Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tour De Bowness - Road Race (88km)

Another tough day in the cat 5 rat race.
A preview of the start list revealed that was going to be day of suffering; Jordan Bryden (pro Triathlete) was in his first road race as he's preparing for the 2012 olympics this summer.
My idea was to mark him; the guy is 6'5", so it would be easy to find him. Also, he was wearing a Ridley's kit and riding as independent.

As this was my first race that could be classified an A race, i was really hoping my fitness, form and fatigue levels would all be optimal this weekend
Then Thursday I woke to a nasty throat cold, and the subsequent 2 nights it got worse.
Only rode in Mon,Tues, and Thurs, so my fatigue level was low. My fitness felt good as I really put in some hard miles in the last month.
Alas, having to blow my nose and cough every 5 minutes during a race is not good form!

The pace was hard from the onset. Jordan and top gear crew went off through the first lap of 44km blazing. I managed to hang on during the first ascent of the "hill" (see Provincial RR last year), but it took it's toll on most of the peloton.
I hung on to the lead group of about 15 until the climb to the halfway turnaround but then fizzled out. In fact, I was really considering calling it a day with about 2k till the turnaround. I saw Carlos Bonilla (Niklas) fall off the back just ahead of me, so I told myself I'll catch him and we can at least ride in together that last lap.

Well, I didn't catch him, but I got caught by a group of 5 (TCR - Brent Arnholtz, Niklas - Gavin Creighton, Bici, and Callum from Crankmasters). I was happy to see them and we formed a good paceline, soon catching Carlos too. Bici was a cat 4 so he dislodged from our pack and we were 5.
We rode well together, but the 2nd time up the "hill" was a snail's pace.
That said, TCR and I summited way ahead of the others so I knew who would contest my placement in this group.

Carlos fell off but we waited for the others. The 4 of us would ride the rest of the way together.
With about 10 km to go I could see a couple stragglers ahead. The lead group had passed the cat 4 group! With those stragglers in sight, we upped the pace a little.
Going into the final turn (2.5km to go), I started planning strategy.
TCR took a pull for about 500m and Callum was right behind me.
Around the 1300m to go, I made an attack! And was instantly rewarded with a nasty cramp in my left leg!!! Arrgh, you've got to be kidding me!
I pressed through it though, and within seconds I looked back and had created a huge gap.
Then I saw the 1000m to go sign, and a pretty long climb to the finish, and thought, maybe I went too soon.
I was now closing in on, and then passed, another Speed Theory guy (Mark M).
Then caught another Bici guy, Simon, (same one I rode with at Stampede RR).
This guy had some kick though, as he caught on to my wheel through the ascent.
At the top, he was right on my ass so I decided to give another kick to try to shake him. He is a bigger guy and thought maybe he would be tired from hanging on to me during the climb.
Didn't shake him, and with 200m to he blasted past me!! Man he's a good sprinter.
I was also gassed from having gone redzone for more than a kilometer.

Some pictures can be found here and here.

Results are posted now too here. Looks like I came in 14th out of 44 on the start list.

Decided not to do the Hill Climb as I'm still sick and could use the recovery time.

July 2011

Finally some consistently nice weather, as well as some consistent training.
A record month for bike miles, smashing the 1000k barrier!
I managed this by exceeding 300k per week since the final week of June. In fact, since Banff Bike Fest, I've seriously increased my volume and focused my training sessions on the bike. I've been able to do this in large part due to my cessation of running. I was finding my lunchtime intervals/hills were really causing me enduring difficultly with the day in day out cycling.
I started doing the 40k weaselhead loop to work as my default route, and due to construction on the regular bike path, my ride home was often between 25-30km.
On top of that, once a week I managed to get in a metric century! I did one all of last year, and in the last 4 weeks I've done 4! Once was the Stampede Master's race, the other three involved riding from home to work via Bragg Creek, or the reverse.

A couple of mechanical issues this month; first I split my front derailleur in half during one long ride just after the Spring Bank hill! Didn't know they could break like that! Had to ride the next 30km in the big ring - reminded me of my old Schwinn mountain bike!
Then I had my first flat tire of the year this week. No biggie, I had all my gear and swapped it out in about 10 minutes.

Other notables this month is that I rode over a snake, lost about 8 pounds, and got "mooned" one day riding home! Couple of punks skateboarding on the path were taking up both lanes. I rang my bell to pass and they looked at each other, one dropped his shorts at me! I had just watched that same behaviour during the Tour De France so I was not phased by this.


  • Run: 2 runs for 16.6 kms!
  • Bike: 31 rides, 1240 kms, including 5,800 meters of elevation gain

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stampede Masters Road Race

Sunday, July 10th

5 laps of ~23 km. I counted something like 15 starters being in cat 1/2 out of the registered 22. Few 3's, 4's, and not too many 5's. Wonder why....??

It took about 5 minutes for me to find out.
Lap starts with a gradual climb that lasts around 5km and gains nearly 300 feet. Then it turns to the right (into a headwind), and after several kms turns 90 degrees right and bam, straight into a wall (100 feet climb in about 1 km.) This followed by more rollers and fine steep descent to round out the lap.
Now take a dozen semi-pro riders trying to shake the rifraf like me and Mike. Surge after surge.
I literally survived the first lap by sheer will. Some stigma about getting dropped within the first lap.
Not long into the 2nd lap, as we get back to the climbing, I'm working hard to stay on the back. Another surge and I shift down, chain slips. I lose a second of momentum, and a ton of self-doubt knocks me down.

I'm solo, but not for long. Couple guys in front also popped off, 2 from Bicisport and a cat 3 guy from a team I can't remember named Craig.
Craig threatens to bail but we manage to drag him through one more lap. We are working together to make the kms pass. Not really reeling anybody in but at least getting somewhere.
The bici guys struggle with the climbs, and around the beginning of lap 4 I get passed by Darryl Parry. I ride alongside him up the hill to the finish where he calls it a day, after having been involved with a crash.
The pace of us chatting and going up the hill has left my bici bros way back and out of sight.
I ride that last lap watching 2 Master B riders about 500m in front of me the entire lap but I can't bridge (not that I would have been allowed to ride w/ them).
Nor can I see anyone else behind me.
I keep thinking I see Mike way up in the distance, but I never do catch him.
Turns out he popped off too during that 2nd lap, somewhere on that "wall" or the roller after it.
A discussion with my previous auto-bus friends planted a bug in my mind about them not allowing us to finish the 5th lap since we were several minutes behind the leaders now, and although they made no mention or attempt to prevent me from continuing, my mind had decided that my legs,feet,back,ass had suffered enough for one day!
From chatting with other folks post-race time trialing seems to have been a common theme for this race.

For anyone interested, here is my garmin report: