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  1. #1
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Clyde Race Reports

    I have seen a few clyde racers out here in SoCal (and a few guys who may not be clydes, but definitely have the belly), but I hadn't really heard too often from other clyde racers here on BikeForums. Based on this thread however, I've realized that there are other Clyde racers here on BF. So I thought we could all post our reports here as opposed to the Racing subforum. Photos are definitely encouraged, if you have them.

    If you do race, it's always fun to read of other's exploits. If you don't race, perhaps our reports can be an encouragement to you. Maybe not to race (although it is fun), but instead to continue the struggle of bike vs. man that is the clydesdale. If we can overcome our biggest handicap and mix it up at high speeds, so too, can you overcome the obstacles in your life.

    (And, as pretty much a roadie I have mixed feelings saying this, but...)
    Triathlons, biathlons, time trials, road races, crits, mtb races... all are welcome. Report away.

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  2. #2
    crash 5
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    n1, can this be locked on top?

  3. #3
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    3/29 -- Los Angeles Circuit Race

    SHORT VERSION
    Sunday, 3/29, Los Angeles International Airport
    27.5 miles, 1 hour, 6 mins, pack finish

    3-Mile course: up one side of the street, 180-degree turn, down the other side. Always we have a stiff wind blowing off the ocean (1-mile away), west to east. So, half the course is riding into the wind. This is fortunate 'cause the guys up front don't want to kill themselves battling the wind, so I just sit in and get a nice easy ride at 12-15mph. Then, on the other side, we have a fast tail-wind. This actually is the harder side as everybody just drills it as soon as we turn. We go from like 5mph in the turn to 30-35mph along the straight, up a 1% grade for about 3/4-mile.

    LONG VERSION
    Background
    To know what the results of this race mean to me, you have to know a little background:

    I had upgraded from cat 4 over the winter having competed in mixed category races last year and doing fine: several cat 3/4's and a few Master's/1,2,3,4's--the hardest. I had raced three races this year in my new Cat 3 status, finishing with the pack in all of them. I didn't have the finishing speed, but figured I was new, and it'd come eventually.

    At the end of February, I came down with some sort of flu bug. A week later, I fell at work and hurt my ankle and cracked a rib. I was laid-up for 2-3 weeks and couldn't ride, let alone train. My first ride back, even before my injuries had completely healed, I could only ride 15-miles and it took me an hour on flat terrain with my heart rate running pretty high. (That may seem good to some, but for me, it was pretty far down my ability scale--I can normally put in 20-22 miles in an hour--illustrating just how far my fitness had dropped.) I did two races after a week (the Tour de Murietta--a criterium and a road race), and got dropped horribly in both of them after a lap or two. In my training I had just started riding a particular ride with pro/1-2 racers (national level) and was getting horribly dropped there as well. This was a very depressing time for me.

    Race Day
    And so I arrived at the LA Circuit Race, hoping to do well. My training during the week had improved, I could see that, but I just didn't know how my body would respond. Especially on this course, where there's definitely going to be 2 sprints per lap at each end of the course. These were also pretty much the same guys I had seen and raced against in Murietta. I was thinking this is going to be painful. Plus, I had also e-mailed our team leader (a cat 1 racer) talking to him about my recent troubles. I'm thinking he may be thinking I just need to lose weight and perhaps I should be a cat 4 racer again. Plus, the cat 4 guys were going to race on the course at the same time as us, only 5-mins after us. If I get dropped, I'd surely get caught by them. So, me getting dropped here: mucho embarassment. I had much to be afraid of if I failed. Not a very good sport psychology to have.

    I got there early to watch our team's pro/1-2 guys race. We got a 5th place, and they were very active on the front, dictating the race and driving the breakaways. Nice. After they were done, I got ready for my event: I dressed, set-up my bike and trainer, and rode the trainer for 20-30 mins. My legs were spinning around, and I felt good. I hopped off the trainer, and rode around the parking lot a bit. It felt easy as I pedaled. Each pedal stroke pushed me forward smoothly, in spite of the wind. I felt much smaller and lighter than my 260-pounds. Unfortunately, since I was trying to avoid failure so much, I was only mildly encouraged by this. My goal for today had become: don't get dropped by the pack.

