Posts tagged ‘race’
Josiah in the middle of the large kids field. I’m talking to the promoter in the background about ideas to encourage racers to register earlier for the race — getting ready to follow behind the kids who were very excited to do an entire lap of the course!
Quick summary – 14th in the criterium after botched field sprint, but held on for 5th overall in the stage race. Up ahead in the six-man break, Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s) won a very tight sprint ahead of Michael McBrien (Subaru) in 2nd, whose twin brother Gene would win the Cat 3 race immediately following our Pro/1/2 race, David Gutenplan (UHC/706) in 3rd, and Shawn Gravois (Globalbike) in 4th. Ryan Saylor (Gearlink) and one other rider also were in the break, so the field sprint was for 7th place.
The details – the forecasted rain stayed away, so instead it was hot and humid for this one hour criterium. After a really poor time trial yesterday, I was in a distant 5th about 45 seconds back from Stephan Hirsch (UHC/706) in 3rd and Jan Kolar (HomeSmart/L5Flyers) about 15 seconds in front of me in 4th. I had a relatively safe cushion of 45 seconds in front of Jonathan Bowerman who had come off our break in the road race and finished about a minute and a half behind us. But Jonathan had a smoking fast time trial beating me by 45 seconds cutting his time gap to me in half. The rest of the field came in minutes behind us so unless a break got away and lapped me in the field twice, the worst I was going to do in the overall was 6th place.
I wasn’t going to give up a shot at the overall podium without a fight, though. My only shot at it was to somehow get into a break without Stephan and Jan. I was first off the line and led the pack through the first few corners waiting for the first attack. It came in the form of just one rider (can’t remember who) so I thought for sure that it wouldn’t stick. Then there was one more rider, and then another rider, and still I was on the front waiting for one of the teams to chase. But before you can say “oh my goodness you missed the boat”, there was a solid break of four with maybe 10-15 second gap over the field.
One team missing from the break was Team Coco’s. Frank Travieso corrected that by bridging solo at probably 35mph – given the incredibly short amount of time it took for him to leave our group and bridge the gap up to the leaders 10-15 seconds ahead of us. At this point, I thought not only was the break a done deal, but also that it was going to lap the field within the first 15 minutes of the race. The only thing keeping the break from doing that was a steady effort by UHC/706 who wanted to keep the pace fast enough so that the dreaded “double-lapping” wouldn’t happen causing somebody to leap frog Stephan in the overall. I also think they wanted to keep the pace high to discourage attacks.
I attacked as often as I could – maybe four or five times? Each time I was hoping to get one or two strong riders to go with me, but it never happened. I would go off the front, stay off the front solo for 20-30 seconds and then run out of energy, get drawn back into the field by the steady chase of UHC/706, rinse and repeat. I wasn’t the only one attacking, and all of these attacks had a nice effect of ramping the field’s pace up enough to gradually reel the break back in. At one point we were only 10 seconds back from the break. I had just finished an attack, and the pace in the field had started to slow down when Shawn Gravois (Globalbike) launched a perfectly timed attack and was able to finish the bridge to the leaders a couple laps later. The renewed horse power helped drive the break away from us again.
With eight laps to go, I gave up attacking and started to position myself for the field sprint. I worked hard to stay at the very front and managed to surf through all the surges entering the last corner in 3rd wheel. But I came out of that corner on the windward side of the two riders in front of me — I’m still not entirely sure what I was thinking — it must have been that I somehow thought I was going to have some miraculous sprint — but I was immediately blown backwards by the wind getting passed by 3 people in the sprint and then an additional 2 people within 5 meters of the finish line to finish 7th in the sprint, 14th in the race.
Not a great finish, but I was happy to have raced really hard – especially with all my family there watching and cheering – and to have snagged a top 5 in the stage race classification. Lots of data from the weekend. I was happy to have set a new power record in the road race – confirming that it was indeed a really, really tough race. Here is all the power and heartrate data from the weekend in the following order: road race, time trial, criterium.
ROAD RACE DATA
New record amount of time spent in zone 5 in a single race this year.
TIME TRIAL DATA
Time trial heartrate zones
Criterium heartrate zones
Another tough race this evening – I was pleased with my heartrate data, but I don’t think my time was fast enough to hold onto 4th place after Jan Kolar put in a strong time to beat me. Still, it was fun – especially since the race went a couple miles into the part of the national seashore that was closed due to damage from Hurricane Isaac. There were a couple sections of road that were washed away but only on one half of the road. Here’s my data:
Quick summary – really tough race with attacks from the gun. I ended up initiating the race winning break about halfway through the first of three 25 mile laps coming across the top of the largest hill on the course. Initially, there were seven of us, but on that same hill 25 miles later on the next lap we were down to 6 riders. Then on the same hill 25 miles later, Serghei Tvetkov (Team Exergy) and Ruben Companioni (Team Coco’s) dropped the remaining four of us. We chased hard eventually losing one rider so it was Stephan Hirsch (706 Project), Jan Kolar (HomeSmart/L5Flyers), and me (Tria Cycling p/b DonohooAuto.com) to fight it out for the last step on the podium. Stephan came out on top for 3rd, and I was next for 4th just edging out Jan who took 5th.
