Saturday, March 27, 2010

C Group Breakaway for 5th on Atomic RR

Managed to get a nice little breakaway for the last lap to end up with 5th place.

Atomic has three climbs:

  1. Ross Rd, 600m@5%, about 1:30
  2. Huntingdon, 700m@4.5%, about 1:40
  3. Bradner, 400m@8%, about 1:20
Effectively they all climb about 30m total elevation. But each has its own characteristics and certainly each feels very different. 

Ross Road starts with a very fast drop and you hit the bottom and spin up for a bit, then typically everyone finishes standing up as it kicks up at the top. 

Huntingdon has a preliminary 300-400 hundred meters that is uphill slightly, so by the time you hit the steeper bits you have slowed down. But overall the grade is less. So mostly sitting down and spinning. 

Bradner starts steep, about 200m at 10% and then drops down, go around a corner and then it kicks up again for that final little insult before you get to the top (and just past that is the finish line.) Mostly people start this one standing but typically by the top everyone is back in the saddle.

We had to do six laps (10km per lap.) What I was finding was that I was quite comfortable on the Ross Rd. climb. No trouble matching the pace to the top. Even starting from the back. Huntingdon was even easier. I had a 12x27 cassette and found it very easy to go from the back at the bottom and accelerate up to the front by the top. 

Bradner the younger guys hit standing up and moved up it fairly fast, and while I could match that. I knew that doing so six times would not probably be a good idea. 

I stayed at the front for the first lap. Mainly to get nicely warmed up and get some idea how fast the C group wanted to race. That gave me a baseline and also showed how expensive it would be if I tried to do that for the entire race. I was showing about 35 TSS points for that lap. Trying to do that for six laps would get me up over 200. Doable (maybe), but probably would leave me few options at the end.

So I my goal was to do three laps with minimal effort. Hang out at the back, go to the front on Huntingdon just so I could be first at the bottom of Bradner, sag climb up Bradner so conserve matches (Anerobic Capacity efforts). 

Over the course of 4.5 laps the C group numbers dropped from about 40 down I think about 25. My strategy was to push hard on the second last time up Huntingdon and see if I could get off the front one a couple of people. That was my "easiest" climb. So instead of following and starting from the back, I moved up after the Ross Rd. climb, so I was in the top four at the bottom of Huntingdon. Then climbed just a bit faster than my normal pace and the "normal" pace was typically taking me from the back of the peleton to the front. so starting from the front and pushing a little harder caused the group to split badly.

From about half way up there was another rider who made several small jumps off the front to see if anyone wanted to try and get away. So with about 30-50m of the climb to go I moved up to him, said "lets go" and jumped hard. He managed to get my wheel and we go well off the front. Stayed well off through the Bradner climb. Which I did at his pace. About 500-800m past the start/finish another three riders managed to bridge up to us. But it appeared that we had a very good gap. 300-400m at least from the main group.

We worked our way around. I pushed fairly hard to get us some additional distance. Unfortunately couldn't quite match them on the Ross Rd climb. Ended up about 150m back. So just TT'd around following them. I could see another group about 300m back. Going up Huntingdon the group behind started closing so I picked up the pace. Hoping to stay away.

Then after the drop coming into the Bradner climb for the final sprint I come to an almost grinding halt, There was a large truck with trailer moving up this road, which is a tight steep skinny (not quite two lanes) road, with cones in the middle and this idiot is driving up at about 2kph... !!

As I slow down the group behind me catches me and we start to try and pass him, there was only about a meter left on his left side for us to climb past, and then I notice that the riders passing me where from the A group! Now I'm really confused. So I just followed them up and finished. Taking 5th. 

It turns out that the rest of the C group pretty much shattered on that climb up Huntingdon. There was effectively no real main group after that. They all just moved around the last lap as best they could. The group I had been trying stay away from was the A breakaway.

So even though it was only 5th, I think this pretty much counts as a tactical victory. Had a plan, executed the plan, and pretty much the plan worked about as well as I could have hoped for.

Overall my time was about two minutes faster than last year at Spring Series, 1:45 vs 1:47.

