Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 Cross Season - Day 1 - Cross Clinic Wrap Up

Well, the 2010 cross season is upon us and I am ready and willing to go. So far this year, in preparation, I have upgraded by Redline Conquest Pro to a Cannondale CAAD9 and have tricked it out with Mavic Reflex tubulars with Challenge Gripos mounted up. I have a few more additions that I am going to add but that will be for a later blog. For now, it is about my first weekend of cross, the 2010 Fulcrum Coaching and JBV Coaching Cross Clinic with Jeremy Powers, Dan Tille, Chris Mayhew, and Fatmarc Vanderbacon.

Day one, or I should say night one, was a social. Read all about it here on Bill’s Cyclocross Website In the Cross Hairs.

A little back ground, this begins my third season racing cross and my second Fulcrum Coaching and JBV Coaching Cyclocross Clinic. So I have enough knowledge to know what I am supposed to do but not the skill to put it all together yet. I should have been ready for the initial question given to all campers, “What do you expect to get out of the camp?”, but instead I attempted to be witty and said a few words about where I was from and how much cross I had raced. In retrospect, I should have simply stated that I wanted to have someone critique what I was doing. For me that would have been the honest answer, just watch me and dime me out for the stupid stuff that I am doing.

The day started out with introductions, as I alluded to up front, then we went on the skills. The remount, by far, is the hardest thing for me, either I don’t have faith in myself or I am just to lazy to do it, I don’t have the leap, all I got is a little hop. For those who have raced cross, you know what I am talking about. It is the half ass commitment of going airborne onto the saddle, instead I do a slow walk or just a leg straddle over the saddle and mount, not efficient at all.

After that we went on to additional skills like dismounting, barriers, off cambers, and starts. Each of these have its own challenges. The one thing that I always hate to hear, at the beginner levels is the term “personal preference”. What is always good about this camp is that JPow (and the rest) do not hesitate to say, “Do it this way”. I think this attitude is great, “personal preferences” come in long after the beginner and intermediate stage. I could not imagine going to my first guitar lesson and the instructor say, well finger positions are a personal preference. Yes, Jimi Hendrix later developed his own way of thumbing the G Chord but to start with, here is what you do. Experience allows you to make your own changes, but for now, this is step one. Hey, isn’t that what I am paying the money for, I can figure out personal preference in the local park. Enough of that, bottom-line this clinic tells you the things that work both at the amateur and professional level, and I like that.

For me, the clinic was a great success, I got to work out a few bugs on the Cannondale, got some great tips for the guys, some evaluation, though I would have liked a little more, and the basis for this years season. Now I am looking forward to two things, 2010 Cross and 2011 JBV Clinic. Thanks guys for a great weekend and best of luck to JPow in his upcoming year.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Race Report - 2010 Church Creek Time Trial #3

Good weather. I did not get the warmup that I should, I need to work on a little time manager. After the two hour drive, I did not realize that I had a 6 mile bike ride out to course start. So my warmup was a 19 minute slow pace ride to the start-line, instead of a fairly intense trainer warmup.

Once again no power numbers, but I think I will start using the PowerTap to get good numbers. I have a power tap on a 404 Zipp but I have been TTing on a 2005 Zipp Tubular Disc. Since I have been placing around 22nd, I don’t think that there will be that big of a time difference, whereas having power numbers might help in the post race analysis. Don’t get me wrong, the PT is more for post race then in race. I know there is an argument out there on power pacing but in my case I am not sure how well that would work.

On to the race. First, skin suits are not for the timid, especially at 203 lbs. But, hell, I have the rest of the equipment and if I could stay on course, it might help. One thing that I have noticed was that the skin suit feels much cooler than a standard kit.

Start of the race was good, I got my HR up pretty quick and set there for the next hour. Still have a little bit of a fit issue with the TT Bike, pressure in the manly area and a little pain behind the right knee. This really did not effect me much for the first 20k, but for the second 40k I had to adjust my sitting position and could no longer stay aero. So I worked as hard as I could from a more up right position. To get the same output for both half, I had to up my HR by about 4 bpm to get the same result.

This is basically the same issue that I had at Virginia Beach, so I have duplicated the pain, now I need to do something about it.

My biggest fubar of the day was at the 15k point, I had my head down, going the best I could looked up to see the police officer and flag men (no gender specific way) telling me to turn right. As I blew by them I had to go back and regroup . Got back on the course. It took a total of 21 seconds, oh well, my fault.

I ended up 23rd overall with a 1:02:4.36.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chesapeake Crit - In the Money

Trying to bridge the 23 seconds
The night before I started getting the bike and immediately noticed that the rear tire was flat. Now normally this would not be a big deal, but on a set of tubulars, less than twelve hours to the race, its a big problem. Armed with a can of fix-a-flat and some superglue I did a hasty patch. No idea if it would hold.

The day started off as if it was going to be a nightmare. Started off with a four hour drive from Washington DC to Chesapeake Virginia. Once there I began the normal setup of the bike, was pleasantly surprised that the back tire was holding pressure. Got setup and began to roll and realized that the seat was way to low. Oh yes, last weekend my son was in town and we went riding, now he is two inches shorter than me so the saddle was lowered. I grabbed an allen wrench guestimated the height and tightened it down. This left a total of about 10 minutes to warmup.

The race started off fairly fast, we were strung out from the go. I settled in about mid-pack. I guess around the third lap two guys went off the front, they were never seen again. For the next 40 minutes it was pretty much five of us on the front doing the work. I would stay around third or forth wheel take a pull then work my way back into forth. With about six laps to go, two of us moved to the front and did some pretty massive pulls to get back the 23 seconds from the guys off the front, but we were unable to gain any time back. I figured at that point in time were were racing for third place.

Last lap I got myself into a pretty good position and was sitting second wheel. With one turn left, one of the guys took off from third or forth wheel. I decided that I need to go right then and was able to get on his wheel. I came out of the corner in first with about 300 meters. At this point I decided that all I could do was ramp up the speed and hope that I did not get caught at the line. My 21 second, 800 watt average, yielded 35 mph, 200 bpm heart rate and second palace in the field. One ride nipped me at the line for third overall. Great sprint on his part.

All in all, great day. Finally placed in the money. I was really happy about my results. Hey, it is always rewarding when other rollup afterward and congratulate you on a good race, not something that I have had happen before.