Posts tagged ‘road race’

2013 Elite National Road Race and Criterium

National Road Race – Blue Mound
Whew. Tough race at the road race. Hot. A cat 3 climb at the end of each lap plus six times up a steep hill in the middle of the course plus a final finishing climb only a couple hundred feet short of a cat 2 climb. This should have been a dream course for me, but it wasn’t happening. I’m a few pounds above my ideal racing weight right now so that doesn’t make for great climbing. Still, I’m happy to have stuck it out and finished 90th out of 200 people with over 100 people DNF’ing.

We started out up on top of Blue Mound which rises 1000 feet from the valley floors with amazing views. The official kept us neutral on the long four or five mile descent, which made for a crazy amount of braking on the way down with at least one tire explosion from overheating. Once the race was on I had already lost a lot of positions and with 200 riders in the field — even with a rolling enclosure — made it challenging to try to move around. Our field was so large that when we hit the bottom of any steep hill, the guys at the back (including me) had to come to a complete stop before proceeding forward up the hill.

I had a 39×28 so it wasn’t too hard to start spinning again up the steep slopes, but I still feel like it was quite an advantage to be at the front and start the climb at 15 mph instead of being at the back and starting the climbs at 0mph. I made it up the 2.5 mile end-of-the-lap climb (cat 3) the first time still connected to the back of the field – but just barely. After flying across the top flatter section trying to keep up with the front of the field already charging down the descent was crazy hard. Pretty much the same story the second time up the climb, but this time the elastic snapped somewhere in front of me and there were about 20 or 30 of us who had to chase back on the descent and through the valley. We finally made the juncture with the back of the field after chasing in the caravan for quite a while right before the start of the third time up the climb. It turns out I had a great view for the race-winning move as I could see the attack stringing out the front of the field while the rest of us were still bunching up going into the steep part of the climb. I was at the very back and pretty much cooked but it didn’t matter b/c huge gaps opened up in the back of the field as many people started to drop out of the race.

I continued a steady hard effort and found myself with another group that swelled to maybe 20 riders at its largest, but people started coming off our group as the heat started to get to people. I was really struggling, too, and amazed how hard it felt to be going so slow with such little wattage (well under 300 watts) on the climbs. We eventually caught Brendan Sullivan and Johnny Brizzard who had survived in the field longer than I had. After two more laps, our group had shrunk to just seven riders. I wasn’t sure how many people would be left in the race, and I was hoping it was maybe as few as 50 people so I went hard on the final climb coming in 2nd behind Brendan Sullivan out of our 7 man group which pretty much exploded at the bottom of the hill. It turns out, though, that enough people had stuck it out that our efforts were for 89th and 90th places with only 99 people finishing and 101 people DNFing.

National Criterium – Madison Capitol Building
My confidence level after six disappointing races (including the five races at the end of Dairyland the week before) was pretty low heading into the crit. Still, I had done really well on this course before (9th place in the final stage of the 2011 tour of america’s dairyland) so I was hoping for a good result. I started out towards the front and then slid backwards gradually. I think I never made it farther than 3/4 of the way towards the back of the 150 rider field, but it was hard to tell. I didn’t think the race was too hard, but it was still tough to move around until people started to get tired. Then you could move up fairly easily coming out of the last turn as people slowed down after drilling it up the hill into the turn. I used this strategy to move from about mid-pack with 3 laps to go all the way into 38th place by the time it was all said and done. Definitely my best result of the two weeks in Wisconsin, but as I detail below with some of my favorite instagram pictures the trip was a fun family vacation despite mediocre race results. Plus, I was happy to race with the best amateur racers in the country and spend a week exploring Madison – I ended up riding 441 miles for the seven days I was in Madison!

Also, a big shout-out to racers from the southeast … Nathan Brown (Memphis) and Ty Magner (Georgia) both took home national championships. Brendan Cornett did well in the crit (9th place). Andy Scarano, David Guttenplan, Winston David, Brendan Sullivan, and a bunch of other people from the southeast were all up there racing and had good results … way to represent!

Annotated heartrate data from both days
National road race - heartrate zone summaryNational road race – heartrate zone summary

National road race - Blue Mounds course - heartrate/power data annotated (click to enlarge)National road race – Blue Mounds course – heartrate/power data annotated (click to enlarge)

National criterium - heartrate zone summaryNational criterium – heartrate zone summary

National criterium - Madison Capitol building course - heartrate/power data annotated (click to enlarge)National criterium – Madison Capitol building course – heartrate/power data annotated (click to enlarge)

National criterium - Madison Capitol course power map (click to enlarge)National criterium – Madison Capitol course power map (click to enlarge)

