Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 2011

Talk about a short race season! More race reports in this month than the rest of the year combined. Pretty sad, actually.
This year I've decided that instead of moping that the season is over and having to wait 10 months to race again, I'm going to do a cross race or two.
I've begun practicing my mount/dismount; trying to get comfortable doing that at speed is tough! First race is October first. I'll add it to my target races when the date gets closer and my confidence in attending grows.
For now, the Devinci needs some TLC though... squeals like a pig when I apply any torque to it. Definitely doesn't help my otherwise ninja-like stealth in the daily "Cat 6" race on the bike path.

Lastly, I met with a cycling coach today, Jack VanDyk. Found him through other racers and he offers a fitness/power test. I had that done and man it was hard work! Doesn't help that I slept about 2.5 hours last night. Also doesn't help that I can't seem to hold sustained high power for as long as I want!
Will get the results in a couple days to be able to evaluate where I'm currently at, where I think I can get to, and how I can get there.

Some stats for August:

  • Running: twice only... for 18 kms. (didn't want to run during peak race season, and have had lunch appointments almost every day in the last week.)
  • Cycling: 40 workouts for 1,086 kms, including 5 races.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alberta Provincial Road Race

Sunday, August 21st

80 kms

Well, if waking up at 5:30 on a Sunday then driving nearly 3 hours to Magrath
(past Lethbridge) wasn't enough fun, the 80 km straight out and back through crosswinds, sweltering heat,
and a category 4 deciding KOM made sure we got our money's worth.

The race started out fairly brisk, with a couple of jittery riders jostling for a line in shelter.
The first 20 km have a slight incline, to the base of KOM.
I had made my way to about top 8th before a large TCR gang went on the attack.
In the confusion, I lost both Andrew Paul and Derek Jobson, whom I was hoping to tail up the climb.

About halfway up the hill and I'm drifting between stragglers, trying to get to the front guys.

All I tell myself if this is for my entire season... keep going.
I'm totally redlining, HR peaking at 187! Previous max was 185.
I get to the top along with Darrel from TCR, and just ahead if a Bicisport guy.
He's only about 200m ahead but we are all gassed.
Ahead of Bici are two more stragglers, then the lead group of 3 (turns out its Darcy and Derrek).

I know if I can reach that Bici before he reaches the next, we can catch them all.

Unfortunately, Bici is thinking the same ahead of him.
Not only that, Andrew Paul I see has joined him, now they are 3.
Andrew has been riding very strong lately so I know this hurts my chances.
The 2nd 20km feature a bunch of rollers, and still serious cross/head wind.
I am suffering on the rollers and Darrell is doing a lot to drag me up them.
WHen we hit a false flat I pull, and we are gaining on them.
I just can't get close enough to make that sprint. Keep waiting for a section of road flat enough to do it.
It never comes... damn rollers.
Then the two groups of 3 join and now we are two against 6. Not looking good.
As we reach the turnaround, I count 50 seconds the gap between the first man in the break and myself.
Behind us are other pairs, just as close.

We fly through the 2nd half, team-time-trialing at its best!
But the lead group works well to keep themselves motivated,
while Darrel and I begin to waiver, feed, and I begin suffering from some leg cramps.
Also I've now run out of water and accellerade, and eaten 2 gels and a honey
stinger waffle.
My back is sore, fighting cramps in my legs. 10 km to go and not only is there nobody in front of us,
I see a group behind us now.
Put my ill feelings aside and push the pace again.
I'm not worrying about saving any energy to outsprint Darrell at this point, just don't wanna get caught.

Few km to the finish and we've restored the gap behind us.
We turn into the final stretch, and at the last little climb to the finish I get up
and spend the absolute last ounce of energy to sprint to the line.

I look back after crossing and don't see my TCR friend. I presume he didn't really contest the sprint at some point.
Well, came in 7th. Few more ABA points, but not the 3rd place I needed to upgrade this year.

For what its worth, I did suffer more in this race than probably any other.
Average HR for the race was 89%!

Also notable that Mike came in 5th in cat 4 race. Held on to the break until the final few kms.

Great work by a lot of Speed Theory folks today, as you can read in Darcy's post.

Garmin report

Sunday, August 7, 2011

JayLap Road Race

Sunday, August 7th

Bergen Hills, Alberta
75 kms (3 laps of ~25km), including several rolling hills, and one major hill that ends 500m from the finish.