    Then, we're off. I usually hyper-ventilate a little at the beginning of races while I fill my lungs with air. Fortunately, we took the first lap easily so I could slowly acclimatize to the expected demands. After the first lap, we notice the 4's gaining a bit on us. And about this time, some other riders decide to attack, forcing the pace up as others follow. I do okay. In fact, throughout the race, there were a couple surges and I handled them all okay. Only 3-4 times was I at my limit. And of course, if I am, others probably were too, so the pace settled down a bit.

    Lap by lap goes by and I'm still in the field. In fact, I'm usually near the front. It's here, due to the accordion effect, where I'll expend the least amount of energy trying to maintain contact. So, all-in-all, I'm doing much better than I feared. With about 2 laps to go, I notice a group of 4 riders going clear. I'm actually thinking maybe I should jump and go with them. But, I'm a bit blocked in the middle of the pack so I can't maneuver to go with them. Plus, with the conditions of this course, I don't think anyone will stay away to the finish.

    About this time, I decide I might need to think about the finish. I go through the corners on the outside, conserving energy. (This has the benefit of helping me maintain my speed which leads to less acceleration out of them. The drawback is, any crashes in the corners? The rider will slide inside to the outside and into me.) I plan on taking the last corner on the inside, a shorter distance to the finish, 400-yards away.

    On the last lap down the stretch into the wind, the pack is no longer taking it easy: we're cruising along at 25mph and getting faster, peaking at 30 just before the turn. Coming down, I know that i have to be near front out of the turn to have a good placing. As another racer passes me on my left, I jump on his wheel and follow. The four riders away have lasted 'til now and we catch them here. My taxi takes us up near the front, but not far enough. We go through the turn and he sits up as we get congested. All of a sudden, we both go from about 10-riders from the front to 3-riders from the back out of the turn! I see the front racers sprinting away to the finish line, leaving a big gap to those of us in the back. There's little sense in trying to sprint for 40th place, so we just roll across the line.

    Reflections
    I had mixed emotions about the race. While I was extremely happy that I was able to stay with the field throughout the race, I was also disappointed in my result. Given that I was able to stay with the field, I thought I would get a better placing. I also was harangued by the what-ifs: what if I had gone with that group of four? Maybe they would have been able to stay away with one more person contributing. Well, who knows of course.

    So, I'll resign myself to being happy with my result (staying with the field) and now concentrate on improving during training rides, knowing that my form is back (I hope ).


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  4. #4
    crash 5
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    nice read and good showing. in cali, im sure your cat3s are like our cat2s, with your extended riding season and plethora of competition, so im sure it was more brutal that youre letting on. not getting dropped by the same crowd, is a victory in my book.

    how could you have done that last turn differently?

    i look forward to getting blown off the back of crash5 packs in a couple weeks. we just lost our snow a little while ago, but might get a light dusting the next couple of days. i really hate training rides outdoors in a minnesota winter, so the first couple races are going to be powered by 90% spin classes and 1% road...the other 9% is going to be positive thinking.

    should be an interesting season.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks. This race I'm not so sure about it being harder. I think if there had been no wind, they would've ramped up the pace more. As it was, nobody wanted to burn their matches.

    Last turn? Of course I've been replaying that. Only things I could think of: a) be off the front a bit, b) on the front, c) or--at most--1-2 riders back. Even then, of course I don't have much of a sprint. So I'm thinking I needed a bit of a gap prior to the corner.

    That's one of the reasons I upped to 3's: breaks don't work in 4/5s like what 99% of the time? Since I've got no jump, but I have a nice top-end, I'm hoping to get better results by being in a break, setting a constant pace with a partner or two, and getting top-5 or whatever. One race last year stuck in my mind (I wasn't in it) from the 3s: a group of 6 guys (w/one a team-mate) broke away and lapped the field. Awesome scene. I hope maybe I can duplicate.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    i look forward to getting blown off the back of crash5 packs in a couple weeks. we just lost our snow a little while ago, but might get a light dusting the next couple of days. i really hate training rides outdoors in a minnesota winter, so the first couple races are going to be powered by 90% spin classes and 1% road...the other 9% is going to be positive thinking.

    should be an interesting season.
    I've never done them, but I would imagine spin-class might help with leg speed. Certainly not handling skills, so, with the lack of riding due to weather, I would expect the field to be worthy of "Crash 5" status. Good luck. Remember how to corner--that alone saved me much energy when I was in the 4s.