2013 National Criterium
Lap data ... auto-lap missed a few laps as indicated
Lap	Time	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH
1	1:25	326	838	151	86	26
2	1:18	292	806	167	84	27.5
3	1:16	297	828	171	84	28.8
4	1:17	292	774	173	83	28.9
5	1:12	284	844	173	82	29.9
6	1:15	280	864	175	83	29.7
7	1:11	258	892	174	80	30.6
8	1:16	238	825	173	79	28.8
9	1:14	250	831	173	78	29.3
10	1:17	259	830	172	79	28.9
11-12	2:27	268	888	176	79	29.8
13	1:11	283	718	179	81	29.9
14	1:15	274	835	178	81	29.3
15-16	2:29	264	943	177	78	29.7
17	1:13	255	827	176	75	29.9
18	1:16	241	768	178	79	28.8
19	1:19	241	821	173	82	27.6
20	1:19	259	836	174	78	27.5
21	1:17	231	810	176	73	28.1
22-24	3:44	260	884	178	76	29.4
25	1:16	237	787	177	77	28.7
26-28	3:51	246	867	177	76	28.4
29	1:23	249	773	177	78	25.7
30-32	3:48	243	820	177	76	29
33	1:11	265	693	176	77	30.4
34-35	2:20	293	815	181	79	31.1
36	1:17	231	937	180	72	27.9
37-38	2:32	249	756	178	80	28.2
39	1:12	259	778	179	74	30.2
40	1:15	221	715	176	76	29.1
41	1:14	249	773	177	77	28.9
42	1:17	243	809	175	75	27.4
43-44	2:24	249	790	177	74	29.8
45	1:18	246	777	178	73	27.9
46	1:17	240	885	178	76	27.7
47	1:14	235	546	179	79	28.3
48	1:12	242	653	177	79	29.7
49	1:15	226	744	175	72	28.4
50	1:13	264	646	175	77	28.6
51	1:14	204	648	175	73	28.7
52	1:14	215	757	170	72	28.6
53	1:13	247	794	178	76	28.4
54	1:13	263	775	176	78	28.7
55	1:17	231	794	176	79	27.4
56	1:15	252	730	178	79	28
57	1:14	242	758	177	77	28.5
58	1:15	224	805	177	77	28.1
59	1:14	216	873	174	76	28.3
60	1:14	242	919	169	76	28.6
61	1:11	249	778	178	73	30.1
62	1:10	255	821	178	74	30.1
63	1:11	245	914	177	73	29.4
64	1:19	211	688	178	78	26.6
65	1:17	243	729	172	75	27.5
66	1:15	209	716	170	75	28.4
67	1:13	239	679	171	74	29
68	1:17	214	770	169	71	27.1
69	1:14	232	690	174	72	28.6
70	1:12	231	741	173	72	29.2
71	1:11	244	923	178	73	30
72	1:14	227	805	177	73	28.4
73	1:18	252	833	181	80	27.4
74	1:17	242	736	183	73	27.5
75	1:16	213	718	178	75	27.8
76	1:12	256	721	175	76	29.2
77	1:14	224	759	180	75	28.4
78	1:16	248	783	182	74	27.9
79	1:14	295	855	185	77	28.8
80	1:08	348	921	189	74	31.6

iBike data from the road race … this was recorded on Wednesday before the race when I pre-rode a lap of the course with Jimmy Schurman.

iBike climb and gradient data for part of the nationals blue mounds road race course (click to enlarge)iBike climb and gradient data for part of the nationals blue mounds road race course (click to enlarge)


Me with Josiah and Analise after our cool-down lap riding the course together.


Our cool-down lap … Analise and Josiah are on the far right of the picture behind me.


Between turns 3 and 4 climbing the hill (I’m towards the left of the pic)


Just before the start of the race – 150 cat 1s ready to take off


A little bit of bike path, a little bit of alley, a little bit of climbing, and a whole lot of awesome warming up for #roadnats criterium in Madison WI


One of my favorite pics from the trip – Analise and Josiah crossing a creek


Josiah had to wrestle @ktoone for the packers horse – Ella’s Deli


Me and Josiah after the road race


Quintessential Wisconsin country-side and rolling hills


Spent a lot of time at the Holiday Inn waterpark


The Blue Mounds finishing hills


Awesome bike paths in Madison


Exploring UW-Madison


Got a chance to ride with my friend Lennie who happened to be up there on a day-trip


Celebrating 10 awesome years together

July 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm 3 comments

2013 Tour of America’s Dairyland

Results
Wednesday – Fond du Lac road race – 70th out of 150 starters, 124 finishers
Thursday – Road America road race – 94th out of 150 starters, 102 finishers
Friday – Fond du Lac criterium – 59th out of 105 starters, 61 finishers
Saturday – Downer Classic criterium – 62nd out of 150 starters, 116 finishers
Sunday – East Tosa Grand Prix – 37th out of 119 starters, 86th finishers

Somewhat disappointing results, but still some great racing/training over the past five days. I missed the first six days of the series so I could race the SRS race weekend in Montgomery — hard to pass up on such a great venue so close to home. Still working on a race report for that weekend, but I thought I’d go ahead and finish this one up first. We started driving up immediately after the Montgomery race on Sunday expecting to make it 700 miles up to La Porte, Indiana but instead only made it about 400 miles up to Elizebethtown, Kentucky. On Monday we finished the drive up to La Porte to stay with Kristine’s grandmother. Then on Tuesday we finished the drive up to Wisconsin where I dropped Kristine and the kids off at Kohler-Andrea state park to go camping on the shores of Lake Michigan while I headed back down to Milwaukee to race the last five days of the 11 day Tour of America’s Dairyland.

