Archive for September, 2010

Samford University ACM Ride

Fun ride today with students Greg, John, Adam, and Jason from Samford and my friend Jamie Butler from church. Thanks to the Samford University ACM chapter for organizing the ride and inviting me to lead it! Here is the route we took – lots of climbing, but worth it for the views…
The Samford University ACM ride – click for hi-res version

I went for a pretty intense ride ahead of time climbing Double Oak Ridge – one of the few Cat 3 climbs in the area for the Strava competition. I thought I had set a new record on the climb based on how hard I was going, but after downloading the ride data it turns out I was 22 seconds off my previous best even though my heartrate average was almost 5 bpm higher … learned a lesson about climbing – slow and steady at the start is better even if you don’t blow up before the top because you might still not be able to push it as hard as you otherwise would have been able to … and on a long climb that can add up to some pretty serious time!
The complete ride 60 miles and almost 6000′ climbing – click for hi-res

September 25, 2010 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Race Report

Zoomed in view of the start/finish stretch before the start of the Cat 2/3 race.

Race report
Raced and fought hard to a 30th place finish out of a strong field of about 100 starters. I got caught up in a crash near the middle of the group about 10 laps into the race ultimately skidding to a stop holding onto the original rider who went down – a United Healthcare rider – who had just stood up as other riders squeaked past us. The hardest part of the race was when we were put back in one lap later at the very back of the peloton, which was being led by the entire Hotel San Jose team as they were chasing a six-man break that had gotten away without them because of the crash. About 10 laps later the pace had eased up, and I was able to work my way up to near the front of the group where I stayed for the remainder of the race. In the end, I missed a seven man move that escaped on a $1000 prime lap. One lap later, I moved into position to keep ahead of the “swarm” on the downhill, when Ben Zawacki from Team Ion attacked off the front to chase the group of seven. I had an opening, and so I launched off the side of the group, thinking that if I could reach Ben then perhaps the two of us could make the bridge — but Ben already had a great gap by the time I attacked, and I couldn’t close any so I sat up after the downhill to conserve energy for the finish. In the end I fought hard for position, finishing 18th in the field sprint, which meant 30th for the race with twelve riders off the front.

The course was a nice 4-corner around the American Airlines Center arena in Dallas. The course had a short (but steep) 6% uphill immediately after the start/finish and a longer but more gradual downhill on the back side of the course. The uphill was with a tailwind and the downhill was into a headwind/sidewind blowing from the west on the most exposed part of the course. I got a call-up before the start, and that is the first video posted below my heartrate/power data. Two helicopters were hovering over the course to stream the race for a local news station. Also, there was a giant jumbotron screen for spectators – so it was an exciting race to end my 2010 season – although I am planning on racing the Alabama state time trial (Oct 2) and the Tour de Cullman (Oct 23) for some good fun and training!

Trip details
This race was a crazy trip for Kristine and I as we made the 650 mile drive (one-way) from Birmingham to Dallas on Wednesday after I finished teaching my Wednesday afternoon class. Then Thursday night after the race, we “turned and burned” and drove the 650 miles back to Birmingham to make it back in time for my 9AM Friday class. We were gone for a total of 40 hours, 22 of which was spent driving, about 3 hours of racing and warm-up, a few hours during the day on Thursday hanging out with friends, and only 8 hours of sleeping. We shared the driving on the return trip, spent the night with awesome friends at the Christian missions organization (Mercy Ships) where the two of us met which was on the way to Dallas, and had an all-round great time.

TopoCreator map of our return trip from Dallas back to Birmingham

Texas Tough, Dallas, TX, USA Crits Finale 2010-09-16
Dist:       38.22 mi (1:24:04)
Energy:    1207.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 1154.2 kcal
Climbing:     549 ft
Braking:    -13.9 kJ (-1.2%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  239.4   793  W
Aero        0  112.3   661  W
Rolling     0   36.3    50  W
Gravity  -508    0.5   436  W
Speed     0.0   27.3  37.8  mi/h
Wind      9.1   16.3  31.5  mi/h
Elev      363    375   387  ft
Slope    -4.5   0.01   6.1  %
Caden       0   78.2   115  rpm
HR        128  178.9   192  bpm
NP 271 W; IF 0.979; TSS 134.2
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/16/2010 5:56 PM
87 degF; 1012 mbar