    Yeah, advantage SoCal weather. But I miss home (upstate NY) with all its snowfall and green grass and actual-water-in-them rivers.

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  7. #7
    crash 5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    I've never done them, but I would imagine spin-class might help with leg speed. Certainly not handling skills, so, with the lack of riding due to weather, I would expect the field to be worthy of "Crash 5" status. Good luck. Remember how to corner--that alone saved me much energy when I was in the 4s.

    Yeah, advantage SoCal weather. But I miss home (upstate NY) with all its snowfall and green grass and actual-water-in-them rivers.
    i appreciate it. this isnt my first crit, nor second, 15th, etc...just my foray back into the world of puking in dumpsters after the sprint for the finish, from an almost 2 decade hiatus. i know i cant hit 40mph in a at sprint anymore, but for my new riding style, im pretty confident i know where to be, or should be for the final countdown (love europe), or so i hope. naw, all i care about is having fun; think fat guy in a medium jersey and the look on peoples faces.

    i figure spin classes are just intervals for an hour, as hard as oyu make them, and the crash5 races are 25-30 min, so i should be bad, really bad, but not bad enough to warrant seppuku.. ill drop if i get lapped my the main field (maybe 20 riders up here).

    have you any team members you can really upon? are there some "diesels" with who you can break? is the racing out there so competitive, riders who might be ride for different team, but see each other at all the races, might not swing deals pre/during and post, race?

    bwt, that "dusting" tomorrow. Out Like A Lion Indeed: 20 Inches Of Snow Possible
    See The Projected Track Of The Storm looks like the TC is only getting 1-4 inches.

    btw, i dont train outdoors per say, but i ride all year round, so my handling isnt too bad, just a little rusty on pack riding. i think most of the clowns up here so the same. speaking of which, the women in the spin classes are so unbelievably hot, id still do them in they made me fatter, uglier and 'more dumber'. im going to keep doing them into the season till the ratio of women to me drops down to 2-1. yes, i am a male pig.
    Last edited by grimace308; 03-30-09 at 03:34 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CollectiveInk's Avatar
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    I figure I can officially post to this thread now!

    I'm definitely a clyde (6'1" 255lbs) but decided to try a Crit and Road race this past weekend. My son's team was going for the Tour de Tuscaloosa in Alabama. I figured I'd driven all that way, why not. I entered in the mens cat5 / 35+.

    Crit: Not really knowing what to expect, other than seeing the juniors racing prior, I started in the back of the pack. I managed to hang on through the start, first corner, the main downhill, turn #2, the first stretch that started to climb (the pack was really strung out by now), turn #3 into the first steeper climb (not massive, just steeper) and that's when they lost me. I got lapped only once, and managed enough strength to grab onto a group of 4 for the final lap. But that was mainly to try and stay out of the wind. Wind can be brutal when your body is shaped more like a sail than a bean pole!

    Came in dead last, but I was just happy to have finished.

    Road Race: Started Sunday morning. It was 42, overcast w/ 30mph wind gusts. Not so much fun. I didn't pack knee wamers, tights or anything other than a baselayer, jersey, bib shorts and a very thin windbreaker. (Well, I did have arm warmers, but loaned them to one of our juniors.) It was a 10 mile circuit race with my group doing 3 laps. We went out after the Pro/1/2 and Cat 5 open.
    Max Grade: 13%
    Avg Grade: 7% (I think, I'll have to check the computer)
    Max Speed: 41mph
    Avg Speed: 15.3mph
    Total Climb: 2,100 ft (I think, again = computer)

    The first lap killed me. I seriously didn't think I'd make it around. I've done 30+ miles many times, but trying to stay with a group that's faster than you, not so much. Lap #2 was much better. Muscles were warmed up better, knew the course, etc. Got lapped by the Pro/1/2s who started out 5 mins before me. Got passed by the Pro women (not a bad view being lapped by them though ) Passed by the 14 year old+ juniors, but never my own group. Lap #3 was torture. I was worn out, cold and hurting, but I finished. And actually, I didn't come in dead last! I was dead, but not last.

