Posts tagged ‘road race’
Great race today in Grant, Alabama. Chris Cundiff organized a race billed as “The Race of the Falling Leaves” in tribute of the race of the same name held today in Italy around Lake Komo. The race held up to its name as there were literally leaves falling as we raced three times up the mountain where the town of Grant is located. I ended up edging out Mike Olheiser in the final sprint to take the win. Here’s all the data!
Road Race Summary
I’ve got a 4th place streak going on here with two races in a row missing the podium by one spot. The race went well until the final sprint where I came in a disappointing 4th from a 5-man break after losing the wheel of the winner Grant Potter (Z-Motion). Phil Gaimon (Kenda) for sure deserves most aggressive rider since he realized that Grant would win the sprint from our breakaway group and repeatedly tried to dislodge him with attack after attack in the last 10 miles. But it was altogether for the finish with Grant taking the win, Jonathan Atwell (The Hub) 2nd, Serghei Tvetkov (Aerocat) 3rd, me 4th, and Phil 5th. Our break had a sizeable margin of 3-4 minutes over the field by the end.
Time Trial Summary
The time trial was amazingly fun and also went pretty well. I surpassed my predicted 6 minute power threshold by a few watts (see annotated CP curve towards bottom of this post). My goal at the beginning of the time trial was to focus on maintaining a lap average of 375 watts. After the first couple minutes, I was still well into the 400s, so I began to be really motivated that maybe I could maintain 400 watts for the entire TT. But then my legs started to fade and my power started to drop. I still had a lot of upper body strength left, though, so I stood up and cranked it back up to 400 watts a couple times. Normally, this would be a big time trial aero “no-no”, but with a massive tailwind, I’m pretty sure that it was OK since I was able to get my speed back up both times. In the end, my average speed was just over 29mph, and my average power was 395 watts. Checking the results today, it looks like I was somewhere in the top 15 maybe around 13th, but I was last place of the five of us in the break from the road race, which put me in 5th place on the GC going into Sunday’s criterium (next post). Time trial data posted at the bottom of this post. Also – kudos to John Hart for absolutely smoking the time trial with a time of 5’35″ for an average speed of 33mph!!!
Road Race Details and Data
Here is how the road race played out:
1st lap – there were lots of attacks/chasing in the first few miles with one group of 3 eventually getting away and another group of 3 chasing. When we made it to the longest hill on the course, Phil Gaimon (Kenda) attacked hard. A few of us were able to hold his wheel as we caught the break by the top of the hill. They latched onto our group essentially turning the race into a field split. There wasn’t enough cooperation in the large front group, so after a few miles the rest of the field caught back up to us. I believe there were a few more attacks to finish off the lap, but it was basically all together by the start of the second lap.
2nd lap – Towards the beginning of the second lap, a small group of maybe 3 or 4 riders including Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) rolled up the road. I attacked repeatedly to try to bridge across, but every time field would string out and chase. John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies) was able to escape, though, and set out in pursuit. A few more riders were able to get away solo and chase. Eventually, there were at least 8 guys up the road including Serghei Tvetcov (Aerocat). This group all came together into one lead group. I tried a couple more times to get away or form a second chase group before the long gradual downhill section, but I was reeled back in each time. So on the downhill, I decided to rest in anticipation of the downhill. I was near the front when I saw a rider getting ready to attack at the base of the hill. I grabbed his wheel and followed him knowing that the real attack would come a little bit later. Sure enough, Phil came flying around a few seconds later. I drilled it hard and was able to close the gap back up to him by the top with only one rider in tow – Jonathan. My teammate Pat Allison was caught in the middle behind us. I could hear him yelling across the top that he was coming so I stopped working so that he could finish the bridge to our chase group. Unfortunately, Phil and Jonathan were drilling it super hard through a heavy crosswind section so Pat was unable to make the bridge. I was struggling just to hang onto their wheel, so I can’t imagine crossing the gap alone. By the end of the crosswind section, Pat was swallowed by the field and we were getting close to finishing the bridge to the lead group. This was about 3/4 of the way through the second lap. As a large group, we rotated well for the rest of the lap and kept a pretty good speed.
