Sounds like great progress on the comeback trail. Staying upright is a very good thing.
Awesome. Those kind of comebacks seem rare, but they sure feel good. They turn a downward spiral into an upward one.
Sounds like you chewed your suffer pills and swallowed them w/o water........well done.
// respect //
Thanks guys.. even more suffering today, without the glorious comeback ;)
2013-03-16 Circuit Race; 6 laps; 33 miles; 2,300' of climbing.
I suspected this race would be fast, as the sprinter (and overall fast guy) I mentioned was sitting in third, and Ex's teammates, the only teammates in the race) were further down. There was some pre-race whispering between the three of them, which I didn't fail to notice. Sure enough, someone takes off at the whistle, and the race is on. The first lap really took it out of me. My Garmin said the average power for the lap was over my FTP, and it was the fastest lap I've done on that course by far. There is a sweeping right hand bend on the fast section: we took it over 40, and I had to use the entire lane. We were sitting on the 45+ group's ass (started a minute ahead) until they finally lit it up a bit after that.
Coming around for the lap 2 climb, I was drained, and fell off. Once again I buried myself, and caught the pack (solo) at the start of lap 3. But there was just no time to recover from that before we went uphill again. I was dropped, this time for good.
I did the best I could to maintain a decent pace, but was sorely tempted to pack it in, when three guys caught me, and we started working together - sort of. They were some of the guys I pulled to the pack yesterday, and as we started climbing, I said "If you guys drop me on this climb, I'll never forgive you. Don't tase me, bro's". We stuck together that lap. 2 of them did gap me a bit the next climb, but I caught back up.
On the last lap, we were passed by the 35+. One of the guys, naturally one who never really pulled (a tri-guy to boot), attached himself to the 35+ pack. The rest of us stayed back. Moto ref was right behind them, and we decided that, if the moto didn't penalize him, we'd say something, because it sucked. He fell back, but don't know if it was because the moto called him on it or not. I decided not to make an issue of it after the race. The moto was right there, and I decided it was his call.
So, I finished, way back from the pack, in our little chase group. I had done the bulk of the pulling again, and I didn't push hard at the finish, letting the other guys contest it. I seem to have that moderate diesel sort of power still, but there is a distinct upper limit on that power. So pulling on the flats is something I can do right now, but climbing is, as Keb' Mo' sings, "A Whole Nutha Thing".
This race wasn't as 'squirrely' as yesterday's, thankfully, but there was some fun stuff right in front of me. One of the guys who hadn't been exactly holding a tight line had a guy put a hand gently on his hip as he weaved towards the guy, who was on the yellow line. He told him he was all over the place, which he was, but the guy responded that he was holding his line within inches, and he moved over on the guy again. They got into a shoulder and elbow shoving match, until the moto rode up.
A bunch of grumpy old men, except my little chase group - that turned into a fun little workout. The two guys who gapped me on the climb told me it was the first time anyone called them mountain goats, because when I caught them, I said "Bastard mountain goats!". Actually there an explicative preceding that. :-)
Oh, and our GC winner was a worthy champion. After gaining two minutes yesterday to take the jersey, he responded to attack after attack, personally pulling the pack, and then won the race.
Nice work, AzT. That was great read. Do you suppose if the first lap hadn't been quite so frenetic you could have hung in there with the main pack the whole race? I still think you did a great job. That lacking top end is just around the corner, you'll race your way back into it soon enough.
You never know, but probably not. I don't have climbing legs right now, and there are a lot of good climbers in the group. Guy that won is from Boulder, CO: climbing central.
I wish the season were early - here in the desert, it's almost ready to close down for the summer! Although, when I mention the words "off-season" to TallWife, she guffaws.
2013-03-23 San Tan Criterium; 1.2 mile, flat, 8 turn figure 8 course
M35+ 4/5: I'll be glad to have the stay-in-the pack restrictor plates removed tomorrow, because I had a great opportunity to bridge to a guy who was solo OTF after one of the primes. The pack was slow, not chasing, not even really bunched up, and the guy was reachable for a bit. But I stuck with the plan, and let him go. Tell me, don't you love it when someone is yelling "We need to chase him down!" but not pulling? Cracked me up. It's like "let's you and him fight." I had three teammates in the race, and the plan was to string it out in the last lap and get one of our guys up front in good shape for the sprint. I did the extended lead out, but started it early because the pack was just too slow and bunched. So I ran out of steam a bit earlier than ideal, and our guy got 4th. I finished 9th. The solo attack won going away. I'm still learning the patience thing - I should have waited a couple hundred yards before starting the acceleration.