But I'll note that our pace was substantially slower than the BC RR Masters race last August. We did the first four laps in 1:11, the August pace was 1:02. Or 34.1 vs about 38kph. Of course that race had six "Master A" riders who had ridden Westside classic a few months earlier as Cat 1/2. So presumably that had a lot to do with the faster pace. :-)

It appears that all of those Anaerobic Capacity workouts on the Computrainer in January and February (2k loop repeats.) seem to really be making a difference in what I can do this year. Still can't sprint but much more comfortable on the climbs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wet, cold, crash...

What an awful day. Cold and wet. The C's where just phoning it in. I actually had to get out front just so I could get warmed up enough to stay on the bike. We where on the North Bradner course, which is normally my favorite.

We started with about 25 people. Where down to about 15 by the last lap. I was well positioned at the front, or so I thought, but going up one of the small climbs on the back side I guess I slowed a bit too much and all of a sudden was in the middle, someone crossed my wheel in front of me and down I went.

 The bike and front wheel got the worst of it. Luckily Marsh Coopers parents where close by with their pickup and kindly offered a ride back to the parking lot.

I ended up with some road rash on my left knee and a bad bruise on my right leg (I think from the top tube.) and possibly a bruised rib on the left. Amazingly neither shoulder hit anything. I seem to remember bringing my arms in so that I would roll, and that was due to not wanting to screw up my shoulders any more. In fact I think the bruised rib is from rolling over my left elbow as it was tucked in :-)

Also I was lucky that this was on a small climb, so going fairly slow, which also meant I didn't get run over by the people behind me. I think another two or three people went down. Jasmine Glasner was able to get back up and rejoin the group. There was one other rider who also had some bike problems so also had to get a ride.

The wheel looks worse, I think, than it is. It is a Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 and these are actually just Bontragers carbon rim with a carbon shroud added. And it appeared that only the shroud was damaged. Hopefully Rob Mulder will be able to repair that.

Meanwhile the bike is at the shop so they can fix the bars, shifters etc. Again it looked like mostly superficial scratches there. May need to rerun cables etc.

Reward for 2nd place

My personal reward to myself for 2nd place... once I got home and put my feet up. This was a Howe Sound Imperial Red Ale only available during the Olympics.

Hmmm hmmmm good, especially after a hard race.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Series - Aldergrove Bradner RR - 2nd C Group

Good result on the new Aldergrove Bradner RR course. This is a 10km loop with two climbing sections. The new one being along Huntindon just before turning onto Bradner (this is also the bottom left turn of the Atomic RR which we do next Saturday..) This is a series of small climbs leading to the sharp left. From there it is a fast downhill and then flat until we turn North on 272. Then an annoying small set of climbs (rough pavement, seems harder than it should be) and finally the finish sprint climb. Total of 100m climbing over the entire loop.

Actually I just checked the power file. The first little climb along 272 is actually a bit more elevation gain than the second. About 30m in .875km. While the final is 21m in .25km. So I guess there is a reason it feels hard. Just doesn't look like it should.

We did 5 official laps. But the parking is in the middle so actually did the last third of the course one extra time.

We had nice weather today. But the usual Westerly wind that we usually get to fight along Zero Ave was replaced by a brisk Easterly to help push us along Zero..

I had a nice result. Got out and tried to push the pace up a bit on Bradner and Zero. But there was not a huge amount of interest. Event with the nice tail wind the peleton was content to sit up and average only about 40kph. Rested up at the back during lap four. Moved up to the front at the beginning of lap five, during the descent and climb along Huntingdon.

About 50m from the top of the climb along Huntingdon and jumped and got a nice gap and cruised through the corner. Then pushed hard down the hill and to Zero ave. I think about 150-200m gap by then. Turned on to Zero and got down on the bars. TT'd all the way to 272. Easily kept the speed up to just under 44 (huge tail wind) and was about 300m ahead when I turned onto 272. Then it was manage heart rate, work as hard as I could to get up the first climb, coast down to the second getting heart rate down and then sprint...

I still had about 50-75m gap going into the final sprint climb. And only one rider managed to get past me and that was right at the line. Less than a meter.. Still I was more than happy with a second palce.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Series - Armstrong Hill RR

After missing this race last year (I marshaled) got to do Armstrong again. In three previous attempts I have never managed to stay with the front pack past lap 3, usually getting dropped on the 4th time up the climb.

The climb is about 1.6km in length with an overall average of 4.6%. But it has three separate bits. Starting with 300m at 12%, then flat for about 400m, 400m 6%, 200m 2% and then finish with about 400m at 5%.