Annotated heartrate data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The race started with a neutral lap – riders inches from the pace car completely surrounding it on both sides, too!
  2. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  3. The hardest part of the race, hanging on and trying to move up with Team Hotel San Jose drove the pace chasing the break
  4. Easier – fighting to stay at the front

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Heartrate Data

Annotated power data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  2. Bridge attempt late in the race (about 6 or 7 laps to go)

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Power Data

Note the drafting differences (i.e., difference between the white line and the blue line) in the two different parts of the race. In the first red circled area, the pace is super fast and I am just hanging onto the rider in front of me. In the second circle area, you see more places where I am attacking or moving out into the wind to try to continue to move up or maintain position at the front of the race. I love being able to see this data on my iBike, and over time I am hoping it will help me figure out how to better mete out my energy for crits.

Videos from the race – Kristine took these videos on her iPhone.

Call-ups at the Texas Tough Grand Prix

Start of the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Early lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Middle lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

The start/finish stretch underneath towering hotels and high-rise condiminiums
Racing in downtown Dallas, TX
Spending the night with friends from Mercy Ships in Van, TX
Eating breakfast at the iconic Dinner Bell restaurant in Van, TX

September 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm 1 comment

Dothan Cityfest Criterium Race Report

Oh so close to a late season podium… 4th place after 20+ laps in a 4-man break. Still, the Dothan Cityfest criterium was an awesome new race on the calendar this year in Dothan, AL. The Pro/1/2 race featured a $10,000 prize purse paid 25 places deep. My awesome teammates Stuart Lamp, Terry Duran, and I lined up with me in a field of about 30. Even though the field was small, the action (and temperature) was HOT. I had a front-row start, and clipped in first and took off from the gun. I didn’t get anywhere though and simply pulled the field around for the entire first lap. This meant that when the first attack went at the start of the second lap, I wasn’t ready to go with it. Fortunately, my teammate Stuart saw the move and covered it. The field came back together and I moved into position to go with the next move, which came from Andy Crater (Aerocat) who animated the action attacking repeatedly in the first 10 laps. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far in front of a fresh field before we were pulled back. I was pretty tired after the intense early laps and had slid back and missed the next couple of moves. My teammate Terry covered each one.

Then, about 10 laps into the race, there was a solo move from Emile Abraham (Aerocat). He got a good 5-10 second gap on the field before Team Ion moved to the front and drilled it back. I saw Crater move into position to counter attack and immediately hopped onto his wheel. An Ion rider, Winston David, also latched on, and we were off. When we passed through the start/finish line, I knew we must have had a good gap because the intensity of my wife’s cheering increased a notch or two. One or two laps later, John Atkins bridged up to us solo. I was still recovering from early moves and was struggling to maintain the pace that Andy and Winston were setting, but our lead kept increasing so eventually our pace settled down into something that I could maintain. By the time we lapped the field, there was only 4 laps left in the race. My teammate Stuart came to the front and set a very fast pace for the last 2 laps to prevent any of my breakmates from attacking. I settled comfortably into 3rd or 4th position when we were swarmed coming out of the start/finish line with one lap to go. I saw an opening on the left on the uphill between turns 1 and 2 and attacked to move to the front. Looking back, I should have attacked with the intention of breaking away b/c I think there is a chance I could have held it with the tricky corners in turns 2, 3, and 4.

Instead, I eased up and waited for someone else to make the first move. It came from Winston, who was one of my breakmates. Crater got on his wheel, and I was on Crater’s wheel coming out of Turn 3. About halfway down the hill, Crater attacked. It was a perfect attack and caught me on the wrong side of Winston so I settled onto Winston’s wheel as he chased to catch Crater. My thinking was that if he couldn’t bring Crater back, that at least I could come around him to secure 2nd or worst case settle for 3rd, still up on the podium. Instead, I wasn’t able to come around him, and John Atkins came around me immediately out of the last corner so that I ended up 4th in the sprint, beaten by all three of my breakaway companions.

