Thursday, May 31, 2012

WNS - 2-man TTT

I've looked forward to doing this kind of race for 2 years.
It was a 15 km race against the clock, with teams of two setting off in 1 min intervals. The time of the last place racer on the team is counted for the team.

Thus, the strategy is to ride as economical as possible, including good drafting, smart cornering, and riding to the strengths of each racer.

Here is a link to the race details.

Waldhuber and I naturally paired up for this event, as above all, you need to have full confidence and trust in that other racer to know what their limits are, when they may need to shift and thus slow, etc.

We started out 3rd, with a ton of guys having shown up for this unique race. Ahead of us were Cody C and Ryan Barr, and ahead of them were Isaac B and Karel B. Behind us were Harley and Rick C.
All fast guys, so we had our work cut out for us.

We both clipped in perfectly and took off. Mike immediately set the pace very high and my watts were well above FTP. Again, we hadn't warmed up well, but we got at least 10 minutes in. Didn't feel like enough once the race started.

There was a decent crosswind and an interesting course layout, featuring 7 turns, 3 of which were 180 degrees.
Our strategy was for Mike, the stronger time-trialist, to lead first. I would lead through the turns and any descents or tailwinds.
This is pretty much how we executed it, riding very close in the crosswind sections to maximize the draft.
Only real blemishes were:
  • one part during a descent in the crosswind where I just fell off Mike's wheel a bit and had to call to him to slow a little to let me catch back on.
  • on the 2nd last turn Mike misjudged it or didn't realize we were supposed to turn there and I had to slow up a bit to wait for him.
In the final 800m we echeloned excellently, constantly leap frogging past each other to keep the speed up, even though we both were suffering badly.

Crossed the finish line and I had to stop and catch my breath for a couple minutes. *Almost* had to puke!

Results here. 4th / 27, a mere 10 seconds off 1st place.
Here you can see my garmin report. Lap 3 was the actual race:

Friday, May 25, 2012

WNS - Priddis Road Race

After having rained all week, including through most of Wednesday afternoon, I was sure the race would get cancelled, despite the posting that said, "well - it's on, for now."
Mike and I showed up early and were surprised to find about 20 cars in the parking lot already!
Rain was coming down, but not too hard, so the race was still on. It would be reduced and the 3 categories would be combined, starting at the same time and doing one lap (instead of the planned 2 for category A).

While walking up the embankment to the road, my cleats got filled with mud and I proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes scraping out the debris so I could clip in. Seems to be a big problem with those Speedplay pedals.
Just as I finished, the race began. Immediately the pace went up, over the first couple of rollers.
I was hurtin', having had no warmup at all.
I did everything I could just to hang on, during the initial rollers, turning into the crosswind, then again turning North into the headwind.
Then, *BOOM*, an attack, Cody C I think. Had nothing in my legs to respond. It was a somewhat familiar feeling, one I can't stand.
Found myself 20m behind the pack, then 30m... teammate Stephen Pickett joined me, but seemed unable to help bridge.
I tried a few digs which at times felt like it was closing the gap, but into that headwind it was futile.

Up and over the final climb, and we were joined by teammate Alan Oickle on the descent, and we worked our way through the final few kms.
Alan did one huge pull leading up to the final riser before the finish. Stephen attacked, and although I felt fine riding at FTP/threshold, the moment I called upon my anaerobic muscles I knew something was wrong. I should have had a big bang at the end, but instead it felt like I was firing blanks. Weird... not tired, just busted...

Here is a neat video of us 3 rolling through the finish line, not long after the top 9 guys ahead of us.

Epilogue: Tried a couple recovery rides on Thursday, but it didn't feel like the legs were ready yet.
Rode in easy on Friday, then 100km home via Bragg Creek with Darryl and Mike. Held up okay during long steady efforts at around FTP, but again, nothing doing with regards to anaerobics...
Sharp pain afterwards in both lower hamstrings and quads, wonder if I pulled or tweaked something, ligament perhaps?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WNS - 14km ITT

Wow, I know time trials are supposed to be painful, but comon... wind and rain and cold...
Good warmup, but the temperature dropped to about zero by the time we were done, and my gloveless hands were so numb I couldn't work my zipper.

Thanks to our eagerness to get home early, Mike and I signed up 1 and 2 again.
This time, with 30 second intervals, and a hilly course, I would for sure see him go flying past me. I made it nearly half way before he went flying past.
The course offered some rollers and a gusty crosswinds, causing our overall wattage to be lower than usual.
It was hard to keep the power high during the descents, when the wind would make you lean so far over. Ditch or traffic seemed likely fates.

Preliminary results just went up, looks like I came in 8th / 43. Not too bad. The guys ahead of me are really fast dudes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Velocity Stage Race

Mike and I took off after work Friday for the drive up to beautiful Edmonton, for our first ever GC stage race!
Not gonna lie to you, our expections were pretty high!

After a beer or three too many in the sketchy hotel pub-turned-nightclub the night before, we awoke Saturday, a bit groggy and disjointed, but ready to kick it off!
A short drive up to Josephburg, and although we didn`t experience the snowfall they saw in Calgary, we had a constant drizzle and cold wind gusts.

10km Individual Time Trial

Mike was off first, and warmed up on the trainer, then scooted about on the road adjacent to the start. Met him when he finished and he gave me some last minute tips about the road surface and told me his time, 14:07, then off I went.

Goal was to hold 300 even for the entire race. As I pushed off, rain was dripping down a bit.
Course contained 3 right turns to complete a square, on narrow wet roads, and some gnarly sections of pavement.
Managed to maintain my goal wattage for the first 7km, but felt I`d spent a bit too much in keeping my bike rolling fluidly over the rough terrain.
Finished pretty strong, official time, 14:27.