    All in all it was fun. I think I'll try a few more in the future. I did realize I was riding around with the equivalent of a small child strapped to my stomach (60+ extra lbs.) though. I did try and have fun, so with various marshalls or organizers I'd say things like:

    "Am I done yet?" (first lap out)
    "I'm not as aerodynamic as I think I am"
    "This is a skinny person's sport!"
    "I'll trade you bikes" (to a traffic cop sitting on his motorcycle)
    "This is for all the fat guys out there!" (To a course photographer-himself overweight-taking my picture.)



    Tim
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    Specialized Allez Elite / Haro Extreme x6 Expert / Trek 4300 / Fuji Supreme SL / LeMond Reno - converted for TT / Giant Warp DS1 / Tommaso Ponza / Trek 4300 - 13.5" (For Sale)

  9. #9
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Way to go, Tim! Looks warm in AL. Sounds like tough courses both days!

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  10. #10
    crash 5
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    DUDE!!! is that a cam on the top of your helmet? if so, you must post vids.

    nice report. its cool you stuck it out and didnt quit.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CollectiveInk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    DUDE!!! is that a cam on the top of your helmet? if so, you must post vids.

    nice report. its cool you stuck it out and didnt quit.
    Yeah. I figured it would be kinda fun to record the humiliation. I'll post it as soon as it's been edited some. The whole 41 mins it was running isn't so cool to watch. lol

    Before the race started one of the officials came over to me and pointed to the cam. I thought "oh great, they're going to make me take it off or something" but instead he said "I love those helmet cams! I'm a firefighter and have one on my helmet as well."

    FWIW - Sam's club has been clearing them out for about $48. Not a bad deal. It runs on 2 AA batteries and uses up to a 2GB sd card.
    Tim
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    Specialized Allez Elite / Haro Extreme x6 Expert / Trek 4300 / Fuji Supreme SL / LeMond Reno - converted for TT / Giant Warp DS1 / Tommaso Ponza / Trek 4300 - 13.5" (For Sale)

  12. #12
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Long Beach Grand Prix
    0.8 mi course, cat 3, 60-mins
    25.7mph avg, 37.5mph max (on a totally flat course! )
    DNF: I lasted about 35 mins before sitting up lest I threw up.

    'L'-shaped course with horrific pavement issues. I could not find a clean road surface anywhere to roll on. I thought my wheel was coming loose at the hub, it was so bad. I was sure it was out-of-true, but it seems to be rolling nicely. At one point, another, smaller rider said he hit a lip in the road and was air-borne (he nailed the landing, though and continued on). There were 3 crashes: an 8-rider pile up, and two other, 2-rider mix-ups. Everyone was all over the place trying to avoid the obstacles, causing us to swipe front wheels. Terrible course.

    Excellent, $1,500 payout over about 10 places, unusually large for us cat 3s. The Pro/1-2, 90-minute race (after us) paid out $10,000 over 20-places. Cha-ching! All the pros were there: Rahshawn Bahatti (national crit-champ), I think I saw Floyd Landis, and a current Olympic champion (forgot the name). I stuck around for a couple laps: they make it look so easy.

    I started at the back as everybody was already lined up 15-mins before the start. I had arrived later than I wanted, got in about 10-mins of warm-up on the trainer, and headed over, riding 1/2 the course on the way.

    We started fast for the first two laps. And it never let up. Usually, we start hard, then ease up as we get into it. Not this time. Occasionally there was a lull. I tried to move up, but when it took off again, I was busy recovering, and slid to the back again.

    To give you an idea of the hurt: I raced for 35-mins. I was in zone 5 for 56% of the time and in zone 4 42%! I had a grand total of 37-seconds in zone 3 or below! I am sooo out of shape right now.

    Consolation: I wasn't the first rider dropped (even over some skinnies). A friend who usually does very well, just hung on for a pack finish, but couldn't do any more than that. He said it was a tough tempo.

