Saturday, February 13, 2010

Picking at a Weakness

Well if there is one thing I suck at, it's producing steady state power for long periods of time. Really tough parts of crosswind races where you can't get a draft. Long breakaways with just 2-3 people where you have to work a lot. And of course, time trials, where it's just you and the clock and how hard you can go.

If you want to expose a weakness for me, throw me on a TT bike, plop me on a flat or rolling course, and watch me suffer to do what most folks can do while texting their friends or watching the birds etc. It's pretty sad.

My only saving grace, in fact, is that I have a Ph.D. in Allallogy which qualifies me as an expert aerodynamicist. So I don't produce much power but at least I have low drag.

Put the two together and you have an intensely mediocre time trialist usually.

Today was no exception.

I did the Beat The Clock Time Trial, a practice/fun charity race raising funds for cancer. I did it in honor of my late father in law Merritt Futter, which he probably would have thought was funny since he wasn't much for endurance sports. But he was a good guy and he was quick with a laugh or to help someone out. Anyway it gave me something to think about and I hope it helped in the grand scheme of things. Merritt, this one's for you.

The race started at 7:47am for me, which meant a 5am wake up call on a Saturday. The things a cyclist will do...

So Toby and I loaded up the truck, got our numbers, strapped on the skinsuits and dork helmets and got ready to suffer like champs.

For me personally, I was looking to just hold threshold for 20 minutes on a rolling course, in an aerodynamic tuck, and I didn't quite succeed. There were a couple parts (uphills) where I pushed over threshold as a pacing strategy but I believe I pushed too hard because I didn't recover after them which left me with a lower average time.

Really I just need to be stronger though.

Some stats:

-- unofficial, 24:25 for 10.03 miles, 24.6mph
-- 525ft elevation gain over the course
-- 236W average power (easier on downhill saving for uphill, but that didn't really work out)
-- 178bpm average heart rate (topped at 183bpm)

Not so much power, and not so fast. Not horrible, but 9% off my 4W/Kg goal for the day, and 30% off my full season target of 5W/Kg (which makes me think that may not be realistic...we'll see)

I'll close by requesting everyone I care about to please be careful out there. Toby crashed on course and got quite the nasty knee wound. He's stitched up and okay now thankfully but it was sad to see. Take care of yourselves.

Here's the pretty chart o' pain:


Morgan Fletcher said...

Good job keeping fairly steady power on a lumpy course. Your HR tells a good story. Too bad about Toby. I do kinda miss TT's.

Mike Hardy said...

Results are in - 10th out of 34 in the "open" (all individual guys mixed) Men's Individual TT category: - 13th out of 100 (or so) all categories.

James Mattis and Rand Miller put more than 2 minutes into me (10% faster, roughly) with winning time of 22:17 vs my 24:36.

It basically looks like I'm juuust on the fast side of a normal-distribution bell curve - beating most of the folks in the middle just barely, with the winners being two standard deviations out.

We'll see how that looks by the end of the season.

Of note is that Katheryn Curi, an extremely strong (2005 US Road champion) and by all accounts very nice woman on the Webcor Builders team, mopped the floor with me - putting 45 seconds into me with a 23:49. I love living in an area that has folks like that around - inspiring

Mike Hardy said...

Morgan - thanks for the encouragement. Having slept on it I'm definitely taking my personal-goal-miss inspirationally - I'm feeling pretty motivated to train this as I don't think I did too bad. I just expect a lot from myself.

You want me to look you up the next time we're thinking of doing one? We had a great Peninsula ride planned for afterwards since this course is right at the nexus of most loops that include Tunitas or Alpine or Pescadero...