and the blue line) in the two different parts of the race. In the first red circled area, the pace is super fast and I am just hanging onto the rider in front of me. In the second circle area, you see more places where I am attacking or moving out into the wind to try to continue to move up or maintain position at the front of the race. I love being able to see this data on my iBike, and over time I am hoping it will help me figure out how to better mete out my energy for crits.

Videos from the race – Kristine took these videos on her iPhone.

Call-ups at the Texas Tough Grand Prix

Start of the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Early lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Middle lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

The start/finish stretch underneath towering hotels and high-rise condiminiums
Racing in downtown Dallas, TX
Spending the night with friends from Mercy Ships in Van, TX
Eating breakfast at the iconic Dinner Bell restaurant in Van, TX

September 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm 1 comment

Dothan Cityfest Criterium Race Report

Oh so close to a late season podium… 4th place after 20+ laps in a 4-man break. Still, the Dothan Cityfest criterium was an awesome new race on the calendar this year in Dothan, AL. The Pro/1/2 race featured a $10,000 prize purse paid 25 places deep. My awesome teammates Stuart Lamp, Terry Duran, and I lined up with me in a field of about 30. Even though the field was small, the action (and temperature) was HOT. I had a front-row start, and clipped in first and took off from the gun. I didn’t get anywhere though and simply pulled the field around for the entire first lap. This meant that when the first attack went at the start of the second lap, I wasn’t ready to go with it. Fortunately, my teammate Stuart saw the move and covered it. The field came back together and I moved into position to go with the next move, which came from Andy Crater (Aerocat) who animated the action attacking repeatedly in the first 10 laps. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far in front of a fresh field before we were pulled back. I was pretty tired after the intense early laps and had slid back and missed the next couple of moves. My teammate Terry covered each one.

Then, about 10 laps into the race, there was a solo move from Emile Abraham (Aerocat). He got a good 5-10 second gap on the field before Team Ion moved to the front and drilled it back. I saw Crater move into position to counter attack and immediately hopped onto his wheel. An Ion rider, Winston David, also latched on, and we were off. When we passed through the start/finish line, I knew we must have had a good gap because the intensity of my wife’s cheering increased a notch or two. One or two laps later, John Atkins bridged up to us solo. I was still recovering from early moves and was struggling to maintain the pace that Andy and Winston were setting, but our lead kept increasing so eventually our pace settled down into something that I could maintain. By the time we lapped the field, there was only 4 laps left in the race. My teammate Stuart came to the front and set a very fast pace for the last 2 laps to prevent any of my breakmates from attacking. I settled comfortably into 3rd or 4th position when we were swarmed coming out of the start/finish line with one lap to go. I saw an opening on the left on the uphill between turns 1 and 2 and attacked to move to the front. Looking back, I should have attacked with the intention of breaking away b/c I think there is a chance I could have held it with the tricky corners in turns 2, 3, and 4.

Instead, I eased up and waited for someone else to make the first move. It came from Winston, who was one of my breakmates. Crater got on his wheel, and I was on Crater’s wheel coming out of Turn 3. About halfway down the hill, Crater attacked. It was a perfect attack and caught me on the wrong side of Winston so I settled onto Winston’s wheel as he chased to catch Crater. My thinking was that if he couldn’t bring Crater back, that at least I could come around him to secure 2nd or worst case settle for 3rd, still up on the podium. Instead, I wasn’t able to come around him, and John Atkins came around me immediately out of the last corner so that I ended up 4th in the sprint, beaten by all three of my breakaway companions.

Disappointing finish for me to an otherwise awesome race! The Dothan organizers went all out for this event, with excellent commentating by Chad Andrews, support for a very large kids race, and awesome prize money. All of this combined with the festival that was going on just down the street, it made for a great day of entertainment. Analise and Josiah both had fun in the kids races … and riding their bikes with me at the start of my warm-up on a closed street with railroad tracks to cross! Just before the start of the Pro women’s race, there was a 1 lap celebrity race with the mayor of Dothan, a congressman, senator, and other local government officials and celebs. They all road on the green single-speed cruiser bikes that Regions Bank has in their commercials and provides to universities like Samford. It started out like any other celeb race, but the finish was like none I have seen. The mayor completely decked out in a suit and helmet was sprinting against the congressman from out of the last corner all the way to the finish line. They were so close that you couldn’t tell who had won and they had to look at the finish line camera to decide it! Wow!! This really got the crowd amped up for our race, which turned out to be pretty exciting.

