Monthly Archives: August 2008

Equipment update and question

American Classic wheel problem

American Classic wheel problem

First, let me start with a question. If this was your expensive carbon front wheel, what would you do? This happened during a crit when I heard a loud pop and thought I had blown a tire. I was able to finish the race with no apparent problems, but the clicking I heard during braking was the outer layers of carbon fiber getting caught on the brakes. The crack is only to the outermost layer of the carbon, and it is peeling off like layers of an onion. I am planning on taking it by Cahaba Cycles later today to get a recommendation, but I am wondering if anybody out there has had a similar problem.

Also, I’ve been meaning to post these pics for a while, but I recently had to update some equipment on my bike. First, my speedplay x-series pedals were wearing out, and I was wanting to move to something with a little less float so I used my store credit at Cahaba Cycles (thanks guys!) to purchase a new set of Speedplay Zeros. These pedals allow you to adjust how much float you have, and they are awesome! Finally, after 15 months and at least a thousand (maybe two thousand) miles of hard racing, I had to replace the tubular tire on my rear American Classic racing wheel.

Speedpay Zero pedals

Speedpay Zero pedals

Rear tire problem - finally need to replace

Rear tire problem - finally need to replace

Polar Power meter

Polar Power meter

2008 River Gorge Downtown Chattanooga and Omnium Wrap-up

Summary: 14th road race, 31st time trial, 11th crit, 17th overall. The fields were pretty large all weekend with somewhere between 75 and 100 riders starting each race (except the time trial). The fields were also stacked with what seemed like most of the top pros based out of the southeast entering this year. So I am happy to have raced well and been a factor in all of the races, but disappointed a little bit with the actual results.

The details: The downtown criterium was another almost race for me. It had been drizzling for a while before the start of our race and it was still lightly raining at our start so I knew that position was going to be a huge factor in this race. I lined up at the spot closest to the front that they would allow and then was still able to squeeze a spot on the front row after all the call-ups. I clipped in first and got off the line first and then eased up a bit to get into anybody’s draft for the first corner. The corner was very slippery and we were going fast so I sorta held my breath and was amazed that nobody (including me) in the front of the group went down on either that or the second corner. I stayed in good position and I think I may have bridged to one small move in the first three laps. I was always at the front, but I couldn’t go with the winning move which was initiated by Matt Winstead (Inferno) on the third lap. He attacked hard and I decided I need to just rest and hope that the move would come back. It didn’t and four of the riders in the initial break were able to stay away all the way to the end. I stayed near the front and went with several good-looking moves, but none of them could even get established to the point where we rotated all the way through before getting caught.

Late in the race, I was in a spot to go for a cash prime, but I could only manage second behind a DLP rider. We had a large gap and one of his teammates was on my wheel so I drilled it again after the prime and the two of us got away. I was cooked though and when the DLP rider came around, all I could do was hang on for the next lap. I pulled through once or twice on the lap after that, but we got caught towards the end of that lap. All of this was with about 5 laps to go in the race. When the pack caught us with three to go, I was tired and slid to about the middle of what was left of the field (only about 50 of the initial 80-90 riders). That’s when my teammate, Darryl Seelhorst, came up beside me and said “Let’s go”. I jumped onto his wheel, and he pulled me forward all the way to the front of the group. I fought for position from that point on but still found myself about 10-15 riders back with 1 to go. John Jacob (Mob Squad) attacked hard up the lefthand side of the road with half a lap to go and I was able to jump onto his wheel and he pulled me up to 5th wheel going into the next-to-last turn. I lost a few positions going into the last turn and then was able to pass a few people in the sprint to get 7th in the sprint which was 11th in the race (with four guys already finished).

As far as the omnium went, it was the perfect storm as the six people who finished in front of me in the crit sprint were all close behind me in the omnium prior to the start of the race, so nearly all of them leap-frogged me in the omnium.

