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The Race of My Life

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The Race of My Life

Old 08-12-10, 10:20 PM
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The Race of My Life

Over the weekend, I participated in the Masters State Track Championships held at Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, CA. Hellyer is a 335 meter cement track with 23 degree banking. I participated in 4 events and won 2 gold and 2 bronze medals in the 60 to 64 age group. The gold medals were in the team sprint and team pursuit (both were uncontested) and the bronze were in the 2K pursuit and the 500 meters. Each of those events had four competitors including me and they were all my friends from my racing club. Last year I won the 2K pursuit but this year, we had two guys age up who were much better than me who won the gold and the silver.

The most interesting race was the 2K pursuit which is 6 laps are around the track from a standing start. One racer starts of the back stretch and the other on the home stretch. Each chases the other around the track but are timed individually. I was placed against my friend, mentor and four time track world champion. He and I workout together each aweek and he has helped me a lot with my track racing. If I were to get a medal, I would have to beat him. However, it does not get much better than racing against your friends, hanging out together and hoping each other does really well.

When we lined up at the start, there was significant wind and cooler temperatures. I started on the back stretch with my friend on the home stretch. At the starting line I had so much adrenaline, I thought I would explode. My coach was positioned at the start of turn 3 to call out lap times. I said to myself, you can do this, you can win this. When the gun went off, I lunged forward and just about ripped the bike in half. As I go past my coach he is screaming breathe, dig. My plan was to stand past the judging stand and sit down going into turn one (about 250 meters of standing). When I sat down, I looked at the cadence and I was spinning 119 rpm going about 30+ mph (I used 88 gear inches). That is too fast so I started to soft pedal and bleed off some speed.

The key to a great 2K pursuit is a fast start and a controlled second lap to settle in followed by increasing speed to the finish. I backed off to 110 rpm and my coach screams 01 which meant I did a 30.1 second first lap which was a new PR for me. I cruise along for the second lap and begin to increase speed. At the finish of the second lap, I was even with my opponent in a dead heat. With each succeeding lap, I kept going faster knocking a few tenths of seconds off of my previous lap time. I was breathing hard but I felt nothing. I did not feel my legs, the wind or pain. I was so focused on power production and going just a little faster with each pedal revolution my mind blocked everything else out. I knew my friend has a fabulous finishing sprint since I watched him win at Worlds dropping the field in a scratch race. I came out of turn 2 to hear the bell for the last lap and punched it. I passed my coach at turn 3 with one to go at 112 rpm and accelerating. He was screaming dig, dig, dig and going completely nuts. I crossed the finish line at 30 mph and 117 rpm winning by .17 seconds in 2:47.7 a PR beating my best time from last year by 3.8 seconds. As I slow down, it all hits me as I am gasping for air and can barely keep the bike upright.

The race of my life... I was completely in the zone. It may never happen again but to have it just once was fantastic.

Here are some pics.

The standing start



My coach at turn 3 yelling out split times.



Here I am passing the timer on the back stretch going into turn 3



My friend and competitor



Team Sprint



Team Pursuit





I am leading the team pursuit and there is a bike right behind me.



This is our team pursuit podium shot so we competed together and against each other.


Last edited by Hermes; 08-12-10 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 08-12-10, 10:34 PM
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Old 08-12-10, 11:43 PM
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Good ride. The thing I hated most about pursuits was getting the "pursuiter's cough" for a couple of hours after the ride - just sitting there and dry-coughing your guts out.
I don't like doing 2000m pursuits - I don't really consider it a pursuit, since it's short enough (I think) to be a sprint (rather than endurance) event. Most good kilo riders can beat me in a 2000m pursuit, but I know I can beat some of them at 3000 meters. I always figured that a good 2000m was merely a poorly ridden 3000 (starting too fast) cut short by a kilo. The idea in the 2000 is just to start off too fast for a 3000 and then just hang on. My technique for the 3000 was always to start slow and do negative splits; I think my personal best was about 3:55 at sea level (San Diego) and 3:52 at altitude (Colorado Sprngs), but that was when I was in my 40's. My pb for a 2000 was 2:32 at Manchester at racing age 52, and I think that was only good enough for about 7th or 8th in 50-54.
Man, I'm glad I'm not doing that stuff anymore.

Luis
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Old 08-12-10, 11:47 PM
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Congratulations - thanks for the details. The pursuit sounds like a blast, and beating your time of last year is impressive. The photos are great.
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Old 08-13-10, 03:46 AM
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Nice! Congrats
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Old 08-13-10, 05:58 AM
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Well done, Hermes. Congratulations on a fine effort!
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Old 08-13-10, 06:11 AM
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Great report Hermes and a job well done! Working for a goal, getting a PR, a win and finally bragging rights (which will never be executed) is quite the reward!
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Old 08-13-10, 06:12 AM
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Old 08-13-10, 06:13 AM
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WOW is all I can say - well, Whew!! also.
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Old 08-13-10, 06:15 AM
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Congratulations! I got an adrenalin rush just reading your post!
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Old 08-13-10, 06:39 AM
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30 mph and spinning at 119, your on the wrong forum . Way to go Rich.
I like your detailed writeup on the race as well.
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Old 08-13-10, 08:53 AM
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I think you are mad. All that effort just to enjoy it

There is no way I can push myself that hard nowadays- but the adrenalyn buzz that comes from achievement from so much physical exercise is amazing. Managed to do it in my youth but never on a bike.