Wednesday – Fond du Lac road race
First day of racing at the 2013 Tour of America's DairylandFirst day of racing at the 2013 Tour of America’s Dairyland

I finished near the back of what was left of the field in a field sprint after our race was cut short by the county sheriffs for center line rule violation. This was my first race of the series as we started our drive up on Sunday immediately after the Montgomery SRS race but didn’t arrive in Wisconsin until Tuesday. On Tuesday, I had a nice ride starting from Saulkville and heading west into the hills.

On Wednesday, I headed up to the race where I found out there was a waiting list to race (field limit of 150 had been reached). Fortunately, I had pre-registered but that meant that our field was huge with 150 riders. As you can see in the rollout video below, there was no pre-race instructions that I could hear and so I wasn’t sure if we had the whole road. For a field of that size and roads that small you have to have a rolling enclosure. Even though we weren’t supposed to have the whole road, that is how the race ended up playing out as you can see in the videos underneath the jersey pic above.

During the race, there were several breaks but with such a large field there was always somebody chasing. This kept our pace extremely high as we averaged about 28mph for the race, but that was only because of the slow uphills. The rest of the time we spent well above 30mph including bouts of closer to 40mph with some nasty crosswinds that had us guttered. I heard several people comment that this is what a European race probably felt like. I managed to get in one chase group that worked well for about 2 or 3 miles but we got caught shortly before the field caught a small break that was still off the front.

It was crazy being in a field that large, at one point I crested a hill with most of the field stretched out in front of me. It was amazing to see so many riders strung out over a distance that probably measured a quarter mile and 30 seconds of ride time. In the end, there was well under 100 riders left in the main field as many people had been guttered and dropped in the heavy crosswinds. There was several times that I thought I was going to open up a gap with how hard I was working to just barely hold the wheel in front of me while also trying to get as close to the edge of the road as possible without hitting debris or holes.

With about five miles to the finish, I was moving up on the left when the field swerved left and I ended up going off the road on the wrong side of the road (that’s how closely the yellow line rule was being observed). At this point, I realized I was the very last rider in the field! So I tried to move up again and stayed attentive to see if there was any chance of blasting up one of the sides and passing a lot of people — but the opportunity never presented itself and so there wasn’t much point in contesting the sprint from the very back.

The course was a really great course with classic Wisconsin farm fields covering rolling hills with cool barns dotting the landscape. There was hardly any traffic (maybe saw three or four cars the entire race) so it really would not have been hard to have a rolling enclosure with one lead moto ahead of any break, an official with the field, and then the support cars behind the field. That’s actually pretty much how the race played out, but the sheriffs were not happy since I’m guessing they were told we would be on one side of the road. They cut our race short by two laps (20 miles).

Thursday – Road America road race

The last time I raced this race (2010), I was much more aggressive staying towards the front, and the field was quite a bit smaller … maybe 100 guys instead of more than 150 which we had in the race this year. I ended up 4th having made it into the day’s break. I figured there would be a break again this year, but I was too far back to make it into it when the break went, or when any of the several chase groups established themselves. I always seemed to find myself finally making it to the front just as another chase group had already left. So by the time our field was sprinting for the end, there were more than 30 guys up the road. I had been fighting off cramps so I didn’t bother sprinting the uphill finish and risk locking up my leg and throwing off the rest of the weekend. The one highlight of the race was finally making it into a chase group with about 3 laps left but we only lasted a lap and a half before getting reeled back in by the field.

Friday – Fond du Lac criterium and chasing windmills
My bike at the base of a huge windmill (probably 100 feet tall with 50 foot bladesCycling and Don Quixote
I blogged about this race separately here: Cycling and Don Quixote

Saturday – ISCorp Downer Classic criterium
View of downtown Milwaukee on my ride back to the hotel after the raceView of downtown Milwaukee on my ride back to the hotel after the race

Fun commute to/from the race … huge field again, raced well until big surge on inside late in the race. I remembered this from two years ago and was on the correct side moving way up the field, but this year I opted to stay on the easier, safer, slow side and lost tons of position. Finished mid-pack of the field sprint. Awesome commute back on North Avenue – lights were easy to time and even in the dark it was really well lit. Rode right through the finishing stretch of Sunday’s criterium.

Sunday – East Tosa Grand Prix criterium
Awesome warm-up on the bike paths of WautosaAwesome warm-up on the bike paths of Wautosa
Fun neighborhood criterium. Definitely my best race of the series – missed the break though. Rode well near the front until again a surge on the inside saw me lose a lot of positions. I favored the outside and found it easy to move up each lap on the downhill between turns 2 and 3 – but the problem was how many positions I would lose through the start/finish on any slow laps where everyone would surge up the inside. Felt great during the race, though, so this was a good way to end the series in preparation for the elite amateur national road race and criterium this week in Madison, WI.

