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Old 03-18-09, 01:06 PM   #1
Velodiva
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Madera Stage Race Report

Madera Stage Race, March 14-15, 2009
Cat: W4
Overall General Classification (GC): 7
Field: 43

This was my first stage race. It was held in Madera, CA which is located in the central valley. It consisted of a 40 minute criterium Saturday morning, a 10 mile time trial (TT) on Saturday afternoon and a 51 mile road race on Sunday. At a minimum, it would serve as a benchmark at this early point (for me) in the racing season. Last month I was off the bike completely for two weeks due to vacation and surgery, and then had to scale back my training efforts a notch during post-op recovery. I was really looking forward to the race, but also realistically acknowledging that I am not in peak form. I felt surprisingly great during the crit and the road race – my “sweet spot” is typically the time trial, but that turned out to be where I lost time. I am looking forward to the next Beat the Clock TT for some good TT training. I missed 6th GC place by less than a half a second, and would have placed 5th but for my penalty (see TT report below). All in all, a great first stage race. We had perfect weather the entire weekend (high temps around 70 and mostly sunny) which made for an enjoyable weekend of racing. Hermes also completed the stage race with the Cat 5 men and had a stellar time trial stage. Fortunately our race schedules meshed very well because there was a lot of driving around to get to the various race venues.

Stage 2, Criterium
Sat. 9:50 AM
Time: 39:43 – finished with the pack
Course: Flat, a little more than 1 mi, four corner, industrial park, very good pavement, wide streets, one perpendicular RR crossing.

The criterium has is not usually the deciding factor for the general classification. There are 20/10/5 second bonuses for 1-3 and two 5 second bonuses for the primes. This was my first crit – my goal was to finish with the pack and move on to the next stage – mission accomplished. I actually enjoyed the crit and took part in a couple breakaways and led out on the last lap. A crash on corner 3 took down one cyclist and a woman next to me hit a traffic cone that came my way. Otherwise, uneventful and fun.



Start of W Cat 4 crit



Velodiva leading the peloton on last lap

Stage 3, Sharon ITT
Sat. 2:22 PM start time
Time: 27:14 (official time w/30 second penalty 27:44)
Place: 7/43
Course: Flat, rectangular, 10-mile loop, breezy, moderate temperature. Cross-tailwind on first two legs, cross-headwind on third leg, headwind on short final leg.

I was the first W Cat 4 out – I am used to it with the last name beginning with “A”. There was a lag of 2 minutes between the two groups, so it was unlikely that I would catch anyone – and no one passed me. There was so much hype, talk, and warnings about people going off-course that I wrote the road names on my hand. All that I think led to distraction. I had an ambitious goal of 26:30 but that was not to be realized. I think that I was so wound up about the crit and relieved that it was over that lacked that TT inner drive. The cross-headwind/headwind on the last two legs of the course took its toll. I love to TT and this was a good early season test. Don’t ask about the penalty – that hurt! Before the race (before anyone was on the course), I was warming up on Santa Fe Road mentally gauging the wind effect and was on the TT course for 200 meters – yes, I know better – I swear something happens to your brain during a race. I deserve the penalty for being stupid. Live and learn. It cost me 2 places in the GC.



Velodiva on the TT

Stage 4, Daulton RR
Sun. 11:25 AM
Place: 11/43
51 miles (3 laps)
Course: 3 laps of 17-mile loop. Slightly downhill windy section, 2.5 miles of “Paris Roubaix” cobblestones followed by the roller coaster through the finish/feed zone.