My teammate Katherine Herring had a great race with the Pro/1/2/3 women holding her own until she had a run-in with a hay bale on the last lap. Still, she picked herself up, and crossed the finish line in 8th place. Also, Sammy raced the 2/3 race earlier in the day taking 8th place even while battling a cold. But it was good enough for him to hold onto 1st place for the year long Alabama Cycling Series Cat 3 competition taking home the jersey. Also, our team snagged the team title which spanned all categories, and we got to take home a cool bicycle statue consisting of a bicycle frame welded onto a statue pedestal – very cool!

Heartrate, power, pictures, and video below …

Power data: 2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Pro/1/2
Dist:       26.83 mi (1:02:06)
Energy:     861.8 kJ
Cals Burn:  823.9 kcal
Climbing:     964 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  231.3   708  W
Aero        0  147.8   473  W
Rolling     0   34.5    50  W
Gravity  -511    0.6   328  W
Speed     0.0   25.9  37.5  mi/h
Wind      7.9   18.0  29.0  mi/h
Elev      271    287   309  ft
Slope    -4.8   0.01   3.8  %
Caden       0   79.1   104  rpm
HR        122  181.7   195  bpm
NP 270 W; IF 0.974; TSS 98.1
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/11/2010 7:05 PM
85 degF; 1012 mbar

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium power and heartrate data

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Heartrate data

  1. Lots of speed and heartrate spikes corresponding to attacks
  2. This is where the 4-man break started
  3. Notice how much smoother everything is, but still in the red zone
  4. This is where we lapped the field
  5. Resting up for the finish, my teammate Stuart setting the pace
  6. The final lap

September 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

2010 Tour de La France and US 100K Race Reports

Quick summary
I had a great three day weekend of racing and training this week in South Carolina and Georgia. Here’s the quick summary:
Saturday – Tour de La France criterium – top notch field, fun course, 29th
Sunday – Awesome training ride in Clemson on my old routes from college
Monday – US 100K road race – huge field, bad crash at the beginning, lots of breaks/splits, 25th (12th in field sprint)

The Details
Saturday, 9/4/10, Anderson SC
The P/1/2 race didn’t start until 5:15, so after a leisurely morning, I drove over from Birmingham to Anderson. The drive ended up taking over 5 hours because I drove some of old my training routes near Fair Play and Townville on some back roads into Clemson to try and get a picture of the packed stadium before the game … According to census bureau population statistics, Clemson becomes the fourth largest city in South Carolina when they play a home football game! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture so I headed on over to Anderson still about 2 hours early.

I checked in, got my race numbers, and hopped on the course after the finish of the women’s race. I would describe the four-corner course in downtown Anderson as fast and somewhat technical (particularly the third and fourth corners). The first turn was downhill and off chamber. There was a small hill that you climb leading into the second turn. Immediately after turning, you head downhill before climbing on a very wide 4-lane road up the steepest hill on the course before turning into an alley to head back downhill. The last corner takes you out of the alley back into a regular 2-lane street slightly downhill before rising slightly to the finish.

Before our race started, though, was a hand-cycle race. Those guys are amazing … roll to registration in a regular wheelchair, roll back to the car and take out their racing wheelchairs, pump up the tires on it, swap wheelchairs, and head out to the course — all by themselves. I know because I parked in the parking deck next to several of the hand-cycle racers. And those guys are fast!!! So after seeing their start, I headed back to the parking deck to continue warming up on my rollers. At about their scheduled finish, I headed back to the finish, watched the last of the finishers and followed them around the course back to our start to get a good spot.

After a few call-ups, the race started, and I worked hard to stay near the front. I went with a couple of short-lived moves, but for the most part the race stayed together as there was a super strong headwind on the steepest hill of the course … so even if the pack got strung out going into the hill, it always bunched up as the front riders lost all of their momentum on the hill. This made it hard for any of the breaks to stick. Then with a few laps to go, Joey Rosskopf (Mountain Khakis) attacked and got away solo holding off the field and taking the win. Karl Menzies (United Healthcare) took the field sprint. I thought I was in pretty good position with half a lap to go, but lost a bit of position in the swarm on the uphill before the next to last turn. I came out of the last corner carrying some good speed and passed three or four riders to finish just barely in the money in 29th … still good for $120, though!

Heartrate data

Power data

Power data from Tour de La France, Sept 4, 2010
Dist:       36.96 mi (1:22:24)
Energy:    1095.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 1047.1 kcal
Climbing:     853 ft
Braking:    -10.2 kJ (-0.9%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  221.5   779  W
Aero        0   91.1   544  W
Rolling     0   35.8    50  W
Gravity  -588    1.9   641  W
Speed     0.0   26.9  37.5  mi/h
Wind      6.1   15.3  29.7  mi/h
Elev      732    749   773  ft
Slope    -6.5   0.02   6.5  %
Caden       0   78.3   165  rpm
HR        105  174.8   192  bpm
NP 246 W; IF 0.885; TSS 107.6
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/4/2010 3:55 PM
87 degF; 1011 mbar

All of this data brought to you by my amazing new iBike!