Heartrate/power data
Tons of data, these are all in chronological order: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
2013 ToAD, Wednesday Fond du Lac road race summary2013 ToAD, Wednesday Fond du Lac road race summary

2013 ToAD, Thursday Road America road race summary2013 ToAD, Thursday Road America road race summary

2013 ToAD, Friday Fond du Lac criterium summary2013 ToAD, Friday Fond du Lac criterium summary

2013 ToAD, Saturday Downer Classic criterium summary2013 ToAD, Saturday Downer Classic criterium summary

2013 ToAD, Sunday East Tosa Grand Prix criterium summary2013 ToAD, Sunday East Tosa Grand Prix criterium summary

2013 ToAD, Wednesday Fond du Lac road race annotated heartrate/power plot2013 ToAD, Wednesday Fond du Lac road race annotated heartrate/power plot

2013 ToAD, Thursday Road America annotated heartrate/power plot2013 ToAD, Thursday Road America annotated heartrate/power plot

2013 ToAD, Friday Fond du Lac annotated heartrate/power plot2013 ToAD, Friday Fond du Lac annotated heartrate/power plot

2013 ToAD, Saturday Downer Classic annotated heartrate/power plot2013 ToAD, Saturday Downer Classic annotated heartrate/power plot

2013 ToAD, Sunday East Tosa Grand Prix annotated heartrate/power plot2013 ToAD, Sunday East Tosa Grand Prix annotated heartrate/power plot

July 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Winston-Salem Cycling Classic

Summary
Epic. Awesome. Classic. Wow. Whatever your favorite exclamation word is — this weekend was it! The criterium Saturday night had the feel of Athens Twilight with a fast course, lots of people lining the course, and a huge field. I ended up in OK position (top 20) for the start of the last lap, but got stuck behind a crash with three turns to go. After coming to a complete stop, I went around the crash and ended up 27th. Meanwhile, Team Predator Carbon Repair swept the podium. The road race was the highlight of the weekend for me, though, with a downtown circuit on a closed course (rolling enclosure) that featured a steep 16% climb towards the end of each lap and two separate 50mph descents. I rode conservatively, so I survived the race – but I also missed the key move. In fact, I watched it go away thinking that it was still too early (about halfway through the race). The move stuck, and a few laps later I ended up in a five-man chase group. We worked well together and stayed away from the field, but I was fighting off cramps and ended up last in the chase group for 14th in the race. Daniel Patten (Mountain Khakis/Smart Stop) attacked the break and ended up winning solo. Chris Uberti (Mountain Khakis/Smart Stop) also got away and soloed in for second.

The data
Normally I do a long write up of everyting I can remember from the race, but this time I’m starting with the data, which connected to at least part of my write-up anyway. The lap data for the criterium is messed up because the Garmin was struggling with keeping a satellite signal given how fast we were going underneath the skyscrapers in downtown Winston-Salem. So the autolap feature wasn’t kicking in every lap as shown below in the lap data:

Winston-Salem downtown criterium
Pro/1/2 27th place
GPS didn't handle skyscrapers well
Auto-lap wasn't correctly lapping every time
Lap(s)	Time	Miles	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH
1	2:15	0.91	350	946	166	81	24.8
2-4	5:42	2.71	307	979	178	82	28.5
5-8	7:39	3.75	272	996	181	81	29.4
9-10	4:00	1.87	252	1011	180	82	28
11-26	31:30	14.27	264	1026	180	82	27.2
27-28	3:58	1.84	263	894	180	83	27.9
29-30	3:59	1.76	254	894	179	80	26.4
31-33	5:58	2.62	263	932	181	82	26.4
34	1:52	0.84	269	939	181	80	27
35	1:58	0.89	270	954	181	82	27
36	1:48	0.83	271	1000	183	80	27.6
37	1:58	0.89	266	884	183	81	27.2
38	1:54	0.9	276	905	184	80	28.4
39	1:57	0.88	322	896	187	78	27.7

You can tell from the data that the course was about 0.9 miles long and laps were a bit under 2 minutes long. The start/finish stretch was straight with a very gradual downhill into turn 1. This led into a slight rise all the way through Turn 2, which was a brick covered turn — no issues since it wasn’t raining but would be a bit tricky in the rain. You continued climbing out of Turn 2 until you crested the hill right in front of the Mariott (race hotel). The road dipped down sharply (about 8%), and we hit about 40mph every lap. There was a bit of a flat run-out before Turn 3, but you still had a lot of momentum, which you wanted to carry through Turn 3 because this was straight back uphill to the high point on the course. Turn 4 should have been a fast turn, but it seemed like we always bunched up there. Turn 5 was a right turn, followed very quickly by a left and 100 meters left to the start/finish line.

Winston-Salem downtown criterium map (click to enlarge)Winston-Salem downtown criterium map (click to enlarge)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this race for me was how high my heartrate was. I’ve known that my threshold heartrate is about 180, but I’ve always kept my Zone 5 starting at a heartrate of 175. In this race, I averaged 180 for well over 1 hour, 15 minutes so I’m guessing my threshold heartrate might even be a beat or two above 180. The problem with changing my HR zones at this point in my life is that it makes it impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison of time spent in heartrate zones from all my previous years. I guess I’ll just leave it as is. Anybody have thoughts on this?

