Posts tagged ‘Racing’
Wow, it was a great fun evening with my team taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Philip Thompson, Jacob Tubbs, and Sammy Flores) in the Category 3 race and then taking 3rd and 4th (Stuart Lamp and Darryl Seelhorst) in the Pro race. There were a lot of attacks but nothing was getting away. Each guy in the team including me made it into some breaks and worked hard to try to control the group. In the end, Stuart initiated a move with two or three laps to go that Matt Winstead and Cleve Blackwell bridged up to. Stuart held on for a strong 3rd place finish and Darryl took the field sprint for 4th place. I got a little confused and thought there was one more lap to go so my finish wasn’t that great, but it doesn’t matter because overall we had an awesome night!
Well, I guess its one way of gauging a season (for better or for worse!) but I finally made it into a major cycling publication: Velonews! Here’s a screen capture of the Velonews website with the picture by Kurt Jambretz. The caption reads “Atlanta 100K: A small breakaway of three riders formed and put a little time on the field.” I guess I would argue that a minute and a half is more than a “little time”!!!
Quick Summary: 41st out of well over 100 riders, 3rd place in a 3-place mid-race sprint, initiated the main break of the day, rode aggressively
The Details: Wow, what a racing experience – from start to finish. Let me run you through the day. 5:15AM wakeup call to eat some pancakes and let them digest before our early 7:15AM start in Atlanta, Georgia. This race is part of the US 10K Classic – a huge running race/walk with thousands of participants. Our staging time was 6:30AM so I left our hotel in the very dark early morning to ride the 3 or 4 miles from the hotel to the start line. When you crested the top of one of the many rolling hills on US 41, you could see across a small valley to the hill where the race would start. The roads were already blocked off and there were police cars with blue lights flashing at every intersection on both sides of the road and in the middle all the way up the hill. It was quite a sight in the dark!
The runners had already started to mass waiting for their start after ours so we had a send-off crowd numbering close to ten thousand as we started. The race starts out on a very wide road down a very steep hill. By the bottom of the hill, we had already hit 45mph in only the first 30 seconds of the race. I had a great start at the front of the group and was waiting for somebody to attack on the first roller. Sure enough, there was an attack and I was in good position to go with it. About 6 of us were in the move and we had a small gap of about 5 seconds on the field going into the tricky “flyover” onto South Cobb Drive. I was at the back when we reached the ramp and I knew we were supposed to go right but the five guys in front of me all want straight. I yelled that we were supposed to go right, but they missed the turn and so I ended up leading the way by myself onto the flyover. This was really, really funny and ironic because Kristine and I had pre-driven the course the night before and gotten confused at the intersection so she told me somewhat adamantly that I shouldn’t be the first person leading the way – and yet I was the only one who got it right!
The field caught up pretty quickly on the rollers and there were several very shortlived moves. I worked hard to fight for position and saw how easy it was to get passed and lose position on the wide roads. Then on one of the hills, a rider next to me lost control (hit something maybe?) and started to fall. It scared me a bit because it was right next to me, but I thought to myself wow he is about 4 feet away no problem I’m safe – well, he swerved a little bit in my direction and was close enough that when he fell his helmet glanced off my left calf kinda hard. That wasn’t enough to knock me over so that was the first crash of the day that I narrowly avoided. On the second lap I made it into a large move (mabye 20 riders) but we never had more than a 5 second gap and we got caught shortly after the feedzone.
For the next three laps I was tired and trying to recover and still fight for position. Several large groups of riders separated from the field including a group of 10 at the front and then maybe a group of 25-30 chasers. I was still back in the field and thinking “oh no”, but fortunately the groups in front of us never worked well together and the field stayed pretty strung out to bring them back. Near the end of the fifth lap, the field had just come back together, and I had just gotten pulled to the front by a rider trying to advance his position in the field so I decided to slingshot around him and gun it up the hill to see if I could get a move going. I looked back and only Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe’s) had responded in the field. Right as I looked back he came flying by and I drilled it to catch onto his wheel. We started working together right about the time that Yosvany Falcon (Toshiba-Santo) bridged up to us. The three of us worked well together for the next lap, but then on the lap after that I started to cramp a bit and decided that I needed to just sit on for the hard part of the course (the rollers on S Cobb Drive), but I helped where I could on the windy part of the course and the main downhill stretch on US 41. It was awesome because the 10k run went the opposite way on the course and literally thousands of people were cheering for us as the three of us would fly by going the other way.