Here’s my heartrate/power data and stats:

2008 River Gorge Downtown Chattanooga Criterium

2008 River Gorge Downtown Chattanooga Criterium

  1. Covering an initial move
  2. I suspect Matt Winstead’s move went right about here. Very good lesson for everyone – attack after the pace has been hard for a while, the break is more likely to stick because people are tired and less likely to chase!
  3. Bridging to a chase group
  4. Bridging (or covering) another chase group
  5. The relatively easy middle part of the race
  6. Going for the prime and then getting away for a lap and a half
  7. The final lap

The stats:
Data Value Unit
Duration 1:01:33
Sampling Rate 1 s
Cycling Efficiency 26.0 %

Energy Expenditure 448 kcal
Minimum Heart Rate 111 bpm
Average Heart Rate 169 bpm
Maximum Heart Rate 189 bpm
Standard Deviation 6.8 bpm

Minimum Speed 6.9 mph
Average Speed 27.2 mph
Maximum Speed 35.7 mph
Distance 27.9 miles

Minimum Cadence 31 rpm
Average Cadence 86 rpm
Maximum Cadence 121 rpm
Coasting Time 0:04:59 (8.1 %)
Coasting Distance 2.2 miles (7.7 %)

Minimum Altitude 525 ft
Average Altitude 541 ft
Maximum Altitude 554 ft

Minimum Power 4 Watts
Average Power 328 Watts
Average Power (0 W incl.) 293 Watts
Maximum Power 812 Watts
Pedaling Index Average 18 %
Pedaling Index Maximum 52 %
Left Right Balance Average L54 – 46R Left – Right
Left Right Balance Maximum L90 – 10R Left – Right

2008 River Gorge Time Trial Report

This is probably the most scenic time trial that we do all year. The entire 4 mile time trial is on top of Raccoon Mountain around the TVA pump storage reservoir. Breathtaking scenery and steep drop-offs right on the course! My time was about 10-15 seconds faster than last year. I went out way too hard averaging 558 watts for the first 30 seconds. I spent the rest of the course trying to figure out how to recover and still go hard – never works well. Still, I am happier to have gone a little bit faster than last year. Here’s the graph!

2008 River Gorge Time Trial

2008 River Gorge Time Trial

  1. Going out way too hard (558 watt average)
  2. Trying to recover
  3. Not too bad on the climb
  4. The table-top flat reservoir road
  5. Ramping it up again for the finish

2008 River Gorge Road Race P/1/2/3 Report

Quick Summary: 14th in the road race. In the winning move early, but got shelled (along with two pros), chased nearly back on, got shelled again on the Sand Mountain climb, passed by a strong chase group, rode easy all the way to the finishing climb with what was left of the main field. Managed 5th from this group for 14th for the race.

The Details: I was in an early move that launched itself at the end of the neutral zone at the very beginning of the race. Tim Henry (Jittery Joe’s), Spencer Beamer (DLP Pro racing), Steve Carpenter (Hincapie Barkley), and I went off the front and were working pretty well together with a strong tailwind. Still, we could tell the field was chasing hard and I wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to stay away until Doug Ollerenshaw (Rock Racing) comes motoring up to us. He ramped up the pace about 5mph and we started to extend our lead.

We made a hard right off of US 11 and the road immediately pitched upwards. I was the only one from our group of 5 able to stay with the three pros and at the top of this climb I tied my all-time max heart rate and actually stayed at that heart rate for 25 seconds! I sat on and didn’t work on the downhill or flat leading into the first KOM climb. I was able to hang about halfway up when Spencer and I both got dropped from the leading duo of Doug and Tim. I turned around not too far from the top and saw Mike Olheiser (Marx and Bensdorf) bridging by himself. I took some deep breaths and then hit it as hard as I could to hop onto his wheel and hang on to the top and over the top of the climb. Again, I was struggling so I sat on and recovered on the downhill, but was able eventually to start working again in the rotation.

In the meantime, Ty Stanfield (Myogenesis) amazingly bridged up to us by himself and entered into the rotation. So at this point there are six of us and we are all working together pretty well. We continued like this for the next several miles passing along the beautiful Tennessee River and then the road pitched up again for a fairly gradual 1 mile climb. Mike and Doug just kept right on going at a fast pace and this shelled me, Spencer, and Tim. Only Ty was able to hang on. Over the top and for the next several miles we chased hard closing the gap to maybe 10-15 seconds at one point.

Then when we made the left turn to head into Alabama, the front three ramped up the pace and we never saw them again until the Sand Mountain climb when they were probably close to a minute ahead of us. I was leading into the sharp lefthand corner that takes you to the start of the climb when I came in too hot and just went straight off the road. I was able to keep riding in the grass and rejoin Spencer and Tim at the bottom of the climb. We went at a pretty fast pace, but one that I was able to maintain. The only problem is that a group of about 10 very strong riders had separated itself from the pack and caught us about halfway up the climb. None of us could hold onto this group so they just went right by us. More and more riders started going by me as I was really fatigued at this point. Eventually we made it to the top and a large group comprising the remnants of the field started working together. But with all the major teams represented in the chase group, not enough people had the right motivation to bring it all back together.

