I thought he had no teeth at all as he crossed the line when he won Paris-Roubaix, but (after he kissed his girlfriend IIRC) he cleaned the road grit from his teeth, and there they were, in all their not-so-pretty glory.
Thanks everyone. The saddle is quite a bit forward from where it was for that climb, and it is feeling really really good now, especially after I moved it back a few mm from the major adjustment I made after it had apparently slipped. I also moved it up 5mm to compensate for moving it forward. Almost ready to get out the hacksaw for the steerer.
2014-01-04 Faster Team Practice Race for VOS; Black Squad (Black is the new Orange)
Every year, we split the team into squads and go at it on the VOS (Valley of the Sun) road race course. We had 5 teams of 4-6. Our team had a no-show, so we raced with 4. Captain is a guy Ex has met (Peter). He's strong, especially for a 3, and just moved into 55+ as I move to 60+. He is a particularly strong at TT's. But he recently had plates removed from both shoulders, and so is a bit behind the training curve from a season standpoint. In fact, we had trouble deciding who to protect and how to approach the race, because we had nobody who appeared a lot stronger than the rest of us. But Peter and I are both tactics obsessed, and decided the two of us would cover the early breaks, that the guy we believed was strongest would join a later break if he liked the looks of it, and otherwise we'd protect him for the uphill drag race to the finish. I was intended to be a "use and lose" component, as I knew I'd be hanging on for dear life on the climbs. So early work was a great choice for me.
Of course, we all know who to watch, and when one of those guys took off shortly after the neutralized first leg, I jumped on his wheel. He didn't want to drag me around, and so he shut it down. As we were caught, Peter saw an opportunity, and just kind of pulled away, without getting a big reaction. The major threat (won 2 years ago by riding away from everyone early) I had chased decided to bridge to Peter, and launched. I jumped on his wheel, but quickly decided that if he joined Peter, we were in good shape. They had a good shot of staying away, and Peter has the better sprint (other guy is Tri, but with RR skills. As AJ would say - perfect lead out man). Next was "the moment". As I slowed down and the gap rapidly built, the pack reacted to Tri-Guy. The pack swarmed around me but Tri-Guy is recovering from a cold and didn't have it today. He gave up on his bridge, and the pack inexplicably settled for pulling him back, as Peter stretched out his lead. It was absolutely awesome... we had a TT guy solo OTF.
The next phase was me and another teammate covering every attack, and wreaking havoc on any attempts at a rotation. I covered maybe 5 attacks, and each time the guy would see who was with him and shut it down. I'd also join any rotation attempt, then create gaps that always left our big sprinter in the wind <EG> It was a blast, and I even had some fun, offering to pull, so long as they liked my pace. I don't understand why the other teams didn't send someone on the attacks to get a few folks really chasing. I would have been sucking their wheels, but they could have gotten a better chase going than what was happening with the whole pack.
On the first climb, I matched my all-time MaxHR, and stayed with the group. That let me continue to work for Peter. Second time up the climb, I set a new MaxHR (190), but ended up ~200m behind. I had talked to the stronger teammate as the climb started, and said he should really hang on the big sprinter's wheel, as his team was clearly looking for a pack sprint. One of my squad was also OTB and we tried to hard to reattach. We even caught Tri-Guy, who had blown up attacking, and the three of us worked together, but it just wasn't enough. I was fading, and finally let the two of them go as we neared the final climb.
Peter was OTF for 40 miles, and won by 30 seconds. Other strong teammate top 10 following the sprinters in. The other two of us finished within the deadline for 'finish points".
Absolutely fun race, and we got the win. Not sure how the team points will add up, but nobody remembers that anyway. We got the win, and I was able to influence the race despite where my fitness stands. I handled the attacks, recovering enough after each one to be ready again. It's the long efforts (climbs) that are tough right now, due to my weak FTP.
I'm jazzed. :)
Here is the data for the race section of the ride. No power data, as the SRM is on its way back from Colorado. I've had chain ring wobble and thought it might be the spider. Turns out the SRM is true (whew!) - likely the BB, which I've now replaced, with the non-PM crankset running true.
Great narrative, AzT! I love your tactical bent, you really shed some light on the art. It gives me some hope, as well (weak FTP, too). I'm so glad to hear you smiling on that bike! Woot!!!!
