Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bike Tires Direct ITT at PIR

I’ve raced at PIR multiple times in their Tuesday night weekly road race series, but never had the opportunity to race a Time Trial around the track before. This year Bike Tires Direct held the first (that I know of) individual time trial out at PIR. The course was run in the counter clockwise direction and was 6 laps in length (approximately 12 miles, but looks to be closer to 11.6 miles).

The race format was similar to other TT’s with riders starting in one minute intervals. They had the start gate walled off with cones as well as the finishing stretch that lead into the warm up area when finished. Each rider was responsible for counting their own laps.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with how crowded or not so crowded the course would be with multiple riders going on the course…but it turned out to be just fine. There was plenty of room to move around and generally always somebody to chase down, or be passed by. The corners were all wide enough that you never needed to get out of your aerobars, but the hairpin turn on the back side of the course was tight and you had to hit the apex correctly at high speed to remain in good control.

The wind was swirling a little but mostly seemed to have the biggest effect at the end of the long straight where you could feel a little headwind.

My first lap was probably my fastest, but in reality was a bit too fast since my second lap was probably my slowest of the day. But after recovering a little I was able to pick my pace up each consecutive lap after that. Coming around on my second lap the guy who I figured to be my toughest competition had just left the starting gate and had about 200 meters on me by the end of the long straight, so this gave me somebody to chase and pace off of for a few laps.

As the next few laps ticked by I was slowly gaining ground on him and heading into the 5th lap passed him along the front straight. I’m not sure how much distance I put on him from there since he now had somebody to pace off of.

The last lap I actually felt pretty good all things considered and was able to turn in a good effort coming into the finish.

Overall time was 25:14 and going off of a distance of 11.54 miles (a teammates Garmin distance) I had an average speed of 27.44 mph, which is the first time I’ve broken 27 mph in a TT of any distance. This was good enough for 1st place in the masters 40+ class by 30 seconds and was my first win on the season.

The race format was great and everybody I talked with really enjoyed the race. I’m hoping they will keep it for future races as well…maybe have a Team Time Trial format one of these days. The only change I’d like to see is them adding a lap or two to the race to get the times closer to the 30 minute range.

I’m pretty happy with the effort since I’ve made a ton of changes to my position on my TT bike since my last race back in February. I put on a new set of bars Vision bars that I picked up from a teammate and installed a new seat post the night before the race…basically a regular road seat post that was turned in the reverse direction to move my seat forward and give me an effective seat tube angle of 78 degrees compared to my stock 76 degree seat tube angle.

Given all the changes and this was my first real hard effort riding with them I’m more than happy with the results. I did find that I needed to drop my seat my a small amount as I had a little pain in the back of my left knee at the end of the race, but that quickly went away after I finished and a small drop in the seat should take care of that for the upcoming State Championship ITT’s in two weeks.

So this race for me was to check out all the changes in my position as well as to see where my fitness is at right now for time trials. Getting the win was extra bonus on the day J

My goal in two weeks will to break 55 minutes over 40K at the ITT championships, which I think I can do, but a lot will depend on the conditions. Long term forecast has rain and low 60’s for temperatures, but considering how far out that is…it should change a lot between now and then.

Photos Courtesy of: Nick Blacklock

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 OBRA RR Championships

This was my first year racing the Silverton course so I didn't really know what to expect. I had seen the profile which showed a big climb with a lot of rollers. It didn't look much worse than a few other courses I had done before...but once on the climb it seemed like there was a lot more climbing than expected.

Once underway the first lap was really slow and there were very few break attempts. I think it may have been the easiest first lap I've had in a race. The first climb I expected the big guns to try and get away, but for the most part they didn't do anything...so we will call it a warm up for what was to come.

At the beginning of the second lap I had a bit of a lapse in judgement and at the beginning of the big hill found myself about 2/3 of the way back in the field. By the time I realized where I was at the road was full of people and moving up was hard to do. About 1/2 way up the climb people started to blow up which made room to move forward but I could already see a small group getting a gap up ahead. By the time I made my way to the front a small group of 5 had got off the front and I knew several riders in the group were really strong...If I wanted a shot at winning I "HAD" to be in that group.

Not being at the front of the group there was stupid on my part because I knew that since the first climb was easy, the 2nd was going to be hard and that was where the break would go.

Near the top of the climb there wasn't a good chase being formed by those that didn't make the break, so I gave it a good go to bridge the gap to the lead group. Nobody went with me and I found myself in "No man's land" by myself chasing the lead group. I made it to within about 25 seconds of them but got no closer. I would make up time on the downhills then loose a little on the climbs.

I spent the entire 2nd lap in TT mode chasing the lead group and still felt OK but wasn't going to close the gap any closer with out another rider or two to work with. If I had a super long downhill near the beginning of the chase I may have been able to latch on as well, but the downhills were all short...so no go there either.

At one point mid 2nd lap I could see what was left of the main group about 1 - 1.5 minutes back. I had a choice at that time to save my energy and stop chasing the break, which was still about 35 seconds up the road or dr
op back to the second group. The second group wasn't making much ground and I felt OK so I kept pushing hoping maybe the break group would slow for a short period of time allowing me to latch back on...so I kept chasing.

Near the top of the climb on lap 3 what was left of the main group caught back up to me and I joined in with them. Nobody was really in "Chase" mode and most seemed OK to sprint for whatever position was left, even though the break was only 1.5 minutes or so up the road. With that said the pace wasn't
too fast so it allowed me a little time to recover.

With about 6 miles to go a couple guys up front were motioning to for another jump to try and get a break going...When they went I went, but they gave up quickly. Immediately after they quit another guy counter attacked and I jumped on his wheel. Working together we were able to put 45 seconds or so on the group heading into the finish.

My legs were toast by this time having spent an entire lap trying to chase down the break and I was suffering on the climbs, as small as they were at that point, but was able to really push it on the downhills and flats. Eventually the other guy put about 10 seconds on me on the 2nd to last climb...but I was OK with that by this time.

Overall, I finished 5th in the 40+ CAT 3 class (7th across the line since there were 4 groups in my race), which I'm happy with...I just wish I had been paying attention because I know I could have made the initial break if I had been closer to the front during the first climb on the 2nd lap....but such is life...live and learn.

Some numbers for today:

52.098 miles
2:30:59 ride time
Average power: 257 watts (NP 312 watts)
20 min power: 343 watts
30 min power: 318 watts
60 min power: 300 watts