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Thread: Tall Tales

  1. #226
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Glad you are back to racing and doing some work.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  2. #227
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    2014-02-09 Avondale Criterium #2 - M55+ - 15 Starters:

    There were a few attacks, but nothing stuck because one of the usual break guys was saving himself for a later race, and the other likely candidate kept shutting it down based on the mix (sprinter on his tail, etc.). I thought one of the them was good, but the other guy closed it down, and I drifted back, insulted. No respect for me at this point! So I tried to create some future respect when the pack bunched up as we passed the line with 3 to go. Most everyone was off to the left, I was to the right, and I just rolled gently off the front. Got a good gap and started drilling it, opening up a pretty good margin. From what I was told afterwards, I made them have to work hard - but they did - and I was caught and swarmed as my legs totally gave out exiting the final turn. I had nothing left. 100m short of glory, but we all know how that is "so close and yet so far." It's far easier to almost pull it off than it is to cross the line with your arms in the air.

    M35+:

    Did this one for more work, and for skills, especially leg speed. Practically motor-pacing racing with the young guys. I hung in there, mostly tail-gunning, until I was dropped and pulled with 6-7 laps to go. Good news is that about halfway through that one I found I was relaxing into it more at the higher speed, and doing a far better job of conserving effort than earlier in the race. Cornering was there, and I was keeping my mental focus and eyes where they belonged. All that felt good. Legs felt the prior effort. We got two guys in a 4 man break that lapped the field. James (C1 sprinter team captain), gave our designated guy a long lead out to the final into-the-wind sprint. He went around James maybe a touch too early, finishing behind the winner by half a wheel, also overlapped with James. By the way, our 2nd place guy was Cat5 until about a week ago - now he's a 4. Spent his youth in Alaska on cross-country skis. We got 2, 3, 5 and 8 in the 35+ race. Several other good showings. Team is crushing it so far.

    Attendance seems weak, by the way. Notice just went out that VOS registration is lower than expected this close to the race.

  3. #228
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I will definitely give that effort a "like". Most breaks do not succeed but some do.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #229
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    AzT, outstanding! Loved the way you earned back some respect - and I know you did.

    I heard a phrase yesterday "fatigue makes cowards of us all". I feel your pain!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  5. #230
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    2014-02-15 Sun Devil Classic Criterium - .6 mile D shaped clockwise course - M60+ - 12 Starters:

    They started us 15" or so behind the 50+ group. In my experience that always turns into a cluster on a short course, and my plan was to make that happen right away, by attacking at the whistle and passing the 50+ pack. One guy passing them? No problem. The whole 60+ pack? Ain't gonna let that happen. That plan was abandoned right away. They held us a bit long, and apparently other guys had the same idea, as we were single file the entire first lap, never closing on the 50+ at all. Some of them probably had the converse plan, of lapping us. So when we all got that message and eased off, the attacks started. I've mentioned how this has a been a year of fun, animated races, and this one was no exception. I was first to attack, and was pulled back in about a lap. Then a member of team with three strong guys attacked, and I chased him down. Then his teammate, a real threat countered, and I again chased him down. I actually bridged to him twice during the race, and each time he shut it down. I need to have a talk with him, because I'm convinced the two if us can stay away pretty readily, especially if the division break is at 60. A 2-3 guy break effort is perfect for me right now. A solo isn't. But anyway, after an attack, and then covering two hard ones, of course their third guy attacked, and I had nothing. I tried, but he was gone. He is guy I've worked with before, and had I been able to bridge, it could have worked, but I was cooked right then, so off he went. The only other guy covering things was Mr. Sprinter, and he stuck with that team's #1 guy. So 'Joe' stayed away for quite awhile, in part because he ended up where I had wanted to get. The 50+ lapped us, and so they were between him and us. But that didn't last long, s they passed him, and as soon as we saw him, we new he was toast, as he was worn down and slowing.