I was happy to start in the second wave, have a relatively relaxing morning, and more recovery time. The temps were perfect for a road race. That said, I was still a little bummed out about the TT/penalty and not psyched for a 51 mile road race. As it turned out, the road race was a lot of fun and I was able to easily respond to any attacks or breakaways. We dropped almost half of the peloton on the rollers on the first lap and my sole team mate and I were in the lead pack. I loved the series of short roller coasters – this was a fun course. There was an unsuccessful breakaway attempt on the rough section that really rattled everyone up. We passed the Women’s 3 peloton (who started 10 minutes ahead if us) at the beginning of lap 3, so were maintaining a fast pace. Just after the bumpy section when the course was open to two lanes, the official on motorcycle directed us to the right side of the road so the men’s peloton could pass. This bunched us up so I wasn’t positioned up front when the attack on the hills occurred. I felt strong but finished 11th in 2:19:52 (27 seconds behind first place finisher).



The roller coaster



The Paris Roubaix section

Thanks for reading.
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Old 03-18-09, 01:27 PM   #2
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Great race report, and great job in the race too! Excellent photos! Plus, it looks like a lovely course.

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Old 03-18-09, 01:51 PM   #3
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Nicely done, ME, and thanks for sharing the report and pics!

'Love those sleeves!
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Old 03-18-09, 05:28 PM   #4
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Very good report, and congratulations on a fine showing.
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Old 03-18-09, 05:33 PM   #5
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Good coverage on the race and OMG the roads. I think some big taxes will square them away.
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Old 03-19-09, 07:12 PM   #6
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First and foremost, congrats to my wife for a great result and race. I love her comment that the road race and rollers were so much fun. I am certain that others did not see it in quite that manner.

I raced in the Men Cat 5. Riding in any other group presented schedule conflicts getting both of us to and from venues and we would finish the road race several hours apart.

Results:

General Category - 28 out of a field of 45.
Time Trial - 23 out of 45.

Here are some interesting results as to how I would have placed in the time trial in various other categories:

P/1/2 - 66/71
Cat 3 - 63/70
Cat 4 - 53/66
Cat 5 - 23/45
Masters 35+ p/1/2 - 65/68
Masters 35+ 4/5 - 55/65
Masters 55+ Open - 15/22

Women P/1/2 - 19/30

The Stages:

Criterium - This was my first criterium in decades and my goal was to finish and not crash. I hung out at the back of the pack and finished. The Cat 5 men were okay but cornering at times was a little dicey. It was okay but I am not highly motivated to immediately sign up for another criterium.

Time Trial - On the way to the TT course, we saw a lot of flowering nut trees along the road and every so often a beehive. Bees were being massacred on my windshield and I thought nah bees are smart enough to miss a bicycle. When we parked to start warming up, there were bees everywhere. Several people were stung and in general this just makes us more determined.

The TT course is a rectangle. I memorized the course but at the first cross road I slowed down to make sure it was not the first turn. It was not and probably cost me 10 to 15 seconds. So much for memorization. I felt great on the course and liked my effort and focus. I was happy with the result.

Road Race - Since this was my first stage race and the first time I raced back to back days, I was interested to see how I would feel for the 51 mile road race. We parked along a road next to a sheep pasture and warmed up. The race starts with a promenade up a climb for 2 miles and then the race begins. We cruised up the climb about 18 mph. When we got the top the motorcycle released us and we sped up to 25 mph. My legs felt great. We did the flat sections at 25 mph, the slight downhills at 28 to 30 and the slight climbs and Paris Rubaix section at 20 to 21 mph. The Madera "cobblestones" felt like I was operating a jack hammer. Water bottles were flying off bikes and riders were flatting and pulling over with mechanicals. We get to do this three times - god I love this sport. My Cervelo R3 performed perfectly and lived up to its Paris Rubaix design and I was glad I had it.

The first time we hit the rollers, I stayed with the pack with no problem and went through the neutral feed zone. I threw away my water bottles and got two new ones and took a gel and a piece of power bar. I stayed mostly in the back and sat on a big guy's wheel. The second time through the Paris Rubaix section was not bad and we headed to the rollers. This time I made a tactical mistake. I should have gone to the front. When the acceleration came on the hills, the big guys I enjoyed drafting did not have the required acceleration. I got momentarily boxed in and there was a gap. By the time, I got around the guys, the field gapped me by 20 yards and accelerating. I held the gap but could not close it. With each roller they maintained the gap and I was alone with a few guys well behind me and the peloton ahead. I went through the feed zone and one of the guys caught me from behind and we decided to work together to try to catch the peloton.