Disappointing finish for me to an otherwise awesome race! The Dothan organizers went all out for this event, with excellent commentating by Chad Andrews, support for a very large kids race, and awesome prize money. All of this combined with the festival that was going on just down the street, it made for a great day of entertainment. Analise and Josiah both had fun in the kids races … and riding their bikes with me at the start of my warm-up on a closed street with railroad tracks to cross! Just before the start of the Pro women’s race, there was a 1 lap celebrity race with the mayor of Dothan, a congressman, senator, and other local government officials and celebs. They all road on the green single-speed cruiser bikes that Regions Bank has in their commercials and provides to universities like Samford. It started out like any other celeb race, but the finish was like none I have seen. The mayor completely decked out in a suit and helmet was sprinting against the congressman from out of the last corner all the way to the finish line. They were so close that you couldn’t tell who had won and they had to look at the finish line camera to decide it! Wow!! This really got the crowd amped up for our race, which turned out to be pretty exciting.

My teammate Katherine Herring had a great race with the Pro/1/2/3 women holding her own until she had a run-in with a hay bale on the last lap. Still, she picked herself up, and crossed the finish line in 8th place. Also, Sammy raced the 2/3 race earlier in the day taking 8th place even while battling a cold. But it was good enough for him to hold onto 1st place for the year long Alabama Cycling Series Cat 3 competition taking home the jersey. Also, our team snagged the team title which spanned all categories, and we got to take home a cool bicycle statue consisting of a bicycle frame welded onto a statue pedestal – very cool!

Heartrate, power, pictures, and video below …

Power data: 2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Pro/1/2
Dist:       26.83 mi (1:02:06)
Energy:     861.8 kJ
Cals Burn:  823.9 kcal
Climbing:     964 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  231.3   708  W
Aero        0  147.8   473  W
Rolling     0   34.5    50  W
Gravity  -511    0.6   328  W
Speed     0.0   25.9  37.5  mi/h
Wind      7.9   18.0  29.0  mi/h
Elev      271    287   309  ft
Slope    -4.8   0.01   3.8  %
Caden       0   79.1   104  rpm
HR        122  181.7   195  bpm
NP 270 W; IF 0.974; TSS 98.1
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/11/2010 7:05 PM
85 degF; 1012 mbar

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium power and heartrate data

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Heartrate data

  1. Lots of speed and heartrate spikes corresponding to attacks
  2. This is where the 4-man break started
  3. Notice how much smoother everything is, but still in the red zone
  4. This is where we lapped the field
  5. Resting up for the finish, my teammate Stuart setting the pace
  6. The final lap

September 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

2010 Tour de La France and US 100K Race Reports

Quick summary
I had a great three day weekend of racing and training this week in South Carolina and Georgia. Here’s the quick summary:
Saturday – Tour de La France criterium – top notch field, fun course, 29th
Sunday – Awesome training ride in Clemson on my old routes from college
Monday – US 100K road race – huge field, bad crash at the beginning, lots of breaks/splits, 25th (12th in field sprint)

The Details
Saturday, 9/4/10, Anderson SC
The P/1/2 race didn’t start until 5:15, so after a leisurely morning, I drove over from Birmingham to Anderson. The drive ended up taking over 5 hours because I drove some of old my training routes near Fair Play and Townville on some back roads into Clemson to try and get a picture of the packed stadium before the game … According to census bureau population statistics, Clemson becomes the fourth largest city in South Carolina when they play a home football game! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture so I headed on over to Anderson still about 2 hours early.

I checked in, got my race numbers, and hopped on the course after the finish of the women’s race. I would describe the four-corner course in downtown Anderson as fast and somewhat technical (particularly the third and fourth corners). The first turn was downhill and off chamber. There was a small hill that you climb leading into the second turn. Immediately after turning, you head downhill before climbing on a very wide 4-lane road up the steepest hill on the course before turning into an alley to head back downhill. The last corner takes you out of the alley back into a regular 2-lane street slightly downhill before rising slightly to the finish.

Before our race started, though, was a hand-cycle race. Those guys are amazing … roll to registration in a regular wheelchair, roll back to the car and take out their racing wheelchairs, pump up the tires on it, swap wheelchairs, and head out to the course — all by themselves. I know because I parked in the parking deck next to several of the hand-cycle racers. And those guys are fast!!! So after seeing their start, I headed back to the parking deck to continue warming up on my rollers. At about their scheduled finish, I headed back to the finish, watched the last of the finishers and followed them around the course back to our start to get a good spot.