I felt pretty good about the time, knowing last year that would`ve been good enough for 6th. Only 20 seconds behind Mike, former Provincial ITT silver medalist...

Then I saw Mike and he told me dejectedly that he`d come in 16th in cat 4. I knew then the times this year were going to incude some really fast ones.

1st and 2nd from Prairie Roubaix (Evan Bayer and Rob Leishman - Aerobic Powerhaus) were on the start list, and they didn`t dissappoint, the former blasting a 13:34, Mercx style no less!
A few other speedy guys like Brody Loster (Niklas) and 18 year old Evan Burtnik (Juventus) on the list, and I knew my top 10 dream was fading.

Indeed, I too came in 16th, out of 62.
I can only imagine how far back I would have been had I had the same winter training effort this year as in 2010! I did get some consolation in the fact that I did beat a large number of pretty fast guys, in categories 5, 4 and even 3!
And although I was 57 seconds off the lead for General Classification (GC), there were a number of guys within striking distance in spots 3-15 ahead of me.

68km Road Race

After a quick lunch, nap, and bike swap, we went back to Josephburg for the road race.
Didn`t really have much time for a warm up, but the race featured a 1km neutral start and I figured a big pack like this would probably be pretty easy to, t stick with on this pancake flat course.
Came to a sudden realization, however, that my front derailleur was NOT letting me shift up and down! I`d just picked it up from the shop and had no chance to really test ride it :-(
Luckily I wouldn`t need it for this race.
Power meter also seemed not to work. This would be more bothersome, if I got into a break or spent time pulling at the front...

We rolled South and I managed to team up with fellow Speed Theorists Stephen Pickett, Alan Oickle, and newcomer Corran Hockey.
The wind was quite subdued the whole race, which meant any attempt to break away was met with a 70-man angry mob.
At one point, the Powerhaus boys broke free, and from my perch in around 20th position, I began t he war cry to reel them back in. If any 2 guys in this group were capable of getting away for the last 30km, it was them!
I made my way to the front and did a massive pull to close the gap, then Brody Loster took over and we eventually reeled them in.
Pace then settled again, until the final 5km, when all the youngsters started getting frisky, crossing over the centre-line median, and surging to the front.
Sure enough, guy in a ditch. Moments later, carbon smashing sound to my left. Broken collarbone, I found out later.
Final bend and the centre line was a figment of my imagination.
Boxed in, I could do nothing but follow Steve`s line through the remainder of the crowd and attempt a final push. Too late.
Came in around 11th (ABA has Tom Kenny in 6th - which was pretty incredible since he had not made it out to Edmonton for this race!)

Banged my handlebars with frustration. Pigeon Lake all over again! :-(
Although the majority of the peloton all finished with the same time, I`d find out later that 5 guys ahead of me in GC had fallen off, and I was now in 10th place, 1 second behind 9th.
Not a single disqualification!

Mike finished with a very good 7th!

That night, we reduced our barley consumption and retired early.
Good call, it would seem...

A bad day on the bike is better than getting shot in the face, I always say!

Criterium - Sunday

Blue skies, but increasing winds made this race far more interesting!
Crit for cat 5 was 25 mins + 3 laps. There was one intermediate sprint (prime) worth 3,2,and 1 second respectively. I made up my mind to go for it, try to sneak up one spot on GC, and get myself an extra upgrade point.

Well, the pace set by Aerobic Power Haus, Brody Loster, and a couple others was insane.
There was a wicked cross wind followed by headwind on the south end of the course, and a couple laps in gaps started to form.
I found myself having to maneuver around guys that couldn`t hang on, causing me to go anaerobic far too often.
The corners were not terribly technical, but I was having difficultly on a few of them, getting the optimal line.
Instead, I kept having to play the anaerobic cards...

Prime lap came about, and I went all out. Managed to outsprint the pack but unfortunately there were 2 guys that had broken away about 20m ahead.
Good enough for 3rd, and a 1 second bonus! LOL. Oh well, better than nothing, but I knew a time would go to the time trial winner, so I really needed 2 seconds.

Then I looked behind me and saw our pack was only 12 deep, and thought, maybe a guy or two from the GC were off the back, even lapped.

Spent the remainder of the race either hanging on for dear life, or sitting in and recovering, working my way up, only to miss a few turns and slip to the back again.
Final corner and I went to make my killer move, from 10th to... doh... cutoff by a guy (who later apologized profusely) such that I had to slam on my brakes, then attempt a sprint from the back.
Unsucessful, and slipped back to 12th.
Same time as the lead, however, and initial postings had me tied for 6th in GC.
It would later be re-sorted, and I ended up 8th overall in GC.

Not at all how I envisioned this weekend, taking no points in any of the stages, and yet I do pickup 4pts for the overall.

All in all, still had a great time racing again, and met some great guys and even scratched and clawed out a few upgrade points.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 2012

What a great month it was. Above seasonal temperatures for the most part, but with the right amount of drizzly days dispersed throughout to force me on the trainer to do some very specific workouts.

Foot healed up and was able to reconvene running as well, although I didn't register a single swim this month :-(

Got in a good number of outdoor, longer rides, one involving "broom" sprints with Speed Theory, a few rides and got in a couple of races, with top 10 placement in each! Also had a few "move the chains" indoor rides.

Couple of charts from Training Peaks WKO+ software

Here are my stats for April:
  • Run: 8 runs, 66kms, 5.5 hrs
  • Bike: 34 rides, 850 (outdoor) kms, 42.25 hrs, 5,774 feet of elevation gain (last two stats were 2nd highest in months recorded in garmin connect.