Top tip: check your cables, kids.
Racing the last 45 miles of a flat RR without a big ring is not optimal. On the other hand, that was the hardest, most satisfying pack finish ever. Bariani RR 45+123
Bariani Road Race, Women's 4
Hanna Muegge. Remember that name. You'll be hearing more about her as the season goes on.
I took a PTO day from work and drove 200 miles each way to do this race. And to get a DNP for my efforts. USAC is fixing that.
55 rider field - huge, by women's 4 standards. My teammate and I talked over strategy and positioning for the race, and we were both confident, based on what we were told about years past in this race, that out goals were sound and we'd be there at the end. It was only a 2 lap 28 mile race, after all. The pack went off at the whistle, centerline in effect for the first leg. I was in the back 1/3, and looking up the road I caught sight of my teammate's jersey sitting near the front. I needed to get up there, efficiently, and pretty quickly, because after the first right hand turn positioning would be very important. The wind was from the left, and I was on the right side of the pack and really just sort of coasting along. I noticed that no one was protecting the right, all of the action was on the left, so I moved right, squirted the gas and let my momentum carry me to the front. My plan was to slot in on the right, not go TO the front, but I found myself on the pointy end. I gauged my effort, really pretty easy, but I slowed the pace to get people to move around me so I could have the spot I wanted. After a few minutes, that worked. I was comfortable at around tenth when we made the first right hand turn. The pace came up some, but I was still doing just fine, thank you. My teammate was on my left shoulder, and I said to her "how'd you like them apples?" She responded "pretty cool!" We hit the next right turn, on to a no centerline very narrow chicane section of the course. My teamie and I were positioned right where we wanted to be, and even though there was an acceleration after the corner, we covered it. The next turn, a left/right set, came up pretty quickly. I had been told to expect that pace would remain pretty comfortable through here, but it started to come up. Some gals on the front really hit it after the left hander, and those impatient cat 4 youngsters started to chase. Still, I was managing just fine. The next right turn was ONE LINE only through the turn because it had a lot of sand and gravel on each side, plus a ditch on the inside (these were farm roads). The pack slowed considerably to take the corner. I let a little gap open between me and the rider in front of me because I wanted to see where the hazards were. After that turn, the hammer went down. I was sprinting, and people were riding around me right and left. We approached the next left hander pretty quickly, and I could see the leaders had rounded that corner and were really stringing it out. I was starting to feel the pace and the work, and after I made the left hander I was really struggling. It's funny how your brain shuts down when you become so oxygen deprived, but that's just what happened. My legs were fine, but I couldn't get them going. People were riding around either side of me, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I glanced down, briefly, at the GPS - 26 MPH. Nope.
This was supposed to be an easy race.
I ended up in a familiar place, OTB, TTing the rest of the race, pissed off. I had promised myself and my teammate, because I felt I had bagged it in the road race portion of the Madera SR, that I would stay in, I would fight to stay in, I would help her, and I would finish. I did two of those. I actually felt better on the second lap, and was dragging some folks around because they couldn't or wouldn't work. Some of them were juniors. With 1K to go for the finish, my right calf cramped so badly I almost crashed. I had to stop for a few moments until it went away, and then I was able to finish. I literally collapsed after I crossed the finish. I was far worse off than I believed. I was evidently carrying much more fatigue from Madera than I suspected. I really did leave it all out there at Bariani, but the self satisfaction I used to get from knowing that just wasn't coming this time. Once again I was OTB, once again I failed to help my teammate, once again I had driven into my thick skull what a huge difference there is between 30 and 62.
I've had about enough of road races with kids. I've got the endurance for crits, but road races are clearly a lost cause. I hate to quit doing them, but getting beat up time after time in an unfair fight is just not fun. There was a time that I help out hope, really believed, that I could improve enough to be able to hang in in these races, get to use some strategy with my teammate, and really have a good time. The reality is much different than that.
Hi sarals, sorry to hear that it wasn't fun. Maybe my thinking is really distorted (I know it's fairly distorted). I generally have fun at road races even though I get dropped pretty regularly these days. I'm coming from the other direction where I used to be an above average road racer and now I am a well below average road racer. Maybe my personal fantasy of getting back to at least average keeps me going and regardless of the result, I rationalize reasons why I had fun.
