AZT - I don't race, but I REALLY enjoyed reading your ride report. WOW!! I am amazed, and congratulations on avoiding two very difficult situations. Keep it up.
AZT - I don't race, but I REALLY enjoyed reading your ride report. WOW!! I am amazed, and congratulations on avoiding two very difficult situations. Keep it up.
Race Report: The weather was perfect and the Cat 5 race (Berlin, TN) was full with 50 riders. There were five of us from our team (Team Bikers Choice) in cat 5: Jon (in his 20's), Paul (late 20's early 30's), Chris (late 30's), Sean (mid 40's) and me (Doug, 52). I was the only one who had done a road race before and that was a long time ago, so we had no idea what to expect. However, Chris and Sean are experienced mountain bike racers who regularly place well.
Before the race, we discussed the importance of staying toward the front (but out of the wind) because of the size of the field and the narrow, rough, winding roads so we got to the staging area early to claim a good spot. At the start, there was an initial surge and jostling that resulted in Jon, Chris, and Sean at the front of the pack, and Paul and me a few rows back. It stayed that way for the first few miles with Chris, Jon and Sean rotating at the front. There was a significant headwind, so even though the pace was moderate, our guys were working pretty hard.
We hit some rollers, a rider took off and the pace picked up, then a group of 4-5 riders went off but not far (less than 50 meters). Jon, Chris and Sean were still at the front and looked tired, so I made my second mistake (I will come back to my first mistake). I felt good, so I pulled around to the front with the idea that perhaps our team could join the break. However, we were not able to separate and so only managed to pull the rest of the field up to the break which, based on the terrain to come, probably would have happened anyway. Because of adrenaline, I did not realize until too late that I had gone past my limit and, combined with the rollers, I just could not seem to recover.
Then we hit a gravel and dirt road section with short but steep hills. There were a lot of pinch flats and a lot slipping tires on the uphills (it really paid to pedal in circles here). At this point I was just behind Jon in the first group of 10 or so with a small gap back to a second group that included the Chris, Paul and Sean. I am usually pretty good with short intense efforts and recovery, but since I came into this section already stressed, I was at my limit. Then we came to a final steep hill (still not long, but long enough). I felt like I was going backwards. I could not hold onto Jon's wheel. Then the second group passed me (including my remaining teammates). However, I barely managed to hold onto the end of this second group (about 10-15 riders) just as we crested the hill. On occasion we could see the lead group that included Jon but we were not organized enough (also, maybe I was not the only one gassed at this point), so we lost contact with the first group. However, I finally recovered enough to think that perhaps I could finish.
Then we came to a fork and saw two people sitting in the grass (it turns out they were course marshals). The first half of the group goes to the left, the guy right in front of me goes right and I hesitate but go left (wrong way! and my third mistake). Since I was slowing anyway, I was able to turn around more quickly than the others in the wrong way group and, with a couple of other riders, catch the remaining part of group 2 which included Chris. Sean and Paul had been in the first half of group 2. Sean put in a big effort and caught us (there is no way I would have been able to do this) with maybe 7-8 miles to go (it was a 28 mile race).
I think at this point both groups 1 and 2 had around 10 riders. With about 3 miles to go I noticed that the rough roads and gravel section had shaken the screws loose on both of my bottle cages and my bottles were swinging from side to side. So my first mistake was not to check my bike thoroughly enough before the race since I think they must have been a little loose to start with. I kept hoping they would hold, but with about 1 mile to go, a screw fell out. I grabbed the bottle just in time and threw it on the side of the road. However, the (aluminum) cage was now ringing like a cow-bell with every pedal stroke. I ketp apologizing to the group, but I think we were all a bit concerned about whether the cage might get caught in my crank arms and cause an accident. Maybe I should have stopped, but I didn't. The pace picked up at the 1km mark and at the 200m mark Sean goes and I follow. We are not really sprinting, so I was surprised when I looked back and saw that no one else had come with us--maybe the crazy old guy with the clanging bottle cage scared them off--I don't know. In any case, Sean finished at 11, I finished at 12, and Chris finished with our group at 15. Jon finished at number 3 and Paul was in the top 25, so not a bad showing all-in-all.
I should mention that there was some confusion about Sean's finish and so I am listed at 11 in the official results (Sean is not listed at all). I thought we had cleared it up before we left, so I was surprised to see that they had not fixed it in the online race results.
I'm still not confident I will be able to hang with the pack in upcoming races with significant climbs, but I'm going to try.
Great race report Ahab. In the big picture of racing, you had a man in the front break and should not have worked to keep the pace up. You job as a teammate was to ride at the front of the 2nd group and to keep your group from bridging up to your teammate. The idea is for your team to win the race. Pulling the 2nd group up, that may include some good sprinters, could have hurt your team mate's chances. Riding with loose parts on the bike could be distracting, nice job staying focused.