Winston-Salem downtown crit pro/1/2 - heartrate zone summaryWinston-Salem downtown crit pro/1/2 – heartrate zone summary

Winston-Salem downtown criterium - heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Winston-Salem downtown criterium – heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

Winston-Salem Downtown Road Race
Pro/1/2 - 14th
Lap(s)	Time	Miles	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH
1	16:50	7.19	248	853	160	88	25.7
2	17:12	7.18	240	813	162	88	25.1
3	17:28	7.18	223	817	162	82	24.7
4	17:23	7.16	233	747	160	81	24.7
5	18:05	7.17	200	749	155	81	23.8
6	19:25	7.23	191	682	145	79	22.4
7	18:49	7.21	196	718	148	78	23
8	18:02	7.2	237	714	159	82	23.9
9	19:17	7.18	212	631	151	78	22.3
10	18:33	7.15	223	649	160	79	23.1
11	19:28	7.13	211	731	154	76	22

You can tell from the lap data above that the road race course was around 7.2 miles long. The primary feature of the course was the fact that it went through so much of downtown Winston-Salem on a closed circuit (rolling enclosure). This was a hard race, but it was definitely one of the best courses I’ve raced this year. It was also quite hilly — with a steep 16% climb out of Hanes Park less than a mile from the finish.

Winston-Salem Classic Pro/1/2 road race power map - click to enlargeWinston-Salem Classic Pro/1/2 road race power map – click to enlarge

Given how hot, long, and hard the road race course was I tried to be really conservative so you can see my heartrate data is much lower. You can also see why so many people didn’t finish the race — look how hard we started out before the times slipped down into something more reasonable.

Winston-Salem Cycling Classic - road race heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Winston-Salem Cycling Classic – road race heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

Winston-Salem Cycling Classic heartrate zone summaryWinston-Salem Cycling Classic heartrate zone summary

The Details
Kristine and I wanted to bring the kids, but their weekend was already full (Josiah was fishing with some friends) and Analise had something going on at church. So it was just me and Kristine making the 7.5 hour drive from Birmingham Saturday morning arriving about 3 hours before the start of the race. This gave me some time to warm up and explore Winston-Salem. I found some cool roads and some sort of boarding school (appeared to be closed for the summer) with a dirt road back to a farm. I also saw a few urban trails (you can also see on the road race map how many dedicated trails there are in Winston-Salem – the solid green lines). It wasn’t enough time to explore all the roads, though, and I’m already seriously thinking about an excuse to get back up there and ride some more!

I rolled back towards the course just in time to see Allison Powers take the crit win. I had already ridden the course a few times before the start of the women’s race, but I decided to spin around one more time before the start of our race. I think we ended up getting in a couple laps before people started to line up. I lucked out a bit because right as I finished a lap, they brought out the ribbon to block off our staging area. Almost instantly, there were more than 100 riders lined up behind it because everybody knew how difficult this course was going to be.

The start was fast, and the rider in front of me was unable to clip into his pedals. I ended up losing a bunch of positions immediately because of this and then continued to lose positions throughout the next few laps. I tend to start out way too conservatively. But it only took a couple laps to realize that it was time to either “move up” or “get gapped off”. I switched into Athens Twilight mode and made it my primary objective to pass riders wherever I could anywhere on the course. Still, it was tough to move around because the course was so fast. I never once made it to the very front of the race. It was a bit disheartening at the top of the backside downhill to work so hard passing people and then still see so many riders stretched out in front of you.

By the end of the race, though, I had moved all the way up to 19th (according to the chip timing) at the start of the last lap. A gap opened up in front of the rider in front of me at the top of the downhill, but I was able to hop on the wheel of a rider who came around from behind me. A third rider passed us both going into the last corner which turned out to be good for both me and the rider I was following because we could see him slam on his brakes to avoid people who had fallen just out of sight around the corner. I came to a complete stop, hunched over expecting people from behind to come plowing into me — but apparently there was a big enough gap that had opened up behind us that the other riders were able to slow down and pass us on the inside without stopping.

Unfortunately, it must have been about 12 or 13 people that made it around because I passed about 5 or 6 people after restarting and still ended up 27th having lost a net of 8 places on the final lap. Unfortunate ending to what otherwise was a great race. That’s the nature and excitement of crit racing – I could have just as easily been a couple riders farther back and been able to take advantage of the crash to move up a bunch of spots. Or I could have been a couple riders farther forward and gone down in the crash. One of the riders was hurt pretty bad and taken to the hospital. Does anyone have an update on him?

No start or finish videos from this race (yet) because I’m working with Gene to hopefully have my video integrated into the NBC/Universal sports coverage of the race that is going to air this Sunday at 3PM eastern time. I don’t think they would be interested in this video I got of Justin Williams (MRI Endurance) demonstrating some awesome cornerning and maneuvering skills on the downhill turn. Check it out -

We stayed at the race hotel — the downtown Mariott — and didn’t even have to move our car from the lot we were in. The hotel was awesome, and our room overlooked the start/finish for the Sunday road race. In fact, we were able to watch the women’s field roll out and come in for the finish of their first lap before checking out. Our race was scheduled to start as soon as the women finished, but the police needed to have a break (understandable considering how hot it was and how much work they were doing). So our race ended up starting about 30 minutes late, and we went through two separate scrums for the line.