Sunday, 9/5/10, Clemson, SC
Sunday was awesome as I got to ride some of my old training routes from when I was an undergraduate student at Clemson University. Every fall, we usually spend a few days up in Clemson where I do a big ride in the mountains, so I don’t normally get to do any of the routes that are closer into Clemson. So this extra trip to South Carolina this year gave me a chance to pick out a good route in Clemson with absolutely beautiful views of the mountains since the air was so clear. I ended up getting a little carried away and riding a bit farther than I originally planned. I remembered a photo of the mountains I took sometime probably in 1997 or 1998, and I went to the exact same spot to take the same picture for comparison … see below.

October 9, 1998 – Looking towards Sassafras, Pinnacle, and Table Rock

September 5, 2010 – Looking towards Sassafras, Pinnacle, and Table Rock

Here is my topocreator map of the route:

Monday, 9/6/10, Atlanta, GA
Monday was the US 100K race. The thing that I really like about this race is that it starts so early in the morning that it is completely dark when you are biking over from the hotel to the start. Plus, there are police everywhere, runners everywhere, and tons of anticipation. Kristine had driven over with my parents and the kids to meet me at the hotel Sunday afternoon. They would drive over to the McDonalds that is just after the feedzone for the best spot to view the race. You can see the thousands of runners coming across the hills and you can see over a mile of the race course from where we turn after the feedzone all the way down the hills to where we turn onto GA 280.

George Hincapie (BMC) and Craig Lewis (Columbia HTC) were racing to test out their form ahead of the US Pro championships in a couple weeks. Also, Mountain Khakis had a full squad, along with Aerocat, Locos, Ion, Johnny Clarke and Karl Menzies from United Healthcare, Cesar Grejales and Yosvany Falcon from the new On the Rivet team for a total of about 125 strong pros, 1s, and brave 2s. My teammates, Terry Duran and Stuart Lamp, were there too so we had a lot of firepower to work with, too.

A nasty crash only a couple miles into the race helped a strong 7 rider break escape from the field. I was towards the middle of the pack when the wreck happened. It was the highest speed wreck I’ve ever personally seen. The pack was strung out and going over 40mph down a hill when all of a sudden, I see commotion up ahead as riders are falling down probably about 25-30 riders ahead of me. I also see a lot of blue smoke from tires as people are skidding directly into bikes and people already on the ground. I was heading straight for it, too, as I looked for someplace to escape. I found a hole to the right and started to head for it when another rider plowed into somebody already on the ground just in front of me. The rider was tossed into the air and his bike was tossed directly into my path — but very, very fortunately it was tossed with enough momentum to keep going and crossed my path right before I made it there. So I ended up squeezing between the rider and his bike. The water bottle from the bike was upright in the air directly in my path and I think I may have bumped into it — just another one of those visual images that is burned into your mind during the craziness of a bike wreck. Unfortunately in my maneuvering to escape the wreck, my rear wheel did bump somebody behind me, and I’m not sure whether they were able to stay up or not. I think they were b/c I didn’t hear any clanking metal behind me. I found out later that Travis Sherman and Scott Staubach had both gone down in the wreck with Travis breaking his foot.

So back to the race, the break of 7 that was already escaping before the wreck happened, was able to continue to expand its lead after the wreck. Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) attacked a couple times, and I happened to be near him both times, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. I attacked one more time through the feedzone hill hoping that somebody strong would go with me. Instead, I attacked too hard and got a great gap solo but with 7 riders working hard at a nearly two minute advantage at that time, there was no way I was going to be able to time trial myself up to them. I knew that Kristine would be watching though, so I thought it would be worth it to make it around the corner first and alone to help her enjoy the race more … unfortunately our pace had been so fast that we completed the first two laps before they made it out to the course from the hotel. Oh well, it was definitely fun to ride a couple miles solo with a police escort!

I wasn’t going very hard, so when the pack caught me on the backside of the course, I went with the counter attack, but it was very short lived. The next few laps were characterized by a number of short-lived attacks, and Terry covered most of those, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. The name of the game at this point was energy conservation, and my teammate Stuart helped out a lot there by helping pull me back up to the front of the pack whenever I had drifted too far back.