    I'll get 'em next time: Tomorrow, I'll be doing two categories: 30+/3-4's and two hours later, cat 3's. Slightly harder course with one climb, 2% at 250 yards. Then downhill, and somewhat flat into the climb again.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    CBR Dominguez Hills Crit
    Sun, 4/5/09, First race: 30+/3-4's; second: Cat 3.
    Industrial park crit. 4-Corners, 0.9mi per lap. S/F is on slight (1%) incline between turns #1 & #4. A roller before turn #3 and another roller before turn #4. Good head-wind. Not a hard course.
    Result: Pack finish both races. But, performance in race was much better than yesterday

    In the 30+/3-4 race, I was very active. I attempted to get into 4-different breaks. None of them stuck, but just having the strength to go was excellent! The first two, I accelerated out of the field, trying to latch on to another break that had gotten ~3-5 secs on us. I managed to bridge up to both. However, when I looked back, the whole field was on my wheel. Strung out, yes but still on my wheel. The third attempt, I had gotten wiser: I accelerated from about 10-spots back on a downhill section, using my weight to get up to a nice speed so no one could respond, and no one did. Off to the right, I noticed another rider doing the same thing, so he & I paired up. Or rather, he followed my wheel. After half-lap, I was getting to the break, but losing my power. There was no way I could keep it up. I pull over, motion for the guy to come through...he doesn't. I do this a couple times. Finally, after another 1/2-lap, he pulls through, just as the pack swarms us. The last break attempt was sort of a surge going up the hill. I went with 2-other guys, bridging up to 4 others. We get there, and I shout out, "Get organized, we have a nice gap!" With 7 of us, we stand a real chance of staying away, but we needed to drill it. They never organized. Pack saw the danger and had us after another 1/2-lap. For the finish, I concentrated on keeping good position, but in the end, didn't get it. I rolled across the line, very happy and content.

    The cat 3 race I wasn't sure what to expect due to my endeavors 2-hours earlier. So, my goal was to just stay with the field as long as possible. I was feeling good and the pace was not killer. So, I concentrated on maneuvering around and staying near the front. Did well on both counts. Wasn't able to push for the finish, though, and sprinted home in like 30-40th or so.

    All in all, very happy.

    Anybody else race this weekend?

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  14. #14
    crash 5
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    consider yourself lucky to have as many races out there as you have. consider yourself lucky to have a riding season all year round.

    nice reports.

    nice job on the lbgp. thats a killer pace, for that reason alone, i dont think im going to use a computer this season. i really dont want to know how slow were going. since you top out well, but claim to not jump very fast, how are you doing out of the corner when you have to catch a group trying to break and bridge a gap? are you...?

    nice cbr. sounds like youre sticking to the plan of gapping with a small group and trying to diesel to the finish. did you say you had team mates? how strong are you feeling, or should i ak how many riders do you think you need in a break to give yourself enough recovery time, afte a good pull, if all the riders are working together? think you might be able to break by yourself, later in the season?

    3 good races in 2 days. im jealous. thanks for the update. some of us are living vicariously through others on this board.

    we woke up to this today. this is a little snow we got last night, its about an inch, but it didnt stick around too long.
    our season starts soon, but im out for a week+ with a knee injury. this is going to be a very very rough season.

  15. #15
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    consider yourself lucky to have as many races out there as you have. consider yourself lucky to have a riding season all year round.

    nice reports.
    Oh yeah... I'm very fortunate to be living out here. From the end of January to end of August, we have one race a weekend somewhere in SoCal, sometimes, two, sometimes two on the same day (annoying).


