Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 2013

Not much news since road race autopsy, except that I've been enjoying NOT having to put in specific training rides, taper, etc.
Even seeing my wattage coming back for sustained efforts.
Also, been getting back into running and as of today, put the knobbies on and cleaned up the cyclocross bike and went ripping around Fish Creek!

  • Bike: 21 rides, 825 kms, 31 hours
  • Run: 5 runs, 48 kms, 4.5 hours

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Road Race Season, epilogue

It's always hard not to judge the entire season by the last few races. Last year, I ended on a high note, taking 1st and 3rd in the final two races, and receiving my Cat 3 upgrade letter in the mail shortly thereafter.
This season however, fizzled out slowly, with both enthusiasm and ability crawling along to the finish.
In order to provide a fair introspection on the season as a whole, I will provide a timeline of races and a brief recap of high/low lights.

  • 8 - WNS 16km ITT
    • Big turnout for the first WNS of the year, 8th overall, in a strong field. Watts very close to the same as a similar race a year ago. Only 29 seconds behind Mike though.
  • 11-13  -Velocity SR
    •  Worked my ass off for Isaac in Road Race, chasing breaks. Went in the ditch on final turn. 10th/36 in ITT, only 1 second behind Mike! Tired and timid in crit; unable/unwilling to push to the front in the final laps.
  • 26 - Pigeon Lake RR
    • Cancelled right before final loop due to crashes.
  • 11 - MM Crit
    • Fast names, hung on and rode strong.
  • 13-16 Banff BikeFest
    • No improvement in HC over last year. First time racing 1ASprint RR, which ended in crash right before the sprint. Missed start time for ITT. Too risk-adverse in crit. Finished strong in Tunnel Mtn RR, but got center line infraction.
  • 22-23 Devon GP
    • Bottom 3rd in Hill Climb. Skiddish in crit after Mike crashed. Strong in cat2/3 combined RR, worked for Marc, but strong in sprint. Finished 3rd but relegated for center line infraction. Cost me podium in RR and high placement in Omnium.
  • 25 - MM Crit
    •  Raced strong, but rained out before the finish.
  • 26 - WNS - Mini Giro RR
    • Suffered like a dog on the course with nothing but climbing and climbers. Finished solid.
  • 1 - Canada Day Provincial Crit
    • Tactical race won by break. Played the only hand I had and had the best outcome I could have received in those circumstances.
  • 7 - Stampede Master's Provincial RR
    • Mechanical problems forced me out of the race.
  • 13-14 - Rundle Mountain Omnium
    • Mid-pack in prologue. Unable to obtain my position in the crit. Strong Provincial road race, where I worked hard and managed a top 10 in the uphill finish.
  • 27-28 - Kicking Horse Cup
    • Consistent power and good final kick on long hill climb. Hung on for first climb but dropped on 2nd lap. Strong finish in final kms.
  • 31 - WNS Hill Climb
    • Two other guys in Cat A, Evan Bayer and Isaac... and I came in 2nd! 

  • 3-5 - Tour De Bowness Omnium
    • Strong in long road race, attacking, chasing, sprinting. No motivation in Hill Climb so pulled the chute half-way up. Lost position in final lap of Crit, despite racing strong.
  • 9-10 - Jason Lapierre
    •  Not riding strong in ITT, until flat at turnaround forced me to quit. Didn't read the tactics in the crit sufficiently so was out of position for the sprint. Also really low max wattage.
  • 17 - Provincial ITT
    • Little bit sick, not much motivation, and even less ability!

While typing this summary, a few observations jumped out at me.
First off, my lack of aggression in the crits prevented much of my former crit success this year. I recognized situations where other guys, mostly young guns, would dive bomb into corners at obtuse angles, risking life and limb of everyone around them. I would always back off. I happened a bit in road races too, but usually there is more time/distance to recover. Not so in a 30 lap crit.