    After that it became a slow, cat and mouse game. I threw attacks, the other team's #1 threw attacks. Mr. Sprinter covered all of them, and as I said, I couldn't make a double work. So it was coming down to the final laps, with 6 of us left. We had repeatedly lapped a couple, and the rest were OTB somewhere. I tried with 4 to go and got a gap, but was reeled back. So I rested, and planned a 2 to go effort. Well, guess what? We never got the 2 to go. We went from 3 to go to the bell lap. Apparently the 50+ was closing on us again (because we were playing cat and mouse) and the officials thought they'd take a lap away so we could finish before being passed. Doh! So I adjusted and went for plan.. what.. maybe plan "G" by then, and planned to heat it up prior to the last turn, to see if the better sprinters could hold the speed longer than usual. I was clearly one of the stringer guys out there, I was recovering well, and I wanted to make the last effort as brutal as I could. So, as I starting to heat it up, I sense someone attacking on my left and start reacting to jump on the wheel when I realize, at the same time I hear someone yell it out, that the 50's are coming by, just before we enter the final (sharpest) corner. Doh! I see Mr. Sprinter react by bursting off the front, as our 6 easy six man finish because a huge cluster of people swarming all over, not being able to tell whom is what. Mr. Sprinter wins, with one of the 50's totally pissed that he was in the way and blocked him, etc., etc.

    Combined with the preceding 40+ results being totally messed up, it took literally hours for them to get results out that people would accept. That left lots of time for chat, and we all agreed the results the race had been totally effed up, that who knows how it would have really ended, and we should go out and re-race the final laps :-) Turns out the other team's #1 was also planning a 2 to go attack, so it would have been interesting, and a far different ending. Who knows if the finish places would have been different - just no way to say.

    So I got 5th, which was maybe where I belonged, but likely not. I didn't react as well to the chaos, backing off then trying to find a slot for the corner, etc.

    I had a good candid chat with Mr. Sprinter, about the "everyone against him" approach we have been taking. We all know what we and him are trying to do, and agree it's a "line-up and see how it goes thing each week. His assessment is that, if we only have 2-3 conspiring to make him work his butt off, he can handle it. More than that, and the edge shifts to us.

    Fun day! Sad that the race was so heavily influence by the officials.

    Two packs that can't race together on a short course at the same time. Such a great idea.... NOT!

  6. #231
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    It's pretty clear, without you saying so, that you're THOROUGHLY enjoying yourself! So, cool! I see a podium right around the corner - the first of several this season,. I'd be safe in betting.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  7. #232
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Great report AZTR. Your day will come soon, but not soon enough for you.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  8. #233
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    2014-02-21/23 Valley of the Sun Stage Race

    2014-02-21 23K Time Trial:


    Kept things controlled reasonably well (pretty equal power both legs, and the outbound is slightly uphill) and set a PR by 1:04. That put me 26 of 31. Tough field, huh? I have a way to go with the TT, and with my FTP still down, well... But my major "I'm going to sell this thing" spat with my TT bike is over. Not ready to name the bike and take it to bed with me, but not hating it quite so much. As previously mentioned, my teammate "P" grabbed a :09 lead over a local arch-rival "K", who used to be a teammate, setting the stage for a road race that had me totally stressed about my "protect the jersey" role.

    2014-02-22 46 mile Road Race:

    The key feature of this course, as with almost all road races, is the climb. It's not that steep, and it's not that long, but it's enough to break up a field. Our leader was going to be watching K, and we were going to be watching everyone else, chasing down any breaks we were worried about. The climb would be "every man for himself", and P was confident he wouldn't be dropped. We expected K to try and get a gap in the final climb, which leads to a flat sprint to the finish. Time bonuses of 10, 6, and 4.

