Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another race season ends

Well, my 2012 race season has come to an end and overall it was fairly successful, but hit and miss at the same time.

My road race season sucked big time with one crash, two DNF's and my best placing on the season 17th overall in a one day race. No top 10's or 5's...just an average season. The crash back in April screwed things up a little since I lost my Tsunami which fit really well and I was faster on. My Cannondale has been a good replacement and overall I like it a lot, but the front end has never felt quite the same as on my Tsunami since I can't get as low on the Cannondale.

My TT season however, turned out to be really good. I had 4 wins on the season, two state titles and only placed lower than 2nd in one race all season.

Going into the year I had two main goals: 1) win the TTT and 2) run sub 53:30 at the ITT championships. I was 1 for 2 in my goals with the help of some great teammates we won the TTT, but I ran a slower time than I wanted at the State Championship ITT's, partially due to a very windy day, partially due to not having my new TT bike dialed in and partially due to the front wheel rubbing on the brake for at least 5 miles of the race.

I did have my unexpected win in the Uphill ITT championships and won the inaugural TT Cup for the Masters 40+ division...So two good and unexpected wins on the season and my first solo state championship.

I was able to hit my weight goals, my power goals (with altitude adjustment I had a new 30 minute power PR at the Uphill ITT Championships with an average of 387 watts for 30 minutes) and overall feel good this season. I've taken a couple days off the bike since my last race and am going to work hard not to put weight on this's fairly normal for me to put on 30 pounds, which makes the start of the season always a pain in the butt since I have to drop the weight for the season. My goal is to not go over 200 pounds this winter and be around 195 for the first race of the season, and maybe get down to 185 for most of the can be done but won't be easy.

My best placings on the year look like this for the season:

1st place finishes:

  • OBRA Hill Climb Championships
  • OBRA TTT Championships
  • PIR TT #2
  • As the Raven Flies #2

2nd place finishes:

  • OBRA ITT Championhships
  • PIR #1
  • As the Raven Flies #1

As you can see, there are no road race placings in just wasn't a good year on the road bike. Hopefully, I'll be better prepared for the road races next season and have as good or better year on the TT bike.

For now, back to base miles, get the trainer ready for lack of sunlight, start pulling out the rain gear for the winter and get my winter bike ready for some miles over the next 5 months or so.

Monday, August 20, 2012

OBRA Uphill Time Trial Championships

Last weeks OBRA TT Championships were going to be my last race of the season...however the updated TT cup standings were released and I was 1 point out of 1st place. Since I was so close I figured...what the heck, and signed up for the Uphill TT Championships hoping to beat the guy in front of me in the points.

I'm not a climber by any means considering I'm 196 pounds and stand around 5'11" tall...but I can put out good power numbers and can maintain a stead pace for 30 minutes or so. I knew the times last year and figured I'd at least be competitive.

So my wife and I drove up to Government Camp Sunday morning, I got my trainer set up, talked to some friends and got ready to climb a hill.

I got a report of the climb from another racing buddy of mine and he gave me an idea of what to expect, which also gave me a little extra confidence in the climb as it wasn't as steep as I thought it would be.

Warming up before the start I was talking to a couple others about just wanting to get to the top figuring I wouldn't be on the podium and goal was to beat one guy!

My time came up and I was off...Early on I felt great. My HR was up where I wanted it and I was pushing some good power numbers without feeling it. As the ride progressed I was able to keep the pace up. At about 8 minutes into the climb I caught my 1 minute guy, at about 18 minutes I caught my 2 minute guy and at about 24 minutes I caught my 3 minute guy.

Crossing the line I was right at about 30 minutes...a good 1 - 2 minutes ahead of where I thought I'd be. I knew the winning time last year was just under 30 minutes and this time would have put me on the podium so I was pretty excited about it.

As time went on I waited for the times to be posted. They called out the names and mine was one of three called out for the podium but I didn't know if I was 3rd or it turned out...I was 1st in the 40-44 Masters cataloger.

Who knew? I never, ever thought I'd win a hill climb, let alone a State Championship hill climb. My total time was 30:04 over 5.6 miles and around 1800 feet of climbing.

This is my first ever solo championship win...all other wins have been part of a Team Time Trial I'm totally stoked about this win.

Looking at the numbers from the race, my HR was high, but my power was a little low. I'm chalking this up to the elevation...starting at 4000 feet and ending near 6000 feet.

My average power was 360 watts (adjusted for altitude it would be 387 watts, a new 30 minute PR) and my average HR was 167 BPM with a max of 173 BPM. My wattage stayed pretty steady through the race with only a few peaks and valleys and my largest power bump came during the last 3 minutes of the race. I only got out of the saddle once to accelerate around a corner, the rest of the time it was seated climbing.