Once the gap to the lead group of 7 reached 4 minutes, George Hincapie and Craig Lewis moved to the front. At that point, our pace skyrocketed and the attacks stopped. The two of them along with help from Ben Kersten brought back the 4 minute gap over the course of about 4 or 5 laps. We caught the leaders shortly after the feedzone climb with only two or three laps left in the race. At this point, I had figured surely it was going to be a field sprint since we were so close to the end. Unfortunately, there was a counter attack that stuck and then a couple more splits in our group. I was still convinced everything would come back together, but it didn’t. I had been conserving energy, so I did pretty well in the fast downhill 50+mph finishing sprint, getting 12th — but with 13 riders already up the road, that meant I finished 25th for the race.

  1. The crash – speed drops from 40mph down to 25mph almost instantly
  2. My half a lap solo bridge attempt
  3. George Hincapie, Craig Lewis, and Ben Kersten reeling in the break
  4. Lots of attacks, accelerations after the break was caught
  5. The finish – 50mph downhill sprint!

My only annotation for the power data is when I attacked at the end of the first lap heading into the second lap – notice the more consistent power instead of responding to sudden accelerations and moving around in the pack. Also notice that my wheelspeed matches the windspeed since I was no longer drafting.

Power data from US100K, Sept 6, 2010
Dist:       65.62 mi (2:27:00)
Energy:    1699.1 kJ
Cals Burn: 1624.4 kcal
Climbing:    3738 ft
Braking:     -6.7 kJ (-0.4%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  192.6   784  W
Aero        0  105.1   987  W
Rolling     0   35.6    66  W
Gravity  -989    3.3   824  W
Speed     0.0   26.8  49.6  mi/h
Wind      5.5   14.5  30.9  mi/h
Elev      661    795   866  ft
Slope    -8.1   0.04   7.4  %
Caden       0   81.8   134  rpm
HR         75  149.4   181  bpm
NP 257 W; IF 0.928; TSS 210.8
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/6/2010 6:06 AM
63 degF; 1012 mbar

Again, all of this data brought to you by my amazing new iBike!

September 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Racing the Ohio Triple (Madeira Centennial Crit, Hyde Park Blast (USA Crits), Tour de Grandview)

Whew – what a hard weekend of racing … 120 miles of criterium racing in only 3 days. Today’s Tour de Grandview criterium was 42 miles long and had over 2000 ft of climbing cumulative for the race! It was by far the hardest race, not only because of the long hill on the course but also because of the hot, humid weather with heat index hovering around 100. My heartrate data tells the story, but I went from thinking that there was no way I was going to be able to finish to by the end having a shot at the top 10. But before all the details, here is the quick summary:

Quick summary and heartrate data
Sunday, June 27th, Tour de Grandview (Columbus, OH)
14th place, 80 starters (25 finishers plus another 10-15 placed on time), tough course with long hill and very hot, humid weather
2010-06-27 Tour de Grandview Heartrate data

  1. Easy first part of the race, break of 5 gets away
  2. Attacking to bridge – two laps chasing solo
  3. Caught – tired
  4. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  5. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  6. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  7. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  8. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  9. Hurting bad, figured I would be gapped off or dropped
  10. You get the idea…
  11. Field down to 25 riders by this point
  12. Recovered, starting to figure out how to get top 10
  13. The finishing laps, last rationed gatorade gone, a few accelerations, cramps, cramp in finish sprint, 14th place

Saturday, June 26th, Hyde Park Blast USA Crits Stop #3 (Hyde Park, OH)
11th place, 100+ starters (38 finishers), tough course with short steep hill up narrow alley
2010-06-26 Hyde Park Blast (USA Crits) Heartrate data

  1. Good start, near the front, not unmanageable
  2. Crash on last turn – forced into barriers – free lap
  3. Field split – only 55 riders left in the race – still hard with lots of attacks
  4. Good break got away – steady chasing by Kenda
  5. Moving up for the finish

Friday, June 25th, Madeira Centennial Criterium (Madeira, OH)
28th place, 100+ starters (60 finishers), very tough 6 corner course including two 180 degree turns, highest power average for the year
2010-06-25 Madeira Centennial Crit Heartrate data

  1. Started near the back, very difficult with the 180 degree turns, struggling, full water bottle popped out on rough pavement
  2. Neutral section after rider clotheslined by a finish line cable and attended to by EMTs. Stopped to pick up my water bottle
  3. Fast finish, moved up to about 40th, couldn’t move up any further

The Details
Friday’s Madeira Centennial crit was on one of the most unique courses I’ve raced … see annotated topocreator map below …

  1. First 180 degree turn at top of small hill
  2. First active railroad crossing, carpet laid over tracks
  3. Second 180 degree turn at top of small hill
  4. Rough pavement
  5. Second active railroad crossing, no carpet but not too rough

And by active, I mean that a train was scheduled to pass through anytime between 7:30PM and 9:00PM. Fortunately, the train was late and didn’t come by until just after we finished at 9:30. The callups were decided by order of registration, so I ended up starting near the very back because I had only decided a couple days before to register. This wasn’t a good course to be at the back because both 180 degree turns required slowing down to about 5-10mph if you were at the back as the riders in front bunched up trying to squeeze through the turns shoulder to shoulder.