However, in all seriousness, if it's not fun maybe you should back off from the road races and focus on where you experience more tangible progress. Another story (I'm full of them). I recently met a 50+ woman who lives in SoCal. She seems to be pretty modest but she is very fast. However, she explicitly says that she doesn't do criteriums even though she is clearly fast enough to do well. She told me she doesn't enjoy them and they seem too dangerous for her. She only does TTs and hilly road races because she likes them. I think the lesson to learn from her is do the kinds of races that you enjoy and focus your training to help you do well in those races. (Like your coach isn't doing that already.)
BTW, why do you hate to quit doing road races? I do just about everything because with my really distorted thinking, I enjoy every event. Sometimes, though, I'm jealous of people who really focus on one or two kinds of events and maximize their performance (and results) in those races.
Having been in this sport for a long time I'm a firm believer in "live to fight another day". We all want to emulate pros except for the part where they quit races, which happens a lot.
I have won over 125 bike races, and I have easily quit at least 50, excluding the times I've rolled in after doing a lead out.
Everybody who doesn't crash who starts Paris Roubaix could finish it. Yet less than half usually do. The people that quit realize that continuing on does nothing positive for them, from any perspective.
A few years ago "in the 33" a new racer Cat 5, ex-marine guy, declared that he'd never quit a race and was a bit denigrating towards those who did. I figured he'd be gone quickly. He was.
Not everything is an "A" race.
Sara - I know that experience all too well myself. Although this is far easier to say than do, let it go. Had you not done your best, you'd have reason to feel like you failed, but you left it all out there. Damned few other 62 year old women could say that, or do what you did.
Glad to see most of you still on the forum and still racing…
Labrum tear repair surgery 25th Oct, 4 months of basically NO training.. I wasn't even cleared to be on my bike until 3 months, post op…
So being the gluten for punishment that I am… I toed the line Saturday at the 3rd annual Shamrock Crit in VA Beach… Sunny in the 70s but WINDY..
First Race, women's 3/4 run concurrently with Juniors… I'm OK riding with the older Junior's 15 - 18 YOS, but the tiny.. under 13… on a bike TOO bike for them… is just bad..
my goal for the first race was to hold on.. and hope for a sprint finish… this 1/2 loops with only a SLIGHT rise.. you cannot call it a hill… but the wind more than made up for it…. we'll I'm sitting in.. wondering why and the heck I'm spinning like a gerbil, and after the youngsters attack and I pop off the back.. I look down to see that I'm in the LITTLE chain ring… WELL crap.. and now it won't shift to the big ring… so I stop… cut my thumb on the bike chain ring but, get the chain on the… well by now my legs are toast.. and I'm fighting the wind alone.. so I sort of conserve energy and wait for them to come around…. I jump back in.. and think OK.. a few laps to go…. and I'll be fine… we'll we come out of turn two, hit the wind.. and the tiny Junior doesn't hold his line.. thank goodness I raced CX last season.. because there was not leaning into a kid that only comes up to your thigh… so I slide to my right… off road a little.. but by now the pack is gone again…. finish the race, NOT DFL, because someone else DNFd… rather frustrated…
Second race… women's 1/2/3 with Women Master's thrown in… again I hang on for about 6 laps.. then the young CAT 1 attack, and I'm quickly OTB… fight the wind… wait until they come around again.. hang on for a couple more laps… someone attacks.. I pop… OTB again.. ended up 2 laps down.. with a couple of other gals.. but did manage a final spring 28mph (thank you tail wind) and a bike throw to nip a gal at the line… only to find out.. she was only 1 lap down and I was 2 laps down.. but dang it felt good to sprint and throw my bike….
Like some many other years… I guess I'll peak in September :-)
What's wrong with racing mainly criteriums? :)
I used to be a triathlete. The tri mantra is to finish at all costs. Since then, I have learned to ride a bike, wear socks and sleeves, and I have learned to live to race another day. :)
I had to look up "little chain ring".
Originally Posted by Colonelmom
Two crits Sunday. One of them with Cleave. New team helmet. Two field sprint finishes, niether of which I could get our guy led out. Did some work. Tried to get away. Rode pretty strong. Stupid riding by an habitual offender knocked down one teammate in the second race.
Couple of stupid bits in both races. Hey, if you're 40 guys back you don't have to jump out of the field in a full on sprint to move up a few spots...especially if you are going to blow up and go backwards.
Took a $25 pizza prime.
Vance Mac took a power bar prime.
Ate pizza. Drank beer.
