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Old 07-18-12, 11:31 AM   #1
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Tall Tales

I thought I'd give Hermes' idea a shot, as I think it will be great for showing/discussing/contrasting results over time. So here is AzTallRider's oft-embellished race report thread. These reports are published for entertainment purposes only, and any reference to actual people, events or occurrences is purely coincidental. Any and all average speeds mentioned are "Internet Speeds", and provided solely to feed my ego. Emulating any of my tactics is discouraged, unless, of course, the reader has a strong desire to visit Offthebackistan.

Underground Criterium 2012-07-17
.8 mile; 4 turn rectangle; 18' of rise on front stretch; headwind on back straight
Mixed cat's; A Race; 30-40 starters
Strava Link
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In these dog days of summer, the A group is smaller than normal (30-50), with a combination of hardcore fast riders, and slower folks trying to get a leg up on their category for next year. With such a mix of capabilities, the pack thins out very quickly, and lately there have been less than 10 on the lead lap, with only a handful sprinting for the win. Coaching instruction was "Race to Win". I decided my best chance for that was to conserve as much as possible during the race, while staying near the front, and then stretch things out on the final lap for an early/extended sprint. I've tried holding an attack for longer than that against this crowd to no avail, and winning a short sprint was more of a long shot.

There was a crash in the B's, which many of us use to warmup, riding along on the back. Someone's rear wheel slid on something, he went down, and another guy ran into him, going over the high sde hard and severely separating (displacing?) his shoulder.

I had two Cat2 teammates in the race, and they and another guy took turns going off the front. That kept the pack strung out and moving along pretty quickly. Not nearly as fast as the nights when there is a larger group with several Cat1s, but fast enough to limit my recovery. The combination of the pace and the rapidly shrinking pack meant any moving up was exposed, even during the bunching up that occasionally occurs in a couple of places. I don't think I did a particularly good job of staying up front while conserving. I needed to stay up there, and had to see the wind on occasion to do that. As we got in the last third of the race (shortened by the crash and summer heat), I missed a split. I was tired, let myself fall back on the rise, and didn't jump around someone quick enough. Damn.

To encourage OTF efforts, it is specifically allowed for this race, even encouraged, to jump back on and still contest the finish. There are also points awarded, but I think that is being questioned due to a couple of crashes. So I slowed, and when the pack came around with less than 3 to go, there was one guy OTF, and only 4 in the lead chase group, a teammate being one of those. I jumped back in on the back of the chase group. As we came around for the bell lap (we had gone past the guy who had been OTF), my teammate was trying to get off the front to preserve for the sprint. So I went around to give him my wheel, and started drilling it as best I could. I lasted for .75 of the lap before they blew by me. I sat up, but decided I didn't want anyome sneaking past, and so I did a practice half-sprint to the finish.

Biggest issue for me right now is fading towards the end when there aren't recovery opportunities. I think it's a combination of fitness, and conservation skills. But there was no way I should have missed that split, and of course things eased up when the gap was too big for it to do me any good. I needed to really dig deep at that one critical point, and didn't get it done. But it was a fun race, particularly the leadout.
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Old 07-18-12, 12:58 PM   #2
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But it was a fun race...
And a fun report. I really empathise with the missed split. Pretty much the same happened to me in my most recent race, I missed the split and it was almost immediately clear that had I made the jump I'd have been able to hang with the pace, because they backed off a bit.

It's a combination of physical and mental, for me. I'm under too much physical stress to think straight, the lactate gets between me and my wits. As I get fitter, I think my decisions will get better, too.
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Old 07-18-12, 01:35 PM   #3
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I've gotten caught behind blocking, gone all out, nothing left in the tank, and missed splits. You either have it or you don't. What you can try next time is to be a little more attentive that the front of the field is getting active. Try and sense that a split could happen and work your way out of the shelter zone.