    Two guys we weren't worried about went off in lap 1, and we decided to let them cook: keeping them in range but not chasing them down. That did put us in the position of pulling, to control the pace and make sure they didn't get too far away. As we turned for the climb, which starts shallow and then gets steeper, I was pulling. I tried to set a pace that would keep the break in range but not blow us up. That was a fine balance, as the two guys were clearly looking to use the climb to build their gap. I blew up. Overstayed my visa to Offthebakistan.

    That break was caught, but a 3 man got away in lap 2 and stayed away, finishing with just over a minute on the pack. Fortunately, that break did not include anyone less than a minute off the GC, so P maintained his :09 lead heading into today's crit showdown.

    2014-02-23 30 minute Criterium:

    Not sure what to say about this race. It was fast. The pavement in the turns was rough. I botched my clip in despite practice, (which I will do even more of, Mr. Shovel, and probably switch feet) and had to work, hard, to get to the front. Fortunately, a teammate was up there helping P keep anyone from breaking away. P later said he had it control leading to the final laps. I did finally get in the top 5 with about 5 to go, and even found K's wheel, although I knew that was where P needed to be. But I got pinched along a curb, backed off just a hair, and found myself once again well back. It was the kind of race where, if you eased up at all, especially as you bounced through the turns, you were losing places. So, I was falling back as we came around for the pack sprint, and I really faded in the final 200m. Yowza. In fact, I went way off to the side, into the wind, to try and see the finish, to no avail. Here is how that played out.

    P decided his best approach was to launch another local with a great sprint, so he could take the 10s bonus. So long as K didn't get the 10s bonus, P wins GC. But, as the sprinter approached the line, he suddenly eases and looks over as K beats him by inches, taking the win, the 10s, and GC. Apparent collusion that, according to P, was all but acknowledged post race. Photo of the finish seems to back that up. With P working hard to launch the sprinter he finished just outside the time bonuses. In hindsight, P should maybe have just glued himself to K's wheel, but there was no guarantee there, as it was acknowledged that the sprinter who eased had the assignment of trying to place himself between K and P.

    So, the only way it could have gone down without us holding GC is exactly how it went down. P second by one, and only one, second.

    Hell of a weekend of a racing. Hell of a final race. No clue where I finished in the crit, as it was irrelevant. Ditto for GC. Wish I could have helped P more.

    Tucson Bicycle Classic is the next big target, and we'll be gunning to get P the win. Those courses suit me better, so I should be of more help.

  9. #234
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Photo's courtesy of P's wife, who is in the inning for team spouse of the year:

    Teammate controlling K. That's P in the leader's jersey just over his right shoulder, and I'm well back on the other side.


    Me working to move the hell up. That's the local sprinter ahead of me, who finished 2nd.

  10. #235
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    AzTR - You sure did some work this weekend! I really enjoy your race reports, they give me an idea of how things go down, and of how the best laid plans don't always come to fruition no matter how hard one tries.
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  11. #236
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Great racing and preparation.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  12. #237
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    The best laid plans. When they work, they are awesome. You should be proud of your hard work, especially after the injuries.

    A 30 minute criterium is tough no matter how you slice it. Attack fest.

  13. #238
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    2014-03-02 Arizona Sr. Olympics

    20K RR - 8 starters:

    I attacked, which resulted in splitting the field in half. The lead 4 was me, a teammate, a friend of his, and a guy who didn't work very hard that I tried unsuccessfully to ditch by gapping him whenever possible. I attacked before a turnaround that leaves about a 250m sprint to the finish. Got a gap, but was too conservative in the turn, as they wanted everyone to 'play it safe' there due to rain the last couple of days. I wasn't able to hold it to the end, and finished second for silver.

