Monday, April 22, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Fort Ritchie Criterium

Category 35+ 3/4       

Cascade, MD

Number of starters:   28
Road-ResultsPredictor:  23rd

Course description: This is a 1.3 km loop that travels clockwise. There is a slight incline just past the start/finish line and a fast chicane on the front half of the course. This venue consists of six turns and runs past a very scenic lake.

Weather:  Sunny but chilly, at the start, temperature was around 45 degrees

That's a fixable tactical problem.......
Jim Weinstein


Over the last several months I have been pouring over my data for MABRA criteriums.  What I have found is that ALL of the data shows the same formula, 30-40% Active Recovery and 30-40% Anaerobic Capacity.  So I switched my training strategy to maximize the AC intervals.  Using the CompuTrainer, PerfPro, and Sufferfest Video, in particularly Revolver, I have built into the training strategy sixteen, 1 minute intervals at Zone 6, perfect for crits.  Fort Ritchie was not considered an “A” Race for me, but a great place to test my fitness before the McDonald’s Crit and Air Force Classic.

Dana’s Race

I arrived at Ft Ritchie with plenty of time to spare, since I was there at ten to watch Dana race the W1/2/3.  It was a pretty exciting race including a solo breakaway from NCVC Alexis Zink.  Then a 4 man break with Dana, Cat Freck (Syn-Fit), Dori Buckethal (NCVC), and Colleen Gullick (Kenda); that stuck giving Dana a solid 5th for the day.  She also got a beer preme, something that I would remember in my race.

Warm-up Monnett’s Style

As I was watching the women’s race, Mark Monnett from SRAM offered me a chair to so I could stay off of the legs.  Mark is a Cascade native and started talking about a great warm-up around Ft Ritchie. Given that my plan was to just head back to the truck around 1 and get on the trainer, he offered to go ride and I took him up on it.  Lesson Learned for next year?  Use Mark’s loop for a warm-up, great loop and really gets the legs warm.  We rode for about 30 minutes over a mountain, pulled back onto Ft Ritchie, I changed into my race kit and rolled to the line.

The Race

My strategy was simple; sit in top ten for the first 56 minutes and then sprint to see if I could beat the race predictor.  As they say “no plan survives contact”, well or an antsy Chuck.  I get lined up slightly back on the first row, officially the second row, and the official says go, or start, or whistle… something and we were off.  A few riders upfront took off and we went into the chicane like a cross hole shot.  I was already heading faster backward then forward.  Through the chicane, a quick right and a quick left heading toward the back side of the course.  With the beginning of every race, there are always the race jitters, some riders braking, and the occasional scream of “watch your line”.  For the first two laps I was doing okay and then my legs started to burn and hands started to shake, a combination of both race effort and Carl Dolan stress.  I needed to make a decision, fight or flight.  Flight could be one of two directions, off the front or off the back.  Off the back meant that I was going to quit.  For those who know me, quitting has never been an option.  But I am going to have to redefine quitting.  In the past I defined quitting as purposefully DNFing.  Is rolling off the back and just pedaling the course until either the officials pull you or the race ends any different?    On lap two I realized that quitting is also giving up and watching the field pull away.  So decision time, fight or off the front.  Here goes Chuck again.  So the field gratuitously let me sit either off the front or on the front for the next 6 laps.  I pulled around the course averaging 24 mph and 359 watts for the next 12 minutes.  My nerves were calming and I felt pretty good.  Now I have no idea how far off the front I was or if I was simply sitting on the front, I am sure it was the latter not the former.   Then we had a preme lap, I jokingly hollered at the officials that after pulling for 6 they rang the bell.  The group let me dangle out in front all the way on the backside and to the final turn.  I actually heard Jamey Lees from Syn-Fit negotiating with the group to let me have the beer preme because “he deserves it”.  As we turned on to the main straightway, that was not going to happen and a few rides passed sprinting for the preme. 
Jamey Lees' got a good draft
I then settled back into the group sitting behind Clifton Gray from Artemis.  Clif is one of the few guys (from quick data sampling, Artemis must have a height minimum for the guys in my race!) that I can draft behind.  Well anyone of the three Artemis riders, Clif, Howard Tyndle, or Ted Dorsey.  All three have a good eye for riding in the peloton, a skill no doubt learned from Super Dave Osborne, so I was confident I had a good wheel.  For the next 10 laps, I set behind the Purple Train of Artemis.  After a few seconds of mental lapse I found myself behind and unfamiliar wheel that all of a sudden braked.  I had to do the same, my rear wheel skipped to the side, I stayed up, and Clif was to my right and commented, “Way to stay up Chuck!”  Heart began to race, hands started to shiver, fight or flight.  We passed by the start finish line and I heard the familiar sound of a bell lap meaning another preme up the road. 