After a few call-ups, the race started, and I worked hard to stay near the front. I went with a couple of short-lived moves, but for the most part the race stayed together as there was a super strong headwind on the steepest hill of the course … so even if the pack got strung out going into the hill, it always bunched up as the front riders lost all of their momentum on the hill. This made it hard for any of the breaks to stick. Then with a few laps to go, Joey Rosskopf (Mountain Khakis) attacked and got away solo holding off the field and taking the win. Karl Menzies (United Healthcare) took the field sprint. I thought I was in pretty good position with half a lap to go, but lost a bit of position in the swarm on the uphill before the next to last turn. I came out of the last corner carrying some good speed and passed three or four riders to finish just barely in the money in 29th … still good for $120, though!

Heartrate data

Power data

Power data from Tour de La France, Sept 4, 2010
Dist:       36.96 mi (1:22:24)
Energy:    1095.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 1047.1 kcal
Climbing:     853 ft
Braking:    -10.2 kJ (-0.9%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  221.5   779  W
Aero        0   91.1   544  W
Rolling     0   35.8    50  W
Gravity  -588    1.9   641  W
Speed     0.0   26.9  37.5  mi/h
Wind      6.1   15.3  29.7  mi/h
Elev      732    749   773  ft
Slope    -6.5   0.02   6.5  %
Caden       0   78.3   165  rpm
HR        105  174.8   192  bpm
NP 246 W; IF 0.885; TSS 107.6
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/4/2010 3:55 PM
87 degF; 1011 mbar

All of this data brought to you by my amazing new iBike!

Sunday, 9/5/10, Clemson, SC
Sunday was awesome as I got to ride some of my old training routes from when I was an undergraduate student at Clemson University. Every fall, we usually spend a few days up in Clemson where I do a big ride in the mountains, so I don’t normally get to do any of the routes that are closer into Clemson. So this extra trip to South Carolina this year gave me a chance to pick out a good route in Clemson with absolutely beautiful views of the mountains since the air was so clear. I ended up getting a little carried away and riding a bit farther than I originally planned. I remembered a photo of the mountains I took sometime probably in 1997 or 1998, and I went to the exact same spot to take the same picture for comparison … see below.

October 9, 1998 – Looking towards Sassafras, Pinnacle, and Table Rock

September 5, 2010 – Looking towards Sassafras, Pinnacle, and Table Rock

Here is my topocreator map of the route:

Monday, 9/6/10, Atlanta, GA
Monday was the US 100K race. The thing that I really like about this race is that it starts so early in the morning that it is completely dark when you are biking over from the hotel to the start. Plus, there are police everywhere, runners everywhere, and tons of anticipation. Kristine had driven over with my parents and the kids to meet me at the hotel Sunday afternoon. They would drive over to the McDonalds that is just after the feedzone for the best spot to view the race. You can see the thousands of runners coming across the hills and you can see over a mile of the race course from where we turn after the feedzone all the way down the hills to where we turn onto GA 280.

George Hincapie (BMC) and Craig Lewis (Columbia HTC) were racing to test out their form ahead of the US Pro championships in a couple weeks. Also, Mountain Khakis had a full squad, along with Aerocat, Locos, Ion, Johnny Clarke and Karl Menzies from United Healthcare, Cesar Grejales and Yosvany Falcon from the new On the Rivet team for a total of about 125 strong pros, 1s, and brave 2s. My teammates, Terry Duran and Stuart Lamp, were there too so we had a lot of firepower to work with, too.

A nasty crash only a couple miles into the race helped a strong 7 rider break escape from the field. I was towards the middle of the pack when the wreck happened. It was the highest speed wreck I’ve ever personally seen. The pack was strung out and going over 40mph down a hill when all of a sudden, I see commotion up ahead as riders are falling down probably about 25-30 riders ahead of me. I also see a lot of blue smoke from tires as people are skidding directly into bikes and people already on the ground. I was heading straight for it, too, as I looked for someplace to escape. I found a hole to the right and started to head for it when another rider plowed into somebody already on the ground just in front of me. The rider was tossed into the air and his bike was tossed directly into my path — but very, very fortunately it was tossed with enough momentum to keep going and crossed my path right before I made it there. So I ended up squeezing between the rider and his bike. The water bottle from the bike was upright in the air directly in my path and I think I may have bumped into it — just another one of those visual images that is burned into your mind during the craziness of a bike wreck. Unfortunately in my maneuvering to escape the wreck, my rear wheel did bump somebody behind me, and I’m not sure whether they were able to stay up or not. I think they were b/c I didn’t hear any clanking metal behind me. I found out later that Travis Sherman and Scott Staubach had both gone down in the wreck with Travis breaking his foot.