    40K RR - 6 starters:

    I chatted with the guys between races about how we could make the 20K winner work, and we did that by starting to attack 10K in, always forcing him to do the chasing. The 3rd or 4th attack, he couldn't respond to my teammate. Teammate didn't feel he could stay out alone and started slowing, but as the 20K winner narrowed the gap, clearly feeling the work, I launched hard and bridged, screaming Go! Go! Go! I collected my mate, and we were away clean, increasing the lead through the rest of the race. Textbook. Lead was over 2' by the end, and I asked "So... we sprint for it?" He said sure, so I (a) made sure he was pulling as we approach the final turnaround, (b) took the corner as it should be taken, and (c) won the sprint. He does a lot of plyo and has a good jump, so maybe I should have a bit more confidence in my sprinting... or not

    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Congrats!

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    Way to go, AzTR!
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

  16. #241
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Nice! You're the first of this group to qualify for Minneapolis. Now you don't have to drive to SoCal in June.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Hey hey hey!

  18. #243
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Tall Tales

    AzT, I am so proud of you, man!!! Fantastic!!!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  19. #244
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Well done AZTR.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  20. #245
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    enjoyable reads. sounds like you have fun with the physical and mental sides of racing.

  21. #246
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    He definitely rides a thinking man's race! He's a natural tactician, he makes it sound so logical.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  22. #247
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I wish I could figure things out, consistently, during the races. It's still a question of minimizing the mistakes I know I'll make.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  23. #248
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    I wish I could figure things out, consistently, during the races. It's still a question of minimizing the mistakes I know I'll make.
    I have a racing friend who is a year older and 5 time world champion masters track sprinter. He is also won national titles in pursuit. He says ones racing IQ goes down as the power goes up. What he seems to be very good at is recognizing when he has a competitive advantage and accepting situations where he does not versus trying to make things happen when he knows by experience the outcome will be poor. So much of racing is patience. Sometimes it is just not in the cards.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  24. #249
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    If racing was predictable such that the tactics in one race worked in most races, then I would have gotten bored with this sport a long time ago. While there are "rules" for riding smart within the circumstances of your fitness and the level of competition, the combinations of what you do and when are almost never the same. What works one week won't work the next. That's one of the things about this sport that keeps me coming back for more.
    Thanks.
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  25. #250
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    2014-03-09 South Mountain CR; 30'; 1.1 mile course with a climb, and a fast downhill with some nasty corners

    In case anyone hasn't figured it out from my reports, our M55+ pack is tough this year. Two really fast guys moved up, one a teammate and one an ex-teammate nemesis. Their presence, when combined with the presence of a very talented sprinter, has made our races much more animated, and much faster. Also a lot more fun - particularly if you like digging deep. I like digging deep, but am just not that great at it right now. For me, that pain cave depth kind of comes and goes. It's tied into my mental state, how my legs are, the calibration between the two, and exactly how/where the critical point develops. I'm vulnerable on climbs, even if they aren't that long. Yesterday's climb was about 90" long, and that was evidently about 30" too long for me to be a threat.

    A teammate started things off by pushing it the first time up the climb, and I almost warned him to ease up, as it just wasn't a great move at that point, and was only going to wear him (and me) down, given where we stood compared to some of the others. I wish I had, because he was still pushing it when the road tilted down, and wasn't really prepared when we hit a hard "S" curve the first time. He grabbed a lot of brakes, blew out his rear tire, and I suspect wet his bib shorts staying upright. The pack collected itself and went on without him. It very quickly became 10 of us, and I was struggling to stay attached on each climb. When our main guy drifted back one of the times going up, I made the mistake of slowing to see what was up. His heart was in A-fib, and he was dropping out. Doing that gapped me, and while I regained the pack that time, it started a cycle of fighting to get back before the climb, falling back, fighting to get back, etc. And so when Nemesis "K" decided to make his move up in the climb in the 3 to go lap, and the field responded, my passport was stamped with the official Offthebakistan "No Visa Required" logo. K won by a huge margin. He is so strong this year, just riding away from people, that he has started 'rumors'. Sad either way; whether it's true or not.

    In the final lap, there was a guy ahead - not sure whether I was lapping him or he had fallen off after I did - but I set the goal of beating him to the finish, and did. Sort of like sprinting for 47th place.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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