The details – there were lots of attacks right from the gun which strung out the field and enabled me to move from my position towards the middle of the pack up to the front. I watched carefully and ended up in a couple moves. One really good looking move had both Team Coco’s riders and at least one UHC/706 rider. We had a gap and were absolutely drilling it but we just couldn’t extend our gap more than 20 seconds from a hard chasing field.
Still, we were away for quite a while so when we were caught, it was only a mile or two before we made it to the course’s big hill (0.4 miles at 5%). I had been in a lot of moves by this point in the race so I was hoping that there wouldn’t be any hard attacks on the hill. There weren’t. In fact, the pace was slow enough that as we made it towards the top of the steeper section I decided to attack – not expecting much, but knowing that last year this is where our break got away.
The attack worked, though, because we got a good gap with good team representation: Ruben Companioni (Team Coco’s), Stephan Hirsch (UHC/706 Project), Jan Kolar (HomeSmart/L5Flyers), Tim Reagan (Herring Gas), Serghei Tvetkov (Team Exergy), a rider in black kit I didn’t recognize, and me (Tria Cycling p/b DonohooAuto.com). We were flat out from that moment on. The field was chasing hard, but I think people were tired from the previous chase. So we very slowly pushed out our lead. By the end of the first lap, I believe we were up to about a minute. On the second lap, we were out to two minutes, and then by the start of the last lap we were about 4 minutes ahead.
We never let up and with the windy conditions it seemed like you were always getting hit by a crosswind or pushing it really hard with a tailwind. I never felt good so halfway through the last lap as we reached the hill I knew there was likely to be an attack but had already given up on it even before the attack happened! I was just focusing on trying not to get dropped. Serghei initiated the move and Ruben covered it with no problem. I was expecting Stephan to go with it too leaving Jan, me, and the other rider to chase – but he stayed back with us opting to wait until the top to really start chasing. I was cooked by this point and we tried to get a good rotation going but Stephan was clearly stronger than the rest of us – and I was wanting it to come down to a sprint for 3rd as I might be able to pull something together for the uphill finish.
As we came into the finish, Stephan was on the front with 500 meters to go when he pulled off. I went through next and decided to hit it as hard as I could on the uphill with about 400 meters to go. I didn’t get a gap, and Jan came around with 300 meters to go. Stephan came around Jan and then with about 100 meters to go I was able to repass Jan to take 4th.
I was COMPLETELY exhausted after the sprint. Not breathing well, not able to get enough air, not able to think straight, I found a tent where somebody had some ice cold water (THANKS!). Then I very, very slowly pedaled back up the hill to the car, cranked the AC up to maximum and sat there for a while trying to cool off before heading back to check the results and get my spare wheels from the follow vehicle.
Now it’s time to head out for the time trial – will probably have 110-115 miles total for the day after it’s all said and done. At this point I’m hoping to hit the TT hard enough to hold my 4th overall position. We’ll see how it goes!
Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) took the win (also wrapping up the title for the 2012 NUE series), followed by Ben Swanepoel (Squirt Lube) in 2nd, and Christian Tanguy (Team CF) in 3rd. But before all that, I snuck away on the Cooper Gap climb to try to get the Strava KOM with Swanepoel catching me across the top before the Winding Stair descent. Once we hit the single track, I quickly lost ground eventually ending up in 13th place. Exhausted and happy now!
- The beautiful sunrise leaving the winery
- Chatting with everyone before, after, and during the race
- Riding hard up the Copper Gap climb and leading the race
- The fog across the top of the mountain on the Winding Stair descent
- Sunlight breaking through the fog and rays of sunshine shooting through the pine trees (I think that was near Bull Mountain)
- Getting the chance to see Gerry Pflug climb up a super steep hill on his singlespeed … amazing!
- ALL of the creek/river crossings. For somebody like me who is always thwarted by creeks and rivers on road rides and route planning, it was awesome to be able to just ride straight through the creeks on my mountain bike.