We cruised down the mountain, picked up the pace a little bit on the stair-stepper climb, but basically had an easy group ride all the way to the bottom of the Raccoon Mountain climb. I had slipped about 10-15 riders back from the front of the group so that when the pace really started to accelerate I had some catching up to do. I passed riders gradually always with the front three in sight. On the second slope of the climb I felt like I had a flat tire because my legs were so tired. Still, a rider attacked and I was the only one who was able to slowly bring him back. Less than 200 meters from the finish I passed him, but unfortunately Eric Murphy (Myogenesis) had also worked his way back up and was able to pass me with about 100 meters to go. I ramped it back up and challenged him for the sprint, but he still had the legs and was able to pull away from me again. Whew!

To summarize, I am not so disappointed that I got dropped from the winning breakaway, but rather that I didn’t have enough left in my legs to stay with that chase group on Sand Mountain. It’s easy to second guess and say that I should have been more conservative so that I would have been fresher for Sand Mountain. But oh well, I gave it my best shot, and it was definitely a top field with maybe 10 or more pros. I am happy that I still had the legs to do well on the final climb.

Here’s the story as told by my heart rate and power data. Whew!

2008 River Gorge Road Race

2008 River Gorge Road Race

  1. The initial attack and move (Tim Henry – Jittery Joe’s, Spencer Beamer – DLP, Steve Carpenter – Hincapie Barkley, Me – Tria Market / Ivan Leonard Chevrolet)
  2. Top of the first kicker climb, all-time max HR of 195 sustained for 25 seconds
  3. First KOM climb, shelled halfway up but tagged onto Mike Olheiser who had bridged solo and was able to hang on over the top
  4. Sitting on, recovering (or at least trying to!)
  5. Shelled on this climb along with Tim and Spencer
  6. Ran off the road right before the climb
  7. Shelled halfway up this climb (Sand Mountain), couldn’t hang on to the “who’s who of southeast cycling” chase group
  8. Easy group riding in the remnants of the field. With nine riders up the road, we were still competing for one money spot (10th) and omnium points
  9. The final climb up Raccoon Mountain

OK, time to get ready for the time trial. I go off at about 6:30 tonight. Four mile, beautiful TT, very scenic.

Meridian/Cuba Challenge Race Report

Summary: 5th in the crit, 2nd in the road race, 2nd overall

The Details:
Two days of good racing with some fast competition led to my best omnium placing ever! We started out with the downtown Meridian criterium – one hour of racing on a six corner, bumpy course. I lined up with five of my teammates for a total of six of us in the race. That is the most teammates I have ever had in a bike race!

We had a great race, starting from our pre-race meeting. We had a plan and we executed it pretty well, but unfortunately Mike Olheiser (Marx and Bensdorf) was able to get away very early in the race. Marx and Bensdorf had a bunch of riders in the race (maybe 12?), and they would bring about two or three guys to the front and then one of them would attack. This forced Herring Gas or us to chase it down or send someone to join the break attempt. There was I don’t know, maybe, 100 of these micro-breaks and I was in a bunch of them, but I was also proud of everyone on my team who was involved in at least one if not several of them. I can specifically recall when I would watch one of our guys cover a move or chase it down and I would physically feel relief in my legs knowing that I wouldn’t have to cover it, chase it down, or watch it despairingly get away without me.

Late in the race with about 10 minutes to go, a three man break with Frank Moak (Herring Gas) and Chris Alexander (Herring Gas) got off the front with Clark Butcher (Marx and Bensdorf). I was perfectly positioned and rested enough to attack and bridge solo to that move putting four of us off the front. I drove the pace but got some good rests with the two Herring Gas riders also working. Clark was sitting on since he already had Mike Olheiser up the road. We were only about 10 seconds in front of the field and losing a little bit of ground with two laps to go so I ramped up the pace for the last lap and actually gapped everyone on the switchbacks (quick right, quick left, up short hill, followed by another 90 degree right). When I saw that I had a little gap, I drilled it as hard as I could down the hill thinking I could hold it to the line, but I got caught on the finishing straight and passed by the other 3 guys with 100 meters to go making me fifth for the race. The field came in just a few seconds behind me with Darryl taking third in the field sprint. Justin placed well in the field sprint, too, placing him high up in the Cat 3 omnium.