I ended up in great position for both of them, but again started out too conservatively and lost a ton of positions in the first half lap of the course. By the time we hit the Hanes Park climb at the end of the course, I was probably 100 riders back from the front. Gaps were opening up ahead of me, but fortunately there were enough motivated people to chase back onto the group. During this time, a large break of maybe 10 or more riders escaped. I thought they were gone for good — especially when a secondary chase group of almost 10 riders formed. But there were a number of strong people left in the field (including me) who had missed the move and tried to get across. This happened enough times that we eventually brought the large 20 rider break back by about 30 miles into the race (the two groups had merged). This shocked me somewhat as I thought the race was pretty much over.

The merged field probably had less than 75 riders at this point, and the counterattacks that went eventually led to a break of 11. I still wasn’t in good position and found myself at one point as the very last rider in the field. I know this because I got squeezed out of one of the turns and had to take the long way around finding myself getting passed by the trailing motorcycle and having to catch back on. Each lap our field got smaller as people came off on the final climb and weren’t able to catch back onto the field as it flew through the start/finish, made a turn, and hit a head/sidewind through the feedzone.

With a few laps to go, there was maybe 20 of us left in the field. Andy Scarano (UHC/706) attacked and got away eventually joining his teammate Winston David who I believe was coming back from the break. I attacked up the first hill from what was left of the field, and Gavriel Epstein (Champion Systems) bridged up to me. The two of us bridged up to the UHC duo, and then the four of us eventually caught Curtis Winsor (Smartstop / Mountain Khakis) who was either coming off the break or had attacked earlier.

We worked well together, but still had a two plus minute gap to the break. With two laps to go, we were told that this would be our last lap. The police were ready for us to be off the course, and it didn’t seem realistic for us to catch the break. I had mixed feelings about it because I was fighting off cramps and ready to be done, but I was also still holding out hope we would catch some guys from the break which had dwindled down to 9 riders. With only one lap to go, though, our chase lost cohesion as we started to attack each other.

Eventually Winston got away and stayed away for 10th. Then on the final hill, Gavriel attacked and got away taking 11th. Then in the final sprint between me, Andy, and Curtis — well let’s just say I finished 14th in the race — you do the math. Less than 30 finishers out of close to 150 starters. What an epic race!

June 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm 1 comment

Johnson City Race Report

Quick summary
12th in the road race, soft pedaled the time trial for 50th, and 26th in a crit in the middle of heavy downpour – 17th overall omnium.

Road race
Wow, what a great race … epic location in the smoky mountains ending with an HC climb. A break of 7 riders formed on the loop part of the course. This break included eventual winner, super strong climber Jimmy Schurmann (Champion Systems Pro Cycling) plus former winner Scottie Weiss (Veloshine) as well Andy Scarano (UHC/706 Project), Dirk Pohlmann (Texas Roadhouse), Birmingham rider Payne Griffin (Marx and Bensdorf), and two other riders I didn’t know – Nick Jowsey (Brevard, NC) and Jake Arnold (Fort Collins, CO).

My teammate Jeff McGrane rode aggressively and helped keep the pace high at the front of the field. The break never got a huge gap to us as we could always see them so I figured that it would all come back together before the steep part of the climb. I stayed near the very front to look for any promising moves, but still managed to miss Shawn Gravois (UHC/706) when he attacked to bridge to Brian Sheedy (Globalbike) shortly after the turn off the loop onto US-19. The High Country Devo team set a fast tempo, and it looked like they were going to bring Shawn and Brian back by the top of the Cat 4 climb on US 19, but across the top Buddy Spafford (Asheville, NC) attacked and the High Country Devo team sat up. Seeing this as an opportunity to try to chase back up to Shawn, I attacked bringing one rider (Brandon Freyer – App State) with me and the three of us were away. We got a time split of 1 minute to the break shortly before we made the turn off of US 19 to head towards the base of the official climb.

We had lost sight of the main field behind us, so we were going to start the climb with a pretty good gap. Looking at the strava data later, I calculate that our gap to the field must have been about 1’30″ by the start of the official 7 mile climb to the finish. Talking to Shawn and Jimmy after the finish, here’s what was happening ahead – Shawn and Brian’s chase group had indeed caught the lead group. By the bottom of the climb, Jimmy had gone ahead taking Shawn and Scottie with him. Eventually it was just Jimmy as Shawn and Scottie came off his pace. Meanwhile from behind in the field came a flying Cameron Coggan (CCB) who eventually caught and passed everyone except for Jimmy and Shawn who went on to take 1st and 2nd with Cameron in 3rd. Cameron went ahead and climbed all the way up to the top of the mountain as well.

Much farther down the mountain, the three man chase group I was in had been soldiering on working well together for about 7 or 8 miles all the way to the bottom of the climb. At the bottom, I settled into tempo to try to pace myself all the way up the climb and still hopefully catch people from the break. Chris Uberti (Smart Stop / Mountain Khakis) caught me about 2 miles in. I stayed with him until Cameron Cogburn (CCB) came flying by. Chris was able to stay with Cameron for a bit, but I only lasted a few seconds. I wasn’t exactly disheartened, though, because I felt like I was climbing at a good tempo. I kept Chris in my sight for a long time, but he would eventually finish a minute and a half ahead of me. I caught Payne Griffin (Marx and Bensdorf) at the spot we had compared to Karl Daly (from there to the summit) after he had come off the lead group. I caught one more rider before getting caught myself by Daniel Patten (Mountain Khakis) with about 1K to the finish. I saw him coming, so I eased up and then latched on to him until the sprint for the finish, where I cramped and then immediately sat up to finish the race in 12th. Afterwards, Kyle Taylor (Team Bikers Choice) convinced me to climb with him to the top. It was well worth it for the view and to experience the microclimate of the Great Smoky Mountains above 6000′ in elevation (we maxed out at just over 6200′).

