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  1. #1
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    My first road race!

    I did my first road race last weekend and had a blast! For those of you familiar with the northern cal. circuit it was the Snelling RR. After doing a lot of group race simulations, group rides and practice on rollers, I felt pretty comfortable in the peloton. Moving around, staying on peoples' wheels and the tightness of the pack (laterally as well as with drafting) felt good.

    I noticed some interesting things though about halfway through the race. I'm more of a sprinter based on personal experience and also what I've seen in lab and field tests. When it comes to climbing, I can go as fast as the lead women but it takes it's toll a bit more on me. I try to be towards the front at the start of the short climbs so that if I drift back during the climb, I will still be able to catch up on the downhill if necessary. I actually felt great during the first part of the race and was able to recover well enough from the climbs to not get flicked off like some others. At about the halfway mark though, there was a steep but short climb followed by a brief downhill section and then a sharp 90 degree turn. The lead riders attacked at this point and I found that I just couldn't get my legs to sprint this time. It was definitely a leg issue and not a lung issue. A few minutes later I was feeling like I had some legs back, but of course the peloton was long gone. I finished strong and was able to pass a couple of stragglers by working with another rider along the way and trading pulls.

    My question is, what made my legs shut down after the halfway mark? Is it a lactate clearance issue? I was fine earlier in the race, but serious, it was like they said "no, we aren't going to sprint anymore" and it took a few minutes to recover, whereas before I was ok after maybe 30 sec. What kind of work could I be doing in order to improve on whatever the problem is? I don't think it's necessarily an endurance issue because I have no trouble riding centuries with minimal stops. It's the constant sprints or hillclimbs/recovery that kill me after about an hour.




    Janelle

  2. #2
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    One more thing...I had an awesome recovery. The next day i could tell that I had put in a good effort but I wasn't thrashed. Mostly I just slept a lot. In other words, I still had some leg and lots of lung to spare.

  3. #3
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I would say you are not trained enough or light enough - or both - to survive repeated high-output climbs. So when the crunch came, your power-to-weight ratio precluded you from being able to match the up-hill pace. Hill repeats should do the trick.

    Nothing like a race to point out one's weaknesses!

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    do you have a heart rate monitor, or a power monitor? It would be interesting to look at your HR, and power data both before and after that point.

    As for what will help, 1) more races, 2) intervals designed to allow you to deal with high intensity efforts and quickly recover, such as power intervals, and build downs.

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    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I would say you are not trained enough or light enough - or both - to survive repeated high-output climbs. So when the crunch came, your power-to-weight ratio precluded you from being able to match the up-hill pace. Hill repeats should do the trick.

    Nothing like a race to point out one's weaknesses!
    I need to lose about 20 lbs to get to the absolute thinnest I could possibly be. However I don't want to end up looking like Rasmussen. So I think 15 lbs though would be a more realistic goal and easily achievable. About a year and a half ago I had some allergy trouble and had to take some nasty steriod based stuff to get the lung inflamation down. I gained a ton of weight during the time. yuck! I ended up being a total of 35 lbs over my skinnest possible weight. ugh ugh ugh! I've lost 15 lbs already over the last 4 months at a rate of about 1 lb/week. I've got 15 more to go before I will be at a weight I will be happy with.

    How much of a difference would this make? I'm assuming it would make some difference since it's almost the weight of a complete bike from where I am now.

    What kind of hill repeats would be good?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    do you have a heart rate monitor, or a power monitor? It would be interesting to look at your HR, and power data both before and after that point.

    As for what will help, 1) more races, 2) intervals designed to allow you to deal with high intensity efforts and quickly recover, such as power intervals, and build downs.

    I have a HRM but no power meter. I'm hoping to get a power tap soon. Funny thing about the HR during the race. I purposely covered up the HR part of the computer so I wouldn't be influenced by the number. Based on how I felt, I would have thought for sure my HR would be in the mid 160's based on what I normally see and feel when I do hill climbs and how I feel around LT (163). However when I looked at the data after the fact, sometimes I was only going up to 158-160 but still feeling like I was putting in a similar hard effort that normally puts me at the mid 160's on the hills. Earlier in the week, 160 was feeling like nothing. BTW my LT was determined by lab testing back in december. Anyhoo, I had a crappy warmup the day before (felt tired early on) so I thought I would do crappy. But I was surprised by how good I felt the day of, except for having my legs shut down like that.

  7. #7
    Forever a Newbie
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    About the "legs shutting down", I think that's just a matter of conditioning. I'm sure the pack was cruising along easily above your normal training speed and you were able to hang with them easily, but once the speed spiked your legs couldn't respond. Race more and this "condition" will disappear. I remember how some of my racing buddies back in the 90s got schooled in their first couple of races. They kept at it though and made their way from Cat. 5s to Cat. 2s. Damn I want to race again. *sigh*

    Congrats on the first race!