I started the season with strong time trials, but ended weakly. This tells me I had great fitness coming off Libby, etc, but with the sheer amount of racing my fitness probably waned, while I accumulated fatigue.

I excelled in the long road races. The longer and nastier, the better. Apparently. After Devon and TdB I'm confident that I could easily hang in most Cat 2 road races, with enough mustard to produce a solid finish.

I've also lost my fear of climbs. In years past I would never have driven all the way Golden to do a hill climb! Sure at 80kg I'm not built like a horse jockey, but I love how those races are about sustained wattage. I'm finding I can climb better than most sprinters, and sprint better than most climbers. There are certain races where this could be the perfect recipe for success.

Cat 3 tactics are very different from 4 and 5, at least in my pelotons.
In cat 5, guys will sprint from everywhere! You are guaranteed a lead out from anywhere you want, if you are patient and can jump a few wheels.
In cat 4, nobody wants to sprint too soon, so you can often catch the pack off guard by jumping early.

In cat 3 this year, due to the log jam of great juniors always present, guys attack everywhere. Entire races are often filled with attacks, many of them a couple hundred meters, slight regroup, then next attack. Timing is key and trusting a few other guys in the group to help chase down legitimate breaks.
Seldom is there any team tactic involved, however.


  • Points in all Provincial Races (6th in Crit, 9th in RR, 6th in ITT)
  • 28 Upgrade points, out of the required 60 (could have been more if GC events still counted for upgrade points. Also could've had more if I'd learned about that centre-line rule sooner!)
  • Increased critical power for 10-30 min range.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Provincial ITT

30km ITT. Sounds fun, don't it. What if I told you it was up near Edmonton, windy and hot? Well, if that doesn't get you excited check your pulse.

Okay, there was one detail luring enough for me to make the day-trip up for such guaranteed suffering; ABA "Series A" upgrade points and a small field of Cat 3.
That and I'd registered in EVERY other ABA race this year, so why come up just short?!

My strategy was to start out around 90% of my FTP for the first 5-10km, so that I would feel good and have a strong finish.
Sounds easy enough, however I hadn't done an FTP test in a long time, so I was basing this on my most recent 20 min test, performed back in June.

Unfortunately, I hadn't made any adjustments for fatigue, or a nagging cold I'd been fighting.

The first 5km split was painful, even at the lower target wattage. The next few splits would see my power drop to 80% of FTP, despite an alarm that I had set to beep when my wattage dipped into Zone 2!
The body just wasn't having it. I was producing a ton of phlegm, and felt like I had zero energy.
Took the turns very carefully soas to reduce the risk of flat/crashing like last week.
I was NOT going to DNF again and miss out on a couple upgrade points!

So, on I trudged, managing to bring up my wattage in the final 5km back up to 90%. To me this felt like I was going all out!!

Anyway, thanks to my aero bike, helmet, wheels, etc, my average speed was still over 40, which put me in at 6th / 8. Went home with 8 upgrade points, so Mission Accomplished I guess.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Jason Lapierre Memorial

20km Time Trial

Decent warmup, tapered all week, and despite fighting a cold since TdB Road Race, I was jacked to race on the Orbea. Last time I got to ride it was Banff, when I DNS'd due to my 10 min time penalty.

I went out pretty hard, trying to keep my watts at FTP. Started fading in kilometers 5-10. Going into the turnaround, my front tire exploded, and I went over my bike.
Race over.

Downtown Criterium

Though nursing a sore wrist and scraped knee from the ITT, I was feeling less sicky than yesterday and ready to go back to the course I won last year!

