Posts tagged ‘rain’

Bamacross Sloss Cross

The 2012 Bamacross series finale was held today at the historic Sloss Furnace abandoned steel mill. The course was epic for water, rain, mud, and location. I’m sure there will be some good pics up on facebook that people will post. I’m going to try to link to a couple of them here on this blog in the next day or two. The atmosphere at the race was just amazing — people grilling out under the highway underpass, music pumped up, people banging loudly on steel drums next to the course, cowbells ringing, people cheering, people heckling, people having lots of fun.

Annotated course mapAnnotated course map (click to enlarge)

Sloss furnace and the airportSloss furnace and the airport (on a clear day).

The course was just amazing … located right next to the abandoned steel mill, plus the start/finish stretch underneath the highway, plus active trains and train whistles on all three sides of the course during the race, and then the puddle lakes in the central part of the course and the muddy river that formed on the back stretch of the course from an inch of rain that started this morning and never let up through all the races. I did the race on my hard tail 29er running low pressure hoping to get some extra grip out of the wide tires. But in the mud, those wide tires just skidded across the top of the mud rather than digging into it.

In any case, I probably still would have finished DFL even if I had borrowed a cross bike. I started the race with old brake pads that needed replacing. So by the end of the second lap, I had no brake pads left at all … seriously no braking at all! Fortunately, the mud was thick enough that in most places you could just stop pedaling and the bike would slow down quick enough to make the turn. Still, there was a couple places where I had to unclip and dig my heel into the ground to slow down enough to make the turn.

Lots of mud - underneath the bridge next to the historic steel mill.Lots of mud – underneath the bridge next to the historic steel mill. (Click to zoom out and enlarge. Note that is not the bike I used in the background. Also, that is my backpack on the ground for the commute there and back.)

It was a really fun experience, especially since I got to cheer on all the other racers who lapped me (everyone from both the 1/2 field and the 3 field which started a couple minutes behind us). Afterwards, Craig Tamburello (Brick Alley) helped me a ton by switching out brake pads from Alan Barton’s dad’s mountain bike so I could safely ride home. Thanks tons Craig and Alan!! Here’s a picture of Alan riding through one of the lakes on the course:

Alan Barton rides through one of the lake puddles.Alan Barton rides through one of the lake puddles. (note the airplane on final approach to BHM in the upper left corner of the picture.) Photo by Theresa O’Fallon (facebook)

What a fun experience, the atmosphere and the people are great. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the skills to corner in the mud, but I definitely want to try it again next year. A couple updates from this morning … I forgot to post my heartrate data (see below), and also Paul Roberts got some great pics from the race including one of my friend (and former teammate) Jacob Tubbs with Scott Staubach in the background in a pivotal part of the Masters 35+ race with them eventually taking 1st and 2nd.

Paul Roberts photo of Jacob Tubbs and Scott Staubach at a pivotal moment of the Masters 35+ race with downtown Birmingham visible in the backgroundPaul Roberts photo of Jacob Tubbs and Scott Staubach at a pivotal moment of the Masters 35+ race with downtown Birmingham visible in the background (click to enlarge)

Paul Roberts picture of me through the mud. Note the ziplock bag to protect the garmin.Paul Roberts picture of me through the mud. Note the ziplock bag to protect the garmin. (click to enlarge)

Heartrate plot for Sloss Cross 2012Heartrate plot for Sloss Cross 2012 (click to enlarge)

Heartrate zone summary

December 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm 5 comments

Anatomy of a rainy crash

Branch segment that took me down on my commute into work.

Well, I almost made it through the rest of the year without crashing after my spill at the end of the Sandy Springs crit in May. Today, though, I hit the branch that is shown in the picture above. I never saw it because it was mixed in with a bunch of leaves on the ground. When I hit the branch, my wheels slid out immediately left and me and the bike went sliding on our right sides. It was not “slide friendly” pavement. Look at the damage to the handlebar tape and handlebar. Now imagine that same damage on my arm, hip, and hands. Or at least that’s what I thought I was going to find … instead I have some bad road rash in just a few isolated spots on my arm, hip, and hands. But enough to make it a challenge to type and to be dripping blood from those spots. I may have done something to my hip, though. Right now I am just hoping that I only damaged the muscles and tendons on the outside and inside of my hip.