M55+: This race was in part a tribute to one of our local 55+ guys (Bob) who died of a heart attack while riding this past February. There was a "Spirited Rider" award being given in his name, and so I expected an animated race. And it was poignant for me because last year in this race Bob yelled at me, appropriately, when I over-reacted to someone moving into my wheel, My tubes are grabbier than my training wheels, something I have to always be aware of. There weren't as many attacks as I expected, but that was because it was just a flat out fast race. It took a lot of work and awareness to stay near the front. I would get there, and next thing I knew I was at the tail end again. But I got into decent position on the last lap, then squandered it a bit in the corners leading to the sprint, finishing 13th.
This comparison is a great testimony to the value of experience. While there are many 4's in the 50+ crowd, it's a different type of 4:
Much smaller difference between average power and nominal power in the 50+ due to keeping the speed up in the corners.
My cornering is a bit rough right now, and that caused me to work harder than I should have. Had my front tire slip a couple inches once, then come off the ground once, and I clipped a pedal in the mad dash to the finish of the 50+. I may need to think about my fore-aft balance. So I didn't get the biggest bang for my power buck due to working too much to close gaps, but overall the day went fairly well.
You must be pleased, AzT. Good racing.
Nice day at the races. Top ten always good!
Welcome back. Good luck tomorrow.
Nice AZT. Stay patient.
Thanks everyone - nice to able to play some again.
Nice work AZT.
Would it be too corny if I suggested that "the Phoenix is arising"?
yeah, maybe...................... still good work though.
Brief San Dimas report.
Teammate won the hillclimb. I took 15th, Thurlow was 10th so it wasn't like this was a cake walk.
Worked today in the road race. We win again. I rode at the front for most of the last lap. No one came around. 1/3 of the field either quit or missed the time cut. First two laps my asthma had me seriously thinking about quitting. Things came around.
Ex, I have a dumb question. Where you on the front setting a hard pace to discourage attacks, or chasing a break, and no one else could/would help?
AzTR - Belated congrats on the racing! Good to hear you're back in the mix, even with the restrictor plates. :)
2013-03-24 Hungry Dog Criterium; .9 mile, flat, 4 turn course
M55+: Having the restrictor plates removed and a green light to be aggressive didn't really change things that much. I attacked twice, but my efforts were mediocre and I was chased down. The sprinter that has been winning everything is very aggressive at chasing down breaks. He does it himself whenever that is necessary, and it is tough to get away from him. And he isn't bridging; he prefers to bring everyone with him. Then he rests up for the next assault. One of these races, we need to throw repeated attacks at him to see if he holds up. In this race, some guys literally conspired to try and box him in. He still won. I went right as we approached the left corner when I should have gone left, and was held up briefly. I picked off a couple people and was moving up as we crossed, but was only 8th.
M50+: My cornering was better today, but I remain a bit conservative when in the middle of the pack, and end up burning extra energy moving up the sides. I needed to do that in the last lap, and was frozen out trying to get a wheel for the wind up, as my team captain yelled at me from the side. ;) So I was hung out way too long, and was hurting by the time I finally got tucked in. During the final setup, two guys bumped ahead, so once again I found myself trying to fight back up for the sprint. Finished back in the pack.
So all-in-all: two days of pack fodder. I'm okay with that - every race is a lesson learned - but am anxious to improve my finishing smarts, as well as my inner-pack skills.
Team Captain had a real "Ex-Class" race in the 35/35. He was OTF for several laps, stayed aggressive when he was finally caught, ultimately got company for one of his breaks, and the three of them said "Sayonara" to the pack. Other 2 guys were 35+ so he got something of a free ride by promising them a lead out.
There was a guy racing with downtube shifters yesterday, and, believe it or not, a guy rode one of these in the 50+ crit today (after discussion/inspection by the ref), and did just fine, but it sure freaked us out cornering next to him: