Monday, August 23, 2010

Minnehaha Stage Race

Back to racing ... and it feels great!!  This past weekend I participated in the "Minnehaha County" stage race.  The CPC folks have a great thing going up there in Sioux Falls, SD.

The race started out with a 12.5 mile TT.  I did the TT almost "Eddie Merckx" style... sans aero helmet, sans aerobars, but did have some sweet Zipp 303 aero wheels.  I put in a decient effort with an average speed of 22.4mph.  Definatly nothing to brag about.   Most of my teammates finished ahead of me. 

After the initial burst of energy out of the start, I decided that 23mph was a good sustainable speed.  I worked hard to stay there.   I went into the red zone a couple of time getting out of the saddle to power of some hills to try and maintian a good speed.

The road race started at 3:30pm,  3 x 20mile laps durning the hottest part of the day... ugh.  I think the heat index was up to 98degrees.  I stuffed a couple extra 12oz bottles of water into my jersey.  The plan was to drink those two bottles, and one with gatorade before we hit the feed zone on the second lap.  This worked out good.

The first 15miles were pretty tame.  I was on the front for awhile.  This was fine, I was a little nervous with some of the riders riding close.  So, I was free and clear of that business on the front riding my own pace.  I eventualy fell back in the pack and hovered around the Sioux City Velo guys.  I don't think they were worried about me.... as suspected they took off.  I held on to survive a couple assault.   One time, I was very far off the back but was able to get back.

Eventually a couple of the 1-2 racers got off the front for good.  Me, I lost the group on the second lap riding up a hill.  There was no mechanical, or cramping.  I just couldn't hold the speed.  I thought on a flat part of the course I could catch up, but while I was doing 27- 29mph, they were doing 30-33mph.  I moderated the pace to "gett'r done" mode.  "gett'r done" mode is slightly below TT speed and just above Tempo.

On, the third lap I spied another racer a few hills in front of me.  I was catching him a little at a time and then at the feed zone he stopped.  It was my teammate Dan.  We both pick up some water from his wife and kept going.   Dan's legs were cramping bad.  He was doing all he could just to keep pedaling.

We made it to the finish arguing about who was going to finish last.  He stopped before the line, I tried to push him across but he held his ground.  I had to roll over the line or fall off the bike.

The crit was uneventful for me... I was just happy to stay with the group for just over half the race. Dan was hanging in there tough.  It was nice to be racing with him again.  Each time up the hill I would get gapped a little then get on the pack into the headwind section.  Unfortunatly, each time I was gapped  I would get a little less motivated to get back with the pack.

I did try one time to take a prime (a shiny new bike pump).  I kept my speed going down the hill with the tailwind.  John Nelson jumped out of the pack before the last corner.  By then I was going faster than the pack and John but he timed his sprint well to take the prize.  I was gassed.  The rest of the riders passed me but they were tired too.  So I was able to get back to them.  With about 15 laps to go I was done... again,  I just could hold the speed.

I was able to hold on to my last place in the stage race by a large margin.  I was glad to see Addison take 2nd in the Cat 4 RR.  After falling prey(he cramped up bad and fell into the ditch) to the heat in the RR, Nick did an awsome job taking the win in Cat 4 CT.  Rich was another victum of the heat.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Coming Around

My fitness is starting to come around.    This weekend I rode with the Bike Masters crew Saturday morning.  About 30 - 40 guys and one gal showed up for a ride to Two Rivers State park. 

I felt good all morning, although I blew myself up a couple times.  One time was up a long hill, I was up front pushing the pace then a fellow cat 3 came flying by me... I chased him of course.  I felt like I was catching him, but was done after about 2 minutes.  Another time I was in the back of the pack and some guys got off the front so I tried to bridge.  I went hard, but again I was gassed after a few minutes. 

So, knowing that I had good speed but only a few minutes to use it, I was going to try to win a sprint to the "Stop Head" sign just North of Maple by Waterloo.  I stayed in the comfort of the group for the miles up to the sign.  When the group was about 4 minutes from the sign I moved up on the left side.  It was still too early to start the sprint.  I had pick out a point that I would go and was just waiting.  Fortunatly, somebody right in front of me went for it first.  He was strong but I was right in his slip stream.  I had just enough left to take him for the sprint. 

I had another promising effort up a long hill.  I don't know the actual time it took to climb but it seemed like about 6+ minutes.  I was able to keep a sustained maximal effort most of the way.  Much of this effort was about 7 beats below my HRmax.  I wish that I didn't have to work so hard but it was good to see that I could maintain that type of effort

Sunday, I did a slow 3hr endurance ride. It was nice to do an "under-reaching" ride.  I had about an hour in zone 2 and the rest in zone 1.  Nice and easy.

I have about another 10days of training until the Souix Falls race.  I think I will be ok.  I think I will be just hanging on but that is fun too.  More 2 day training blocks... a hard day followed by an moderate day.