As soon as I hit the branch and went flying along the ground with my bike, I had enough time to think as I was sliding along the ground for 8 SECONDS. My thoughts went something like this:

  • What did I hit?
  • I’m ok, that didn’t hurt too bad, I can still make it into school
  • Oh no, this is a really long slide
  • Oh crap, this is not good pavement to be sliding on
  • When am I going to stop?
  • Class is cancelled
  • I can’t ride home

It’s amazing what all had to come together for me to crash. There was a bad storm system moving in, so I left for work early and was planning on going through Bluff Park. But as I got near Lorna Rd, the clouds were getting darker and the rain was starting to get heavier, so I decided to turn around and take the more direct Vestavia route into school. Still, as annotated in the map, I was planning on taking the Vestavia Forest route since I had plenty of time this morning to add on the extra mile. Unfortunately, I missed the Hwy 31 light and I wasn’t going to wait for it so I turned around and was planning on taking my normal route up Badham – Willoughby – Garland – Wickford. But when I got to the Willoughby intersection, I decided that I didn’t want to do the extra steep climb in the middle and opted to stay straight on Badham since it is a more gradual climb. So this put me onto a section of Badham that I normally do on my way home from work. But on that route home, I normally turn at the intersection where today I went straight. It was just past this intersection on a stretch of road that I hardly ever ride where I hit the branch hidden amongst the leaves on the road.

Anatomy of a wet bike crash

Here’s the link to the data on Strava … you click and zoom in on the section of the crash to see the 8 second slide.

I stood up and was feeling some pain in my hip and a lot of pain from the road rash on my hands so I just started yelling “help” because I was hoping somebody would come out from their house and offer me a ride home or at least so I could borrow a phone to call home for Kristine to come pick me up. I stood there yelling for a minute or two and nobody came out. I walked back up the street and found the branch which was the only thing in the road that I could see that would have caused such a sudden jolt and crash. I stuck it in my backpack and tried to figure out what to do. By this point after falling, I had calmed down enough and had assessed the various pains enough to realized that I could probably ride home because I could still move everything and nothing appeared to be broken on my bike. I got on and started riding just as the storm really hit. It was a thunderstorm downpour all the way back to my house.

I was just inspired to see what I had written up about previous crashes … check them out here:

And a couple of accidents back to back in the summer of 2006: (hit and run)

November 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Sheboygan Criterium – Tour of America’s Dairyland – Day 8

Josiah bundled up and attempting to hold the umbrella over Kristine

Video of the finish -

Disappointing race yesterday in Sheboygan. A steady persistent rain made for slick streets so I opted for the inside line on all four corners. This was a good decision because there were more than twenty wrecks. Many of them were single rider wrecks of someone taking a corner a bit too fast and sliding out. Sometimes the wrecks took down more than one person though. There was a wreck on the first turn of the first lap of the race. Then there was a wreck on the last turn of the first lap of the race. In fact, for the first ten laps, there was a wreck on that last turn about every lap. The only corner that didn’t have any wrecks was turn three. Eventually, though, after the first ten laps enough people had dropped out of the race and our pace had settled down enough that we went relatively wreck free for the middle 30 laps or so. Then in the last few laps, the wrecks ratcheted up again with wrecks on Turn #1 and Turn #4. The last lap had a wreck on Turn #1 which I squeezed around losing enough momentum not to be able to pass anyone from there to the finish. I was pretty much the last rider relatively cleanly around the wreck, though, so nobody passed me either. So I finished at the back of the front group for 26th with Dan Holloway (Kelly Benefits) taking the win.

I had great tires that never slipped once, even when going for a $100 prime. That was the most disappointing part of the race for me. I attacked going into the third corner for the prime. I got away from the field and went as fast as I could around the third and fourth corners. I had a pretty good gap, but I knew that I needed to sprint like it was the end of the race in order to stay away for the prime. Out of turn #4 was a painfully long 500-600 meter sprint. I went as hard as I could and got passed by 1 guy about 10 meters before the line. I was so frustrated and crushed because we really needed the $100 given that we found out earlier in the day that our car needed a $600 repair (the electronics in the car are shot, no instruments, $450 part + $150 labor) to make it safely home to Alabama. Still, I fought hard and yet somehow managed to slide back far enough to be out of the money at the end, too. So in other words, I raced a long, hard dangerous race (because of the wet conditions) and got absolutely nothing for it. No money, no points. I got passed by the eventual winner (US pro crit champion Dan Holloway) with two laps to go. How am I in the same position as the winner with 2 laps to go, and yet he wins the race while I somehow slide back to 26th?? I guess it is all about risk taking. It was a flat race, too, and I warmed up on rollers so I only managed 1000 ft of climbing for the Strava Studio Velo competition.

The only bright spot on the day is that my family joined me for the race and is here with me for the last three races. The kids didn’t care that it was 60 degrees and raining and a had a great time playing in the rain on a playground while Kristine and I huddled under a small shelter. Then they rode their scooters in the rain and cheered with Kristine during the entire race. I guess it was good that I was “off the front” going for the prime to help make the race exciting for them – even though I didn’t get the prime, which really sucked (did I mention that already???) After the race, the kids wanted to ride a lap of the course with me, but the streets were already open so we settled for a ride down through the start/finish area and back.

Kudos to the race organizers, officials, and SRAM mechanics for keeping the race running on time and well organized despite the wet weather.

I opted to ride without my iBike given the increased probablity of an iBike breaking wreck. Also, thanks to one of my sponsors back home (Dan Taylor – Infinity Medispa) for the suggestion to ride with my garmin in a ziplock bag in my back pocket. Worked perfectly and I didn’t have to fool with finding a rubber band to cover up the Garmin with a ziplock bag while mounted on the bike to keep it from malfunctioning in the rain.