Sunday morning was the Cuba Challenge road race. Three laps of a 21 mile course. I don’t fish, but I am sure this is what it must feel like when they fishermen talk about “the one that got away”. As anticipated, Marx and Bensdorf sent a rider off the front literally as soon as they said go. This move didn’t work, but there were several other quick attacks early in the race that were shut down. Then during a brief lull in the pace, there was a crash that took down a bunch of riders, including two riders who broke their collarbones. Ouch! After everyone came back from the crash (except the riders with the broken collarbones), the race was back on and a move got away with Brent Thompson (Marx and Bensdorf), a Bay Breakers rider, and Lennie Moon from our team. Herring-Gas chased for most of the rest of that lap. The most heated, active part of the race came midway through Lap 2 when there were a series of attacks. None of the ensuing moves though had the right composition and everything came back together for the start of Lap 3. The initial break had fallen apart by this point and another move got off the front with GW, Joseph Welsh, and one other rider. This break ended up staying away to the finish.

THE FINISH – Once the pack made it to the home stretch heading back to the finish line, Mike Olheiser was on the front cruising at about 17mph, and I was on his wheel. Travis came by and ramped the pace up to lead Mike out and string it out so people wouldn’t attack early. This was at about the 1km to go sign. Travis kept the pace at 27-28mph all the way to the 200 meter sign and still nobody had started the sprint so I launched from behind Mike and I was able to accelerate all the way up the hill to the finish topping out at just over 31mph at the finish line. That was good enough to take the sprint maybe half a bike length ahead of Pat Allison and Mike. With three riders (one cat 1 and two cat 3’s) up the road, the sprint was for fourth place in the race but with two of the three riders in the break Cat 3’s, that meant I placed 2nd in the Pro/1/2 race. Kudos to the youngster on Marx and Bensdorf (Joseph Welsh) who ended up taking the sprint over GW. The other rider in the break had gotten dropped, but we had gone so incredibly slow that he was still able to stay away, too.

Here’s my HR and power data (no power data for the road race because I forgot to change the batteries on my power meter and they gave out before the start of the race).

2008 Downtown Meridian Criterium

2008 Downtown Meridian Criterium

  1. The early break that Mike countered and got away from the field solo.
  2. I believe this was the one prime in the race.
  3. First of many small breaks that I was either in or bridged up to
  4. Second break
  5. Third break
  6. Fourth break
  7. Fifth break
  8. Sixth break
  9. Seventh break
  10. Eighth break – this is the one that I bridged up to near the end that actually stayed away
2008 Cuba Road Race

2008 Cuba Road Race

  1. The very early break with Mike
  2. Pee break after the crash
  3. Really easy first lap
  4. The quick series of attacks on the rolling hills on the backside of the course
  5. The most promising of the attacks that turned into a break that still didn’t end up working
  6. My lowest heart rate ever in a race – 103 bpm
  7. The sprint finish

Racing in the South

Well, it’s been a few weeks now, but the next few weeks I am racing in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee starting this weekend with the Cuba-Meridian Challenge in Meridian, Mississippi and Cuba, Alabama. Next weekend is the River Gorge Omnium in Chattanooga, Tennessee followed by a few weeks off before our hometown race – the Pepper Place crit in downtown Birmingham. Stay tuned for more details!

2008 Olympic Fever

Well, I’ll admit that I just got Olympic fever in the past day. Last night, I watched the opening ceremonies with Analise after putting Josiah down for bed while Kristine was having a rare night out. It was cool to watch the “show”, but my favorite part is definitely the parade of athletes. When Kristine made it home, we watched the rest of the parade and then the lighting of the torch. About that time, I realized that in real time, the Olympic road race was probably about to start! So I looked it up and sure enough, it had just started and you could watch it live online at I watched for just a little bit and then realized that the main excitement would be towards the end of the race. So I decided to set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning and catch the end of the race. I got to watch the last 30km LIVE via the Internet. It was awesome! I was a little disappointed Levi and Vande Velde didn’t make the final selection, but I got goose bumps when I could see from the video feed a rider bridging the gap which could only be Cancellara. I won’t give any more away, but the finish was awesome!

Update: You can watch the ENTIRE road race (all 6+ hours of it) via archived video on How cool is that! On the page linked below, click on “Men’s Road Race” and then click on “Enhanced Player” and then scroll to 5 hours 50 minutes into the race and you can watch the last 30k!