Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Madera SR (thank you sir, may I have another...)

Some thoughts about the Madera Stage Race:

1) Chowchilla. This is where Stage 1, the individual time trial was.

Flat, hot, farmland (I warmed up for the TT here in the orchard next to the road)

2) I suck suck suck at time trials.

I'm really good at all the nerdy aspects. I fuel myself optimally (food / water). I have good equipment and a great position (air can't touch me). I have telemetry and I know how to use it (power meter, years of data, and a head for numbers).

What I don't have is actual power. 252W (139 pounds, for the curious) for 25.1mph over the 10.36 miles, for a time of 24:37

I would have been 7th in 2005, 13th last year, but this year that was only good for 35th or something. That's my worst placing in a 3s race just about ever actually. Well, one that I didn't have a flat tire in :-). I guess I should at least mention that this was, in fact, my best individual time trial ever, it was higher power than I've produced in testing so far, and I was happy with it *for me*. It just wasn't a competitive time.

So since this is a stage race, and it's run on time, I'm now officially not in contention to win it by a long shot. All I can hope for is to do well in the criterium or road race stages.

And to get better in time trials, for next time...

3) Flat square criteriums are pretty boring. Not much to report about the crit except the course was covered in tacks or something, with railroad tracks too. I got a flat, and so did 14 other people in my race. Thank goodness for the wheel pit...I was able to get a wheel change and get back in the race. Legs were blasted from the time trial, I got into position, but didn't contest the sprint and rolled in for 15th

4) Road races in 90 degree weather are...hot. And breakaways are hard to get organized. We staged in a working ranch with bulls for sale (pictured)

We had a 68 mile road race on a mostly flat course with a stretch of awful pavement, and a stretch of really fun rollers. Finish at the top of a roller.

I wanted to race aggressively since I all I can get are upgrade points, and I already have points, so a break went up the road on lap .5, and I hauled buns up to it with Yacov Spivak from Chico Corsa. 5 minutes later at a 300W / 29mph average, we were a group of 7, but there wasn't much cohesion. A couple of weak guys, and a strap-hanger were there. Sassan from Form Fitness had been the cheerleader to this point, and he drilled it on the rollers and cracked the weaker guys off so then there were 4. The EMC strap-hanger, a Delta Velo guy, Sassan and I. We held it until nearly lap 3 but were caught before the rollers. Maximum gap was a minute, we were out for an hour. That was fun - but how do you work together well in a breakaway with 4 guys? Long pulls (how long)? Do you change it up depending on uphill or downhill?

After that I just concentrated on refueling, recovering, and getting ready for the finale. The inevitable bum-rush sprint (all cat 3 sprints are a bit hairy) came on queue and I got myself in the right spot in the pack but I waited just a bit too late to start sprinting. Two guys flew by me on the left before I started, and by then it was too late. I dialed it up and came clear for third place, but I was solidly beaten for the top two steps. 7 more upgrade points though (woohoo...wait, now I'm probably sandbagging, sorry)

I liked the heat though - there was plenty of water from the neutral support (don't worry Morgan, the floaters in the neutral water make you stronger). I had plenty of food and felt good.

I just wish I could time trial better...next time I s'pose.

After the time trial whipping I took I'm going to stay a category 3 racer for at least one more race - the Wente RR. And if you're a 3 and you're reading this get ready to go with me because I'm going to attack. I need to learn how to work in a breakaway and make it stick.

After that I'll cash in my upgrade points and move up to category 2 to take my beatings from the Pro/Cat1 guys like a man.


1 comment:

teresa said...

You might want to reword that sentence about getting into position... just sayin.

But great job on the road race!!!!