About 20 minutes into the race, one of my water bottles popped out when I hit the rough pavement coming out of the second 180. As if to taunt me, the bottle (or maybe somebody helped it) had rolled into a standing position right on the side of the course. So each time through that part of the course, I would see the bottle as my one remaining bottle was just about empty. But then, there was a really bad accident (a rider was clotheslined off his bike by an air compressor cable being held up after the finish line blow-up area fell over). This neutralized the race for about 4 or 5 laps while the EMTs immobilized and transported him off the course. This accident, while terribly bad for that racer, did provide a stroke of good luck for me because it meant I was able to stop and pick up the bottle that I had dropped.

When we started back up, the organizers figured out that we would have just enough time to finish our race before the train came. This was good news because we crossed the train tracks twice on the course! I moved up pretty far – from near the back to somewhere in the top 20 riders or so but lost position in the 180 degree turns on the last couple laps, starting the sprint in the top 30 and finishing 28th. I knew the race was hard, but when I downloaded my heartrate and power data, I couldn’t believe how hard it had been — average power of 394W and average heartrate of 176bpm and 53 minutes in my Zone 5 heartrate.

Saturday’s Hyde Park Blast (USA Crits)
110 riders lined up for the start of this race. Tim Hall, from Nashville Cyclist, leaned over and said this was the “Athens Twilight” of the north — and he was right. Good, hard course, thousands of spectators in a party-like atmosphere, and a survival-fest of a bike race. Sounds like Athens Twilight to me! I had a fourth row starting position, but the guy in front of me clipped in really well and I followed him past two rows of riders immediately as soon as they blew the whistle to start the race. The pace was fast, and I was in zone 5 pretty quick, but everything was smooth and steady at the front of the race. Then about 5 laps into the race, there was a crash a few riders in front of me on the super fast downhill out of the alley. I had no place to go, so I decided it was better to run into the barriers than running over the riders on the ground.

After taking a free lap, the official put us back in at the very front of the large field. This turned out to be pretty important because only a few minutes later there would be a field split that eventually saw half the field pulled from the race. There were a lot of breaks and moves, but I decided that my best chance at finishing well was to conserve energy for the finish by working to stay close to the front. Coming into the final laps, I had moved up to near the front of our dwindling field (down to about 30 riders) and fought hard to stay there by accelerating hard out of the 180 degree turn on the course. On the last lap, there was a split in our field with 13 riders in it. I was about 5 riders back from the split so I attacked hard and nearly completed the bridge by the start of the final sprint with the rest of the field splintered a few seconds back. A crash took out two riders in front of me meaning I was able to squeeze through for 11th.

Check out my annotated topocreator map with highlights of the course and race:

  1. Lots of spectators here – I think the estimate was a few thousand people!
  2. Live band playing some loud hard rock music we could hear each lap.
  3. Shift into the little chainring in prep for the steep climb up the alley.
  4. The alley climb – narrow, steep, nicely paved cement – felt like a driveway.
  5. Beer and $ primes from the spectators.
  6. Crazy fast downhill – location of crash where I went into the barriers.
  7. Location of finish line crash.

The alley climb was a really unique part of this course. The alley was behind people’s houses, and so there were a lot of people grilling out on their back porches and lining the already narrow road at spots where there was some place to stand just off the road. They were giving beer and money primes later in the race after the field had thinned down. The trees lined the alley with branches hanging out into the alley. There was one evergreen tree with a branch hanging about 2-3 feet into the road that people (including myself) would brush up against on every lap. On one lap, I was preparing to brush up against the branch again when a rider passed me on the outside just before the branch. So he ran smack into the branch pushing it back out of his way. Well – guess who was there when the branch snapped back into position – me! I got hit hard on my face and arm and was a little bit stunned, surprised, and upset at first. But that quickly turned to laughter on the way down the hill as I realized what had just happened. You don’t see that in a race every day!