It sounds like you are ready for racing and you will find that you will be able to stay with the front part of the race very soon. As we all posted earlier, donít lead unless you have to. Just being on the front to drive the pace for no particular reason is wasting your energy and burning matches needed later in the race when everyone is getting tired. You will be able to recover during the race after a hard effort, which comes with experience and training. If you can stay with the field for Ĺ the race you will be able to stay the whole race very soon.
It sounds like you have very good fitness, raced smart and was well prepared. You are a first year racer and some of the issues you encounted will be no brainers once you get some racing under your belt. When I'm racing and someone bumps me or crashes all that matters is that I keep my line and continue on. As soon as I'm past the incident my thoughts are "too bad for them, my race is up ahead, keep going". Making adjustments during the race as you did is a good indicator of your interest in the race and result. You should be very pleased with your result in your age group. Good job of mixing fuel and fluids that is what I do on longer races and I don't care what the mix taste like, I only care that it works.
Ahab, 11th out of 50 is a great result for a comeback race. You should be very happy. You were fortunate to have a team with which to work which adds to the motivation and fun. Definitely, spend more time checking the bike pre-race for mechanical issues. Just like in aviation, one wants to take all mechanical problems out of the picture so that if there is a problem, it is operator error which we always hope does not happen. Great race.
Congratulations on rebounding, and coming back for such a great finish. Sounds like a lot of fun action for you and your team. Having the course down cold is big help - keeps from any indecision at the questionable points. We had a similar thing happen when drafting the tandem after the final climb. There was an officer controlling an intersection, and it really looked like he was directing us to make a right turn. In reality, he was holding the traffic off and waving us through, but it sure didn't look that way! I was thinking "WTF?" because I knew we went straight there, having dome a pre-ride. I slowed, but kept going straight, hoping there wasn't a problem they were detouring us around. The tandem turned right, then caught back up to us a few minutes later. I think familiarity with the course is a good thing, even if there is no doubt about the turns. I have more confidence, and go faster, when I've done the same route before and know exactly what to expect.
Great job, and great report!
I had a pleasant active recovery ride in to work this morning, and of course I was thinking about what I would've/could've/should've done better on Saturday. What it boils down to is "Adjusting my thinking". Mentally, I was focused on watching to make sure I didn't blow up in the fast first half of the race, saving strength for the climbs. That mentality stayed with me, even after it became clear I wasn't at risk of being dropped. I needed to shift my mental outlook to "How do I push this pack?", "How do I bank faster miles?", "How do I leverage my ability to hang with the group?". When the situation changed, I needed to adapt. I needed to "Play to win", rather than playing "Not to lose".
Thanks for the encouragement, the race went better than I had expected or had really hoped for.
That may also explain why one of the riders from another team with several riders in the first group repeatedly tried to get away, but would then sit up when we caught him--this happened at least 3 times. We are an inexperienced group.Quote:
In the big picture of racing, you had a man in the front break and should not have worked to keep the pace up. You job as a teammate was to ride at the front of the 2nd group and to keep your group from bridging up to your teammate. The idea is for your team to win the race.
I tried to repeat the mantra "just don't do it" to myself before and during the race, but I could not seem to help myself when the time came. I knew it was stupid at the time.Quote:
... As we all posted earlier, donít lead unless you have to. Just being on the front to drive the pace for no particular reason is wasting your energy ...
The team experience definitely made the race more fun. I was very pleased with 11--as I told my daughter before the race-- I was hopeful for at least 48th place since I was sure at least a couple of people would flat and DNF.Quote:
Ahab, 11th out of 50 is a great result for a comeback race. You should be very happy. You were fortunate to have a team with which to work which adds to the motivation and fun.
Thanks and congratulations to you for a great race! I was worried about such a mishap but did not have time to drive down and do a pre-ride. Maybe I can arrange to do that for the next race.Quote:
Congratulations on rebounding, and coming back for such a great finish. Sounds like a lot of fun action for you and your team. Having the course down cold is big help - keeps from any indecision at the questionable points.
He has a great section on tactics. The false breakaway is one of the tactics to wear down the pack. Another way is, when someone goes off the front, you go with them, but then slow down when they think they have help. wears them out for nothing, keeps the pack from chasing.
Really hard to hold back... also hard to "just say no" when someone wants you to help pull and you shouldn't.Quote:
I tried to repeat the mantra "just don't do it" to myself before and during the race, but I could not seem to help myself when the time came. I knew it was stupid at the time.