We ended up staying away for the mid-race prime which fortunately was a three-place prime! Our maximum lead was just about a minute, but that was nowhere near enough without several of the major pro teams represented in the break (Kelly Benefits, Healthnet, Jelly Belly, Inferno). When we were finally caught after four laps away on our own (20 miles), there were seven Kelly Benefits riders on the front working together to bring it all back together.
There were still 3 laps to go (15 miles) plus the finishing stretch (1.5 miles) so I was able to sit in the field and recover, but I was too tired to fight for position on the lap after we got caught and so I ended up near the back of the large pack. With 1 lap to go, I was feeling much better and fought my way up to about mid-pack, but still about 75 riders from the front. On the feedzone hill with about 2 miles to go, I saw an opening and attacked hard but I was tired and the pace was fast so I only moved up about 25 riders by the time we made it to the nasty corner. I was sitting in about 50th going into the last mile and moved up nine spots by the crazy downhill sprint finish for 41st place. I hit 51 mph in the sprint and towards the end simply tucked low and coasted across the line passing about 5 people while coasting!
There were a LOT of crashes on the last lap, but the worst crash was with two laps to go. I didn’t see what happened, but I nearly got taken out by a bike (with no rider on it). I never did see where the rider was. All I saw was the bike – and I could see at least 15 feet on either side of the bike and there was no rider. That had to have been a bad crash for the bike to get flung that far away from the rider.
Finally, here’s my power and heartrate data for the race.
- This is the early move I went with
- I was aggressive early and tried to get in a number of moves
- Here I was trying to recover and still fight for position
- Here is the attack I made to start the break that would last for four laps
- Got caught here
- The last lap and finish
Summary: 14th road race, 31st time trial, 11th crit, 17th overall. The fields were pretty large all weekend with somewhere between 75 and 100 riders starting each race (except the time trial). The fields were also stacked with what seemed like most of the top pros based out of the southeast entering this year. So I am happy to have raced well and been a factor in all of the races, but disappointed a little bit with the actual results.
The details: The downtown criterium was another almost race for me. It had been drizzling for a while before the start of our race and it was still lightly raining at our start so I knew that position was going to be a huge factor in this race. I lined up at the spot closest to the front that they would allow and then was still able to squeeze a spot on the front row after all the call-ups. I clipped in first and got off the line first and then eased up a bit to get into anybody’s draft for the first corner. The corner was very slippery and we were going fast so I sorta held my breath and was amazed that nobody (including me) in the front of the group went down on either that or the second corner. I stayed in good position and I think I may have bridged to one small move in the first three laps. I was always at the front, but I couldn’t go with the winning move which was initiated by Matt Winstead (Inferno) on the third lap. He attacked hard and I decided I need to just rest and hope that the move would come back. It didn’t and four of the riders in the initial break were able to stay away all the way to the end. I stayed near the front and went with several good-looking moves, but none of them could even get established to the point where we rotated all the way through before getting caught.
Late in the race, I was in a spot to go for a cash prime, but I could only manage second behind a DLP rider. We had a large gap and one of his teammates was on my wheel so I drilled it again after the prime and the two of us got away. I was cooked though and when the DLP rider came around, all I could do was hang on for the next lap. I pulled through once or twice on the lap after that, but we got caught towards the end of that lap. All of this was with about 5 laps to go in the race. When the pack caught us with three to go, I was tired and slid to about the middle of what was left of the field (only about 50 of the initial 80-90 riders). That’s when my teammate, Darryl Seelhorst, came up beside me and said “Let’s go”. I jumped onto his wheel, and he pulled me forward all the way to the front of the group. I fought for position from that point on but still found myself about 10-15 riders back with 1 to go. John Jacob (Mob Squad) attacked hard up the lefthand side of the road with half a lap to go and I was able to jump onto his wheel and he pulled me up to 5th wheel going into the next-to-last turn. I lost a few positions going into the last turn and then was able to pass a few people in the sprint to get 7th in the sprint which was 11th in the race (with four guys already finished).