I really enjoyed the race and was happy to finish 11th which has moved me into 6th place overall in the USA crits series which means I will probably get a call-up at the next USA crits race in PA and maybe even the big NRC rate in DC on Pennsylvania Avenue!

Tour de Grandview, Columbus Ohio
The last race of the series was by far the hardest because it came at the end of a long weekend of crit racing, was in the hottest weather and humidity, and had the most climbing (2000ft!). Still, I was proudest of this race because less than 15 minutes into the race, I was half-hoping to get dropped or gapped off so I could call it a day. So in the end I was elated to have been able to hung on and have a shot at the top 10. Plus – any crit that has a feedzone because the climb is steep enough and the race is long enough to warrant one has got to be tough!

The race started out relatively easy as I had a good spot in the second row. Riding at the front, it was easy to fly through the corners and make it up the climb. Plus, a small group had gotten away on the first lap that had most (but not all) of the major teams represented. A large part of the field was happy to let them roll away, and I thought for sure that with everyone being so tired they would lap the group. I was feeling good enough that I wanted to make sure that I at least gave it a good shot to get across to the break. So, on the third time up the hill, I attacked 100% hard and got a clean gap on the field. By the top of the climb I came flying by another rider who had been chasing and continued my pursuit. I made it to where I could see the break at the top of the hill when I was about 3/4 of the way up meaning that they had about a 20 second gap. This was as close to making it as I came though, because on the next lap, the break wasn’t visible and the announcer said they had 30 seconds. Since I only had a 10 second gap on the field, I eased back and pushed it hard to make sure that I didn’t get caught until the top of the hill on the next lap. So now that I think about it, I must have been away chasing for 3 laps.

The field did catch me – and fortunately it was at the top of hill. I made sure to ride as much as possible in the middle of the road so that when the field came by 5mph faster, I could catch a draft from riders passing me on both sides. Then I eventually latched on near the very back of the pack. Also, fortunately, the next time up the climb was relatively tame so I basically had two full laps to recover before the guys in the front went into “blow the race apart” mode. Each time up the climb, somebody would attack in the flat leading into the climb – which meant that those of us at the back of the pack who had to slow down for the 90 degree turn leading into the climb, had to accelerate even harder up the climb. The only thing that saved me was that most of those attacks would be caught by the top of the climb — which meant there was usually a slight lull in the pace where those of us who had gotten gapped off or dropped could catch back up. This must have happened 10 times — including during the middle of the small thunderstorm which passed through the race. Yes, it started to rain for less than one lap — and only on 1/2 of the course – so we had about 5 minutes of relief from the heat before the sun came out and was blazing hot with what felt like 100% humidity. The top part of the climb was dry even though it had rained pretty hard at the bottom! About two laps later with the blazing sun, the bottom part of the course was dry again.

The thunderstorm was a bit of a psychological blow for me as the lightning flash and almost instantaneous thunder had been a cue for me that they were going to stop, delay, or call the race right then. The next lap around though, the official yelled “laps” or something like that so I thought that meant we were down to 5 laps to go. The pace was fast and I had trouble figuring out where the lap card was. It took me a few laps and by this point I was thinking we only had a couple laps left. When I finally found the lap card, it read “22 laps” and I thought “you’ve got to be kidding me”. We still had almost an hour of racing left!!! So I was a bit demoralized at that point, but the only problem was that I kept on recovering enough on the downhill to be able to hang on or chase back on at the top of the hill. It was like an endless interval session…

That is, until a good break got away with about 6 or 7 riders. Then things seemed to slow down a bit. I thought we would be sprinting for 7th or 8th because our pace really dropped. But the guys in the break weren’t working well together, or they must have just been plain exhausted because we caught them with about 5 or 6 laps to go. Two riders got off the front of our group in a strong counterattack (Andy Crater and a Panther rider) and I was already in survival mode so I was happy to let them go. Almost everyone in the field was just so exhausted that you didn’t care if somebody attacked to get away, so two riders slipped away independently with three and two laps to go, respectively and they stayed away for 3rd and 4th. Basically, if you had any legs left you could attack and the small field of 20 exhausted riders was going to let you go. Unfortunately for me, I had no legs left and was just hanging on trying to move up so that I could try to get a top 10 finish. It didn’t quite happen though, because I cramped up really bad up the climb to the finish sprint having run completely out of water/gatorade with 3 laps to go – and even though I had a bit of luck in that the muscle relaxed just enough for me to reengage my right leg and pass three or four people before the finish, it was only the people who had already passed me at the start of the sprint when I had cramped so I ended up in about the same position I started the sprint – with 4 off the front meant 14th for the race.

