Great racing. You definitely have great form. Keep it fast and fresh for nationals.
Great racing. You definitely have great form. Keep it fast and fresh for nationals.
New England Criterium Championships, M50+. This was a single, money paying race with separate medals for M50-54 and M55-59. I took the silver last year and wanted the gold this year. Well, I got squat. Jack squat. There were three teams that pretty much controlled the large (50-60 or so) field. It was an attackfest, as I expected, and I was as active as any human could be, going with anything that had one of those team members in it, and creating on my own. I was not allowed to escape for more than 1/2 lap. Every single time. I got away once solo, late, right after two teams had beat themselves up. I tested the waters but did not bury myself. Caught on the same lap. Immediately afterwards one guy that knows me well attacked solo. I did not chase. He won. Shortly after another team sent a rider with a hanger-on up the road. I tried to go with them but they chased us down. They attacked again. I stayed back. They stayed away. Finally, a guy who has been recruiting me for next year, who is a very strong M50+ sprinter, got me on his wheel with one to go offering a leadout. I took it. The three guys up the road were all M50+ so the gold was still within reach. His leadout started too far back. I got within a length of the M55+ winner. 7th M55+, 23rd overall. Just a totally frustrating day.
I swapped my jersey, bottles, downed a gel, and lined up for the M40+ race. A big break got away early and stayed out. I decided to recover a little before trying anything. I got in a few moves off the front but they weren't solid enough, and I didn't have enough in the tank to do anything heroic. I was about 2nd wheel in the field sprint, looking great coming through the final corner on the inside. I started my sprint, and got shoved pretty good onto the grass. Three riders pulled slightly ahead as I bombed across the turf and got back onto the pavement. I never took my foot off the gas. I finished 4th in the field sprint. Final finish position unknown. The positive coming out of this was that I had just done 2 hours of racing and had a sprint at the end good enough to hold off a M40+ field.
Chris Thater is next. This is a big, big race. A Nationals preview.
Shovel, Squat or medals, that was some great racing. I like to focus on the process and not the outcome. All you have to do is change a couple of variables that were out of your control in both races and you could have had a better outcome. And that is not saying that your results were not great. Nationals is going to be tough and you will need some things that go your way. But this type of racing and competition is great preparation. Congrats and keep it up. You are going to do great in the upcoming races and Nationals.
You are clearly a marked man... would a team help offset that?
Hermes, thanks. I was just so frustrated and mad afterwards. I burned up a year's worth of coaching time on the phone last night as he talked me down off of the edge. I couldn't stop thinking that Nats was going to go down just like this. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Right now it's all about Thater. Winning that again is going to be extremely difficult but if I do well it will be the confidence boost I need.
AZT, thanks. I am pretty well known around here. The guy that went solo to win would sit up whenever I was on his wheel. He knows I'm strong enough and willing enough to go with him and make a break stick. He just won't go with me because he is afraid that I'll beat him in the sprint. Right now I have several teams interested for next year. There is only one I am seriously considering joining.
It comes down to many factors. #1 for me are the players. Do I like them? Do I respect them? Are they all M45+ racers or do they have a presence in M50+ as well? What are their strengths? Where do they need help? #2 is where I would fit in. Would my role as an older rider be mainly support at every race? In the M50+ would I be able to do what I felt was best at any given moment? #3 is trust. If I join, how confident am I that if I go OTF that I will have help back in the field? Do they trust me enough to know that if one of them is in the right break that I'll kill my own chances to help him win? #4 are the team goals. What do they want to be? What kinds of races to they want to focus on? Are there any obligations to do certain races, i.e. high priority events that I really need to be entered in no matter what.
I'm not looking for a bunch of beer buddies, although having a pop or two afterwards is something missing right now that I'd love to fix. I am looking for a dedicated group that has goals and enough presence in the M50+ age group to make it worthwhile. The bar goes up when you join a team. There are expectations on both sides. Matching those expectations is the key to good team dynamics. It's when those expectations fall out of line, that's when the drama starts. I have enough drama at home. I quit the best regional team in the 1980's over team drama. I won't make that mistake again.