The younger guys sprint up each section with a rest in between. I have trouble with that because my anaerobic is not quite as good. Fortunately I can hit the top and without much recovery, throttle down to a fairly high L4 aerobic number and time trial back on.

So that was the rule today. I would take about 4:30 to climb. The front would take about 4:10. I would then scoop up the 2-4 riders between me and the front and we would work together through the descent to get back onto the front. Just in time to do it again... Overall 4 minutes climbing, about 4-5 minutes catching on, then maybe 2-4 minutes recovery. Repeat as necessary.

That worked well for the first six laps. Unfortunately on the bell lap I ended up at the top, 20-25 seconds back with no one to work with. The three guys I had worked with on the previous lap where another 20-40 seconds back... They eventually caught up with me at the bottom of the climb. But by that time we where 40 seconds behind, so just climbed and finished, probably about 2 minutes back of the first group. Which by that time was down to ten riders (from original starting group of about 50 riders.)

Interesting power numbers. I have been assuming my FTP is about 280 watts. But that would make this an NP buster ride (> 1.05 intensity factor for > 1 hour workout.). The best one hour was TSS: 119.6 (1.094). Overall TSS: 157.1 (1.07).

The format of each lap was conducive to getting a high NP. Three one minute anaerobic sprints in the climb. And then some serious hard work including some short high anaerobic bursts to get caught up. My highest 5 and 10 second numbers where some 791 and 584 watts in a downhill section, jumping the speed up as high as I could to catch back on.  And the rest of the time doing lots of L3/L4 work.

Anyway I met my race goals of staying on until the last lap. I would have liked to be with them at the bottom on the last climb. That will be the goal for next year.

Armstrong RR:
Duration:   1:22:16
Work:       1181 kJ
TSS:       157.1 (intensity factor 1.07)
Norm Power: 289
VI:         1.21
Pw:HR:       -6.59%
Pa:HR:       13.91%
Distance:   44.16 km
Elevation Gain:     589 m
Elevation Loss:   584 m
Grade:     0.0 %  (5 m)
Min Max Avg
Power:       0 815 239 watts
Heart Rate:   76 179 159 bpm
Cadence:     33 118 81 rpm
Speed:       9.6 63 32.2 kph
Pace         0:57 6:15 1:52 min/km
Altitude:     76 155 110 m
Crank Torque: 0 99.4 29.2 N-m
Temperature: 10 12 11.1 Celsius

Here is a post from Culyar Conly who rides for Westwood and did the A-series this weekend. He needed a ride this weekend, he is staying with Scott and Sara Laliberte who are on a training vacation in Southern California. Good summary of what it's like to ride in the A group.

Spring Series - 232 / Zero Ave - Murhison Road RR

Saturday was the ever popular 232 / Zero Ave course.

Things looked ominous as I loaded the truck at 8:00AM to head out. Raining, cold, ugly looking clouds. And the forecast for Langley was for rain. But the rain stopped around 200St as we drove along the freeway and by the time we arrived there was actually blue sky and sunshine.

I had a reasonably good race. The pace was a little slow this year, 36.3kph compared to last years 37.3 I think due to a nasty head wind along 240th. The C group stayed together till the end except for the usual attrition. I did a fair bit of work at the front. But nothing to heroic and didn't have any real opportunity to try and get away.

Was with the field into the last turn, but had no chance sprinting up the final 300m finish (3% uphill).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Series - River Road C Group

First race of the year, Spring Series, River Road. I stayed with the C group. A little smaller this year, about 41 people starting. I think a bunch of people who otherwise would have raced C raced in the Novice group. Certainly we didn't loose too many riders over the first laps. And normally we drop a bunch in the first few laps.

C group was fairly crash free this year. We had one person go down by them self hitting a cone. And in the last lap someone at the front (about fifth wheel) apparently touched wheels and went down hard. Which caused a bunch of other people to go into a pothole on the shoulder. And a bunch more to stop dead. The rest of us managed to get around the final turn and sprint to the finish without incident. If memory serves this is the first time in several years (3-4) that there hasn't been a crash in the final corner in C group.

Average pace was so so, only about 38.2kph. We got caught by the B's in our 9th lap. We where only supposed to do 9 laps, but the lap board guy seems to have got confused and we ended up doing one extra. Luckily as otherwise we would have been trying to sprint into the back of the B's.

BronPhoto Picture here...