That's very encouraging AzTR. Keep easing into it to make sure you've got your feet under you -- so to speak. Looking forward to racing with you at VOS.
AzTR - Sounds like your mind's doing fine, your body will catch up later. Even with the physical side not up to snuff, you still accomplished what you set out to do. :beer:
Great to see some race reports.
Come back rider of the New Year!
Thanks folks. At our team pot luck last night, Peter said he averaged 295w, and 22.3mph, for 1:45 on the break. Oh, and he had 20 miles before the race, because he wanted 4 hours for the day.
Averaged 296 watts! I hope he weighs a lot. :notamused:
2014-01-12 Not So Underground Criterium - M60+ - 9 starters:
First sanctioned race of the season, on the Tuesday nigh "Underground Crit" course, hence the "Not So Underground..."
This is a .8 mile counter-clockwise rectangular course, which rises on the front straight, drops back down after turn 1 to a fast left into what is almost always a headwind. Turns 3 and 4 are also fast, leading to an uphill sprint to the finish line, maybe 25% of the way up the front straight rise.
There are two guys who moved up with me to 60+ whom I have never beaten. Well, I may have beaten one of them, but not in a crit. One ("A") is a great all a rounder with a couple of teammates in the class. The other ("B") is very good sprinter who only races crit's. He won every 55+ crit last year but one, and several where he raced younger. Everyone knows who to watch, but not everyone has the same ideas of what to do about them. I had two teammates in the race. One I met today, and one I've known awhile. Given where we all are in our training, we didn't attempt to do anything tactically. It may seem selfish, but I wanted to race my own race, and try to use my limited strengths the best I could. I didn't think there was anything I could really do for either of them, nor vice-a-versa.
We all got reacquainted on the start line, and headed out. It was immediately apparent nobody wanted to pull into the headwind. With my fitness level, I certainly didn't. But A's team felt obligated to work, because A had the best chance to dethrone B. I stuck to A & B like glue, knowing that if A attacked, B would jump on his wheel, and if they got away, it would be case closed. That almost happened once, but I jumped to close it, with the pack falling in. A's mates tried to break and drive the pace to weaken B a few times but they didn't have the firepower, and it would have taken a LOT to handle that headwind.
So it came down to handling a few hard runs up the rise in the final laps, one of which could have split the pack if the 4 of us in front wanted to push into the wind, but it didn't happen, so we all cmd around on the final lap looking for the best approach to the pack sprint. On this course, you pretty much have to establish your position no later than between turns 3 and 4, and sometimes it needs to occur before turn 3. This was one of those times, as the race was really decided as we approached turn 3. One of A's mates dutifully accelerated, presumably to set A up. He went left (which becomes the inside). But he obviously didn't have the speed, and folks were gathering behind him. So A, with B (and "C", another strong finisher) on his wheel, went right around the pack. I jumped with them, and the 4 of us cleared the pack before we hit turn 3. As we headed to turn 4, the race was already decided. My jump wasn't enough to stick with C, and of course sprinter B went around A to get him by half a length at the line. I sprinted, but was several lengths back of C, finishing 4th.
It was a fun race, and 4th is an accomplishment given where I am, however this was not how I like to race... hiding in the pack and doing the best I can in the sprint. I needed to, however, to get my crit mojo back, and know where I stood with this season's group. And 3rd or 4th is where I stand when it comes to a field sprint. C and I match up fairly well - his edge was better anticipation and a better kick, but I will bring mine up over the next few weeks. I need to really up my game to threaten A or B, working a break strategy.
Next race is 55+, and I'll be working for a teammate, as I will anytime we are in the same race this season.
Well done AZtr. I am very happy for you and the recovery you have made.
AzTR - Sounds like your head's in the game, just need your body to follow - and that'll happen, hopefully soon!
Coach's erudite comment, when I said I thought the lack of power was forcing better use if the brain?
"Brain good". :thumb:
Continued progress! I glad you never mentioned being cautious or concerned about any sketchey rider.
I've been waiting to read this since I saw your Strava post last night. Fantastic, AzT! I really, really love the way you stay on point, in your head on your plan. I have a lot to learn from you, my friend. Congratulations on that great finish!