The return of Isaac meant I had a teammate! First time since Devon that I've had someone else in STC colors to race with!
The pace was pretty quick, and folks tried attacking, but nothing was going to stick. It never does.
The course it too straight, too non-technical.
At point around lap 10, I saw Isaac at the very front, so I decided to launch an attack; have him block a little, or at least have someone else pull in front.
I got a small gap but looked behind and saw only Masa. Half a lap later he wasn't coming around and the pack had pretty much retrieved us so I backed off.
That was exciting. Sat in the back for the remainder of the race.
Only one prime, and I found myself bored for much of the race.
Isaac wanted to go on an attack with about 15 laps to go. It finally happened with around 9 laps left. He was caught about 2 laps later.
In fact the final 15 laps were attack-filled. Final 3 were no exception.
It would make my last year's strategy very difficult. Got a bit separated from Isaac, and there was some sketchy cornering so I didn't/couldn't move up to where I wanted to.
Ended in a bunch sprint for about 50m.
I didn't like how close the finish line was to the final corner this year; it served to neutralize the thing I liked about that race before, the 3 wide open city lanes to sprint on.
Finished disappointingly somewhere around 10th or 11th...
First time in 4 years that I attained not a single upgrade point at this event!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tour De Bowness

135km Road Race

20k in, a pair break away and we let them go. Big mistake, they stayed away for the rest of the race!
2nd half of the first lap, I spent a lot of time at the front, trying to keep the pace going, but didn't get much help.
2nd lap, pace seems like it's getting slower and I'm still at the front, so I convince Evan Burtnik to drive the pace up on a roller. End up in a 3 man break w/ Andrew Rockwell. I'm liking this mix, so we bust it for about half a lap. Unfortunately our break is caught right at the base of the big KOM hill (crappy place to get caught).
Soon after the hill, Evan jumps again with someone else. They stay away, so now I'm thinking we're racing for 5th.
3rd time up the hill, Andrew and a couple guys get away,  and I'm convinced we're now out of the points.
We still have Barrie and Lukas, both good sprinters, so my new goal is to mark those two guys.
We end up catching all the breakaway gang (except for the first 2) with about 10 km to the finish.
Pace immediately softens until about the final Km.
Final rise it strings out a little, but everyone is being very cautious.
With 250m to go, an opening forms in front of me. I make a quick decision, knowing it's probably too far, into a cross wind, but with a big pack still remaining, I don't want to risk getting tangled up with people standing up to sprint so I decide to jump!
Nothing but silence for what seems like minutes, I can see the finish, and then voom-voom-voom... The 2 Juventus boys and Barrie go flying by, maybe 20m from the line!
End up 4th in the sprint, 6th overall.

3-Up Hill Climb

The format of this race is a little different. It's considered a time trial, however races go up Canada Olympic Park hill in heats of 3. This allows for some interesting tactics, drafting, pacing, etc.
Except when you're two heat-mates don't show up. :(
Then it's just me, and the long, lonely road up the side of a bobsled hill.

Despite pleading with the commissaire at the start line to group me with individuals behind me, he adamantly refuses saying it's too complicated, etc. Wouldn't ya know it though, he somehow managed to uncomplicate it 2 minutes when he paired Evan B up with Mark Faas, who were both without partners!

I had a decent warmup, but definitely felt the residual wear and tear from the Saturday race.
As I take off I settle in nicely to my target wattage and plough through the first half of the course, against the NW head winds. But my legs start to ache, as they should, and I decide not to argue with them on this day.
I'm not a hill climber on the best of days, but I would have fought tooth and nail to hang on to someone else's wheel had there been one, so I resolved to resist the self-mutilation and live to fight another day.
Ended up about 30s slower than last years time.
Good news is that I'm still in 7th in the Omnium, and can possibly make up a couple spots next in the Crit.


Not killing myself in the HC the day before was a good idea. I had a long warmup, and felt great the whole race, moving easily from 10th-3rd place at will.
2nd last lap, the pack is strung out in the final straight away and the guy in front of me lets a huge gap open in front of him. Crap!
I have to burn my one and only sprint match just to get around him and regain the pack. By then I'm pretty cooked and going into the final sprint I was way out of position, and couldn't move up any places at all. Finished 11th. Managed to snag 7th overall in the Omnium so at least my race fees are offset by my prize money! :)