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shovelhd 09-17-12 05:14 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Hermes. I am not going to stop racing up, heck no, I'd have to cut my racing schedule in half or more. What I meant was I may not want to do M40+ races as the only race of the day. It's a lot of time and expense. I had a chance yesterday. I was OTF with two guys that made the podium, but it didn't work out. Every break was caught, and I have no chance in the field sprint.

AzTallRider 09-17-12 09:51 AM

You don't reach your potential by racing against folks slower than you. It's great to see you mixing it up with the big dogs, Shovel, and it's amazing (and inspirational) how well you do.

shovelhd 09-20-12 08:52 PM

This showed up in the mail today. I've done one road race this year, the club sponsored road race, which was also the state championships. I only did it to support the club. I spent the week before in a wicked training block, and the day before I spent 8 hours on my feet sweeping the 65 mile course. I know the guy who won it. He rode away from me in the last mile. Hindsight.

nacler22 09-20-12 09:39 PM

Damn shovelhd, you need to do more road races. :thumb:


Racer Ex 09-21-12 11:07 AM


shovelhd 09-21-12 11:16 AM


Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 14759155)

You know what you dished out that week, too, you bastid.

Racer Ex 09-21-12 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 14759192)
You know what you dished out that week, too, you bastid.

That was a recovery week.

Cleave 09-21-12 08:37 PM

shovelhd, that is the kind of medal that I can only dream about. Sounds like it was a great race for you. Have fun in Bahstan this weekend. ;)

shovelhd 09-22-12 06:11 PM

Boston Mayor's Cup M40+, 23rd. This race was very special to me for several reasons. The last time I was on this course, it was 1987. The 7-Eleven team was in the field. It was my last race as a Senior, right before I hung up my bike for 26 years. My memories were bittersweet, but I never forgot how much I loved this race. Four years ago, they brought it back. It is run in the opposite direction, and the prime line in front of Faneuil Hall is gone. Nevertheless, I went to college in Boston, met my wife here, and my racing career was born here, so it was special. Last year, I could have only done the P/1/2 as it was not an NCC race. I chose not to in order to ride an MS century in honor of my sister, who has MS. This year, with Nats taking center stage, there was no way I could have done the MS ride, so I did Boston instead, in the M40+ field.

This was a 45 minute race on a kilo course with a hill which had a headwind today. I had decided beforehand that no matter what, I was going to enjoy my last race of the season. I started at the back next to the Nat Champ who won my race in Bend. The pace was very fast, but I had resigned myself to sit in for the first half and watch. Nothing got away. Prime sprints were typical M40+ sprints, wicked fast. I bided my time and moved up on other rider's wheels. The action up front was hot and heavy. Normally I'd be right in the thick of it, but today I wanted to try something. With 8 to go they rang the bell for a $100 prime. A GS Megoni rider who won Thater took off solo and took it, and decided to stay out. I knew this guy, a breakaway guy, and that he could make it stick. So on the next lap I took a flyer down the front straight and nailed turn one. I laid down a kilo effort and caught him just before the start/finish line. At that point, the crowd was going crazy as they announced my name and club. I rode past him and motioned him on my wheel. A half lap later two other riders bridged up, and I thought to myself, this was it. We laid down the power for five laps, but as I looked back, two or three very strong M40+ teams were chasing real hard. We were caught with 2 to go. At that point I just wanted to stay out of trouble. 23rd wasn't great but I was one of a very small handful of M50+ riders who finished with me. The warmdown lap was awesome. The crowd held out their hands so I could slap them as I went by. It's just hard to describe what a great atmosphere this was.

Afterwards I changed up and headed down to the course to watch the WP/1 race and have a beer or two. I wound up standing next to Laura van Gilder's cousin, who goes to her races wherever and whenever he can. That was fun. Hanging in the beer tent, I saw many guys I have raced with and against all season. We all had the same thought on our minds. What an incredible way to end an incredible season. I'll reflect on that in another post.

Thanks, Boston, for a tremendous finish.

Hermes 09-22-12 07:13 PM

Fantastic season and excellent result in a very fast field.

AzTallRider 09-22-12 07:34 PM

Awesome Shovel - truly awesome.

Cleave 09-22-12 08:26 PM

shovelhd, nice. I can completely relate to having special races.

shovelhd 09-23-12 08:18 AM

2012 season wrap-up. I may do a couple more events, the donut derby, and I'm thinking about doing a circuit race, but only to race with one of Ex's teammates. I'm not training anymore, so no matter what, my season is over. Seven months, from early March until yesterday, with no major breaks.

42 races, 3 wins, 9 top 5's, 19 top 10's, two gold medals, one silver medal. Qualified for the National Senior Games, which I plan on attending.

This was my third year back on the bike and my second year racing since 1987. I had more wins last year, including an NCC race, but this year I was much more consistent. I am a lot stronger this year than last, and was able to take advantage of all I had learned the year before.

This was the first year I had worked with a coach, from June until September. I've always trained and prepared in a focused, structured way, but this was at a whole different level. We got my power up 16%, but what really made it worthwhile were the intangibles. The increased focus. The understanding of what each workout meant in the big picture. The encouragement, the feedback, the conversations. It was an absolute privilege to work with a coach of his pedigree, who really gets what Masters racing is all about. I look forward to doing it again next year.