3rd lap – A couple miles into the start of the third lap, we could see that the field was not too far behind us. At this point, the commitment level in the group really dropped. People were still pulling, but not very hard. At one point, after John Hart and Phil pulled I noticed a gap behind Phil. So I attacked hoping that the two of them would come with me to form another group. They didn’t, though, and so I ended up riding off the front solo for a couple minutes. When the group came back together, we continued rotating but the impetus was definitely gone from the group. This was right when we reached the rolling section on the front side of the course. I noticed another gap opening up behind Serghei as he was getting ready to pull so I attacked again and this time there were three of us together. Phil and Grant bridged up to us a couple minutes later to form the final break of five. At this point in the race, we worked together really well with everybody pulling hard because the rest of the break behind us was chasing hard. Eventually, though, we started to pull away and get a sizeable gap. Our group was an interesting one with one strong sprinter and four all-rounders (i.e., not sprinters). For the last 10 miles, starting with the long hill on the course, it was attack after attack. Phil attacked the most with Serghei counter attacking several times with me on his wheel. Jonathan attacked a few times, and I attacked once or twice. Grant was able to chase back each move and still take the sprint at the end!
Going into the final sprint, I was sitting on Grant’s wheel after Phil had attacked and strung out the group. Serghei countered to start the sprint in the final few hundred meters. As Grant surged for the sprint with 200 meters to go, I lost his wheel for a second but was closing it back up to him when Jonathan realized that Grant was the better wheel than Serghei. So Jonathan pulled over to grab the wheel in the space that I had opened up. It was my fault for letting the gap open up in the first place, but Grant’s surge was probably several hundred watts more powerful than mine and it took time for me to get his draft and move back up. In the end, the two of them were able to squeeze by Serghei for the finish and I only made it halfway around him – so the final finish order was Grant, Jonathan, Serghei, me, and Phil.
All-in-all, it was a good race with a somewhat disappointing finish. There were lots of tactical sections as well as flat-out sections as well as strategic battles. Fun, hard racing. Lots of data below …
Road race data
Time Trial data
The River Gorge road race is of course the highlight event of the weekend with the only summit finish of the year in the entire southeast racing calendar. Plus, throw in a tough climb up Sand Mountain early in the race, and this race really packs a punch for its 60 mile distance. Here is an annotated summary of the race using my heartrate data (no power on my light climbing wheel). Ooops! Correction – Tim Valentine just reminded me about Roan Groan on the TN/VA border with its mountain top finish. I’ve never had the opportunity to do that race, maybe next year!
Here is how the race played out. After we made the left out of the neutral zone, there was an attack. Then there was a chase all the way up the first hill. We flew up the hill, and as my mindset was on saving energy for the climbs later in the race, I let myself slide backwards through the group rather than trying to kill it to stay up front. We settled into a fast pace through the next several miles, and I found a few opportunities to move up so that I was about mid-pack (instead of the back) by the time we made the righthand turn to go up the first steep hill of the race.
Already on this first steep hill, there were riders heading backwards, and I had to come to a near stop a couple times trying to maneuver around them. By the top, there was a group of maybe 15 riders that had split off the front and had a 20-30 second gap on the field which coalesced behind them on the descent underneath I-24. Several riders worked the front of the group through the next rolling upward section and started to close the gap. By the top of the rollers, though, there was still a 10-20 second gap, and riders started to sit up for the descent. I went straight to the front to try to keep the pace rolling. There were only three of us who worked on the descent, but we eventually caught the front group.
It was gruppo compacto all the way to the Tennessee River where we turned left to head up the next larger hill. Several riders went hard, but the group stayed together to the top and down the descent at a crazy-fast speed to the next long flat section. It was here that I missed my opportunity to be in the lead group as two separate moves left the front, and I was too far back to go with them. I missed another opportunity when Brendan Sullivan attacked with a couple others on the road leading into Alabama before Sand Mountain. Afterwards, our pace plummeted in the group all the way to the foot of Sand Mountain. Our average speed for two miles was only 17MPH. I wanted to attack, but I had missed my opportunity as the guys in the front were going slow and there was no way to get around on the narrow road.
I had managed to very slowly work my way to the front still planning to attack before Sand Mountain when we made it to the bottom of Sand Mountain. So instead of attacking before Sand Mountain, I rolled off the front in a steady pursuit of a Krystal rider who had attacked right at the base of the climb. Then Nate Brown came flying around me as the climb started to get steeper. I dug deep to grab and hold his wheel as we caught and passed the Krystal rider a few hundred meters later. Nate’s attack had shattered the group, and there was only three or four of us left at the front of the climb by this point. Nate sat up at this point (calling it a day, I think?) and I was left in front. Mike Stone came around a couple seconds later, and I was planning on going to the back of our small group but there was a gap opening up so I rallied to chase back on to Mike’s wheel and then sat there for the rest of the climb way above threshold thinking that at any moment my legs would explode. He drilled it all the way to the top as we caught and passed a couple riders coming off the lead group.