What sets this team apart? I've gotten to know, ride, and race with the key players. They race mainly criteriums, just like me. They have 3 or 4 M50+ riders already. They have an M45+ "star" that I have been able to work for in early season races, with great success, but the same guy worked for me when I was OTF. It's the trust factor.
They wound up scoring these races in a bizarre way. I can't quite explain it. I ended up 7th in the M55-59 and 9th in the M45-49.
[QUOTE=shovelhd;14628318]Hermes, thanks. I was just so frustrated and mad afterwards. I burned up a year's worth of coaching time on the phone last night as he talked me down off of the edge. I couldn't stop thinking that Nats was going to go down just like this. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Right now it's all about Thater. Winning that again is going to be extremely difficult but if I do well it will be the confidence boost I need.
AZT, thanks. I am pretty well known around here. The guy that went solo to win would sit up whenever I was on his wheel. He knows I'm strong enough and willing enough to go with him and make a break stick. He just won't go with me because he is afraid that I'll beat him in the sprint. Right now I have several teams interested for next year. There is only one I am seriously considering joining.[/QUOTE]
It is amazingly frustrating to expect to improve position on the podium at a championship only not to make it at all. It totally sucks. I missed the 500 meters bronze at States by .1 seconds but yet got a medal at Nationals last year. However, IMO, the key for you is to focus on Nationals and not draw any conclusions from the state outcome - especially emotional ones. Stay on your plan and be prepared for a great race at Bend. You are going to be a rockstar at Nationals so put this one behind you. If you want to put a positive spin on this result, you are not peaking now but saving it for Bend.
A little push from me, too, shovel. Your frustration is palpable, and you have good reason. Don't waste your energy on it, though. File the burn, and channel the energy to the Nationals. You'll shine. I know you will!
Good luck at Chris Tater.
Posted in the 33 but repeated here.
Chris Thater NCC M45+, mid 80's, wind on the hill, in the field. I won this race last year with a late flyer. It was my last race before Nats, so I was prepped and ready for battle. Warmups were pretty bad but last week was not a taper week. I staged early and got a front row spot. The pace was hard at the *** as expected. The guys I had marked were active, and i was an active participant, but nothing stuck. After I was reeled in for the 5th time, a two man break got up the road to stay. I would initiate as well as join several chase attempts but nothing stuck, no matter how much firepower was in the group. It was a totally different race than last year, as we finished 3 minutes faster. On the last lap I felt the field was a little too lazy going into turn 1 so I attacked hard up the hill and got a nice gap. I got caught by one of my marked guys at the top but the gap had promise. As soon as I got on his wheel I had a very sharp pain in my side that took my breath away. I could not hang on his wheel, so I just started grinding it out at a pain level where I could still breathe. Going into turn four I still had a gap. I stood up to sprint and the pain was unmanageable, so I ground it out seated as the field sprinted by me. It must have been some sort of cramp. No damage, no lingering pain, a little soreness today. Just wasn't my day.
You OK, Shovel? Sounds unpleasant, to say the least.
Yeah, I didn't do any damage. Just a stitch in my side at the absolute worst possible time. I have a day off scheduled for today but I'm going to roll around a little on the MUP.
Yikes... Sorry it hit at such a bad time.
Hoping it was just a bad day.
I appreciate the concern, although I'm pretty sure it was just a side stitch. I've had them every now and then since I started riding again. It used to be related to my breathing, but I don't think that was the issue on Saturday. I have a hard set of over-unders scheduled for this afternoon. If it's anything serious, that set will bring it out.
I wasn't going to win on Saturday, but I had a solid top ten going until the pain hit.
I've gotten side stitches my whole life. I get one occasionally after/during a hard effort, always on the right, and I can't figure out what triggers it. I can typically ride through it, as it isn't too severe - just annoying.
This one shut me right down. Once it hit, I couldn't breathe deeply without severe pain. After a 20+ second flat out anerobic effort, I need to breathe deeply in order to transition into an aerobic effort. I managed to do that by grinding away at the edge of pain but once I called for more, it was unmanageable. This is the first time I can remember it ever happening in a race.
