Sunday, April 24, 2011

Getting in some quality training at these races

After having a couple of the last road races result in some less than desirable results, I was hoping to have a little better day at the Greene County Road Race. The morning started out quite rainy but would open up to be great weather as we started. Category 3/4 was combined with Category 1/2/3 as both groups would need to ride two loops of the course. This was certainly a little scary to consider because I don't train like these Cat 1/2 fellas! I'm a triathlete! We rolled out at a moderate pace into a headwind and I situated myself in the middle of the pack while a few guys at the front threw out various attacks that would not take hold, thank goodness. The pace intensified up the first climb and I felt pretty well with that as the grade steepened. Though I was well into my upper red zone, I had moved to the front of the pack during the climb as that felt comfortable. Several guys were already falling off the back as the men at the front were still attacking one after another. I could see my teammate Nathan Annon countering on a couple of these maneuvers and I tried to use him as my pace indicator. As we hit the first big roller at the top of the climb I stood to surge over the top in the big ring and instantly my chain cracked and jumped completely off the gear Andy Schleck-style as I began to endo. My old mountain bike skills kept me from busting my butt and head. I tried in vain to get the chain back on while coasting uphill and eventually had to get off the bike to fix the problem. I finally managed to correct the issue but certainly didn't recover any in the process, and to no surprise, I was passed by several riders. I thought catching back onto the group would be extremely difficult and I was right. There just isn't any room for these types of huge errors against this strong of a field. My riding was alone but in sight of the pack for the next couple miles. Unfortunately, I don't have the body weight and/or anaerobic capacity to surge into a headwind on a flat by myself and bridge a 200 yard gap against this type of group because I'm accustomed to long time trials and climbing. About a mile from the second climb a couple guys who were working together caught me and then together we managed to pick up another rider, eventually coming within 75 yards of the very back of the group going up the second climb. I thought we had done very well at that point and could get back onto the field but our small group had worked so hard that we completely fell apart going up the climb. There goes the efficiency out the window! I found myself back in no-man's-land for a couple more miles and eventually would work with Rob Lochner of Iron City Bikes for several miles in the back half of the loop. We saw a couple guys drop out after the first lap and figured that we were already riding, in need of riding miles, and the weather was beautiful so we should just continue onward. He was certainly a much stronger flatland cyclist than me so at times I was struggling to hang on to his speed. We would separate for a while and then resume pulling one another through the first half of the second loop. In the process we caught Brad Dodson, who had a flat at mile 20, and that train went along well for some time but I was starting to break down a bit after all the higher intensity repeated efforts took their toll. I fell off of Brad and Rob about 10 miles from the finish, which was probably partly the effect of frustration. I went at the rest of the race alone. In the end I would have to settle for 14th place though apparently I was the second Category 4 rider and Rob was the first, so that made me feel slightly better. According to the Garmin software, my average power for this lonely ride turned out to be 220 watts, which earlier this year was my functional threshold power, which I'm hoping is some indicator of performance improvement!

Distance: 64.1 miles
Average speed: 19.1 mph
Max speed: 44.6 mph
Average power: 220 watts
Total ascent: 3100 feet