Mike’s relentless pace up the climb meant that it was just me and him by the top. I grabbed a bottle from Kristine, and he grabbed a musette from his team. I worked hard to stay on his wheel and tried to help him across the top, but the pace would slow down a fraction every time I came to the front. Towards the end of the rollers across the top of Sand Mountain, I was starting to feel better and recovered from the Sand Mountain climb and there was still no sight of the field regrouping behind us. We flew down the descent back to the Tennessee River and made the right-hand turn with a group of riders visible in the distance in front of us. After a minute or so back on the flats, I looked back and could see the field already down the mountain behind us as well. The moto official gave us a split of 40 seconds to the field at this point. We kept it steady and pushed it hard over the smaller climbs and gradually closed the distance to the group in front of us finally catching them just before the stair-stepper. Michael and I were in pursuit of them for 14.5 miles (or almost 1/4 of the race).
Once we caught them, we kept pushing even though the field was only 1 minute back from us as we started the stair stepper climb. There were six of us in the group – me and mt teammate Pat from Tria, three Hincapie Devo riders (Mike Stone, Parker Kyzer, and Justin Lowe), as well as AJ Meyer (Hincapie Green). Once we made it to the top of the stair stepper and through the second feed zone, our chase group gelled the best I have EVER seen in a race. It was literally a six-man team time trial in pursuit of the front group which had a three and a half minute gap on us. Our chase averaged 30mph for 8 miles over rolling terrain with one steep downhill. At one point, we could see the women’s field up ahead of us with a follow car just too far ahead to tell what field it was. Pat asked me if that was the lead group, and I said “probably not, but let’s pretend like it is” and we went even faster in pursuit. Pat really dug deep during this pursuit even after he started cramping. We all were flying and for me those 8 miles were the best part of the race. It was awesome!
By the time we reached the turn-off for the final Raccoon Mountain climb, we had caught Frank Travesio (Realcyclist) who had come off the lead group. We had also lost a couple of the Hincapie riders on the climb up to the turn-off. So it was five of us heading into the bottom of the final climb. Pat went to the front and drilled it hitting 50+mph on the downhill and then across the flat to the bottom of the hill. At the bottom, Mike set out first and I came around to grab his wheel. I thought it would be a repeat of Sand Mountain with him pushing me to the breaking point on the climb, but instead I found that my legs were doing fine enough behind him for me to attack about halfway up the first steep section. I got a good gap, but couldn’t extend it at all until near the very top of the first steep section of the climb. I drilled it down the hill bunny hopping the speed bumps at 45mph because there were Cat 4 and Women riders on the descent at the same time and that was the only open line.
On the second half of the climb which isn’t as steep as the first half, I was able to keep the pace high and extend my lead on Mike. Up ahead I could see two riders climbing who I realized must be in my field. I came really close and could hear the cheers for the final sprint with 200 meters to go but I couldn’t quite catch Chris and Brendan. So we had nearly bridged a 3+ minute gap to the back of the lead group by the top of the climb!
With nine riders still left in the lead group, that means I finished 10th. Definitely not the result I was hoping for, but I am still very happy with it because of how good I felt on the final climb. All the obsessive climbing for Strava has really helped this year! Too bad this is the second and final of only two races for the entire year that have significant climbing (the first was the Tour of Atlanta Burnt Mountain road race at the end of May).
I rode my American Classic tubular wheel, so I don’t have any power data other than the Strava data below -
And here is the link to the interactive Strava data for all three events this weekend -
Kristine got a good video of the sprint finish with a small break staying just off the front -
High Rock Road Race – power/heartrate graph
The power graph above summarizes the race pretty well – constant attacks, chasing, hoping missed break comes back, etc… 80 guys on narrow roads makes it tough to move around, but I managed to get into a couple moves, miss a bunch of other moves, get chased down a few times, and pull the pack around once or twice. In other words, it was an all-round terrible race. I sat up for the finishing sprint when there was still 40+ riders in front of me at 200m to go and a break of 6 or 7 riders off the front of that. Hopefully, I didn’t lose too many places in the overall and maybe with a good result tomorrow I can pull off a top 10 for the omnium.