The quick answer everyone likes to give is electrolytes, but I've had it happen when pounding Endurolytes and lots of water. When I used to get them as a kid, they were more debilitating.
shovelhd, I used to get a lot of side stitches as a junior and young senior in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I decided (never had a real diagnosis) that it was related to mild lactose intolerance since I seemed to get them when I drank milk before a race. I stopped drinking milk altogether and the side stitches and stomach cramps stopped. Not saying that the cause is the same for you.
Anyway, it sounds like you had a good race from a fitness perspective which bodes well for natz. See you there next week.
Thanks everyone for your ideas, thoughts, and concerns. Cleave, I look forward to meeting you.
I did what turned out to be a very hard workout today. I pushed my last interval so hard I saw double and had to quit 2/3 of the way through it, the first time I've quit since training at this level. No issues with my side.
USAC Masters Road National Championships M55-59 criterium, 13th place. The rest is long, so you have been warned.
I basically dedicated the last three months of the season preparing for this race. I wanted that jersey real bad, but I also wanted to know where I stood at the national level outside of the East Coast. I didn't get the former, but I did get the latter. I flew out on Thursday, spent Friday doing openers and a recovery ride and course recon with Cleave, and had dinner with RacerEx and his UC Cyclery team on Friday night. Great day. I woke up rested on Saturday morning with my body clock just starting to adjust. I went down to the course to pick up my race packet and watch some early racing. On the 3rd lap of the W40-45 race there was a horrific crash right in front of me, basically from stupid riding, that put a rider down hard, knocked her out with seizures, and a compound fracture of her right shoulder. Best of luck to you, Jenna. It would become a story line for the whole day.
My warmup routine went exceedingly well. I had tons of power on tap. I went straight to the staging area early and staged on the front row. Then the Chief Official made us roll out for a warm up lap. I still managed a front row slot. The start was clean and fast, and I settled into the top ten. I had scouted my main threats, and sure enough, things started to go as I figured. There were non-stop attacks on the front early. I held back and watched, ready to bridge if one looked serious. They all got reeled back in. Meanwhile, after a few attacks and catches, the riding started to get really sketchy. This was a tight, 1km 6-turn course with a chicane, an off-camber 140 degree turn, and a very short sprint. At around the halfway point, a rider in front of me got too close to the barriers in the chicane and hit them hard. I got around him, but carnage ensued behind me. There would be five crashes, two serious, in just my race. I could not believe how poorly a lot of these riders rode. These are not beginners, these are Cat1's and 2's all at the front. A lot of them really struggled with this course at speed. So on the lap after the crash, I was right up front behind a World Champion who had been attacking like mad. He attacked again, I went with him. We got a nice gap, about a second or two, which was a lot on the day, but even though we were both drilling it, they caught us after two laps. I was faster through the technical sections than him and only got one chance to take us through it. I went with him again a little bit later, same result. With about 10 to go, a rider took off solo, too fast for me to latch on to. He got his 3-4 second gap, so I took to the front and reeled him in. With 2 to go I was 5th wheel, knowing that I could not beat the sprinters but I had a chance at a top ten. In the course of one lap, I nearly got wrecked out four times. A guy chopped my wheel after slamming on the brakes, another guy checked up so hard my rear wheel skidded out, I got bumped pretty hard within inches of the barriers, and two guys wadded it right in front of me in turn five. I got through it, but I fell back to about 12th or so. The speed on the last lap was high enough to cut down on the antics, but I wasn't where I wanted to be. Going into the final 300m, I had a clear way on the right if I wanted to start my sprint early. I had a choice, try and gain a few places at the risk of hitting the final turn too hot and crashing out. I saw that exact thing happen in two early races, so I just made the decision right then and there not to be That Guy. I passed one guy in the sprint but was passed by another. 65 riders started, something like 22 finished. As I crossed the line, it felt like a huge weight had lifted off of my shoulders.
Am I satisfied with 13th place? No. Not at all, but put me in a field with some of the best criterium sprinters in the country, and I'm probably not going to win. I did what I could, it just didn't work out. I know I belong with them, though. I know I can win at this level. I spoke with a bunch of them afterwards. I ended up on the same flight as a podium finisher from Florida, and we had breakfast at Newark Airport before we took our connecting flights. It was these conversations that took the sting off of the finish.
Two more M40+ crits left, White Plains and NCC/Boston I have great fitness and speed. We shall see.