Not the result I was looking for, but it was still a good race. I ended up setting an all-time power record for the duration 1 hour 5 minutes up through 1 hour 17 minutes with a power of 290 watts or (4.5 watts / kg) for that duration of time. Even though it was an all-time power record, I believe that I’ve got another 10-15 watts or so in my legs but just didn’t have it on Saturday. My CP curve predicts that I should have been able to maintain 304 watts over that same length of time. Another year! Although, if Tulsa Tough conflicts again with this race, I think I’m going to hit it up next year and then switch back to Johnson City the following year … hopefully the schedules will be different next year to allow me to do both!

Roan Groan - CP Curve annotated - click to enlargeRoan Groan – CP Curve annotated – click to enlarge

Roan Groan - heartrate/power plot annotated - click to enlargeRoan Groan – heartrate/power plot annotated – click to enlarge

Roan Groan - power map - click to enlargeRoan Groan climb power map – click to enlarge

Roan Groan - power map - click to enlargeRoan Groan – power map – click to enlarge

Road race heartrate zone summaryRoad race heartrate zone summary

Screen grab from beginning of climb - "flash headlights to warn of wildlife"Screen grab from beginning of climb – “flash headlights to warn of wildlife”

Time trial
With so many strong riders here, I knew that even a max effort for me wouldn’t get me any omnium points. So I decided to take it easy on the time trial – especially since I had cramped hard at the end of the road race. I really enjoyed warming up with a few riders and contemplating bike racing and taking in such a crazy awesome view in the Nolichucky Gorge outside of Erwin, TN. Then I started the time trial with my camera out and took pictures of all the riders who passed me during the time trial. I also tried to shout encouragement to each of them (and stay out of the way). My teammate, John Hart, smoked the time trial ending up falling less than 2 seconds short of the win behind Brian Sheedy and a half second behind Shawn Gravois in second place.

Criterium
Sunday’s criterium was on a technical course. I did warm-up laps on it when it was dry, and the first few laps of our race were dry, but then it started to rain and the wrecks started to happen and eventually I dropped off the back – taking the corners ultra slow but trying to drill the straightaways to delay getting lapped (and pulled) as long as possible. I got pulled late enough to be placed 26th – no omnium points, but it still counted as a finish to keep me in the overall, where my road race points alone were good enough for 17th overall. Got a good video of the first wreck after the rain started.

Videos
Here’s a selection of videos from the races – starting with the rainy crit and working backwards to the road race.

June 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Rockabilly Omnium 2013

Pro/1/2 omnium - me, Nathan Brown, and Johnny BrownPro/1/2 omnium – me, Nathan Brown, and Johnny Brown

Quick summary
The road race was cancelled for tornado warnings halfway through the race. My teammate John Hart and I had both made it into the break of the day – the only team with two riders in the break. For the time trial, I was desperately trying not to get passed by Paul Tower (Donohoo-Infinity Racing), my 30 second man and I ended up just missing a power record for 11 minutes by 4 watts – although the previous record was on a long KOM climb where you can use much more of your upper body. For the criterium, I ended up winning the field sprint to take 3rd in the race with Nate Brown (Bontrager) and Bryant Funston (Marx and Bensdorf) already having lapped the field. This was enough points, however, to move me up to 3rd in the omnium behind Nate and his brother Johnny.

The details
A very strong field lined up in the rain at the start of the road race. I drove up from Birmingham before the start and had just enough time to pin my numbers on in heavy rain and roll to the staging area. It was a very nice drive through rural northwest Alabama, northeast Mississippi, and southwest Tennessee.

The race started out neutral down the longest downhill of the day in a cold steady rain. The attacks started immediately after the neutral. I was towards the front and covered the first one or two. My teammates took turns covering the next set of attacks. Several moves got quite the gap on the field, but each one had one or more teams missing (but never ours!) – and it was amazing how fast the breaks got brought back in response to counter attacks from the field. After the first lap of constant attacks, a group got established when I covered a move by Johnny Brown (Hot Tubes) and Andrew Hammond (Herring Gas). I think there was one other rider with us initially bc I remember there being four of us in the initial rotation.

Then a few more riders bridged up to us – including my teammate John who got the free ride across covering an attack by Anders Swanson. We settled into a very good rotation immediately, but our gap to the field stayed not more than 20 seconds or so. You can see in the heartrate data how hard we were pushing it throughout the entire lap. Several times I thought we were going to get brought back, but then whoever was chasing must have given up bc our gap ballooned up pretty quickly to maybe a minute by the start of the third lap.