Here is the lap data from Strava:
NAME DIST ELEV SPEED POWER HR TIME Lap 1 12.9 mi 121 ft 27.3 mph 205 watts 144 bpm 0:28:11 Lap 2 12.9 mi 121 ft 26.6 mph 244 watts 158 bpm 0:28:51 Lap 3 12.9 mi 121 ft 26.2 mph 224 watts 151 bpm 0:29:20 Lap 4 12.8 mi 121 ft 26.1 mph 219 watts 152 bpm 0:29:28 Lap 5 12.8 mi 121 ft 25.1 mph 190 watts 145 bpm 0:30:40
Here is the interactive link: http://app.strava.com/rides/1132466
Clearly, the hot conditions took its toll on everyone. I had to spend quite a bit of time in the EMT tent recovering with cold towels and drinks before I could make it back to my car! Here is the temperature graph from our race:
Temperature graph for the oxford hills pro/1/2 road race
The average temperature was 95.5 with a min of 89.5 and a max of 109.5 by the end of the race! HOT!
Today was one of those days where my final placing wasn’t what I wanted, but I was still happy with the race. Kudos to my teammate Justin Bynum for taking 2nd today again in the 3′s. He is on fire!
The field today was much larger than previous days with 79 people starting the race. Our Pro/1/2 race was again combined with the 3s with the placings separated out at the end. We raced in the heat of the day (1:00PM) for 7 laps of a 10 mile loop. I figured that an early break had a good shot at staying away due to the conditions. But with so many people eager to do well, none of the early moves stuck. There was a 3 place KOM on the second lap. I made it onto the back of the sprint for the KOM and into a break of 4 Team Type I riders, 2 Aerocat, Onal Samuels, me, and maybe one or two other people. We did not work well together and were caught after a few miles.
On the fourth lap, a break materialized with Alexey Schmidt (TT1) and two other riders, but no Chemstar and no Aerocat. Aerocat had spent a lot of bullets chasing a strong solo TT1 move on the third lap. So they were not able to make much headway on the three man break. There were several small attacks, but no one got very far except for John Hart (FGS) one lap later on the fifth lap. I saw an opening to attack to try to bridge up and attacked hard. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring any TT1 or Aerocat riders. Instead, I was on my own chasing. I chased hard and quickly (maybe 5 minutes) closed the gap to John as he sat up to let me join him once he realized I was coming across the gap.
We worked well together, but the field had decided to take up the chase. We were caught towards the end of the fifth lap shortly before the start of the sixth lap and the steep feedzone climb. I was out of water by this point and managed to grab another neutral water but slid all the way near the back of the group. After the feedzone climb, the course descended for quite a while before starting a long, gradual drag up to the KOM. There had been lots of attacks through here throughout the race, but I let myself slide too far back so that when the attacks went again this time, I had to drill it through a field that was exploding on the long gradual climb. Eventually, I worked my way into one of the last chase groups. Unfortunately, several of the smaller groups and riders ahead coalesced into a strong group of 11 that rolled away from our field, which had swallowed the chase group that I was in.
On the last lap, there was a two-man move that went clear of the field at about the same place on the course – the long, gradual KOM climb. This time, I was close enough to the front, to bridge across to it when I saw that the field was sitting up. I made it up to the two riders right at the top of the climb and went straight to the front to pull the downhill. On the subsequent uphill, we lost one of the riders so it was down to just me and one other rider. I pulled really hard, but the other rider was able to pull and give me a break every few minutes. From the spot where I attacked, we still had nine miles to go. By the time we were down to just two riders, we had about 8 more miles left on the lap. We could see the lead group of 14 riders just ahead of us and continued to close down the gap. Eventually, we made it to within 20 seconds of the lead group, but at that point I believe they started pulling away again so that we finished about 20 seconds behind riders who had come off the back of that group in the sprint and about 30 seconds behind the winner. We had extended our lead on the field to almost one minute! I took 15th, and my breakaway companion took 16th.
Here is my power data and Strava segment data:
NAME DIST SPEED POWER HR TIME Lap 1 10.4 mi 25.7 mph 253 watts 168 bpm 0:24:25 Lap 2 10.5 mi 25.5 mph 208 watts 167 bpm 0:24:39 Lap 3 10.5 mi 24.5 mph 182 watts 154 bpm 0:25:38 Lap 4 10.4 mi 24.8 mph 189 watts 158 bpm 0:25:21 Lap 5 10.5 mi 23.9 mph 196 watts 160 bpm 0:26:18 Lap 6 10.5 mi 22.4 mph 173 watts 154 bpm 0:28:01 Lap 7 10.5 mi 24.4 mph 246 watts 176 bpm 0:25:45