Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 2010

  • <800 kms this month. Quite low due to races, rain, and recovery (aka healing).
  • Took part in 2 stage races, 6 races total. Top placement, 6th in JayLap RR and Omnium.

Damage Assessment, 15 days after "the crash"
  • Bike
    • Handlebar re-taped, and re-tightening of loose bolts.
    •  Scratches on paint and hoods, rubber casings on order.
  • Body
    • 90% of road rash has scabbed and cleared up.
    • Only deeper sections on elbows and knee remain.
    • Left pinky finger feels a bit more damaged, as I still have reduced mobility, and acute aching when stressed (such as typing the Shift key on my keyboard).
    • Right shoulder  still has a "sweet spot" that  reminds me of the impact.
    • Left knee, while at about 90% mobility and feeling better, may still have some impact damage, as I feel a hint of it occasionally.
That was a little update about the busy month of August.
Very likely have I concluded all racing for the year, so will post a racing-year-in-review thread in the coming weeks.
I may try to get in a short running race sometime in the fall, say half-marie or less, but my run training has dwindled in the past month, so I don't expect anything amazing.

Also, I'm actively resting for the coming weeks, in order to be refreshed for winter training / commuting, and heal up my skin and bones!
Need to start thinking about my off-season plan this winter. Can't simply bike to work without a plan. The miles are good, but I'm gonna need more structure, and definitely some long, continuous rides throughout on the trainer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jason Lapierre Memorial Weekend

Saturday, Aug 21 - Acme 40k ITT

Not only do you get pleasure of driving way out to the middle of nowhere, but when you finally arrive, you get to torture your body in ways you would not wish upon your worst enemy. Then drive all the way back to civilization!
That said, the course chosen was very scenic, and the roads were in excellent condition (unlike me).
A bit chilly (needed base layer), and some the air quality was quite poor due to forest fires in BC.
Almost too fast for the camera!
Along with Mike and I, a few friends were there entered into the citizen's class; my dad, Simon & his dad, and Minh.
The course was 20km out and back, featuring several medium-sized rollers and one significant climb right before the turnaround.
My pacing was probably too high on the ascents, as I was not recovering quickly enough on the flats to regain the pace each time.
I think I did the first half in about 38 minutes. The overall decline on the return quickened my pace a bit, and overall I finished in 1:06:27.
Not too bad I guess. I would've been happy with this time as I was hoping for sub-1:07, except that for some reason everybody else was killing it that day, not the least of which was Mike, who hammered an amazing 1:01:47!
Eric was not loving the hills + altitude, but said he enjoyed the course and the great workout.

  • Make sure to check and adjust aerobar length/positioning. Having borrowed Eric's, I didn't know the bars could extend so was riding a bit tucked in the whole time. This caused me some painful moments in the 2nd half, as I was struggling to find a comfortable position.
  • Train more for sustained, consistent power output.

Saturday, Aug 21 - Downtown Criterium

With about 3 hours' rest at home, we get back in the car and head downtown for the crit.
This time the whole family comes along, and meet up with Mike's,  Minh's, and Scott's families. The place is buzzing as the MC's and DJ are entertaining, and the concession booths are abundant.
We warmup, which basically involves a lot of light spinning to recover/prepare the legs.
At the startline, Mike and I leadout again, but it's only for about half a block as I find myself at the very front leading the charge.
Don't mind this, as I get some camera time for the family, and get to dictate the pace to my liking.
Mike, Scott Fraser, and I absorb a large portion of the lead for much of this race, with Scott and I coming in 4th and 3rd in one of the primes (can't touch Morgantini - who took it riding on a flat tyre!)
Well, our strategy of laying out some hurt was not really working, as very few riders were dropped.
Instead, on the final lap we were caught by a late surge from, among others, Mike Hoang, who won it. Not far behind was Mike, then me, then Scott rounding out the top 10.
Definitely our strategy did not work on this course. The corners were very wide, and it was easy to pass people anywhere, so no breakaways were going to succeed.
Mike H's strategy of sitting at the back until the final lap was key to his victory.

Sunday, Aug 22 - Bergen Hills Road Race (~50 km)

Billed as a circuit race containing Nepal-like climbs, 2 hours NW of the city, I was NOT looking forward to this race...
The only thing stopping me from bailing was a) having to tell Mike he's now driving solo, and b) this is the last ABA points race of the year.
Well, the morning was a bit chilly again, and the pace of the first lap was relatively tame, with Mike and I doing our time at/near the front. Going into the section of climbs in the 2nd half of the lap, I calmly pedalled through with a high cadence, gauging the competition's fitness.
I knew we were not going to drop many people in this race, nor was a breakaway going to succeed on this day.
Going into the 2nd lap, I decided and convince Mike, to hang at the back of the pack.
The pace seemed slower, maybe just our perception, and certainly my effort level was greatly reduced. Going from a 147 avg HR in the first lap, to 122 avg in the 2nd lap (both way below race intensity!)
I made a decision to make my move from last to middle right before the descent leading into the final climb.
That way, I would have a clear lane to descend as fast as I could (without braking), and be in decent position for the climb.
Well, this worked out pretty well, and I nearly caught up with Mike and the front guys. Cresting the hill, I had a bad shift back to my big ring, and just couldn't reel in Mike. Soon he was passed by Mike H, but hung on to increase the gap in front of me. After sprinting for about 200m solo, I was passed by a cyclemeister, but still managed a respectable 6th, and a 6th overall in the omnium.
Congrats to Waldhuber for a killer weekend, taking in 2nd overall in the omnium! And of course, to teammate Mike H for his 1st place in the crit and omnium.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Provincial RR