As far as the omnium went, it was the perfect storm as the six people who finished in front of me in the crit sprint were all close behind me in the omnium prior to the start of the race, so nearly all of them leap-frogged me in the omnium.
Here’s my heartrate/power data and stats:
- Covering an initial move
- I suspect Matt Winstead’s move went right about here. Very good lesson for everyone – attack after the pace has been hard for a while, the break is more likely to stick because people are tired and less likely to chase!
- Bridging to a chase group
- Bridging (or covering) another chase group
- The relatively easy middle part of the race
- Going for the prime and then getting away for a lap and a half
- The final lap
Data Value Unit
Sampling Rate 1 s
Cycling Efficiency 26.0 %
Energy Expenditure 448 kcal
Minimum Heart Rate 111 bpm
Average Heart Rate 169 bpm
Maximum Heart Rate 189 bpm
Standard Deviation 6.8 bpm
Minimum Speed 6.9 mph
Average Speed 27.2 mph
Maximum Speed 35.7 mph
Distance 27.9 miles
Minimum Cadence 31 rpm
Average Cadence 86 rpm
Maximum Cadence 121 rpm
Coasting Time 0:04:59 (8.1 %)
Coasting Distance 2.2 miles (7.7 %)
Minimum Altitude 525 ft
Average Altitude 541 ft
Maximum Altitude 554 ft
Minimum Power 4 Watts
Average Power 328 Watts
Average Power (0 W incl.) 293 Watts
Maximum Power 812 Watts
Pedaling Index Average 18 %
Pedaling Index Maximum 52 %
Left Right Balance Average L54 – 46R Left – Right
Left Right Balance Maximum L90 – 10R Left – Right
This is probably the most scenic time trial that we do all year. The entire 4 mile time trial is on top of Raccoon Mountain around the TVA pump storage reservoir. Breathtaking scenery and steep drop-offs right on the course! My time was about 10-15 seconds faster than last year. I went out way too hard averaging 558 watts for the first 30 seconds. I spent the rest of the course trying to figure out how to recover and still go hard – never works well. Still, I am happier to have gone a little bit faster than last year. Here’s the graph!
- Going out way too hard (558 watt average)
- Trying to recover
- Not too bad on the climb
- The table-top flat reservoir road
- Ramping it up again for the finish
Quick Summary: 14th in the road race. In the winning move early, but got shelled (along with two pros), chased nearly back on, got shelled again on the Sand Mountain climb, passed by a strong chase group, rode easy all the way to the finishing climb with what was left of the main field. Managed 5th from this group for 14th for the race.
The Details: I was in an early move that launched itself at the end of the neutral zone at the very beginning of the race. Tim Henry (Jittery Joe’s), Spencer Beamer (DLP Pro racing), Steve Carpenter (Hincapie Barkley), and I went off the front and were working pretty well together with a strong tailwind. Still, we could tell the field was chasing hard and I wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to stay away until Doug Ollerenshaw (Rock Racing) comes motoring up to us. He ramped up the pace about 5mph and we started to extend our lead.
We made a hard right off of US 11 and the road immediately pitched upwards. I was the only one from our group of 5 able to stay with the three pros and at the top of this climb I tied my all-time max heart rate and actually stayed at that heart rate for 25 seconds! I sat on and didn’t work on the downhill or flat leading into the first KOM climb. I was able to hang about halfway up when Spencer and I both got dropped from the leading duo of Doug and Tim. I turned around not too far from the top and saw Mike Olheiser (Marx and Bensdorf) bridging by himself. I took some deep breaths and then hit it as hard as I could to hop onto his wheel and hang on to the top and over the top of the climb. Again, I was struggling so I sat on and recovered on the downhill, but was able eventually to start working again in the rotation.