Guys, I lost focus. How easy that was to do! Ex and I exchanged emails today, and afterwards I got my vision back. He's my coach because he knows me - and that's why he's my coach. In my lunacy and mantra to remain noble and fight the good fight (even unfair fights), I stay in too long, bark up the wrong trees, basically allow myself to get confused and then killed. In the process I wreck a weeks worth of training and jeopardize the following week. I had lunch with a girlfriend today who has known me for 40 years. She said "Oh, you've finally figured out you're 62 and not 16? Well, good. Now act like you're 62. You can only do so much." It's a conspiracy, I tell you! To get me to focus!
Cleave, how do you do it? The right words for the moment. You must know Ex... Oh, yeah!!
Colonelmom, welcome back!!! Good on ya, lady!!!
Time for me to fall in love with my bike again. As one of my friends said to me this morning..."It's another day, go out and fall in love all over again." (Tomorrow, when I can actually put pressure on the saddle...shhhhh!)
Hey, Caloso, I thought I was tri-chick for a couple of seasons. Until I learned I really didn't like being in the water. That was when I found I could wear DRY shorts and ride my bike fast.
@sarals, I applaud you.. you're out there mixing it up with the young girls.. it will make you stronger… and smarter… and you inspire me.. to keep riding… enjoying life to the fullest :) hoping the weather breaks here… we have daylight.. now just need it to stop sleeting and raining...
Colonelmom, applause for jumping into the deep end and coming out alive. I agree, though I haven't experienced it myself, putting adults with Juniors 14 and under is a bad idea.
From the racing is the best training files, I raced, I sucked, I had fun, and I stayed upright. I tried to think of the past four days (Saturday through Tuesday) as stage race simulation.
Curt Sutliff Memorial Santiago Canyon Time Trial, Saturday, March 15
Masters 55+: From a results perspective (DFL), the race sucked, but I think I learned something. Still can't go fast up hills on my Shiv TT and I'm beginning to think it's my position. I don't think there was much of a headwind on the uphill section and looking at my heart rate data (no power on the TT bike yet) I was in a good zone for a TT -- not too high and not too low. However, my speed was trés terrible. The downhill segment was an adventure in swirling, high winds. My new front wheel is a medium tech, 50 mm deep, 18-spoke clincher. At times there were enormous cross winds and the bike moved around a lot but it was much easier to control than what I think would have happened with my old Hed 3c tri-spoke. Because of the wind issues (controlling the bike instead of pedaling hard) my heart rate was actually on the low side even though my speed for that segment was good.
St. Patrick's Day Criterium, Sunday, March 16
Masters 55+ / 60+: This is the one race of the year that is close enough to my house where I can ride my bike to the race. On top of that, I'm still futzing with my Zipp 303 tubulars so I had to use my spare Zipp 202 clinchers anyway. Had to put lights on my bike for the ride to the race because with a 7:35a start, I had to leave when it was still dark. Got there, got my race numbers, and stopped at my teammates truck to finish getting ready. The race was reasonable fast overall but there were definite lulls in the action. I tried to create some action by bridging up to breaks on four occasions. I successfully bridged each time (without dragging the pack with me) but only one break had any sort of life to it and that one failed too. Didn't sprint but was happy with my body's response to the efforts.
Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4: Saw Racer Ex as he was getting ready and I think he was really trying to be Racer X. At first he was wearing his white, aero BMX helmet. The next time I thought I saw him he was in a black, normal road helmet. I made the decision to just sit in and stay in the drops for the whole race as a bit of an experiment. The race was consistently fast and I had no trouble sitting in. Rolled through the finish near the back of the pack. Wasn't DFL (in either race).
The results of my experiment were:
- Masters 55+ / 60+ race: Average speed: 25.4 MPH, NP: 220 watts
- Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4: Average speed: 27.5 MPH, NP: 198 watts
I guess I am good at riding efficiently: staying in the drops and hanging in the last quarter of the field on a non-technical course. The numbers also confirmed what I felt before I looked at the data. Also, average speed is not necessarily a good indicator of effort unless you are regularly at the pointy end of the field.
Park2Park Race Series, Tuesday, March 18
Masters 40+: My legs were still a bit tired from the weekend but I didn't want to just hang in. Ended up bridging to two different breaks. First one I might have brought the field with me. :o Also, it took a lot out of me as I had to work hard to re-integrate. Second one lasted a bit longer and I felt better after. Last lap, the leader of the largest club in the race (10+ racers) started moving up on the right. I planted myself on his wheel. After turn 3 he shut it down and so did I and I slid in near the back of the pack.