Well, it was a race of contradiction for me.
30+ guys lined at the start,near Cochrane. For the first time, Mike and I lead out the start, along with two guys from Juventus. It was a great feeling to set the pace and socialize a little for the first few kms.
Through the first half I sat comfortably in around the top half of the pack, which was a very comfortable group; nothing like Pidgeon Lake.
Nobody was trying to attack, nobody was being an idiot trying to force themselves to the front.
At the half way mark turnaround, the oncoming "Hill" loomed. This is the hill of legends. That is, everyone I talked to before and during the race, talked about this hill.
About 1km in length, and quite steep, it certainly did wreak havoc on the peloton. I was feeling really good, however, and managed to side-step several riders, including Mike, and keep up with a small pack of about a dozen riders off the front, consisting of about 5 STers.
A couple of us tried to get a paceline going, but the majority were just dragging their wheels, and it was a bit frustrating, as the rest of the riders eventually caught up to us again. For the final 30 kms, I was always in a top 3 position, along with a Juventus rider, and another ST. Nobody else was coming up to help drive the pace, fearful of excerting too much energy no doubt.
Nonetheless, I was feeling really good. At the 10km mark, a pedalhead guy jumped up to push the pace a bit, and going into the final turn, I sat comfortably in about 4th wheel, right where I wanted to be to launch my sprint attack.
The only problem was that I was a bit boxed in between 2nd and 3rd, but I considered it bonus, so that no matter which of them sprang first, I would follow them. Something happened with around 400m to go, just as the real race began... my front wheel clipped the rear wheel of the guy in front of me as they started swaying under the force of accelleration. I went over the bike hard and just like that, my glorious run to the finish was over.
So dissappointing. Never before have I been so close and feeling so good to contest a podium spot; I know these opportunities don't present themselves every day for an old guy like me!

A damage assessment ruled that the handlebar was completely spun around on it's stem, and both hoods were bent in and the rubber and bar tape was completely thrashed. My gloves looked like confetti, as did my one shoe cover, as did the left shoulder of my ST jersey.
Personally, I was quite fortunate to come out with nothing more than a bad case of road rash... both elbows, left knee, both wrists, most fingers, hip, and shoulder. In fact, I'm sure I'll be finding new scrapes for the days to come...
Walked my bike across the line and got patched up by the EMS, then began the healing process at home, putting my bike back together.

I should note, that my energy level and nutrition were great. Bev had made some wonderful Feijoada (ride, beans, meat) which I had been taking in for a few days prior.
Also, ate my cereal bar early, about 90 mins before race time.
Had one energy gel after the big hill, about the 1 hour mark. And I brought a bottle of Gatorade G2, which was not quite finished by the end, but adequate for the sub 2hr race.

JayLap this weekend, so I hope this skin heals so I can get a good night's sleep soon...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tour De Bowness

Saturday, July 31 - Road Race

Well, the course profile showed this race to consist of 9 laps of a 5.3 km circuit, which included about a 2km climb at the end of each lap. A field of about 40 riders lined up in the parking lot and then on to the race path, on a beautiful sunny morning.
The course was quite narrow, with strategically placed traffic cones throughout the course, making it hard to ride more than 2 or 3 abreast in many sections. The first 2km of the loop were pretty insignificant,  followed by a fast, straight descent, which ended with a 90 degree hard right turn, right into the final climb before the finish.

The pace started out moderate, and I settled in around 20th wheel for much of the first half of the race. Around lap 2 I saw Mike come up beside me, who said because of the tightness of the pack, it had taken him 2 laps of inching forward to make it to that halfway mark of the peloton.
He surged ahead at one point and go off the front for a bit, only to be swallowed by the headwind + rolling hills. Somehow he got in back behind me, and when one rider slipped and skidded out in that final corner, Mike was on the outside line and was held up slightly. I was lucky to be on the inside line and could catch the rush going up the hill, and managed to stay on the wheel during the attack that followed.
I was hurtin' though... man. At a couple of occasions, I seriously considered pulling over and dying. Perhaps if I was not in the lead pack I might have done just that.
But I pressed on, trying to minimize my work effort until necessary to stay on the wheel in front of me.
Spent laps 6-8 near the back of the splintered lead group of about 15 riders, barely hanging in there at times, then catching my breath just enough to stay in there. At this point, there was no sign of Mike and the at least 20 other riders behind...
On the 8th lap final ascent, the lead pack attacked again, but this time I resigned myself to find my own pace (had been riding in the red for WAY too long at this point), and hopefully find some other stragglers to pace with so we wouldn't get caught by the pack behind us.
Another guy rode beside me, obviously with the same idea, and asked how many laps left?
I said I thought one more after this, so let's ride together. He agreed and we rode steadily along to the line, when I saw and heard Scott hollering "don't let him pass you, Reinier!"... holy crap, this WAS the last lap!?
I bolted ahead in the last couple meters to take 12th or something. Dang. If only I'd realized this was the last lap. It probably would've helped with my morale, feeling like I was about to get dropped at anytime, with another lap to go... aye. Stupid... oh well. I was definitely happy the race was over, sore, and a bit queasy for having tried a new mix I picked up from Ridleys - I know I know, always try it first in training!