So well done- but you didn't give final results. Hope you did well for all that effort.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:38 AM
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Nice job...it's always great when your efforts pay off.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:40 AM
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Congratulations on a great accomplishment. I always enjoy reading your posts. Thanks
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Old 08-13-10, 10:24 AM
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Congratulations! Being "completely in the zone" is indeed rare. It seems,however, that your training and tenacity sure helped get you there. And as mentioned in another thread "never say never". Who knows, your best may yet come.
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Old 08-13-10, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for the great report and congrats!
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Old 08-13-10, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by George
30 mph and spinning at 119, your on the wrong forum . Way to go Rich.
I like your detailed writeup on the race as well.
Oh yeah, if you watch video of the top pursuiters, you'll see they're usually spinning at 120 rpms. I think that's the key - you use a gear that lets you do 120.

Also, I find that good pursuiters are also good road sprinters, so something to consider at the finish of your next road race. I was never a good pursuiter, but I did find that it helped me in my road sprinting!

Luis
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Old 08-13-10, 01:53 PM
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Well done! Your description of the race is so amazingly clear and inciteful! Well worth the read, you may have more talents than just high on two wheels.
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Old 08-13-10, 02:26 PM
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Knowing how you have focused n the track events, following your progress and hearing these kinds of results has been very exciting. It sounds like your coach deserves a huge tip! Congrats on having the discipline and perseverance to make the huge step to the next level.
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Old 08-13-10, 07:15 PM
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Hey man - what ever your doin seems to work - congrats

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Old 08-13-10, 09:12 PM
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Hermes is my hero.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by NOS88
Congratulations! Being "completely in the zone" is indeed rare. It seems,however, that your training and tenacity sure helped get you there. And as mentioned in another thread
Originally Posted by NOS88
"never say never". Who knows, your best may yet come.
I think we all hope that the best is yet to come. I posted this to offer others some inspiration and a solid example of improvement when we are over 60. It is never too late to take on new challenges.

Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
Oh yeah, if you watch video of the top pursuiters, you'll see they're usually spinning at 120 rpms. I think that's the key - you use a gear that lets you do 120.

Also, I find that good pursuiters are also good road sprinters, so something to consider at the finish of your next road race. I was never a good pursuiter, but I did find that it helped me in my road sprinting!

Luis
When I met with my coach late last year, he said the same thing. Taylor Phinney spins 120 so your target is 115. I am not quite there yet but working on it.

Originally Posted by jppe
Knowing how you have focused n the track events, following your progress and hearing these kinds of results has been very exciting. It sounds like your coach deserves a huge tip! Congrats on having the discipline and perseverance to make the huge step to the next level.
I am really happy with my coach. He has done a fabulous job. He has given me some challenges that initially were very tough to do and resulted in poorer performances initially but paid dividends later. However, he is totally correct on everything and if there is an issue it is my inability to execute. And you are right, I have upped my game a lot this year. However, my friends and competitors get a lot of the credit.

Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
Good ride. The thing I hated most about pursuits was getting the "pursuiter's cough" for a couple of hours after the ride - just sitting there and dry-coughing your guts out.
I don't like doing 2000m pursuits - I don't really consider it a pursuit, since it's short enough (I think) to be a sprint (rather than endurance) event. Most good kilo riders can beat me in a 2000m pursuit, but I know I can beat some of them at 3000 meters. I always figured that a good 2000m was merely a poorly ridden 3000 (starting too fast) cut short by a kilo. The idea in the 2000 is just to start off too fast for a 3000 and then just hang on. My technique for the 3000 was always to start slow and do negative splits; I think my personal best was about 3:55 at sea level (San Diego) and 3:52 at altitude (Colorado Sprngs), but that was when I was in my 40's. My pb for a 2000 was 2:32 at Manchester at racing age 52, and I think that was only good enough for about 7th or 8th in 50-54.
Man, I'm glad I'm not doing that stuff anymore.

Luis
Thanks Luis for the kudos. Coming from you, it is very meaningful. The best time in our group was 2:35 and the best in the 50 to 54 was 2:25 by current world champion and world record holder Larry Nolan. Larry is a total inspiration and we are fortunate to have him in our district. I am going to US Natz in Frisco Tx and Worlds in Portugal both on a 250 meter track. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet
Great report Hermes and a job well done! Working for a goal, getting a PR, a win and finally bragging rights (which will never be executed) is quite the reward!
Bragging rights....pretty funny. Not even thinkable. I am a humble Cat 4 with a lot of work to do.

Last edited by Hermes; 08-13-10 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam
I think you are mad. All that effort just to enjoy it

There is no way I can push myself that hard nowadays- but the adrenalyn buzz that comes from achievement from so much physical exercise is amazing. Managed to do it in my youth but never on a bike.

So well done- but you didn't give final results. Hope you did well for all that effort.
3rd of 4 in the 2k Pursuit
3rd of 4 in the 500 meters
8 of 35 overall in the 2k Pursuit all ages
10 of 33 overall in the 500 meters all ages.

Our 60 to 64 group captured four positions in the top 10 for the 2K pursuit all ages and we captured 3 positions in the top 10 all ages for the 500 meters.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:19 PM
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Thanks to all for the replies. I had a great time and I am looking forward to my next track race at the Masters US Nationals in Frisco, TX at the end of August.
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