I wanted the preme. I was still thinking about the flight, so I went off the front, pushed hard this time and got a pretty good gap.  Crossed the start / finish line and looked back; they were just finishing the turn.  I had room.    I dangled out there for four laps, about 9 minutes.  At some point I got pulled back into the group but I don’t remember exactly how that happened, like before I kept the same 24 mph 310 watt pull but just got caught.  We had about 6 laps to go, I was feeling good.  Found an Artemis wheel and settled in.  I knew that I could not win the field sprint.  Race predictor had me in the bottom third, so I figured with 3 to go I would give it a last try.  So with 3 to go, I sprinted off the front again and  I was able to hold this until the last lap. On the backside of the course, the group swarmed me andmy race was done.  I felt great, I raced my ass off.  Post-race discussion with my mentor and friend Jim Weinstein, he had some great words to say, That's a fixable tactical problem.......  Yes Jim, let’s do that.


There was lots of great racing going on that day, thanks to Joe Jefferson for putting on such a great race.  Congrats to Jamey Lees of Syn-Fit for an outstanding win.  Artemis thanks for the Purple Security blanket keeping me from bailing.  Super Dave…  Always a pleasure to watch, you are always in a break.  I working at matching your success and I will be there some day. Dana for always being at the race even if you had to sit around for 5 hours after yours.

By the numbers

By the numbers:

AC greater than AR this time
·         Duration:  57:32

·         Norm Power:  311

·         Distance:  22.88 mi

·         Power:   Max 1117 Avg 305 watts

·         Heart Rate:  Max 190    Avg 176 bpm

·         Speed:  Max 33.6    Avg 23.8 mph

Full Ride Link to TrainingPeaks

Good decisions: I RACED!!!  Stupidly but RACED
Bad decisions: see above.

Overall finish: 28th.

Thoughts for 2014:

·         Use Sufferfest Revolver on the CT as a main training aid in Jan / Feb / Mar.  My prediction was correct, 42% active recovery, 34% anaerobic capacity.
·         Laps run just at 2 minutes each.  Prepare yourself for plenty of AC intervals during the lap.
·         Practice moving up the center of a race, you can use the sides for explosive moves, but for  proper positioning get use to moving up the middle.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Morgantown Road Race

Category 3/4
Morgantown, WV/Mount Morris, PA

Number of starters:   59
Road-Results Predictor:  51st

Course description:  45 mile course on country roads through PA and WV.   First 10 miles consists of rollers then an area of about 5 miles that goes from 1% to 5%.  Not a major climb, just up hill.  This was followed by a decent climb at the 25 mile mark for 3 miles.  One more climb for 1.5 miles and then off to the finish, with a short little bump before the line of about 5%.
Weather:  It would be hard to ask for better weather.  High 50s and sunny.

Photo Credit:  Fred Jordan
With the race season in full-swing, the weekdays between races are filled with training and race prep.    While I have written race reports for several seasons, this year I want to incorporate past lessons learned in order to race smarter and get stronger.  I have spent a tremendous amount of time looking over years of data from my races and training rides in order to better understand my own strengths and weaknesses, oh I mean limitations. 
One of the limiters I identified is how quickly I fatigue at VO2Max, specifically 1 to 2 minutes.  To mitigate this “deficiency”,  I added Sufferfest Revolver each week to work on those intervals.  I have also started adding a section to my race reports that lists my lessons for racing / training in general and then specifically for that race next year.