Here is the Strava data, map, and lap splits (note the 30.5 mph avg speed on the last lap even with the rain!!!) -

Strava map highlighting one lap of the Sheboygan Criterium

Strava power, heartrate data annotated

LAP     Dist   Speed    Power     HR      Time
Lap  1  0.7 mi 24.5 mph 329 watts 139 bpm 0:01:52
Lap  2  0.7 mi 28.3 mph 423 watts 157 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  3  0.7 mi 28.3 mph 404 watts 158 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  4  0.7 mi 27.4 mph 372 watts 157 bpm 0:01:40
Lap  5  0.8 mi 26.9 mph 368 watts 160 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  6  0.8 mi 28.0 mph 403 watts 160 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  7  0.7 mi 28.0 mph 400 watts 159 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  8  0.8 mi 26.9 mph 389 watts 155 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  9  0.7 mi 28.3 mph 372 watts 155 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  10 0.7 mi 28.0 mph 391 watts 159 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  11 0.8 mi 27.7 mph 416 watts 158 bpm 0:01:39
Lap  12 0.8 mi 27.7 mph 396 watts 159 bpm 0:01:39
Lap  13 0.7 mi 28.3 mph 407 watts 161 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  14 0.7 mi 28.6 mph 428 watts 157 bpm 0:01:36
Lap  15 0.7 mi 29.2 mph 409 watts 158 bpm 0:01:34
Lap  16 0.7 mi 27.4 mph 388 watts 157 bpm 0:01:40
Lap  17 0.7 mi 28.0 mph 399 watts 159 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  18 0.7 mi 27.1 mph 370 watts 158 bpm 0:01:41
Lap  19 0.7 mi 28.6 mph 397 watts 155 bpm 0:01:36
Lap  20 0.8 mi 28.0 mph 410 watts 159 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  21 0.8 mi 28.0 mph 413 watts 160 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  22 0.7 mi 28.3 mph 407 watts 163 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  23 0.7 mi 28.9 mph 409 watts 157 bpm 0:01:35
Lap  24 0.7 mi 28.0 mph 395 watts 157 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  25 0.7 mi 29.8 mph 434 watts 164 bpm 0:01:32
Lap  26 0.8 mi 28.3 mph 406 watts 158 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  27 0.8 mi 25.1 mph 329 watts 155 bpm 0:01:49
Lap  28 0.7 mi 26.9 mph 350 watts 154 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  29 0.7 mi 28.0 mph 352 watts 155 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  30 0.8 mi 26.6 mph 361 watts 155 bpm 0:01:43
Lap  31 0.8 mi 27.1 mph 402 watts 154 bpm 0:01:41
Lap  32 0.7 mi 28.6 mph 382 watts 154 bpm 0:01:36
Lap  33 0.7 mi 28.9 mph 445 watts 167 bpm 0:01:35 (prime lap)
Lap  34 0.8 mi 25.4 mph 298 watts 165 bpm 0:01:48
Lap  35 0.8 mi 27.7 mph 402 watts 150 bpm 0:01:39
Lap  36 0.7 mi 29.8 mph 429 watts 150 bpm 0:01:32
Lap  37 0.8 mi 26.1 mph 343 watts 154 bpm 0:01:45
Lap  38 0.7 mi 26.9 mph 371 watts 152 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  39 0.8 mi 26.9 mph 384 watts 155 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  40 0.8 mi 28.6 mph 443 watts 158 bpm 0:01:36
Lap  41 0.8 mi 26.9 mph 368 watts 156 bpm 0:01:42
Lap  42 0.7 mi 28.3 mph 426 watts 158 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  43 0.8 mi 28.0 mph 393 watts 157 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  44 0.8 mi 27.4 mph 436 watts 154 bpm 0:01:40
Lap  45 0.8 mi 27.4 mph 387 watts 157 bpm 0:01:40
Lap  46 0.7 mi 28.0 mph 371 watts 155 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  47 0.8 mi 27.7 mph 379 watts 159 bpm 0:01:39
Lap  48 0.8 mi 25.6 mph 314 watts 159 bpm 0:01:47
Lap  49 0.8 mi 26.1 mph 280 watts 156 bpm 0:01:45
Lap  50 0.8 mi 30.1 mph 402 watts 162 bpm 0:01:31
Lap  51 0.8 mi 28.3 mph 328 watts 162 bpm 0:01:37
Lap  52 0.8 mi 27.7 mph 345 watts 163 bpm 0:01:39
Lap  53 0.8 mi 28.0 mph 345 watts 165 bpm 0:01:38
Lap  54 0.8 mi 30.5 mph 462 watts 171 bpm 0:01:30 (fastest lap)

Pictures from the race below … video of the finish to be posted later today…

June 24, 2011 at 9:33 am 1 comment

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
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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