Monday, March 21, 2011

Maybe it was the 6 hours of sleep or the miles in my legs

With temps nearing 60 and the sun poking its way out of the clouds, I decided to head out to Amity for another weekend of fun, fast racing. After a long and needed warm up, we rolled over to the start to line up with what seemed like twice as many people as the week before. With WLC taking up the first row, The Dynamic Physical Therapy boys decided to take the second. With conversations still going and racers still making last minute adjustments, it was clear that no one was prepared for what happened next.
Photos by Fred Jordan - See them here

At the sound of the whistle, WLC exploded off of the front setting an unbelievable pace. Being at the front of our team’s lineup at the start, I found myself flirting with zone 5 trying to pull our team, and the field, back up to the already escaping group. As the gap began to close, I knew I couldn’t pull any longer but luckily, fellow DPT cyclist James Braswell was there to pull through and take up the chase to reconnect us. Soon after this however, the field splintered into a million pieces. As two riders managed to escape off the front, I found myself yet again in a small chase group of 5, which was immediately cut down to 4 after teammate Derek Clark flatted and was forced to withdraw from the race.

Photos by Fred Jordan - See them here

Halfway through lap 3, one of the riders in our chase began to lag and fell off the back followed by another rider towards the end of the lap leaving myself and another rider alone trying to bridge the break. Try as we might, we could not catch them and made the decision to stay at tempo incase we got caught or saw a nearing chase. Working together, we managed to keep away and finished the day with a nice sprint for 3rd and 4th. Maybe it was the 6 hours of sleep or the miles in my legs from Friday and Saturday, but try as I might I could not take the sprint and found 4th place. In the end though, I am happy considering how early it still is in the season and how crazy things went off the line. See ya’ll at Morgantown Road Race.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Success on many levels

Photos by Fred Jordan -

After a winter of spin classes and trainer workouts, I traveled to PA for the first training race of the year. I got in a decent one-lap warm-up then hid in my car for the warm air. We rolled out for a one-lap neutral cruise to the staging area. From the gun, three riders went immediately off the front, but I sat in the field waiting to see how my legs would adjust to race tempo.

The first time up the climb, I honestly expected everyone to stay in contact, so I made the mistake of staying in my position out of the wind near the rear of the field. This was a mistake because there were instant gaps as the front of the field surged away. I was left passing slower climbers, relegated to a day of hard chasing. At the crest of the hill, I was with 3 others and we worked well together to slowly reel in a rider each lap or so.

In the end, the legs felt very good for this early in the season, and I finished 8th. Next week I will be more alert and stay at or near the front from the start and try my luck. Overall, the day was a success on many levels for me - I got to see a few teammates and quite a few of the guys I raced with all last season.

Posted By Ben K.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Anaerobic isn't in my March vocabulary

A few members of our Dynamic PT Cycling Team had a frigid start to the 2011 racing season at this past Sunday's Amity training race. I actually watched a cyclist shred his chain into pieces and endo on the first climb on the preview loop. Now that's a real indicator of the wattage needed on these climbs! They aren't super long but they can be steep. The clouds hung low on race morning, as did the 39 degree temperature. The intensity of the men's Category 4/5 race skyrocketed pretty quickly, however. These guys couldn't seem to hold themselves back. Even the course preview/warm up loop took a toll on some of the racers, as the faster riders were a little too anxious to use the speed they had pent up all winter long. Once the race began, most of the men stayed closer together during the first of the five official loops. Things had begun to string out already by the first major climb though. A split in the group was evident by the start of the second loop. Four racers were able to break the gap but were again lost during the major climb. A couple quick and short breaks were attempted only to fail, but Cory Hartman decided to give it all, which paid off. He managed to stay away from everyone else for the entire event, which none of us really expected, particularly for this time of year. The gap from my small group of five men to the racers behind continued to grow for the remainder of the race, particularly into lap three as the intensity remained consistently higher with no really intense attacks attempted from within our group (thank goodness). Fellow teammate Todd Latocha was there in the mix the whole time, pushing the pace and pulling quite a bit. Todd led out a hard effort on the final climb and I took a backseat to watch these guys battle it out on the descent before the finish. He would ultimately finish in third but I know he's going to be capable of much more this season as he is looking quite strong! I was happy with sixth for the day as "anaerobic" isn't typically in my March vocabulary. All in all, here are my geeky ride stats and a couple beautiful graphs:

finish time: 1:20:20
total distance: 25.1 miles
maximum speed: 42.7 mph
average speed: 18.7 mph
altitude change per lap: ~ 380 feet
total ascent: ~ 1814 feet
average heart rate: 166 bpm
maximum heart rate: 184 bpm

Pulled on my big boy pants and went racin'

Well, I finally decided to pull on my Swiftwicks and big boy pants and go race my bike on Sunday in the ABRA Amity Training Series. With the temps hovering around 40 degrees and no sign of the sun, we rolled down through the twisty valley in Amwell Township towards the start of the 2011 racing season. I’ll admit, I was a little chilled from the cold but as soon as that whistle blew, the cold left my body in a rush and was replaced by the shear excitement of a new year.

The first lap was pretty neutral and rolled along super easy. The break may have went then, I really can’t remember, I just remember no one was willing to chase at that point. Anyways, as we cruised along, midway through the second lap the pace began to pick up. Before I could think about what was happening, I found myself in a five-man chase that was clipping along quickly. After making sure we were well established and away from the pack, I looked around to see who was with me and found myself alongside teammate Derek Clark. We chatted for a minute about how we felt after the ride on Saturday where we both hit it pretty hard with fellow teammate Scott Benson for 54 miles. After that short chat, we got down to business. The pace was not terribly fast but was fast enough to keep your head up. The laps buzzed by and, in no time at all, it was the final lap with 5 miles to go.

As we approached the final and only substantial climb of the day, I knew what I had to do. I knew there was no way my skinny butt could beat the others in the group in a final sprint. With that in mind, I stood up, spun the gear up, and took two more gears from the rear cassette. I put everything into that short, steep climb and, once I came across the crest, I continued to hammer across the top flat section towards the downhill. Looking back as I began the descent, I noticed one rider had managed to keep within about 100 yards of me off of the climb. As we zipped down the hill, I kept my eye out over my shoulder through every turn watching my competition gain small but significant ground. At this point I cursed J.R. for not making this a hill top finish. I can climb and descend fairly well but I knew in a final sprint across the flat I couldn’t hold off my competition.

As the race entered the final few miles of flat, I started to really hammer on the pedals but, about a mile from the finish, realized that I could not hold out for second place. My competitor grabbed my wheel, hitched a ride for about 10 seconds, and then rocketed around me and was gone. As I came across the line, I was slightly disappointed given the effort I had put in on the hill but not too upset given the fact that I just finished 3rd in my first race of the season.

Full Results

Posted by Todd L.