So back to the race, the break of 7 that was already escaping before the wreck happened, was able to continue to expand its lead after the wreck. Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) attacked a couple times, and I happened to be near him both times, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. I attacked one more time through the feedzone hill hoping that somebody strong would go with me. Instead, I attacked too hard and got a great gap solo but with 7 riders working hard at a nearly two minute advantage at that time, there was no way I was going to be able to time trial myself up to them. I knew that Kristine would be watching though, so I thought it would be worth it to make it around the corner first and alone to help her enjoy the race more … unfortunately our pace had been so fast that we completed the first two laps before they made it out to the course from the hotel. Oh well, it was definitely fun to ride a couple miles solo with a police escort!

I wasn’t going very hard, so when the pack caught me on the backside of the course, I went with the counter attack, but it was very short lived. The next few laps were characterized by a number of short-lived attacks, and Terry covered most of those, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. The name of the game at this point was energy conservation, and my teammate Stuart helped out a lot there by helping pull me back up to the front of the pack whenever I had drifted too far back.

Once the gap to the lead group of 7 reached 4 minutes, George Hincapie and Craig Lewis moved to the front. At that point, our pace skyrocketed and the attacks stopped. The two of them along with help from Ben Kersten brought back the 4 minute gap over the course of about 4 or 5 laps. We caught the leaders shortly after the feedzone climb with only two or three laps left in the race. At this point, I had figured surely it was going to be a field sprint since we were so close to the end. Unfortunately, there was a counter attack that stuck and then a couple more splits in our group. I was still convinced everything would come back together, but it didn’t. I had been conserving energy, so I did pretty well in the fast downhill 50+mph finishing sprint, getting 12th — but with 13 riders already up the road, that meant I finished 25th for the race.

  1. The crash – speed drops from 40mph down to 25mph almost instantly
  2. My half a lap solo bridge attempt
  3. George Hincapie, Craig Lewis, and Ben Kersten reeling in the break
  4. Lots of attacks, accelerations after the break was caught
  5. The finish – 50mph downhill sprint!

My only annotation for the power data is when I attacked at the end of the first lap heading into the second lap – notice the more consistent power instead of responding to sudden accelerations and moving around in the pack. Also notice that my wheelspeed matches the windspeed since I was no longer drafting.

Power data from US100K, Sept 6, 2010
Dist:       65.62 mi (2:27:00)
Energy:    1699.1 kJ
Cals Burn: 1624.4 kcal
Climbing:    3738 ft
Braking:     -6.7 kJ (-0.4%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  192.6   784  W
Aero        0  105.1   987  W
Rolling     0   35.6    66  W
Gravity  -989    3.3   824  W
Speed     0.0   26.8  49.6  mi/h
Wind      5.5   14.5  30.9  mi/h
Elev      661    795   866  ft
Slope    -8.1   0.04   7.4  %
Caden       0   81.8   134  rpm
HR         75  149.4   181  bpm
NP 257 W; IF 0.928; TSS 210.8
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/6/2010 6:06 AM
63 degF; 1012 mbar

Again, all of this data brought to you by my amazing new iBike!

September 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment


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Lots of climbing on commute home Picked up a hitchhiker on my way home! Bottom of elevator forgot my shoes, great ride start

Kristine’s ToonesFanClub

  • @CoachTimHall @briantoone Well, it wasn't NBD :) hardest thing I've ever seen him finish. Last 70 were harder than all other 430. 1 week ago
  • Last - thanks so much for all the encouragement. It meant a ton to know y'all were cheering us on virtually!! #sogladyobedone #HOTS500 1 week ago
  • Here's his comment from Facebook about the last 70 miles. For the record, I was struggling to stay awake behind him. http://t.co/AmwVzBnYeV 1 week ago
  • Sorry to leave y'all hanging! @briantoone -rather, WE - finished the brutal effort this am at 3:48, so 31hrs and 48min in 1st place. 1 week ago
  • We've been finishing these last miles from Talladega forever, like 3.5hrs. Currently zig-zagging up a hill on Sicard Hollow. #almosthome 1 week ago

Brian Toone

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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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