We took turns pulling and had them in sight and we were closing at they were going up a hill. I knew we had to catch them before they crested. We did not. When we crested the hill, they were accelerating away. Well, we now had a two man team time trial. Hell, I needed the extra work anyway. We kept up a time trial pace for the next 15 miles. In the back of my mind, I knew my wife was in that fast W Cat 4 peloton starting about 15 minutes behind us and there was no way, we were going to let them pass us.

We stayed together powering through the Paris Rubaix section for the final time and when we got to the rollers, we climbed together. I told my partner we should finish together and we did doing a high-five at the finish line. We finished the 51 miles in 2:22:50 which is about 22 mph average speed.

It was a great race and event. I had a lot of fun and look forward to it next year.
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Old 03-19-09, 07:43 PM   #7
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Great stuff!
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Old 03-19-09, 09:00 PM   #8
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You guys are really having fun. Congratulations on the great finishes for both of you. Can't wait to see how the season unfolds for you guys.
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Old 03-19-09, 11:47 PM   #9
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Hi,

Very nice reports.

Hermes, your TT analysis made me . I do that but mostly looking at the fastest women. There's this Cat 2 woman who always beats me in local TTs by 30-45 sec. At districts there are always 2-5 women faster than me.

I got sick in February and that combined with a bunch of business travel just killed my fitness. My racing the last two weekends and the last two Tuesday evenings has been mediocre at best. I had a bad case of the flu and I have not felt like I am on top of the bike at all. I have a vacation day tomorrow and I'm doing a mountain ride with a friend. I'll be riding my R3 to get a better feel for it, but so far it rides pretty well, though not as well as my Serotta. Hopefully this ride will get me back on track.

My next race is a week from this Sunday. It's a relatively flat circuit race. Hopefully I'll feel better by then.

In the meantime, both of you enjoy your racing.
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Old 03-20-09, 08:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
Hi,

Very nice reports.

Hermes, your TT analysis made me . I do that but mostly looking at the fastest women. There's this Cat 2 woman who always beats me in local TTs by 30-45 sec. At districts there are always 2-5 women faster than me.

I got sick in February and that combined with a bunch of business travel just killed my fitness. My racing the last two weekends and the last two Tuesday evenings has been mediocre at best. I had a bad case of the flu and I have not felt like I am on top of the bike at all. I have a vacation day tomorrow and I'm doing a mountain ride with a friend. I'll be riding my R3 to get a better feel for it, but so far it rides pretty well, though not as well as my Serotta. Hopefully this ride will get me back on track.

My next race is a week from this Sunday. It's a relatively flat circuit race. Hopefully I'll feel better by then.

In the meantime, both of you enjoy your racing.



Hi Cleave:

Since these races are soo hard, we have to get the most out of them even if it is a good result in the P/1/2 women. BTW, how do you fair against Laura?
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Old 03-20-09, 07:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
[/COLOR]

Hi Cleave:

Since these races are soo hard, we have to get the most out of them even if it is a good result in the P/1/2 women. BTW, how do you fair against Laura?
Hi Hermes,

Laura didn't do SoCal ITT Championships last year but in 2007 she rode a 57:13 and I rode a 57:37. Last year I rode a 57:34 on the same course. Nothing like being consistent.
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Old 03-21-09, 05:34 PM   #12
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Great job, Velodiva!
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Old 03-21-09, 06:43 PM   #13
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Great reports and results. You two really know how to knock it out of the park.
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Old 03-21-09, 07:46 PM   #14
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Diva and Hermes--You ROKK.
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Old 03-21-09, 11:03 PM   #15
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We appreciate all your nice comments - I was on a high all week. We are having a lot of fun - that is what matters most. This weekend Hermes and I are doing a 3 day Kenny Williams track camp at Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, CA.
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