The rain had stopped by the start of the third lap, but you could see a wall of clouds approaching. Even before it hit, the wind had picked up substantially and our group was able to echelon and extend our lead as the weather really started to go downhill. Still, it caught me by surprise when they stopped our race – not much anyone could do about it bc the police wanted us off the course with the approaching storm having the potential to drop a tornado. We huddled under a covered entrance to the school at the staging area – probably 30 or more of us crammed in there to keep warm. Crazy for the first day of June! Disappointing to miss out on some good omnium points, but sometimes that’s just the luck of the draw with bike racing.

The sun came out in the afternoon for the TT. I’m always looking to explore new roads (one of the reasons I ride) so I decided to ride over to the start. Fun ride through some neighborhoods, followed by warmup on the tarmac track around the football field. I had 15 minutes until my start when I decided there was enough time to ride to the bottom of the downhill on the road race and turn around come back up it to match a strava segment. About halfway down the hill, I felt the rear wheel was squishy and sure enough I had a flat. I thought there was enough air to make it back, so I turned around and booked it back up the hill with it eventually going completely flat about a tenth of a mile before the parking lot.

I borrowed a teammates wheel and headed to the start where I only had to wait a coupled minutes before it was my time to go. I kept a close eye on my power meter trying to keep the average power around 365 – a bit unrealistic for that distance, but still I ended up with 352 watts for 11 minutes, 6 seconds – 4 watts shy of an all-time power record for that length of time.

Critical power curve with TT overlayCritical power curve with TT overlay

I think it’s somewhat comical that a power record for me doesn’t even get me a top 10 in the time trial – testament to how strong the field is and also how amazingly un-aerodynamic I am on the bike. So no points for me in the TT, but my teammates John Hart, Kurt Page, and Jeff McGrane all rocked it with John taking a close 2nd behind Nate Brown (Bontrager), Kurt in 4th (first cat 2), and Jeff in 9th.

Sunday’s criterium
No rain on the radar, but the day started out with a light rain mist from low hanging clouds. I started my warmup with 80 PSI rear tire and 70 PSI front tire in anticipation of the streets staying slick until our race. About an hour before our race, though, the sun was out and not hiding again before the start of our race so shortly before the start of our race I pumped up the tires to 95 psi back and 90 psi front – still a little low just in case it did start to rain. I enjoyed my warm-up through the hilly neighborhood on the north side of the course – seeing an albino squirrel running across a yard chasing another squirrel and I also stumbled across storm damage from Saturday’s storm and saw the Hillbilly outdoor stage and mural (see pic gallery at the bottom)

By the start of our race, it was hot, and there was attacks from the beginning. The speed stayed so high with some tricky corners that gaps started to open up. I chased around a few gaps and eventually found myself on Nate Brown’s wheel going into the backside hill. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize he was about to attack b/c as the group bunched up I went to the left whereas he shot off to the right. I was blocked in and missed the perfect opportunity to get away. I tried to bridge anyway attacking a few seconds later, but the closest I could pull the gap back to was about 4 seconds. With no one to help in the chase, I sat up after three laps off the front and waited for the field to catch me hoping that somebody else would be able to drill back the break. The video below shows Nate’s attack to bridge up to Bryant – and then me attacking to try to bridge up to them for several laps.

It didn’t happen so I spent the rest of the race trying to help my teammates cover moves to get a chase group started. Jeff, John, and Kurt all got away at some point – but there was always one or two strong riders left in the field who would bring back the move. I tried to get away twice – once to get a prime and another time with Anders Swanson (Litespeed BMW) late in the race. Again, though, somebody was always able to bring it back. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to recover and position for the final sprint with Nate Brown having lapped the field and drilling it at the front leading out his brother Johnny.

Having attacked on the backside hill to get the prime, I knew that was where I wanted to attack for the final sprint. I pulled out of line towards the bottom of the downhill and attacked hard up the left to make sure I had a lot of speed heading into the corners — almost too much speed — I was on the brakes hard through half the final turn but still carried 30mph out of the turn and then ramped it up again trying to hold on, but half expecting a surge to come around before the line. Apparently, I had enough of a gap though to hold on to take the field sprint for 3rd place in the race. That was good enough to bump me up to 3rd in the omnium since the crit was weighted more than the time trial.

Huge shout-out to Adam Morris, Cat 3 rider for Absolute Racing, who took 2nd in the road race and then won the time trial and looked to be heading for a win in the criterium when a rider went down in front of him in the last corner. In addition to his great results, Adam gets the good samaritan award for the weekend as he helped me jump my car after I left my windshield wipers on with the keys in the ignition during the race. 100% absent-minded professor.

Here’s the rest of my data from the weekend – starting with the criterium:

Rockabilly criterium annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly criterium annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly criterium heartrate zone summaryRockabilly criterium heartrate zone summary

Rockabilly time trial heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly time trial heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly time trial heartrate zone summaryRockabilly time trial heartrate zone summary

Rockabilly road race annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly road race annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly road race heartrate zone summaryRockabilly road race heartrate zone summary

Pro/1/2 criterium podium - me, Nathan Brown, and Bryant FunstonPro/1/2 criterium podium – me, Nathan Brown, and Bryant Funston

Finally, here’s a gallery of all the pictures I took over the weekend – in reverse chronological order.

June 3, 2013 at 12:55 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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