  1. First corner – pace slow down as attacks up the hill usually petered out by here.
  2. Hard second corner because you came from a sidewind and turned directly into a headwind.
  3. Fast downhill corner.
  4. Another bunching up spot before accelerating downhill.
  5. Very fast, rough pavement, downhill corner. First lap, the first rider didn’t make turn went straight off the road between some park bleachers and fell on the grass.
  6. Slingshot corner, accelerate hard up the climb
  7. The feedzone
  8. Lots of spectators shouting encouragement and throwing water on riders.

June 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Road America Tour of the Dairyland report

Not quite as large a field as the previous days, but still well over 75 riders lined up for Stage 5 of the Tour of America’s Dairlyland. This course is very similar to the Barber’s course that we race every year in Alabama, but maybe a couple miles longer. Check out the topocreator map below:

In the first 5 laps, there were a lot of small breaks/moves/chasing, but everything would bunch up on the course’s 2 main hills. I knew from experience at Barber’s that it’s really hard for a break to stick, so I wasn’t going to go with any early moves — or at least that was the plan. But at the beginning of the 6th lap, I found myself pretty far back in the field and wanting to move up. I saw a rider who looked like he was getting ready to move up, so I hopped on his wheel. As he ramped up the speed, I realized he was intending to attack to bridge to a chase group of 3 that was chasing another break of 3 that was still up the road. It wasn’t part of my plan, but the opportunity was too good to miss, so I quickly grabbed onto him and together we bridged to the chase group.

We were moving fast and half a lap later, our group of five had caught the leading trio, making our group a break of 8. With almost 50 miles left to race, it was going to be a long day. But by the end of that lap our gap was already 45sec, and one lap later, it had grown to 1:05, where it stayed for the next 9 laps. Then the main field started to chase in earnest, and our gap had shrunk to 25sec with 3 laps to go. We flew around the course on the downhills and straightaways during our breaks, but we crawled up the uphills — so I was surprised that our break had lasted as long as it had. With 2 laps to go, Johnny Sundt (Kenda) attacked hard on the start/finish hill. This split our group in half with me and two other riders able to go with him on the climb. We got into a rotation, but the other four riders bridged up to us by the end of that lap. Also by the end of that lap, our gap had ballooned back up to 1minute, 20 seconds so we knew at that point that we weren’t going to get caught.

In the ensuing cat/mouse game, a rider slipped away solo and stayed away with none of us making an organized effort to chase. In the final mile, another rider got away solo with too many of us eyeing each other to see who would chase. So he ALSO stayed away which meant, six of us would be sprinting for 3rd place. Mike Sherer (ABD) attacked at the bottom of the climb, and I bridged up to him and countered hoping to win the sprint up the 10% gradient by dropping the group. I dropped everyone but Sundt who stayed glued to my wheel and came around about 100 meters before the line to take third with me coming in just behind him for 4th.


Me leading the break through the start/finish hill


Me leading the break again on the start/finish hill


The eventual winner making his attack with one lap to go


Me at the front of the sprint for third place

  1. Bridging up to the break … and the start of our 50 mile breakaway
  2. Responding to Sundt’s attack with 2 to go
  3. Responding to another attack with 1 to go
  4. The final uphill sprint

June 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm 2 comments

2010 Giro d’Grafton race report and heartrate data

Quick Summary

  1. 2nd on 1st $200 prime
  2. 3rd on $750 prime with 7 laps to go
  3. Narrowly avoided crash in final 100m to finish 14th.

Heartrate and power data for the entire race

  1. Going for the $200 prime
  2. Struggling to move forward from towards the back of the pack
  3. Easier once I made it to the front
  4. Attacking to go for the $750 prime
  5. The finishing sprint

Heartrate and power data for the last seven laps

  1. Attacking for the $750 prime
  2. The actual sprint for the $750 prime
  3. Hitting it hard to keep my position at the front of the pack
  4. The 39mph crash in front of me with 100m to go
  5. The actual finish of the race, tied my current known maximum heartrate

I just found this youtube video online that has some good clips of the race. At about 34 seconds into the video, I am the first rider around the corner with Andy Crater behind me. Andy had just won the $200 prime, and I decided to keep rolling in case a break came up to us. It did, but our break only lasted for maybe half a lap before the field caught back up to us.