Sunday, August 1st, Hill Climb

3-up time trial, up the road to Canada Olympic Park (beside the bobsled track), 1.25 kms with about 400 ft increase in elevation; approx 10% grade. Definitely has the making of some serious agony.

Mike and I arrived with plenty of time to warm-up, as they hadn't posted our start-times online. There had been some confusion in the results from the RR the day before, so we were just hoping for a fair (time) trial tonight. I was to be paired with a guy who frequents the WNS with Mike, Andrew Paul, and someone else (didn't recognize the name). Mike was starting 4 minutes later, with only one other rider. However, both mine and Mike's heats were short a man, so I was with Andrew, and Mike rode by himself.
Watching the Jr's earlier, two of them wiped out within 5 feet of the start, one due to a broken chain and another just lost balance. Nice way to start!
I, luckily, did not suffer such a misfortune, and when the countdown hit zero, I bolted out of the gate.
Andrew swung on behind me through the first straight away and the proceeding left kickback. I realized he was right on my tail, so I took the next turn widely and let him pace-set. I also realized that turn was going straight into the wind. He was setting a great pace (not too fast to burn me out, not too slow) so I told myself I  would swap pulls on the next turn. The turn came and went, and I told myself, ok, just a little longer...
Definitely painful experience. I sat in behind Andrew until the final turn, when he seemed to lose a bit of steam, so I jumped in front, with about 80m to go. There was nothing but willpower left as I stood up in hopes that I may find a hidden gear somewhere in there. Nope. I got a good jump on him, but climaxed about 10 ft from the finish line, as Andrew edged past me at the line.
Can't complain, he did such a large portion of the pulling/pacing. My watch time said about 4:54, but I glanced at the time sheet which said 4:59 I think. Still under 5, which was my hope (after pre-riding the hill).
Mike came in shortly thereafter at around 4:45.
Both of us were a bit disillusioned by the pace of the young guns that lead out before us too, combined with the times from last year, which had the cat 5's winning time at 4 mins flat, and 10th spot only 30 seconds behind that. (top racer over all was 3:12!).
Maybe they had a tailwind... we'll see when the results are posted.
Oh, and the weight of my bike was also on my mind. About 1.4 kg heavier than Mikes, which was already a kg heavier than the minimum allowed.
Another guy weighed in his Madone, which was 2 kg lighter than mine! I guess you get what you pay for!
Well, last-chance crit tomorrow...

Monday, August 2nd - Criterium

What went right:
  • Adequate warm-up. Hit the trainer for about 10 minutes, then did about 7 laps of the course.
  • Decent start-line placement - too busy gabbing to get a line at the front, but was 2 back. At least I had the outside line going into the first corner.
  • Cornering. I felt very comfortable around each corner, and found myself using the corners to close gaps in front of me.
  • Overal awareness. I had no problems this time with knowledge of which lap we were on, when the prime laps were, and when the final lap was on.
  • General resiliency. Although I was never really "feeling" it, I hung with the lead pack till the end.
What didn't:
  • My head. Combination of poor sleep, disappointment that the family couldn't come, and frustration with the ABA officials (they reverted the RR results to the original, botched, list!)
  • My legs. Lack of hill-specific training paid it's price from the hilly RR and the HC the next day. I was definitely NOT feeling fresh from the very onset of the crit. 
I finished 12th, with Mike sneaking ahead of me for 11th. I'm content with my performance in the crit, and can't really identify any mistakes made, other than more training obviously. Oh, and I've got to stop eating them Sweet N' Salty bars right before the race. Ate one before each of the three stages and in each one my stomach was a bit queasy... d-uh!

Overall, I am a bit disappointed with my performance in this stage race.
I finished the RR about where I expected to, the HC I knew wouldn't be my strong suit, I just didn't realize how many fast kids would be in the race too, and I had higher hopes for the crit result.
Also, I'm very disappointed with the organization of this event, specifically the officiating. I don't think having to argue with officials at the start of each race is the best way to prepare for a big race. Not sure if I'm going to do TdB again next year. Certainly not the HC (although I'd love to train on that hill.)

Images here