My HR shows a near max effort, but my power numbers were down by about 15 watts from what I can do for that duration, again I chalk it up to the elevation. Given the amount I had left, I'm guessing I could have shaved off 20-30 seconds from my time if I had to push it. Crossing the line I was breathing hard, but still had gas left in the tank while others were on the ground just beat with exhaustion.

Overall, I'm very happy with my performance and excited about the win. I'm not sure I'll do this race again, but given my performance, if I'm in shape next year, I'll likely be back.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 OBRA State ITT Championships

Today was the 2012 OBRA State Championship ITT race...I've been looking forward to this race for a while now having my new bike to race on and having spent a lot of time over the last 6 weeks doing training rides up Pumpkin Ridge. 

I had a good taper heading into the race and my legs felt pretty good, though I hadn't done much riding in the last two days. Warming up went well, but due to the length of the race 40K I cut my warm up a little short. It was already mid 70's by the time I started my warm up and delays in the start time resulted in starts moving back 28 we had to delay our warm-ups more than anticipated. 
In addition to that they did a number switch up on us by moving them to the right side instead of the left...and since I glue my numbers on I couldn't change them. Thankfully I had a second number on my lower back and the officials were OK with that.

There was also an anticipated start ramp for the race as well, but it never showed up, but we did have a holder, so starts were still good as we were able to be clipped in from the get go.

Race conditions were not as good as they were last year where we had a 3mph headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. That lead to fast times last year. This year we had a 7+ mph tailwind on the way back and a 7+ mph headwind on the way back...You could see flags in peoples yards sticking straight out, so the wind was pretty hefty.

Coming out of the turnaround I got settled in and started picking up to speed...Once I was around 25-26 mph a gust came out of know where and knocked me a good 4 feet to the right and about off my bike. Freaked me out and kept me on guard for the final part of the race.

Splits were not too bad for me...24:45 on the way out and 29:37 on the way back, given the tailwind out and the headwind back I paced myself fairly well. I don't know what my power output was since I don't have power on my TT bike, but Strava put me at 385 watts, so I was probably closer to 350-360 which is right at where I figure my FTP is.

I did have a drop off in HR at around 35 minutes going from an average of 162 BPM down to 157 BPM, that happened within about a minute and wasn't gradual so I'm guessing I either hit a fatigue limit there or that was when I started getting dehydrated since I don't carry water and it was warm (86 degrees during my race).

Overall, not a bad day on the bike with a 2nd place in my class with a time of 54:22, which is about 14 seconds slower than last year (4 seconds from the official time) under much harder conditions. I'm still waiting to see what the combined times are and where I fit in there, last year I was 10th I'm interested to see where I fall in those.

My race season for 2012 is over and for the most part went well. Next year, I'm going to concentrate more on TT's (especially after crashing and having a couple close calls in road races this year) and pick up the finishing touches to buying speed with a new set of wheels (hopefully). I want to pick up a set of HED 9 front wheel and JET Disc for the rear (maybe with a Powertap). Both will be clinchers as I like those more than tubular's and for me they are just as fast and every bit as comfortable.

Next week is our team century which I'll probably ride...though I'm considering doing the hill climb championships just for the fun of it. I'll make a decision on that later this week depending on how fat I feel at the time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New PR on Pumpkin Ridge

So with the State ITT championships coming up in a week and a half I've been spending a lot of time training on Pumpkin Ridge. It's the perfect training climb for TT work being 6.5 miles long, 1000 feet high and takes somewhere around 22-25 minutes to climb...So it's pretty easy to do 2x20's on the climb.

On Saturday during our teams group ride, the first climb was up Pumpkin Ridge so I used it to get a baseline on my fitness.

I had one person stay with me during the climb and held onto my wheel for all but about 10 seconds of the climb where he gave small pulls. Overall I set a new PR time wise, but was about 10 watts off my 20 minute power PR.

Total climb time was 22:03 which puts me 3rd overall on the climb for the STRAVA segment and I averaged 383 watts for the climb...overall, not bad and right about where I'd like to be, but the extra 10 watts from my power PR would be nice. I did finish the climb feeling pretty good though and could have kept that pace up for another 15 minutes or so which puts my FTP somewhere around 360 watts which is good heading into the ITT championships.

During my training rides doing two trips up the climb, I'm keeping it at about 92% of my FTP HR and am averaging around 350 watts for the climbs when combined/ I'm keeping my power for an extended period.

I've started to taper a little by cutting one day of riding out of my week so I'm down to 5 days a week and about 240 miles and 13.5 hours on the bike. Next week I'll taper a little more heading into the race, with a short ride on the TT bike with race wheels to make sure everything is performing correctly before the race.

Overall...I'm feeling good, now I just need to put together a good race and see what I can do this year.