Detailed Summary
Nearly 140 riders lined up for the start of the race. I got to the staging area real early, but after all the callups and people rolling in front of the staging area, I ended up on the third row for the start. Better than at the back, but not ideal. Fortunately, somebody in front and to the right of me had trouble clipping in, and this opened up a hole so I was able to zip around him and into the top 15 or so. The pace was fast, but manageable. Then at the start of the sixth or seventh lap, the announcer rang the bell for a $200 prime. I wasn’t intending to go for the prime, but I was already at the front when Emile Abraham (Aerocat) attacked with his teammate Andy Crater on his wheel. I was right there so I jumped in third wheel as we got a small gap on the field going into turn 5 and 6. Out of turn 6, Emile peeled off and Andy launched his sprint. I tried to come around, but couldn’t do it and had to settle for second (i.e., nothing).

I was happy to be in contention for the prime, but it was a lot of wasted energy. I spent the next 20+ laps trying to recover and work my way back to the front of the group. It was pretty crazy back in the pack and it took a really concerted effort to work my way all the way back to the front. A few thoughts kept running through my mind:

  1. “The #1 rule in moving forward is to NOT move backward”
  2. “Gee, it’s still a really long way to the front” when the group was strung out single file ahead of me
  3. “How on earth am I not to the front, yet? Who is passing me and when?”

Finally, with less than 15 laps left to go, I had worked my way back into the top 20-25 riders. It was much smoother, and not too hard to maintain that position as long as you made sure to pass people on at least two different parts of the course. This was the status quo for the next 8 laps when with 7 laps to go (no more free laps), the announcer rang the bell for a $750 prime. Coming through the start/finish line, I was sitting maybe 20th wheel but carrying some momentum so I swung to the outside, moved up to maybe 10th wheel when the group in front veered right opening a hole for me on the wind-protected side of the group. Without hesitation, I attacked as hard as I could hoping to get a gap that nobody would want to close. Unfortunately, I brought two riders with me – Rahsaan Bahati and a Mountain Khakis rider (Myerson or Howe). Nevertheless, I knew that Kristine would be excited to see me off the front so I drilled it and we absolutely flew through turns 2, 3, and 4. Turn 3 was a right turn, followed by a short 1 block straight away and then a left turn. I was going so fast through those corners that it felt like a corkscrew instead of two 90 degree turns! Plus I caught the pace car coming out of Turn 4 so we did get a little bit of a draft up the hill. By the end of those turns, we had a 5-10 second gap on the field. I was in the front and coming off turn 5, I coasted hoping that one of them would come around, but they didn’t. We gradually slowed down and started our sprint for the $750 prime from about 23mph with a comfortable gap on the field. I’d like to say that I crushed the sprint against one of the top sprinters in the country and walked away with $750, but what actually happened is that Rahsaan won by maybe 15 bike lengths, the Mountain Khakis rider was next, and then I trailed in maybe 3 or 4 seconds later with the field coming up hard.

Strategically, going for the prime wasn’t the best thing I could do — but I had the opportunity, and I wasn’t going to let it slip away and wonder what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, etc… The only strategic advantage about going for the prime is that it meant I was at the very front of the race with 6 laps to go. When the pack came by, I knew that it was going to hurt, but I drilled it as hard as I could and slotted somewhere into the top 20 riders. The pace was fast with Aerocat, Bahati, and Mountain Khakis riders at the front drilling it. Even so, there was a lot of shuffling where riders from the back would carry more momentum and push forward ahead of the leadout riders. I tried to anticipate those “surges” and ended up in the top 15 with one lap to go.

The last lap was really fast, but I was able to move up a couple more positions going into the last corner and the downhill sprint. So I already knew at this point that barring an accident, I was going to place in the top 20 maybe even top 10. Well, with 100 meters to go, there was an accident — a bad one. According to my bike computer, I was going 39mph in the downhill, tailwind sprint when the accident happened. The sole BMC rider in the race, Cole House, got tangled up with a Mountain Khakis rider and the two of them went down at the front of the sprint — immediately in front of me. A third rider in front of me and to my right went down as he collided with another rider trying to avoid the original accident. Since I was going 39mph with very little time to react, I had already resigned myself to the fact that I was going to fall when I realized that if I punched it I could maybe squeeze between the riders and bikes on the ground to my left and right. The only obstacle was the BMC rider’s bike which was currently up in the air. It was just off to my left though so I ran into it with my shoulder and pushed it out of the way and very, very luckily no part of it got tangled up with my bike. So I made it through, but according to my computer I had slowed down to under 30mph. A lot of people were having to hit the brakes and slow down because of the accident, but there was still room for some people to come around carrying speed so I ended up getting passed by 3 or 4 people in the final 50 meters while I was trying to get back up to speed. Still, I was very happy (and lucky) to have stayed upright and finish 14th.

Brent Mahan (Nashville Cyclist) finished 11th riding a great race and has now moved into the green jersey for best young U25 rider! Congratulations Brent!

June 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

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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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