It's gotta be gawdawful hot out there right now. You did very well. I had a similar experience last night. I'll take your lead and start a thread after I review the video.
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Old 07-18-12, 02:06 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure I ended up back where I was vulnerable by going left around a guy as we headed up the rise, when I should have slowed enough to be able to duck his wheel and get by on his right, where there was plenty of room. I got boxed in while a parade went by on the right. Seemed like a trivial thing at the moment, but it snowballed on me, because the guys up front decided to pick it up. Slight bend to the left sometimes has everyone over on that side. I try to take corner 4 on the inside, because that is the protected side before the turn, and you can pedal through even on the inside track. But then it's usually better to be to the right going up the rise. I had never really analyzed it until now. I just had one of those back-of-the-mind tendencies to want to be on the right. Now I realize why. Sometimes it clogs up on the left, but never on the right in that stretch. Of course, I could be mixing up occurrences from different laps. Brain? What brain?
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Old 07-18-12, 02:34 PM   #5
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That was well done and especially considering the heat.
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Old 07-19-12, 10:38 AM   #6
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I had something of an epiphany last night while I was driving to my LBS for a seminar on aerodynamics, biomechanics and biometrics. I realized that I was having to really pump out the power coming out of turn 2 on the crit course. It's the fastest turn on the course, and as you finish the turn, you hit what is often a hard headwind. We are always cautioned to expect the folks ahead to slow, and people generally allow a bit of extra room. As I ran through the typical scenario, it looked like this:

1. The pack rides hard up the front straight rise to turn 1.
2. There is almost always a bunching up right before that turn.
3. Turn 1 isn't that fast (see #2) and is usually taken several people wide.
4. People ease off a bit going down to turn 2, finding the position they want.
5. There is a fair amount of side-to-side shifting based on where people were in turn 1, and where they want to be in turn 2.
6. This generally increases the gaps in the pack.
7. There are a wide variety of lines taken for turn 2. Some of them are of course stupid.
8. Following a wheel closely is chancy in this turn unless you really know the rider.
9. This all results in huge gaps coming out of the turn, right as you hit the wind.
*** This is where I'm burning matches! ***

So when I got to the LBS, I asked a teammate about that turn. He described what happens exactly the same way I have, and said that what he does is to wait for someone to come around him after the turn, then he grabs that wheel and lets that guy close the gap. DOH! I had been putting my head down and pumping hard to get to the wheel ahead, then almost always slowing down, which happens when the guys in front start looking for someone else to pull. My teammate doesn't worry much about gaps right there, nor on the front stretch, because of the bunch-up at turn 1. When I said "But what about when it doesn't?" (like when I missed that split), he basically said you need to know who is up front, and whether they are likely to drill it.

Next week, I'll move towards the front a bit going downhill to the turn (easily done), so I won't drift too far back letting someone come around, and eliminate that big push. I think managing this one turn will drop my average (and my variability) down significantly. Can't wait to try it.
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Old 07-24-12, 10:29 PM   #7
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Underground Criterium 2012-07-24
.8 mile; 4 turn rectangle; 18' of rise on front stretch; headwind on back straight
Mixed cat's; A Race; 30-40 starters
Strava Link
TrainingPeaks Link

Goal was to really conserve for 10 minutes, then go for it. That strategy was executed perfectly, just not by me. I missed the break, led by my 50+ teammate who hasn't been there lately, but who appeared at the front seemingly from nowhere and was suddenly off the front with 6 other guys. I tried jumping back in with them, twice, and couldn't hold on either time. Wow... just didn't have it. Big weekend still affecting me, I believe, and the PMC backs that up.
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Old 07-24-12, 11:33 PM   #8
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huge weekend still affecting me, i believe, and the pmc backs that up.
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Old 07-29-12, 07:08 PM   #9
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3 Bears ITT 2012-07-29
30K; 700' Elevation Gain going out; Slight (~5mph) headwind out; tailwind back
55+; 4 starters
Strava Link (Training Peaks won't read the file)

I tried to be very meticulous in my prep. Part of that was making sure the race config was working, so I used it for my opener, and flatted my tubular. Gah! Had to use a non-aero rear wheel, but didn't let that bother me. Warmup was a bit short, only because I was worried about how early they were calling people up.