In the meantime, Ty Stanfield (Myogenesis) amazingly bridged up to us by himself and entered into the rotation. So at this point there are six of us and we are all working together pretty well. We continued like this for the next several miles passing along the beautiful Tennessee River and then the road pitched up again for a fairly gradual 1 mile climb. Mike and Doug just kept right on going at a fast pace and this shelled me, Spencer, and Tim. Only Ty was able to hang on. Over the top and for the next several miles we chased hard closing the gap to maybe 10-15 seconds at one point.
Then when we made the left turn to head into Alabama, the front three ramped up the pace and we never saw them again until the Sand Mountain climb when they were probably close to a minute ahead of us. I was leading into the sharp lefthand corner that takes you to the start of the climb when I came in too hot and just went straight off the road. I was able to keep riding in the grass and rejoin Spencer and Tim at the bottom of the climb. We went at a pretty fast pace, but one that I was able to maintain. The only problem is that a group of about 10 very strong riders had separated itself from the pack and caught us about halfway up the climb. None of us could hold onto this group so they just went right by us. More and more riders started going by me as I was really fatigued at this point. Eventually we made it to the top and a large group comprising the remnants of the field started working together. But with all the major teams represented in the chase group, not enough people had the right motivation to bring it all back together.
We cruised down the mountain, picked up the pace a little bit on the stair-stepper climb, but basically had an easy group ride all the way to the bottom of the Raccoon Mountain climb. I had slipped about 10-15 riders back from the front of the group so that when the pace really started to accelerate I had some catching up to do. I passed riders gradually always with the front three in sight. On the second slope of the climb I felt like I had a flat tire because my legs were so tired. Still, a kudzo.com rider attacked and I was the only one who was able to slowly bring him back. Less than 200 meters from the finish I passed him, but unfortunately Eric Murphy (Myogenesis) had also worked his way back up and was able to pass me with about 100 meters to go. I ramped it back up and challenged him for the sprint, but he still had the legs and was able to pull away from me again. Whew!
To summarize, I am not so disappointed that I got dropped from the winning breakaway, but rather that I didn’t have enough left in my legs to stay with that chase group on Sand Mountain. It’s easy to second guess and say that I should have been more conservative so that I would have been fresher for Sand Mountain. But oh well, I gave it my best shot, and it was definitely a top field with maybe 10 or more pros. I am happy that I still had the legs to do well on the final climb.
Here’s the story as told by my heart rate and power data. Whew!
- The initial attack and move (Tim Henry – Jittery Joe’s, Spencer Beamer – DLP, Steve Carpenter – Hincapie Barkley, Me – Tria Market / Ivan Leonard Chevrolet)
- Top of the first kicker climb, all-time max HR of 195 sustained for 25 seconds
- First KOM climb, shelled halfway up but tagged onto Mike Olheiser who had bridged solo and was able to hang on over the top
- Sitting on, recovering (or at least trying to!)
- Shelled on this climb along with Tim and Spencer
- Ran off the road right before the climb
- Shelled halfway up this climb (Sand Mountain), couldn’t hang on to the “who’s who of southeast cycling” chase group
- Easy group riding in the remnants of the field. With nine riders up the road, we were still competing for one money spot (10th) and omnium points
- The final climb up Raccoon Mountain
OK, time to get ready for the time trial. I go off at about 6:30 tonight. Four mile, beautiful TT, very scenic.
Summary: 5th in the crit, 2nd in the road race, 2nd overall
Two days of good racing with some fast competition led to my best omnium placing ever! We started out with the downtown Meridian criterium – one hour of racing on a six corner, bumpy course. I lined up with five of my teammates for a total of six of us in the race. That is the most teammates I have ever had in a bike race!