- 6 inch long millipede crossing the trail – I rode around it
- Small deer or fox jumped off the trail in front of me
- Any singletrack that was uphill … especially the climb up to the top of Bull Mountain up steep singletrack through a thick pine forest breaking out into a HUGE grassy meadow at the top of the mountain. I really disliked the singletrack descent down from the grassy meadow, though, because without functional front suspension I got beat up pretty bad on that section ended up in that deep rut both laps having lost control and lucky not to have crashed.
About 100 riders set out before sunrise on a 100 mile mountain bike race. Lightning and light rain gave way to a beautiful sunrise as we rolled out of the winery onto Hightower Church road in a fast neutral section. Shortly before we made the left onto Forest Service Rd 28, I moved up the right side and then immediately followed two riders that surged at the front stringing out the group. As we hit the gravel with some of the steep fast rollers, I tried to stay towards the front but ended up drifting a few spots back.
We were probably a mile into the Cooper Gap climb when I realized that I could make some time on everyone else before the singletrack if I went hard on the climb. This turned out to be a great decision because drilling that climb and taking the KOM was the best part of the race for me. And considering how slow I was compared to everyone else on the singletrack, it wouldn’t have done any good to “save energy” for the singletrack. Even after I rode away from the group, I kept on expecting to look back and see the group closing in, but I never saw the group again after the first few switchbacks.
Across the top, Ben Swanepol caught me, and I was able to keep up with him on the rollers before the Winding Stair descent. As soon as we hit the descent, I thought that I would be able to follow his lines and keep up but this lasted only a few seconds before I nearly lost it on some of the washboard (my front suspension was not working right – almost like a rigid fork – I got beat up pretty bad by the rougher sections of the course). So I slowed way down and kept expecting the rest of the group to catch me. But Ben and I must have had a pretty big lead by the top since the rest of the group, led by Jeremiah Bishop, didn’t catch me until just after we made the turn onto the singletrack near the bottom of the Winding Stair descent.
I knew immediately that I needed to get out of the way so I pulled off the trail and maybe 7 or 8 riders passed me. Then there was a break so I hopped back on the trail and continued to ride as fast as I thought was humanly possible. But three more riders caught up to me and then we got tangled up as I tried to get off the trail. Hopefully this was the only time I slowed anyone down on the singletrack. This section was short enough that when we hit the next gravel road I was able to drill it and pass a few people coming really close to catching back up to the lead group (less than 50 meters ahead). But as I saw them disappear into the next section of singletrack, I knew that was the last time I would see the leaders.
Within a few minutes of entering the second section of singletrack, the riders that I had passed on the gravel road started catching up to me and I pulled over immediately to let each of them pass. A few minutes after that Gerry Pflug (Salsa) came by on his singlespeed. That was one of the highlights of the race for me as I got to see the top singlespeed racer in America grind up a super steep climb that I could barely clear with my geared bike! Then it got lonely for a really long time. Nobody coming up from behind, and nobody in sight ahead of me all the way to the 2/3 aid station. By this point, I had already given up on a top finish so I focused on making sure I got enough nutrition. By the end of the race, I ended up stopping at FIVE aid stations and making sure I left each one with two full bottles. Still, I didn’t get the nutrition quite right because I didn’t put anything in the self-supported cooler drop-off and I didn’t realize how long it would take to get from aid station 2/3 back to aid station 2/3 for the 3rd time. I’m pretty sure I rode about 10 miles without anything to drink. I backed way off the pace to keep from cramping. Around every corner I kept hoping to see the aid station. When I finally got there, I filled up both of my bottles and then took a third bottle that I filled with a mix of heed and a can of coke. This first time through the aid station, though, was the lowest point of the race for me as I realized that this was going to be at least an order of magnitude more challenging than I had anticipated. I went from leading the race to wondering if I was going to make the time cut-off.
Fortunately, though, a number of things happened within the next few miles of the race that really boosted my confidence. First, Zach Morrey (Blue Ridge Cyclery) caught and passed me. Then Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry’s) passed me, too. But Rob passed me shortly before the singletrack turned uphill. So I caught and passed him on one of the uphill sections of singletrack. Then when it turned downhill again, Rob caught up to me and passed me again. We ended up settling into a nice rhythm this way for a long time. He made it to the deep water crossing a few seconds before I did and we were joking about it afterwards that the creek was much deeper than we had expected. The singletrack turned uphill and so I left Rob for a while and eventually caught back up to Zach. I left him on the next long climb and then that is when I ran out of water. I was still ahead of Rob and Zach after leaving the aid station, but they both caught and blew past me shortly after the skies opened up and the heavy downpour turned the singletrack section that I had enjoyed on the first lap and was looking forward to on the second lap into a muddy mess. The mud didn’t seem that slippery, but with several more events on my racing calendar this year I wasn’t taking any chances with all the collar-bone breaking roots and rocks just laying there on the ground waiting to be fallen on.