Wind was NOT what was forecast. It was more lined up with the course: headwind out, tailwind back, but only ~5kts. Temp only in the 80's, but humid. Rained the day before.

Started fine, and as I got settled in, I found I wanted to stay a bit above my 275w target. It just felt better with the cadence, and I thought I could hold a bit more power. Power varied a lot with terrain and my inability to really hold it steady. Ended up having trouble holding the target coming back. Part of it was that the return side of the road was really rough. Part of it was how hard I went on the out leg. I had some issues with my arm position, and definitely need to make some changes there.

I think going a bit harder going out actually worked out okay, as it meant I put in more power going uphill, where it could have had more impact. I averaged 19.2mph/278w going out (faded a bit over the course of the leg), and 29.7mph/265w coming back. I didn't have much left to kick it the final few K, but I did manage to pick it up a bit.

Winner (perennial season champ) was 3 minutes ahead, and I missed 2nd by 9 seconds. I feel pretty good about it overall, as my power was way up from my last/first TT, and I know I still have some major improvements ahead. This race repeats in 2 weeks.
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Old 07-29-12, 07:52 PM   #10
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Nice job, AZT. You have a great goal to work for.
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Old 07-29-12, 08:23 PM   #11
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AzT, that is fantastic! Great, great result, great job! You totally rock!!
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Old 07-29-12, 08:40 PM   #12
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Great results. That route is on our 300k brevet and it's a great road....very few vehicles also.
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Old 07-29-12, 09:23 PM   #13
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Nice AZT.
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Old 07-29-12, 10:40 PM   #14
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WTG! Is this in NorCal? Linky?

Very impressive. You rock, AZTR!
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Old 07-29-12, 11:43 PM   #15
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Hi AzTR, nicely done. Interesting looking course. Where the disc would have helped you most was the return leg.
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Old 07-30-12, 02:00 AM   #16
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Very solid, AZT. You'll be under the hour for 40k in no time.
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Old 07-30-12, 05:52 AM   #17
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Good job AZTR. Another TT animal under construction.
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Old 07-30-12, 06:31 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone. I'm looking forward to the 30K again in two weeks, and the state ITT (40K) on 9/16. I might also be on a team for our state TTT.
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Old 07-30-12, 08:44 AM   #19
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Thanks everyone. I'm looking forward to the 30K again in two weeks, and the state ITT (40K) on 9/16. I might also be on a team for our state TTT.
The team would be foolish not have you a part of it!!
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Old 07-30-12, 08:45 AM   #20
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Excellent performance in tough conditions... must be a real mental challenge with headwind uphill, followed by tailwind downhill.
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Old 07-30-12, 08:56 AM   #21
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Tall Tales

We will likely have two teams for the TTT, and it's a matter of fitting the ages together to total to the right number to fit the categories. We have ages ranging from 15 to 58!

I knew it would be tough to keep pushing coming back, but it was harder than I thought. I let up a bit somewhere around 20k in and started fidgeting and worrying about arm position, etc. Mental lapse!
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Old 08-12-12, 09:32 PM   #22
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3 Bears ITT 2012-08-12
30K; 700' Elevation Gain going out; Slight (~5mph) headwind out; tailwind back
55+; 3 starters

Stunk up the course today. 25" slower than last time. I faded really badly, realized it was happening, and it snowballed. Need to regroup.
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Old 08-12-12, 11:02 PM   #23
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AZT, My timed event performance vary. Against the clock we are all naked.
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Old 08-13-12, 12:50 AM   #24
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Habe you worked out why, AZT? Anything useful to learn?
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Old 08-13-12, 05:12 AM   #25
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700' is not easy no matter how you slice it. You will regroup. You're too strong and too dedicated not to.
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