50 meters later all hell breaks loose and bicycles are flying through the air in front of me. Managed to get slowed down without hitting anyone. (Per my computer, we were doing 31 MPH at the time.) I looked back and 3 friends are on the ground so I stopped. One guy broke his collarbone, one slid on his face(!) for a while, and the other was OK. Another guy that I know is on the ground but his helmet is cracked all the way through in several places. A couple of other guys were on the ground but they got up quickly. Others stopped too and since no one was on a phone I rolled 200 feet to the promoter's table (they were just out of sight of the crash) and yelled for a call to the paramedics and for the first aid kit. Got the kit over to my friend whose face was covered with blood. Seemed to take forever for the paramedics to show up even though there's a firehouse on the course.
Everyone was able to get up and walk away. Someone drove the guy with the broken helmet home. My friend with the blood on his face had his wife come to take him to the emergency room (he looks like a mummy in his current Facebook photo), and someone else took my friend with the broken collarbone to the emergency room. I rode home in the dark. I had lights with me. Since I never crossed the finish line I guess it was a DNF.
Everyone be safe out there.
Colonelmom, I can get lost in the thrill, sometimes. I almost blew two weeks of training with my shenanigans this past weekend. The "real plan" was to go out, do a lap, record some power numbers, do some placement work in the peloton, not kill myself. The pace those women put down at the front was absolutely punishing. It was one of the fastest W4 Bariani's ever. The peloton was totally shattered, there were stragglers everyone - not just me! Even the mentors blew up!
Originally Posted by Colonelmom
But, hey - YOU inspire me, too, woman! YOU'RE out there riding cross, and doing other fun stuff, and staying after it with the juniors...good on you!
Wow cleave. Glad your friends were sort-of-ok. Sounds bad.
Cleave....OMG. You're terrific for helping out after that crash. I'm so glad you weren't caught up in that.
You know what, you have such a positive outlook. You find things that went well, even in a disaster, and you learn from it. I'm listening!
I can't catch up right now, but lots of (sometimes overly and needlessly) exciting racing.
There's a lot of that going around. Teammate went flying in the 45 after two guys tangled. I just missed it. He was scuffed up but otherwise OK.
Originally Posted by valygrl
^^^ If you look between the Big Orange guy on the ground and 757, that's me behind the barriers (mostly white and blue with flashes of pink) wondering if that was Stricky who hit the ground. He is always very unhappy when he hits the pavement.
There's a woman in your race!
Originally Posted by Racer Ex
Yep. We have a couple of women jumping in from time to time; they can race up in age in the men's field. Good motorpacing.
Originally Posted by valygrl
Originally Posted by valygrl
I've seen women do that up here, too. Not me... ;)
Cleave, But for the crash, the racing sounded amazing. BTW, you can send MEA your Shiv and she can ride it. I think you need the classic look and feel of round tubes - something like a Shogun.:D
Hermes, I need something. The Shiv has not been good to me so far. :( I feel pretty good on my track bike with aero bars and TT saddle. I think I am going to duplicate the track bike position on to the Shiv right down to the 165 mm cranks. They were further apart in position than I thought.
Glad to read mostly great reports from the gang. Ice fishing finally wrapped up and I'm back to being a full time racer again. Our weather is still terrible with today's high at 26 degrees. I raced the Barry Roubaix in Michigan yesterday. It's a big event that is the 4th and final week of the gravel road race series in MI. Total racers was around 3,000 entered. I raced the 61+ 36 mile race. We were a combined wave of 150 riders that also included the 50-52 yrs old group. The gravel roads were soft and muddy, frozen ruts, and smooth and dry in places. Started in wave 8 and was passing people from about 6 minutes in. Started near the front and rode smoothly over the first set of hills 6 miles in. A small group attacked and I let them go knowing that I did not have their horse power. I watched one old guy bridge up. From there on it was pass people, grab a wheel, get through the sloppy sections upright, find the fastest surface and suffer. I had no idea where I stood in the age group but with 4 miles to go I noticed a shadow behind me. I ask him what his group was and got silence. Two miles from the finish I purposely put myself in a bad position going up a hill and my shadow went around. Now the hunter became the hunted. I followed him into town towards the finish. I had no clue how the finish would be (my bad for not knowing). I figured we would hit a straight, see the finish, then I would go around for the place. We made about 4 turns about a block apart then the finish line was 50 meters down a hill. I could only get around but not ahead. I ended up 5th in the AG. Don't know how many raced but 87 were signed up but I think there were a bunch of DNS and DNF. Never expected to get on the podium after the past winter of bad weather and fishing. For the suffering I got a cool medal, chain lube and butt creame.