Quick pre-race strategy:   The plan was to start out in the top twenty, sit in until the climb, and do everything that I can to stay with the field up the hill, descend and do it again on the second climb.  I had no intention of covering any breaks or trying to create one.  I had pre-ridden the final climb and sprint, and knew that I could use this to my advantage at the end of the race.  Here I would be testing my VO2 numbers.

How the race played out from my vantage point:  We rolled out at a fairly calm pace averaging around 21 mph.  Somewhere in my lack of focus, I started thinking about my pre-race plan and became annoyed with myself for just participating and not racing at Black Hills.   I made a rash decision. I am going off the front.  I attacked and got away.  At one point the moto ref gave me an update that I was about minute to two off the front with a four man chase trying to close the gap.  A few minutes later the ref informed me that the chase had grown to seven.  I will say, it is the first time I have been in a position to receive updates.  It was pretty cool.  I could imagine Phil Ligett or Bob Roll’s commentary on my break, with the former making some prognostication about my potential for cracking on the hill and the surprise in his voice as I held on for the win. 
After being away for about 45 minutes, I was caught by the pack of seven.  I reintegrated with them and hoped we could work together but those guys were either not willing or able to do some work.  I put in a couple of efforts trying to get away again, but without sustained success.  I thought it was just the eight of us, but after the race, Jordan Cross from Evo told me that the main field was only a few seconds behind the eight of us, which explains why the others were not trying to increase our break.  No one was dumb enough to pull the entire field, well except me. 

We came to the first ‘big’ climb, and I got engulfed by the main field.  My new plan?  Sit in until we descended, move back to the front and try to escape again.  I wanted to race; I felt good and liked the feeling.   The main field got a little gap on the climb but I knew I could reattach on the descent and then just move through and off the front.   I got passed by the Moto Ref and the Wheel Van but I was still doing okay, main field only 100 meters in front.  
Then at the 32 mile mark there was a long crack across the road, I didn’t see it until it was too late.  I hit it hard and the all too familiar sound of carbon cracking on a Zipp wheel echoed in my ears.  West Virginia roads were not two for two on cracking my Zipps  I got out of the away of the guys behind me and pulled off the road.  I watched the main field and the wheel van roll away.  
Two more races passed and a wheel vehicle from the 4/5s rolled up.  I had been standing there for 15 minutes.  I got a wheel while Mike Russo from the 4/5 field grabbed one too.  He had met the same fate as me.  We took off with about 10 miles left including one ‘big’ climb and then the final climb.  As I started on the final climb something felt odd, I looked down and the wheel out of the van had a 23.  A 23 for the final two climbs?  Really?  Ha!  I soft pedaled up the hills and crossed the finish line.

By the numbers:

Photo Credit:  Fred Jordan
·         Duration:  2:12

·         Norm Power:  First 1:30 – 321 Watts

·         Distance:  45.6

·         Power:   Max 1120 Avg 263 watts

·         Heart Rate:  Max 185    Avg 166 bpm

·         Speed:  Max 44.7 Avg 20.92 mph

Good decisions: I raced, not just participated
Bad decisions:  Maybe thinking a 43 mile TT was a good thing.  Situational awareness or pre-riding the course should have seen the crevasse.

Overall finish:  59th

Thoughts for 2014:

·         Get to the front of the race as soon as possible

·         Use the climb and the follow on flat to get some space on the group

·         Be in a position to make a decision to go off the front on the last big climb

·         Use Sufferfest Revolver on the CT as a main training aid in Jan / Feb / Mar.  My prediction was correct, 42% active recovery, 34% anaerobic capacity.

·         Race, don't participate