Well, another long-ass drive to a remote village in Alberta.
Mike and I both contemplating why we put ourselves through this. I guess that's what you get after 2 races in one day.

Well, we start with a nice leisurely pace as predicted; some tired legs in the group.
Speed Theory gang discussed having a breakaway attempt early on and having the rest of the team protect it. And that's exactly what happened. Derrick (don't know the last name, but was riding a sweet S5), Andrew Paul (Bike Bros), and another rider got away less than half-way through the first lap, and ST was making no attempts to reel them in.
It was very windy and I was confident they would not last.

Well, lap 1 came and went, and so did lap 2. Niklas was taking several pulls at front, as well as ST, but we weren't really gaining on the break.
I did notice one of them pop off way up ahead.

Then Tom came by and said they were planning to strike another attach on the 2nd last turn, and if I felt good should I join them.
Well, I did as I'd been sitting pretty in the back for the majority of the race.
I didn't quite make it before the turn and then spent a lot of energy trying to catch and then hang on. Ian Watts was living up to his last name and soon popped me off.
Just as I was contemplating retirement, another chase group caught up to me.
It contained Tom Kenny, Darcy G, another ST rider, TCR, and one other older gentleman in a grey jersey.
That's all I needed. A short respite, and I was back pulling. Gaining on chase 1.
Quick rest then back to the front.
Almost caught the 6 in chase 1 right at the bottom of the last big hill when they attacked each other.
It was headwind and steep grade, and my ABA point dreams came to an end.
At this point I was racing for 10th I think.
Get to the top of the hill and there's only me, grey guy, and the big ST guy that first lead the chase 2 to me.
He looked like a strong guy, and if he made it up the hill, he could probably do a good sprint.

Having pre-rode this part beforehand, I knew it was a long way to the finish in that headwind, so I tucked in behind grey dude until 50m past the big green tree, or 200m from the finish.
ST was on my back but I spun around grey dude and sprinted to glory. That is if you consider 9th place glorius...

Not a bad race overall. I felt good and only when faced with repeated and unrelenting attack did I fall.
Guess I should have been closer to the action when it happened... again!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

JayLap Criterium

Saturday, August 6th (still...)

After getting home around 1 and wolfing down some grub, I did manage to lay down for about 45 mins for a power snooze. That really helped!
I got up feeling refreshed, and combined with my iced coffee on the way to downtown, I was feeling pretty pumped.
Had plenty of time to get ready, do about 10 minutes on the trainer, followed by 15 minutes of pre-riding the course.
Legs were feeling pretty relaxed. Course is so nice too, very smooth roads and wide turns.
Same as last year, two block rectangle loop in front of the Shaw building downtown.

Fairly large pack of cat 5's, maybe 30-35 guys. Bit of a headwind on the backside, which would serve to keep the group together the entire race.

The pace was quite slow. I had no trouble keeping in the pack, and I'm sure most would agree.
Nobody attacked. It must have been quite boring to watch. I was content sitting at the very back of the pack the whole time too! Learned that lesson from last year.
For the one and only prime point, I found myself 4th wheel going into the 2nd last turn. Callum and a Niklas guy were up front chatting. Nobody was going quite yet.
Final turn those two went for it, and my plan was get on Callums wheel, but in the turn I got boxed out by the 3rd wheel guy. Made a brief attempt to bridge but the sprint was out of my reach. Callum took it.

We still had 10 laps to go or so and I settled back to the back.
I was still feeling good and the race intensity never really picked up. One lap to go and I start making my way up. Get to about 15th place going into the 2nd last turn, and give'r...
I passed a lot of guys, but saw Callum take the win right ahead of me.
I ended up 6th place, earning another 6 upgrade points.

I gotta say, that might have been the easiest points I ever earned!

Lessons learned:
For this particular crit, I should have started moving up a little sooner.
I had marked Callum but somehow lost sight of him near the end. Turns out he woulda been the right guy to follow.

Here is my total point breakdown so far:

Crit: 10
RR: 6
Total: 16

I need 30 to upgrade to Cat 4, by the end of this year, and there's only 2 more road races left :-(

Oh well. Off for now. Bergen Hills tomorrow.

JayLap ITT

Saturday, August 6th

40km Time Trial, out and back, directly South to North then back to South.
It was a chilly, windy morning. Wind readings in Calgary were:

11:00 Sunny NNW 17
10:00 Sunny N 32
9:00 Mostly Cloudy N 35 gust 52

And I can only presume this would more intensified in Acme, AB.
My start time was around 9:30! (This will play into effect later).