  8. #8
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    You didnt mention in race fueling. After an hour you have burnrd everything you have in reserve from pre race meal. You need to be snacking the whole time to make sure you are always processing new fuel. Also dehydration will stop you just as cold as a steep climb. Sorry if this is obvious to you but I have ridden with people who never eat or drink and wonder why they lose thier strength after an hour on a bike.

  9. #9
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    My question is, what made my legs shut down after the halfway mark? Is it a lactate clearance issue?
    Janelle
    Hi Janelle,

    It was probably the terrific road surface that lulled your legs to sleep at Snelling. (AKA Snelling-Roubaix)

    I'd consider two things: Feeding, and more miles at a higher intensity.

    I've learned to hit the sports drink and Hammer Gel early, keeping those sugar stores topped up. It will keep you crisper as the race goes on. Don't wait till you feel you need to eat, that's too late.

    Races tend to be at a higher intensity than training rides, more accellerations, Etc. Try to replecate this in one or two harder/longer efforts during the week with intervals thrown in.

    At lose weight. There's no such thing as "Too skinny" in bike racing

    Good job. And some future advice based on my Snelling race: Don't try to ride the field off your wheel in the last mile. It don't work so good.

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    I have a HRM but no power meter. I'm hoping to get a power tap soon. Funny thing about the HR during the race. I purposely covered up the HR part of the computer so I wouldn't be influenced by the number. Based on how I felt, I would have thought for sure my HR would be in the mid 160's based on what I normally see and feel when I do hill climbs and how I feel around LT (163). However when I looked at the data after the fact, sometimes I was only going up to 158-160 but still feeling like I was putting in a similar hard effort that normally puts me at the mid 160's on the hills. Earlier in the week, 160 was feeling like nothing. BTW my LT was determined by lab testing back in december. Anyhoo, I had a crappy warmup the day before (felt tired early on) so I thought I would do crappy. But I was surprised by how good I felt the day of, except for having my legs shut down like that.
    were you feeling much 'anticipation' for the race start? Adrenaline rush is a powerful thing and will waste you over any lenghty effort. The 'rush' before a race can really put a crimp in your effort some time down the line.
    I've always had that problem. Especially if a competition 'type' feels 'new' for me (or 'new' again, as in bike racing re-entry). Got to be where I needed to do some meditation in order to get any control over my 'anticipatory rush'. Based on my crit a few weeks back, I think I need get back to pre-start meditation again.
    I wouldn't be afraid to 'use' the HRM during races. Getting to know how your body reacts under different stress conditions goes along way to learning more about strengths and weaknesses.
    If you think you can afford 15-20 lbs of weight lose, then losing 10-12 should make a big diff. I've got a little extra currently, also. But not worried about it, it'll shed quickly in the next few weeks.
    I'm always a bit cautious in approaching my 'target weight', cause if I go under by even a few lbs, my performance suffers. I'm sure you'll be well aware of how its going, but just thought I'd punctuate doing the weight lose in small, increments, as you've done.

    BTW, great race reports from everyone! really helps in reminding things to be aware of and remember. a fun read also

  11. #11
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    I've got 15 more to go before I will be at a weight I will be happy with.

    How much of a difference would this make? I'm assuming it would make some difference since it's almost the weight of a complete bike from where I am now.

    What kind of hill repeats would be good?
    15 lbs make a HUGE difference racing. When I get under 195 lbs, that's when I know I am fit and it shows when I ride. Right now I am hovering around 200. When the weather breaks I will be able to ride off the last 5 lbs.

    Your competitors with less body-fat are climbing under much less strain every lap and have the reserve to go even harder.

    Any kind of hill repeats are better than none. I have a place local where I do mine that is a climb out in both directions. So, I descend then climb out, turn around, descend, climb out the other side, turn around and so on. Try to do 8 - 10 in an hour then go home.

  12. #12
    amateur cycologist
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    Janelle,

    Snelling is an excellent course for a first road race, and good job to you for jumping in. Some bad news before the good:

    1) it'll get faster as the season progresses.
    2) Snelling is considered a very flat course in NorCal, so if you have problems staying with the other ladies on this terrain, you're not gonn'a gave a good time at most of the good races in our region.

    The good news is it sounds like you're fit, and you started racing in the early season, so there's plenty of time to do power work.

    If this were a bet, I'd put my money on you not drinking enough and not eating enough (ask me how I know ). Another thing is to ask your coach or mentor to watch you on a typical training ride--chances are, you are not riding as efficiently as you should. So I would focus on the mental aspects first. But of course, you should talk to your mentor about starting some work on power when he/she feels you're ready (for most of us, that's March or mid-February). You'll get pretty trashed, but they'll get you laying down some work in the least amount of time, which is what those small humps at Snelling are all about. You should try to do Maclane this coming weekend if possible. Good luck!

    Phong
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