    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    nice job on the lbgp. thats a killer pace, for that reason alone, i dont think im going to use a computer this season. i really dont want to know how slow were going. since you top out well, but claim to not jump very fast, how are you doing out of the corner when you have to catch a group trying to break and bridge a gap? are you...?
    I actually don't use the computer too much during a race. I like to analyze the data after. Occasionally I'll check out my HR #'s , but I can't usually do anything about it

    I can get a jump on the field, only if I get a good head o' steam and surprise them coming from the back. Corners are absolutely no problem for me as I maintain my speed very well through them and usually move up 2-3 places coming out of them. At LBGP, however, the pack in front of me was slowing down through them (should not be happening in the 3s ), and I was having to repeatedly accelerate coming out. My speed graph is up-down, up-down. I think this helps explain why/how I was shelled. If only I had been able to get to the front, I could have maintained speed through corners alot better, and not been doing intervals like I was due to the accordion effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    nice cbr. sounds like youre sticking to the plan of gapping with a small group and trying to diesel to the finish. did you say you had team mates? how strong are you feeling, or should i ak how many riders do you think you need in a break to give yourself enough recovery time, afte a good pull, if all the riders are working together? think you might be able to break by yourself, later in the season?
    Well, trying to stick to it . Each race I do is training for me, so hopefully, this will pay dividends down the line.

    Unfortunately, no teammates at my (3s) level. There is one guy--another clyde--who said I could latch on anytime, which I really appreciate 'cause he does have a couple teammates. Course, he's not always there, but he did well yesterday I do have teammates in the 4s who have said I should down-grade just to be able to ride w/them. But, I dunno yet.

    As for how many in a group... that's a good question. I never thought about it. Definitely more than 1. I tried that last year. He & I were toast. Of course, it was a Master's 35+/1-4 field, and we were trying to get away with 2-laps to go

    I was feeling very good yesterday as compared to Saturday. After Sunday's race, I checked my data, here's what I have (good reason to have the computer):

    Long Beach averaged 25.19mph, 35-mins
    Dom Hill 3-4's averaged 25.18mph, 41-mins
    Dom Hill 3's averaged 25.62mph, 46-mins

    At Long Beach, I was in zones 4/5 a total of 98% of the race (52% in zone 5 alone!)
    In the 3-4's, even with the attacking, I was in zones 4/5 a total of 51% for the race.
    In the 3's, I was in zones 4/5 a total of 22% for the race.

    I'm pretty sure LBGP was so difficult just because of the constant accelerating/decelerating into & out of the corners.


    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    3 good races in 2 days. im jealous. thanks for the update. some of us are living vicariously through others on this board.

    we woke up to this today. this is a little snow we got last night, its about an inch, but it didnt stick around too long.
    our season starts soon, but im out for a week+ with a knee injury. this is going to be a very very rough season.
    Sorry to hear 'bout the knee. I hope it doesn't last too long. And the snow can be good. Out here, we have green grass in the winter, and brown grass the rest of the year. Our rivers only have water in them during the 3-days of winter, too. It really is a desert.

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  16. #16
    crash 5
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    thats a tough one. i dont know what id do if i had help in the 4s, but i was a three. maybe you should goad these fine lads into upping their pace and they can join you in the 3s

    you run power, or just hr?

    some of us have a theory that masters is harder than the races with the kids. not only is everyone pretty fast, theyre also pretty smart, with plenty of experience.

    i have a dream of 1000lbs of rider, or 4 clydes, breaking off the front should and staying away from a bunch of 140lb chasing tinkerbells, futilely thrashing their bikes in pursuit. im thinking 80's style russian time trial

  17. #17
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    thats a tough one. i dont know what id do if i had help in the 4s, but i was a three. maybe you should goad these fine lads into upping their pace and they can join you in the 3s
    Good idea. I think they're happy in the 4s and want better results before they cat-up. That'll be awhile, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    you run power, or just hr?
    Right now, just HR. I'd like to get power, but don't have the funds.


    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    some of us have a theory that masters is harder than the races with the kids. not only is everyone pretty fast, theyre also pretty smart, with plenty of experience.
    Most definitely Masters is harder. Maybe not harder than the Pro/1-2s, but all the other cats, yes. Of course, many of these Master's are 1s & 2s, like Turbo.