Mike picked up me, then Darryl, and after arguing with the lady at Timmies and finding the route with the most construction possible, we arrived in Acme. After pinning new race numbers on and getting dressed, I had maybe 10-15 minutes to warm up. Wouldn't you know it, start times were delayed 5 minutes, so I probably spent more time waiting at the start then I did actually warming up!

Anyway, after a healthy push off from Scott (who was volunteering at the start), off I went.
I knew my 1 min man was a very fast ITTer and would not likely catch him.
I knew the guy behind me wasn't the strongest, and the guy 2 minutes behind me, Ian DeWolfe was a fast ITTer, AND in my omnium race. Also knew that Andrew Paul, also in omnium, was only 4 minutes back.

Nonetheless, I decided to listen to the theory and start the race in a comfortable pace. With the gusty headwind and general incline the whole first half, this resulted in some pretty slow speeds.
I did manage to pass a couple guys, which I think were my 3 min and 6 min men. And I also got passed by Ian D around km 15, but kept in close till the turnaround point.

I felt really good at the half, unlike last year, and the tailwind was still very strong.
I managed some very fast splits, but noticed around km 30 the wind had started dying down. Doh!
Anyway, never did catch Ian, but nobody else passed me there after either.

Finished with a time around 1:07:30 on my Garmin, which is about a minute slower than last year.
It certainly wasn't this windy though. Mike was also a minute or two slower than last year.
No results yet, but off to the Crit in about an hour!

Turns out, that performance earned me a disappointing 14th...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tour De Bowness - Criterium

Monday, August 1st

Well, I spent my rest day sun bathing, swimming, canoeing, and otherwise enjoying Calgary summer at it's finest.
Maybe not the best way to get fired up for what was sure to be a high-paced assault by the omnium contenders...

I did sleep mostly unimpeded by my cold which has now taken a thick phlegmy form (thx for sharing, I know!)
Had a nice omelette prepared by Bev, and off we went - yes the whole family came along finally. A bit stressful at first but I am so glad they came.

Watched the end of the U17 race and then had about 25 minutes of open course to warm up on, so I didn't really need the trainer afterall.
Did about 7 or 8 laps, alternating some low, med, and high intensity.
Felt good, but not exactly peppy. Maybe on account of not having a drop of coffee this morning, which is probably the first time in a year that I can say that!

Wrapped up my warm up when they said 5 minutes left, positioned perfectly at the left-center front, next to the top 2 in the omnium, Jordan B and Anthony Killick. The start went off unexpectedly without a count down, and by the time I got my right foot clipped in those guys were into the first corner, and I was already about 10th.
The pace was as fast as I expected, but I was feeling alright. I sensed we were dropping guys as I soon would see them as we passed them.
I kept the leaders in sight, but due to the aggressive nature of those corners, there wasn't much one could do to advance. Just had to chip away at it. Every lap or two try to gain a position, either on the long sprint, or the small climb right after. Then hold your line as guys converge into one or two lines.
I did not once consider contesting a prime for this race as I just wasn't feeling aggressive enough to bolt ahead from far out.
I did find my rhythm in the 2nd half of the 20-lap circuit though. Was going into the last turn with more speed and holding a line better suited to gain some draft from someone ahead of me killing themselves to catch the wheel in front.
By the last few laps I had gained some ground, but I knew going in that one cannot surpass that many people after the final turn. You could maybe pass one or two, and hopefully not get passed by any. So to win it, you'd have to be top 3 going into the turn, and with lots of gas in the tank, as it was a 200m dash to the line with a headwind today!
Needless to say, I was not in that top 3, but I wasn't too far off, maybe 10th.
I passed one right in the turn, and had my eye on another couple guys in front of me. Caught one of them just as Callum (C4) passed me; same way Mike passed my last year in this race! Arg! Got to find a way to explode better for those final sprints!!

Ended up 9th out of 40 on the start list. Not too disappointed with that actually. Because of this being the Provincial Crit, 9th actually earned me a whopping 2 more upgrade points!

Speaking of exploding sprints, the cat 4 race was won by my other former Bici brother, Brent Topilko. Man he came out of nowhere and passed Ferenc well before the line.

Anyway, it was a nice day, nice crowds, no crashes in cat 5, and a got me some points.
Feeling stoked for JayLap next weekend! Hopefully my health holds up!!

Some pics on smugmug: 1, 2, 3, 4