Sunday, March 28, 2010

Race Report - Jefferson Cup

The race entry was 125 but I am not sure exactly how many really showed up, I am positive it was over 100. The CAT 4 race was 4 laps thus 40 miles, Evan had estimated that it would take between 1:40 and 1:50. The best thing that I (we) did was pre-ride the course. It gave me the confidence to be able to descend the hills at full speed and if able how fast to take the corners. I also had a pretty good idea of what would be fast and where gaps could occur. Evan's email and our assessment was spot on for the 4s and really kept me in the race.

We had a neutral roll-out from the school down to the start line and Evan and I had staged ourselves in the first quarter of the field. So much for neutral, trying to stay in this start position, half of the field behind us creaped along the flanks and by time we got ready to start we were in the last quarter of the field. This only was a factor for a little while because it was not to hard to crawl up to the top quarter on the first lap. it could have been tragic if there was a wreck or anything, but it worked out.

I stayed in the main field the entire race. I never felt like I was going to be dropped. The only issues were some of the turns, the field would almost come to a stop and then have to come out of the saddle to catch back on. I used the climbs as a means to gain positions. I would swing out and then move on the outside of the group as the slower guys would drop through the center. After the second lap of having cars in the on coming traffic lane, I moved to the right hand side and no longer had to deal with those on the far left. As they would get jammed up due to on coming traffic, EVEN if the car was off the course and complete stop, the right hand side just steadily went along, no brakes. Nothing I hate worse then braking going UP hill.

The last lap really separated the field and the last five miles was a crit. Art and Tomas, thanks for the Santa Barbara help, I went into the drops and did not come out of them until the finish line. It was a SIGNIFICANT advantage. I jumped on a a Coppi Rider's wheel (Joaquin) and stayed there for the majority of the time. Coppi, District Velocity Racing, and Fat Frogs started working together. It looked as if Crowther (Coppi) and Church (Dist Velo) had the best fitness (of the teams represented) so I tried to stay in the Dist Velo line. With 1K left things got sketchy. There was actually a guy trying to squeeze by on the left screaming "on your left", "move" over. I decided that I was not going to give up any room on my side. I was sitting within an inch of a Coppi rider so I could not advance, and surely was not going to give up my spot. The guy then moved over off the shoulder to pass, yes in the grass. Karma has a way, and i heard the eerie hiss of a tire flattening, "on your left" was off the back with a flat.

At this point we were about 800m and ramping up for the sprint, I was about 5 meters from the front and was in an okay position when all of a sudden, I believe a Fat Frog racers bike exploded. Apparently, his head tube separated from the top tube. he went down and the field feel apart. I came out of the saddle and took off again behind the Coppi rider, who just set up and quit pedaling. i am not sure why. After that I smashed the gears and finished the race 24th.

What kept me from top 10. Purely tactics. I have to work on this badly. My numbers suck. My max watt was only 800 watts. I got all the way to the game and did nothing at the end. My race numbers for each lap showed a similar story. Positives was that I coasted 24% of the race. So zero cadence and zero power. My average lap power was around 225w and my Normalized Power for each was 300 w. Basically, the numbers showed I could have done more. If you looked at the race in comparison to our over all training rides on Sundays, for me the Sunday ride appears, according to the data, harder. My next goal, win the effing race, field finish is not long the goal.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Race Report - Vint Hill Classic

Vint Hill Race. I raced the 3/4 race today. Did not get a good call-up so started in the very back. The race was extremely fast. The first 8 minutes were miserable. I wanted to quit so bad. It just hurt, my nerves were shot due to the 100 riders. But I settled into a rhythm toward the middle of the race. I did not try for any of the premes, really could not have if I wanted. I moved back and forth in the pelaton. At one point in time I was sitting third. My goal was a field finish. I did not have great lines into the curves so I ended up having to sprint back into the pelaton after each curve

I ended up in 36th of 100. I felt really good, it was a great race ESPECIALLY since it was a 3/4 race.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Product Review: Oakley Jawbones

I have been asked about my Oakley Jawbones, so here is a quick product review.  Share if you so desire.

Well I strolled into my LBS (Conte’s of Arlington VA) to look at either getting my two pair of Specialized Sunglasses repaired or replaced.  I had had great successes with the Specialized glasses except two things.  First, the lens on the San Remos, which theoretically, should be bombproof, was scratched and secondly, the frames of my second pair (San Remos) looked like the paint job of an old 2001 Ford Tempo.   I am tough on sunglasses so the scratch I understood but the red finish scratching and flaking to reveal the white frames was a little much, I digress because this is more to do with the Oakley Jawbones than it does reviewing a Specialized product.

In the past, I had become accustomed, through a slow but continuous desensitization towards  cost, to purchasing expensive but decent sunglasses.  The recommendation was made for me to look at the new Oakley Jawbones.  Now my experiences with Oakleys have varied in the past.  I had never purchased ones for cycling, but have used them as daily wear glasses and on a couple of tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.  My experience was that they were just okay, not something that I would run out and buy, and when given the opportunity to wear my $30 Under Armor glasses I picked up at Dick’s Sporting Goods or the most expensive Oakleys, I would take the Under Armor everyday of the week.  So on to the Jawbones.

First, there was the price tag, almost $280.  This was for the custom frames that would match the team kit and the VR28 Blue Iridium Vented lens, without the custom frames it would be about $195.  Here is my first and only gripe about the Oakleys, there is not enough “standard” frame designs.  My opinion, only one of the four-color combinations offered of the shelf is not hideous, so custom is the only way to go.

Out of the box, the Oakleys looked sharp.  You open them up and others gather round to gaze.  Presentation was awesome, case, lens, soft case, and the extra “accessory” lens.  When you pick the glasses up for the first time, they will feel a little bulky but that is the last time that you will even think of that and will only be reminded when first timers pick them up and ask.  Playing around with them in the LBS does not do them justice; it is the first time on the road that you can tell that you have bought a great piece of equipment.
The first ride was a cool February morning, snow had melted off the streets, but water still glistened informing you that the first time behind the rider is going to cause a rooster tail effect of salty water in the face.  The glasses felt amazing, very light, full field of vision and fit the face perfectly.  The clarity of the lens was absolute.  The first opportunity for the group to paceline provided the next opportunity for test.  As water sprayed in my face and a quick wipe of the gloved finger across Oakley's Hydrophobic lens cleared the lens immediately, I remember being shocked that there were no streaks.  By the end of the ride, I was absolutely sold on the Oakley Jawbones.  Only for a brief second did they fog up at all.  We had done a really hard climb followed by a steep decent to a stop sign.  As I came to a stop and reached down to grab a bottle of Heed, the glasses fogged for a second, but they cleared equally as quick.  Not once did they fog during the ride.  I remember thinking, I cannot wait to try these in cyclocross where fogging has always kept me sans free on wearing eye protection during a race.

The final sale, I pulled up to the truck to finish the ride, I took off my glasses and was blinded by the sunlight.  I remember putting them back on thinking, really?? That big of a difference? Yes, that big of a difference.  Therefore, I am sold, $280 for a pair of sunglasses, well worth the money.  Optimal comfort, no streaks, unbeatable clarity, these are legit!