This was also my first year attending the National Championships. It was so worth it for so many reasons. I learned many things, but the most important one was that I truly belong in the top tier of Masters 55+ racers in the country. I don't have a lot of racing years left. It's one of those things I needed to know, now.

I've spoken to several riders who would like me to join their team next year. Hopefully something will come together in the offseason. There are very few teams with several M55+ riders around here, so it will come down to who has the strong M45+ and M50+ riders that I think I can work with. At this point, there is one team, and there is everyone else. We shall see.

I'll spend most of the fall commuting, doing club rides on Saturdays, and just getting as many base miles in as I can. I normally start structured training right after New Year's, but coach may have other plans. Right now I just want to ride my bikes.

nacler22 09-23-12 10:32 AM

Well, well done shovelhd.

Yep, you belong on the pointy-end of the small group that decide things nationally.

Enjoy your Fall.

ericm979 09-23-12 12:46 PM

Shovel- sounds like a very good season. Congratulations!
Why do you say that you don't have many racing years left? Your competition will get slower as they age too.

shovelhd 09-23-12 03:38 PM


Originally Posted by ericm979 (Post 14765364)
Shovel- sounds like a very good season. Congratulations!
Why do you say that you don't have many racing years left? Your competition will get slower as they age too.

Unless the race landscape changes and more M55+ races are offered, I will get less and less competitive in the M45+ and M50+ races. If all I am able to do is sit in and sprint, I'm done.

shovelhd 10-10-12 11:01 AM


Originally Posted by AzTallRider (Post 14712520)
Is there a mechanism for you guys to provide feedback on the course? They need to take all the factors you mentioned into account, and realize people are going to making questionable decisions as part of their 'quest'.

USAC sent a survey out today. I made liberal use of the comment field on the course question.

Cleave 10-11-12 07:09 AM

Yeah, I need to reply to that too. Was happier with the 2011 event.

shovelhd 03-03-13 07:46 PM

My first races of 2013 are in the book. On the positive side, I am racing on a team for the first time in decades. New bike, new kit, new team. That is very exciting.

On the other side, I have had a difficult early training season. A "confluence of life events" has set me back about a month. It has been very frustrating. But it is a long season out here, and hopefully I will bounce back.

Bethel M45+. 35 degrees, stiff headwind on the backstretch. I started up close to the front and got going early. We agreed to let me cover stuff early, rest, and then lead out the leader for the finish. Two strong guys took off at the gun and I covered within a half a lap. Even though all I did was sit on, we had a nice gap. The team leader bridged up solo, and we got to work. We were out for a few laps until the field chased in earnest. I knew that wouldn't last long as we were both marked but I was just doing my job. I had to drop back and pass on the counters, which quickly got the leader and three other teammates up. At that point. I recovered and then moved to the front to block. I would block for a while and then go back and rest. It took a lot out of me. There were times when I was pulling the whole field at a sub-attack pace for a whole lap at a time. It kept the attacks down. A couple of riders got away when I moved back to rest, bridged, and fell off. At the end, the break was going to lap us, so they gave us the bell with 2 to go. This caused great confusion in the field. I moved up a little but was never able to make it to the front. Still, I uncorked a pretty decent early season sprint to take 5th in the field. However, there were so many guys away, it was for 23rd.

I had about 90 minutes before the P/1/2/3 race. I had an Ensure and part of a cookie. I chose to warm up on the course and not do a full warmup routine. During the break, it got colder, the wind doubled in speed, and it started snowing. My goals for this one was to push my legs as hard as I could without blowing up and getting dropped. Finishing was priority number one as I desperately needed the work. I met my goal. I finished, at the back of the field, and not last.

If you follow me on Strava, don't let the average speed fool you. We were flying except on the headwind stretch, where it got really sketchy as guys faded and the field bunched up. I had to do a lot of smart positioning. Still, I had several close calls. A guy crashed hard about three riders in front of me. Several times guys further up jammed on the brakes and I had no choice but to do the same.

All in all, it was an expected performance, except for the sprint. That gives me hope.

sarals 03-03-13 07:58 PM

Those were awful conditions, don't sell yourself short! You did a lot of work. I'd say it was a really good job. Racing in snow? Whoa...

nacler22 03-03-13 10:33 PM

Nice work shovelhd.

I'm thinking that your new team thinks so. :thumb:

Cleave 03-03-13 11:07 PM

Hi shovelhd, glad you got out there and mixed it up despite the weather. Remind me of when I was young and racing on the east coast. Our first races were the March-April Training Series on the now defunct Old Westbury course. Often there was snow on the side of the road on the first weekend in March. However, you won't see this SoCal transplant racing in the snow again! Glad you had fun and glad that you were able to do the work you wanted.

Hermes 03-03-13 11:35 PM

Great start to the season.

AzTallRider 03-04-13 07:27 AM

Working those tactics must have been fun - and dropping off a break to block is definitely giving it up for the team. How many mates did you have in the race?

VanceMac 03-04-13 09:15 AM

P/1/2/3 field... after working in the 45+... in the snow... with headwind. Has to be some kind of merit badge for that.

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