Sunday, March 22, 2009

Win at Out Like a Lion 35+ RR

I won the Out Like a Lion road race yesterday in a 7 up sprint! No that's not a misprint. I certainly wasn't the best sprinter in that group, but I was sitting in a perfect position heading down the stretch, 4th wheel right behind Charlie Brown, with Pete Cannell in front of him. I jumped as hard as I could on a small rise with 300 meters to go. I got a gap and crested the hill with momentum and was able to hold them off on the flat section to the finish. The numbers on the sprint were 5 sec @1105w and 24 sec @866w. This came after riding the final hour at an NP of 325 watts. I can't sprint any better than that no matter how fresh I am. The funny thing is that the finishing effort was a carbon copy of what I did last year at this same race, but last year I was in a 3 up sprint for 3rd place with Charlie on my wheel. I jumped at the same spot with the same effort, but he covered it and came around me. This time Pete and Charlie were watching each other and I was able to sneak up on them.

There was a whole lot that happened before the finish. Here's a recap. Ladd, new PV teammate Rich (aka sufferfest), and I lined up with about 60 other shivering souls on a cold morning. The race took off hard right from the parking lot as everyone jockeyed for position before hitting very narrow curvy roads on the 6.6 mile loop we would ride 6 times, before coming back and finishing in front of the school where we started from. I lost the positioning battle and didn't see the front until late in the 2nd lap. Rich was up near the front and covered some early moves, while Ladd moved up and lit it up during the second lap. Nothing was sticking as the pace stayed high. I got to the front late in lap two and attacked a few times unsuccessfully. Then in a counter move three guys including Cannell and a Carolina Masters rider got away. I sensed that this was THE move and jumped across bringing 3 with me including 2 more Carolina Masters. When the dust settled, the break was seven riders with 3 Carolina Masters. Terrible odds, but at least I made the break.

I NEVER felt good in the break. In a 15 minute period including 7 or 8 minutes before getting into the break, I averaged 325 watts with an NP of 360. I just never had a chance to recover from that, and some of the guys with me are stronger than me to start with. Cannell is the reigning masters TT national champ for God's sake. He is the same weight as I am, likely has a much higher FTP, was riding a Zipp 1080/880 combo, and was wearing a damn skinsuit, just itching to ride away solo.

My strategy ended up being quite simple - Conserve energy when possible, close gaps when necessary, and try to be around for the finish. The Carolina Masters riders started attacking late in lap 5 and I had just enough to cover and stay in the race. Late in the final lap Ryan Jenkins, Cannell, and Charlie got a gap. That easily could've been it, but I closed the gap pulling the other three with me. From this point there were no other attacks and I had about 2 minutes at 201 watts to recover for the sprint. That 2 minutes made all the difference. Also my position right behind the two main contenders was perfect. Those things combined with some luck, got a win for PV.


Rich W said...

Nice 4 minute "warmup" ;-)

Jay said...

It was more like 3 minutes at 84 watts. Not exactly ideal for us.

Sam said...

Did I tell da man!