    Quote Originally Posted by grimace308 View Post
    i have a dream of 1000lbs of rider, or 4 clydes, breaking off the front should and staying away from a bunch of 140lb chasing tinkerbells, futilely thrashing their bikes in pursuit. im thinking 80's style russian time trial
    I think it'd be neat, but I won't hold my breath

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  18. #18
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    4/19 -- Chuck Pontius Crit

    4/19 - Chuck Pontius Crit
    Industrial park, 0.8-mile course, pretty much flat.
    Stiff wind out of the eastern mountains.
    55-mins, Cat 3 race, DNF

    Wind was killer on the back stretch and it somehow even felt like a head wind on the front side too . It turned out to be another very hard race, a la Long Beach but I was much better able to handle it. It was dominated by people attacking and the field surging. My HR/speed data looks like clothing stitches. Up-down, up-down... I was in zone 3, 4 & 5 throughout the race, roughly 30% each. At least one other clyde was there (Bruce). Tall guy, not overly fat. Just big. He's said he'd like to work with me sometime as I don't have any teammates. We'll see if we can't get something going somewhere. I heard him shouting encouragement a couple times from behind me and would occasionally see him near the front as well. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to maintain the fast-slow, fast-slow rhythm this race demanded. After the first 20-mins or so, I didn't see him again--a testament to the difficulty of the style of racing, not his abilities (he had no problems last time at Dominguez Hills).

    In spite of 4 riders attacking right from the start, I started off strong, going with them--but so did the field!--and stayed near front, proclaiming my desire to be a mover-and-shaker in the race. A couple riders made attempts to get away here and there. Nothing stuck. A lone rider was let off front for a couple laps as we all settled down.

    Then, a small group (4-5?) went off. I noticed a teammate of theirs was on the front of the pack, blocking. So I tried to bridge up. Unfortunately, it was on the back-side, straight into hurricane winds I felt like I wasn't even moving ! Rounded turns 3 & 4 with maybe a couple seconds gap but had killed myself to get there and couldn't sustain. Pack caught me as we rolled through S/F. I was huffing pretty hard so I sat at the back to recover. Took awhile as everytime we turned onto the home stretch, the field upped the pace to 35+. Then, we'd slow to 15-20 into the wind. Small group stayed off throughout this.

    After a bit, there was a surge on the front as a couple riders tried to bridge. It pretty much blew apart the field, and I didn't notice the danger/chance at the time. If I hadn't been tired, and I had noticed, I most definitely would have gone with. Small groups of 2-3 were going up the road trying to join the leading group. 1 or 2 stayed away, but the others came back. I was still a little tired so just hanging on, but with the main field (or so I thought). As a few got off the front, we regained our composure and resigned to riding tempo. I wasn't overly worried: I figured we'd slowly pull back the escapees, especially with the wind.

    I remember seeing them a bit in the distance, rounding a turn: there were like 10-12 of them or more ! Crap! If they work together, they're gone! So when another rider tried to go and bridge, I followed. Another 2 went past us. I joined them. But it seemed like I/we just weren't making any headway. I hooked up with one rider and we started trading pulls. I'm like, "Get on the front and pull off. Rotate quickly as we recover our energy from the jump." This worked nice for like 3-pulls. But he wasn't as strong as I thought and couldn't keep the pace up when he pulled through. I had a higher speed but couldn't sustain it while I tried to get my tempo. So, the field caught back up to us.

    Ya know, all this time I just assumed that your average cat 3 rider knew how to paceline. Apparently not. In the field, somebody would get on the front, pull for 30-secs or so and stay there as they died slowly and our speed dropped. (I think we followed one dude for a lap and a half! I remember seeing him go backwards past us immediately after. Don't know if he finished.) Somebody else would jump and attack through. There were a couple of us who seemed to understand how to work, but we couldn't arrange ourselves together and were interrupted here and there by these nin-com-poops.

    15-mins to go and I can no longer see the break... er... front half of the field. Ralph Elliot is trying to belittle...er...encourage us as we roll through the S/F (apparently called us the "no-hopers"). And then it was all over: as we rolled through with 2 laps to go, the official instead announces we have one lap to go as the break is going to catch us. So, next time around, we roll through and pull over. Break was a good 15-secs behind us, so it's possible they might have got us at the sprint.

    Oh well. Never been lapped in a such a large group before. Never been in a race where half the field is pulled. New experiences. After, I was pretty bummed that these other riders couldn't organize to chase. But, I should have made the break, so I have only myself to blame.

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