The rain stopped fairly quickly, but it was 30 minutes of single track riding before it started to dry out. I caught Rob during the final double track climb up to the gravel road (FS-28) that would eventually take us back to the paved road leading to the winery. I was so elated to be on my way back and to have survived all the singletrack that I absolutely crushed the gravel road and paved road back to the winery. In fact, I was closing in on Zach on the paved road, but as I watched him turn into the winery I knew it was all over to try to catch him b/c of the last technical bits in the winery – which had turned pretty slippery after all the 50 milers and the first 12 100 milers had ridden it. Still it was fun to come flying up the last hill to the cheers of my beautiful wife. What an amazing adventure and what a great experience!
This is the same course as the NRC race that I almost won last year. Read my detailed race report from last year. I was definitely hoping to make the podium this year, but the race played out much differently since the race was much shorter. We did 25 laps of the 2.7 mile course last year as opposed to only 13 laps of the same course this year. Consequently, this year’s race felt much more like a crit than a circuit race.
Basically, the entire race was similar to last year’s opening few laps with several splits in the group, large breaks, and everything coming back together. The one exception was Team Mountain Khaki’s Jon Hamblen and Team Type I’s Alexy Schmidt who got away at some point and stayed away for the length of the race. I don’t remember how they got away but I think it was later in the race. Maybe on the 8th or 9th lap. Speaking of laps, here is my lap power and heartrate data:
Lap Length Mi. AvgPow MaxPow HR MPH 1 6:20 2.7 253 843 152 26.1 2 6:06 2.7 285 935 161 26.9 3 6:15 2.7 253 877 155 26.3 4 6:24 2.7 209 814 153 25.4 5 6:28 2.8 249 1049 153 25.5 6 5:48 2.7 320 1093 165 28.4 7 6:32 2.7 196 743 158 25.2 8 6:36 2.7 210 817 153 24.9 9 6:18 2.7 258 941 161 26.1 10 6:17 2.8 266 929 161 26.5 11 6:03 2.8 266 960 168 27.6 12 6:01 2.7 269 914 167 27.2 13 5:53 2.7 325 959 176 27.8
About halfway through the race was a 3 place omnium points prime that I decided I really wanted to get just to make sure that I had at least some omnium points for the weekend in case I didn’t get any in the finish. There was a global bike rider that attacked about 1K from the line and got away pretty cleanly. Our pace accelerated and then slowed. Right when it slowed, I attacked hard and got a good gap, and just barely closed the gap to the global bike rider in the final stretch. I didn’t have anything left to come around him, though, and Frank Travieso ended up passing both of us so I ended up 3rd in the sprint. It was a LOT of effort for 1 point, but I was relieved to have at least earned a point to be in the omnium results in case of a bad finish.
Going into the finish, I was in OK position (but not great) maybe 15 riders from the front but got boxed in on the big hill sliding to near the back of the field as it seemed everybody went up the sides while the middle completely stalled. Across the top of the hill, I swung out into the wind and passed pretty much the whole field narrowly squeezing through the righthand bend just inside the grass. Unfortunately, on the next roller somebody swung over and hit my front wheel. I could hear my spokes hitting some part of their bike, and I found out after the race that I had bent a spoke and my front wheel was rubbing the brake pads. I didn’t know this at the time, and the group had slowed just enough that I could repass the people who had passed me while I was checking to see if I had any broken spokes that would prevent me from sprinting. I attacked hard into the next to last corner passing people all the way into 5th position.
This would have been perfect for the sprint with me sitting on Frank Travieso’s (Team Cocos) wheel who ended up winning the field sprint for 3rd, but I got chopped on the righthand turn and lost a lot of speed — somewhat expected since I was moving up on the inside line. I was just hoping that the speed of the final lap would cause the leaders to swing wide with enough room for me to squeeze through. I thought wrong, and after losing speed I opened up a big gap that I felt obligated to close. Although strategically, it would have been better for me to have swung wide and let somebody else close the gap. I would have felt really miserable about that, though, since I had caused the gap to open so I tried with everything I could to close the gap (with my heartrate staying in the 190s for the last minute or two of the race), but I could only keep the gap constant at about 10 meters. Consequently, I got passed by 8 people on the final stretch since I had basically been sprinting for over half a mile by the end of the race, half of that with my front wheel rubbing the brakes. This put me in 12th for the field sprint, 14th for the race with Jon and Alexey both up the road. The result combined with my 1 point intermediate sprint was good enough to move me into 22nd in the omnium – tied with two other people, but the tie breaker was stage wins followed by total number of intermediate sprint points. I was the only one with intermediate sprint points, so that 1 point prime ended up moving me ahead of them in the results!