We had a great race, starting from our pre-race meeting. We had a plan and we executed it pretty well, but unfortunately Mike Olheiser (Marx and Bensdorf) was able to get away very early in the race. Marx and Bensdorf had a bunch of riders in the race (maybe 12?), and they would bring about two or three guys to the front and then one of them would attack. This forced Herring Gas or us to chase it down or send someone to join the break attempt. There was I don’t know, maybe, 100 of these micro-breaks and I was in a bunch of them, but I was also proud of everyone on my team who was involved in at least one if not several of them. I can specifically recall when I would watch one of our guys cover a move or chase it down and I would physically feel relief in my legs knowing that I wouldn’t have to cover it, chase it down, or watch it despairingly get away without me.
Late in the race with about 10 minutes to go, a three man break with Frank Moak (Herring Gas) and Chris Alexander (Herring Gas) got off the front with Clark Butcher (Marx and Bensdorf). I was perfectly positioned and rested enough to attack and bridge solo to that move putting four of us off the front. I drove the pace but got some good rests with the two Herring Gas riders also working. Clark was sitting on since he already had Mike Olheiser up the road. We were only about 10 seconds in front of the field and losing a little bit of ground with two laps to go so I ramped up the pace for the last lap and actually gapped everyone on the switchbacks (quick right, quick left, up short hill, followed by another 90 degree right). When I saw that I had a little gap, I drilled it as hard as I could down the hill thinking I could hold it to the line, but I got caught on the finishing straight and passed by the other 3 guys with 100 meters to go making me fifth for the race. The field came in just a few seconds behind me with Darryl taking third in the field sprint. Justin placed well in the field sprint, too, placing him high up in the Cat 3 omnium.
Sunday morning was the Cuba Challenge road race. Three laps of a 21 mile course. I don’t fish, but I am sure this is what it must feel like when they fishermen talk about “the one that got away”. As anticipated, Marx and Bensdorf sent a rider off the front literally as soon as they said go. This move didn’t work, but there were several other quick attacks early in the race that were shut down. Then during a brief lull in the pace, there was a crash that took down a bunch of riders, including two riders who broke their collarbones. Ouch! After everyone came back from the crash (except the riders with the broken collarbones), the race was back on and a move got away with Brent Thompson (Marx and Bensdorf), a Bay Breakers rider, and Lennie Moon from our team. Herring-Gas chased for most of the rest of that lap. The most heated, active part of the race came midway through Lap 2 when there were a series of attacks. None of the ensuing moves though had the right composition and everything came back together for the start of Lap 3. The initial break had fallen apart by this point and another move got off the front with GW, Joseph Welsh, and one other rider. This break ended up staying away to the finish.
THE FINISH – Once the pack made it to the home stretch heading back to the finish line, Mike Olheiser was on the front cruising at about 17mph, and I was on his wheel. Travis came by and ramped the pace up to lead Mike out and string it out so people wouldn’t attack early. This was at about the 1km to go sign. Travis kept the pace at 27-28mph all the way to the 200 meter sign and still nobody had started the sprint so I launched from behind Mike and I was able to accelerate all the way up the hill to the finish topping out at just over 31mph at the finish line. That was good enough to take the sprint maybe half a bike length ahead of Pat Allison and Mike. With three riders (one cat 1 and two cat 3’s) up the road, the sprint was for fourth place in the race but with two of the three riders in the break Cat 3’s, that meant I placed 2nd in the Pro/1/2 race. Kudos to the youngster on Marx and Bensdorf (Joseph Welsh) who ended up taking the sprint over GW. The other rider in the break had gotten dropped, but we had gone so incredibly slow that he was still able to stay away, too.
Here’s my HR and power data (no power data for the road race because I forgot to change the batteries on my power meter and they gave out before the start of the race).
- The early break that Mike countered and got away from the field solo.
- I believe this was the one prime in the race.
- First of many small breaks that I was either in or bridged up to
- Second break
- Third break
- Fourth break
- Fifth break
- Sixth break
- Seventh break
- Eighth break – this is the one that I bridged up to near the end that actually stayed away
- The very early break with Mike
- Pee break after the crash
- Really easy first lap
- The quick series of attacks on the rolling hills on the backside of the course
- The most promising of the attacks that turned into a break that still didn’t end up working
- My lowest heart rate ever in a race – 103 bpm
- The sprint finish