Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asheville Omnium Weekend

This past weekend I did a 3 race omnium in Asheville, NC. I spent the weekend at my step-sister and her husband's house, and had an enjoyable time playing bocce ball, watching le Tour, cooking out, and drinking some beer.

Friday 20K TT - I put in the best effort I had in me and it got me across the line in 27:07 which was 11th place in 35+. It was a consistent effort, 318 watts on the way out and 316 watts on the way back. A few watts get lost turning around, so the overall average was 313 watts. I haven't done any training on the TT bike at all and that showed some, since I could probaby hold 20-30 watts more on my road bike.

Saturday 40 mile RR - This was the big day, a point to point road race with 6100 ft of climbing and a mountain top finish. I was really excited about this race. The rider who would end up winning got away very early and unfortunately the field cut him way to much slack. By the time we lit it up on the first big climb it was too late. We were too far behind to bring him back. I rode with the chase group which swelled to about 13 or 14 by the time we hit the final 2 mile climb to the finish. I was able to go with every acceleration until I was in a group of 2 at about 500 meters to go. I tried to attack, but Charlie Brown had no trouble covering. At 200 meters to go, I went again, but Charlie stayed with me. We rode side by side for a few meters, before I cracked and watched him pull away. I cruised in for 3rd.

The power numbers were pretty good for the RR. I averaged 362 watts for almost 12 minutes on the final climb, with the last 5 minutes at 389 watts. The "sprint" for me was 30 sec at 567 watts.

Sunday 55 minute Crit - This crit course was advertised as a 1.1 mile rectangle that was flat. Ha! It had a nice little hill on it that kicked up at turn 2. Then there was some fast descending and a super fast entry into turn 4. I rode the first two laps kind of weakly, then took off and followed an attack. I stayed up near the front while things got hard, and ultimately made it to the winning 5 man break, which included Charlie Brown, Dave LeDuc, Jeff McGrain, and Scott Minor. All I could really do was hold on and wait for the sprint. It was just too fast to think of ever escaping. My NP for the entire race was 334 watts and the speed was about 27 mph. I had some good wattage in the sprint, but didn't do a good job tactically, and ended up 3rd. I think I could've gotten 2nd if I had stayed on the same line as LeDuc through the last turn, instead of just jumping out into the wind. The sprint was 26 seconds at 880 watts with a max of 1102 and a max speed of 38.5.

I ended up 3rd in the omnium, which was great. I'm happy with the weekend. The rest of the PV team rocked. LL got 3rd in the 35+ TT. Gordon was 2nd in the cat 4 TT. Nick got 3rd in the cat 3 RR. Marc won the cat 3 crit on Sunday and will soon be catting up.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday 2 x 20's

After two easy days, my legs were pretty good today. I got out for a morning ride and went over to Hwy 269 to do 2 x 20 minutes. Headed north I had a head wind and only averaged 22.6 mph, which is probably my slowest 20 minute interval ever on that road. No problem though, since the power was right on target, 326 watts. I was shooting for mid 320's.

The 20 minutes coming back was much more fun, with the tail wind helping me average 26.4 mph. Power was again right on target at 327 watts. There's a lot of suffering doing long intervals, no matter how good you are on a given day, but at least today felt better than last week.

Saturday Long Ride

This post is a little late, but I since this is certain to be my longest ride of the month I'm not leaving it out. I rode a long ride at a pretty fast pace with a few others on Saturday. We started real early, and it wasn't too hot. I took some hard pulls in the 3rd hour and by the last 30 minutes I was slowing down and struggling to get home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hill Climb Intervals

On the morning after racing the training crit really hard, I did 2 x 20 out on the road. My legs were predictably tired, but I was able to sustain a reasonable pace, 97% of FTP. Thursday was a much needed recovery day with only a 50 minute easy spin.

This morning with drier air and temps below 70 degrees, I did 5 x 4.5 minute hill repeats on a 1.5 mile section of Pine Grove Road that I have used a few times now for this workout. Power numbers were great for me - averaging in the high 380's. As I finished the last one I turned around, then sprinted downhill until I was at 5 minutes total for the interval, just to record a decent 5 minute power number. To finish of the workout I rode another 15 miles at endurance pace with some tempo riding and finished up still feeling great.

I'm looking forward to getting out for a long group ride tomorrow morning. It'll be good for me since, I haven't done anything longer than 2.5 hours in the last 4 weeks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Last night I rode in the TNCWC for the first time in several weeks. The weather was about as good as it gets for July - under 90 degrees, and not raining. I wanted to make it a hard workout, and sit in as little as possible. I went with the first move immediately at the start. The race started so fast that the first 5 minutes were a season best 366 watts. From there I rested some and then attacked as many times as I could, but never got a break established. A couple of times it seemed like a move was going, but then it would get chased down. Usually when the race is hard, eventually the elastic snaps, but not last night.