Did anyone else watch the Versus coverage of Flanders and see Fabian Cancellera's ride? He went off the front with over 40km to go. One rider was able to go with him. That rider knew, if he helped Cancellara at all, he was giving him the race. So he tucked in and rode Cancellara's wheel for mile after mile after mile. The pack caught them at the penultimate climb, a hard one. Cancellara had enough left still to fight them off a bit later and go off the front yet again, with the same guy, plus one other, on his tail. With a few km left, it was clear that, if they cooperated, they were the podium, so they finally did. They held off the pack, and it came down to the sprint. The guy that had joined them from the pack won, the guy that sucked Cancellara's wheel the whole time was second, with Cancellara third.
Cancellara is 6'1", 180, and one amazing rider. When he won Flanders and then Paris-Roubaix last year, he was accused of having an electric motor hidden in his frame. Seriously. They've even been x-raying his bikes.
My other observation is the big men have an energy management problem inherent in their size. You have to produce more watts which consumes more fuel and increases your temperature. You have to cool yourself by sweating and refuel. Well, according to my experts, that is not so easy since one can sweat faster than the stomach can process water intake. Hence you lose plasma volume and power.
IMO, you need more fitness and better position in the lead pack. Your goal, considering your size, is to conserve energy, hydrate, manage your resources but have the power to weight capability on the last 1/3 of the race when fatigue starts to set in. If you try to press the pace early, I find it hard to believe that will yield a better result especially if you use more energy to do it.
In time trials, we always use the most power uphill and against the wind. All other times, we hold constant power or float. We would not push the downwind section using more energy in hopes to increase our speed to offset a slow windy section.
This weekend I did a 2 hour ride on Saturday and Sunday. My weight this AM was 169.8.
I went to PA to ride hills for 3 days this past weekend. On day 1 we rode our 29'ers on gravel, dirt and chip/seal roads that had some horrendously steep climbs. I love the signs that say "no winter maintenance". On Saturday we rode 58 miles with 5,300 feet of climbing. On the road ride I had found a short extremely steep section of traction bricks at the top of an original highway that was relocated during the WPA days. Just when my riding buddies thought we were near the top of the last hill followed with the downhill bomb to home, I said, "go left here".:p The cobble section doesn't show on the ridewithgps route as I wanted it to be a surprise, it's McCoy Rd at mile 55.5. All told we got 10.5 hrs of saddle time. Here is Saturday's ride:
This weekend coming up I am going back to climbing camp in North Central PA. I predict that this time next week that I still wont be a climber, be tired and weigh the same.:lol: I will have my PT as it is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.
I cleaned the bikes and inspected the tires. I found a cut across the tread and down the sidewall of a Mich Pro Race 3 on the front tire of my bike. It was not through the tread but the sidewall had a slight bulge. I replaced the tire with a Conti 4000s. That is the end of the Mich 3. I will not use those again but will finish the life of two relatively new ones on a trainer wheelset.
The PA trip sounds like fun. I hate not having power measurement and it comes in handy climbing.
I just finished recording last week's riding and core/resistance activities in my log book. It was a big week work wise, 19.5 hours total, which are about 5 or 6 hours more than usual. This week's work may equal the prior week’s saddle and core/resistance effort.
I have a PT as well that has been back to the factory twice and currently has a cadence problem.
All PMs seem to have issues. My one friend has an SRM and it seems to not want to work on race day.
At this point, Quarq, IMO, has the best value proposition of all the PMs. My wife as the compact double on her road bike and a regular double on her TT bike.
AZT, you may have more iPhones but we have more PMs.
You now know how hard it is to increase power 10 watts. And those 10 watts are not always available. What I mean by that is sometimes, we cannot produce the power we should be able to produce. Gravity acting on weight is always the same. 10 pounds less weight is always a benefit.
However, physical size in athletics is like women's hair. Women wish they had different hair. If it is straight they want it to be curly. If it is thick and curly, they wish it was straight. One of our P/1/2 guys won a race this weekend and in his report worried about the "6 foot tall strong guys".
I would not worry about size and let's be thankful for the size and weight we have.:)
4th again last night, out of 12-15. Windy. HR near max the whole time. Evaluating the course, I decided it would be an early sprint. I was right. In the middle of the race, 5 of us broke away a bit. Had we chosen to, we could have made it stick. But when the leader looked around for help, nobody volunteered, so the pack consolidated. When five laps were announced, everyone calmed down a bit to gather strength. With about three laps to go, it started to stretch out. At two laps, we were cranking pretty good and jockeying for final position, with 5 or 6 of us still 'in it to win it'. With about a lap to go, 2 guys from the same team broke off the front together. I pushed as hard as I could (~28mph), but couldn't catch them. I thought we had left everyone else for dead, but as I faded a bit, someone nipped me at the line. I should have just continued to spin-up, rather than shifting as I hit the final straight.
Crit's are never likely to be my strong point, but I have to say I really love the constantly shifting strategy, the jockeying tactics in the pack, etc. I learn more each time out, like how to (safely) protect your position and keep someone from stealing your wheel. Fun stuff.