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

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