Early in the last lap, I jumped one last time, not really expecting to get away, but just wanting to put in one last big effort. I just stayed on the front and led it out as long as I could, staying on the front until just after the 3rd turn, with a 505 watt 1 minute effort. Then I peeled off and watched everyone go by. Marc won the sprint, but I was way to far back at that point to see it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th SST Ride

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated the Fourth of July by spending the afternoon at my Parents' house on Lake Murray. We ate some great barbeque and rode around on the party barge where I enjoyed a few cold ones. It was a blast. Before that I squeezed in a 2 hour ride first thing in the morning.

This ride was a repeat of what I did exactly two weeks ago, except this time I didn't take any breaks. I warmed up for maybe 5 minutes and did about 3 minutes cool-down. In between I rode hard. I tried to keep my watts around 90% of FTP, occasionally ramping up the pace on the uphills, while easing off a little going downhill.

Today I again rode about 2 hours, but at a slower pace. I threw in about 35 minutes of SST in the middle, but did most of the ride at endurance pace. I can't seem to get motivated to ride more than 2 hours. I'm thinking next Saturday, I'll try to find a long group ride.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back to Training, Sort of

Wednesday I didn't ride and yesterday I rode 1.5 hours easy and felt like total crap. My recovery after the road race wasn't exactly ideal, since I drank several beers to celebrate. Today I was feeling like my normal self again, but mentally wasn't quite ready for a real workout, so I opted to try an all out 1 minute, just to see what I could do and to put a high data point on my power profile chart. On a gradual uphill on Hwy 269, I did my 1 minute all out...almost. I messed up and stopped about 3 seconds early by mistake. Still it was my best 1 minute ever, 692 watts.

For anyone who uses Training Peaks software, I think it is impossible to have a true idea of your 1 minute power from any race effort. I couldn't come within 150 watts of what I did today if I were in a race. For one thing, sprints, even long ones are never 60 seconds and you will never be fresh enough at the end of a race to go all out.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Masters Nats RR

I finished 7th in the Masters Nats 40-44 road race on Tuesday morning in Louisville, KY after a bizarre finish to a crazy hard race. Here's how it went down.

I lined up with 90 something strong masters racers from all over the country which included several ex-pros and some former national champions. Weather was great, 70's with light wind and sunny skies. We raced ten laps of a 5 mile undulating course with numerous curves and turns. I rode near the back for the first 3 laps and had to ride across a couple of small gaps as riders were getting popped on the 2 short climbs near leading up to the start/finish. My strategy was to do nothing for the first half of the race, then look to get into the break later in the race, after the field had been whittled down. That didn't quite work, because a group got away around the midpoint, while I was still conserving energy and hanging near the back. While the field was still big it was really nerve racking to ride towards the front of the group with all of the aggressive riding on the technical course.

I finally dragged myself up to the front with 2 laps to go. The pace of the previous lap had been real hard and there were at least 8 riders away in two groups, but the gap was still under a minute. I tagged onto a 6 man break, that didn't last long, and watched for counters once we came back. I jumped onto the wheel of an LSV rider and we broke free with about 8 miles left in the race. We thought we had a chance to bridge up to the next group, so we worked as hard as we could. We got as close as maybe 10-15 seconds on the last lap, but the problem was that they were chasing the lead group, so basically everyone in front of us was going all out. I was spent by the time we hit the first climb and got dropped by my breakmate and rode the last mile alone, thinking I would finish 10th or 11th. Then things got interesting.

When I was inside of 500 meters from the finish, I looked up and saw riders rounding the corner to start another lap, when they should have been going straight to the finish line. I knew it was the last lap and there was no way I was going any further. People were yelling at me to go straight. I did. After I finished there was all kinds of confusion and I now had no idea what place I was. To add to the confusion there were a few lapped riders mixed in with the breakaway riders ahead of me. People were saying that I was certainly in the top 5. A possible podium result sounded good at the time, even though it sucked for guys who should have beaten me, that made a wrong turn literally 100 meters from the line.

When the dust settled and protests were denied, I was 7th, so I can't complain. I rode well in the final 2 laps, but just didn't have the power to chase down the break ahead of me. The final 19:38 of the race was 344 watts normalized, and the whole 1:54 race was 308 watts normalized.

Rich avoided a pile up in the field sprint and got 19th.

Many thanks to Rich's parents for sharing their wonderful home with us. The time in Lousiville was relaxing and stress free, except for that 2 hours on Tuesday morning.