Archive for September, 2011
Here is the detailed ride report from Six Gap … looking for power/heartrate or quick summary … look no further than this previous post!
Saturday – Analise’s morning soccer game got cancelled so I spent a leisurely morning working on a Nintendo balance board research project. My friend Brad Mabry picked me up around 11:30 and we headed out on the three and half hour drive from Birmingham to Dahlonega to pick up our six gap stuff and race the crit at 8:30PM. Checking in for the century and for the race took less than 20 minutes, so we still had nearly 3 hours to kill before I was ready to start warming up for the crit. We hit up the Starbucks and saw that the Clemson – FSU game was on the big screen and proceeded to watch nearly the entire game at the Starbucks in the student center. Clemson won (go tigers!) The hour long race was hard and fast, and I ended up winning three cash primes. Goofed up the finish, but still really enjoyed the race and atmosphere. Read the race report here.
Sunday – We were staying at Brad’s family lake house on the north side of Lake Lanier so we had a short 30 minute drive in the morning to get to the start of the Six Gap Century at the high school in Dahlonega. After finishing the crit at 9:30PM, 5:30AM Sunday morning came awfully early. We left at that time so that we could make it into the high school parking lot before it filled up. I’m glad we did because it was amazing how fast that lot filled up with cars after we arrived. At about 7:15 we rolled down to the start line and there was already hundreds of riders lined up. Thankfully, there was a section cordoned off at the front for people who expected to finish in under 6 hours. I headed to this area and waited the last few minutes as the Lieutenant Governor got us on our way promptly at 7:30.
I was at the back of the cordoned off area with easily 100 riders in front and close to three thousand behind. Many of those riders joined into our lead group of probably 300 or more riders? I was happy that I was so far forward in this group, but it was still very tricky during the first few miles of the ride with the natural surges in the group over the rolling hills. By the time we made it to the GA 60 climb, the group had started to thin out. By the top of the GA 60 climb, the group was really trimmed down to maybe less than 100 riders. This group stayed together until the bottom of the Neels Gap climb when we turned onto US129.
Alexey Schmidt (Team Type I) was at the front drilling it up the bottom of Neels Gap. I had moved up into maybe the top 50 or so by this point so was still getting a nice draft at 21-22 mph up the flatter lower slopes of the climb. As the climb steepened, people from the front started to fall off the pace. Eventually, I found myself only a few riders back from the very front by the top of the first part of the Neels Gap climb. We went down the descent pretty hard, and immediately into the second part of the climb Alexey picked up the pace again. Starting from this fast pace, Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) surged hard. I came around a couple riders to get on Mike’s wheel. After Mike pulled off, I gave a hard pull and looked back to find only one other rider with us – Jimmy Schurman (Chemstar). We traded pace all the way up the rest of the climb and settled down into a hard 325+ watt effort.
Once we made it to the top, we flew down the other side, rotating all the way down to the turn onto 180, where we continued a good hard rotation all the way up Jack’s Gap and down the other side. We finally started talking to each other a bit towards the top of the Unicoi Gap climb, and we all decided it would be a good idea to stop at the top to refuel. We made it a pretty short stop and began the descent. I was leading the way and really enjoying the descent with Mike behind me when I came into one of the decreasing radius turns a bit too hot. After the next two switchbacks, I looked back and noticed that there was nobody behind me. My first thought was “oh no, Mike has gone off the cliff”, so I stopped and started to head back up the climb back to find Mike. Jimmy appeared a couple seconds later and hollered that Mike had flatted. I turned around again to catch onto Jimmy and we continued on down the descent.
As we made our way to bottom of the Hogpen Gap climb, Alexey Schmidt, Jan Kolar (Birmingham Bicycle Company), Donald Davis (Subaru), and maybe one other rider caught up to us. It took Jimmy and I both completely by surprise because we thought that the next riders were minutes behind. They were really pushing the pace hard with Alexey taking us into the bottom of Hogpen at a really fast pace. At the timing strip, Jimmy and I picked up the pace again and were on our own. Jimmy was pushing it really hard and pretty soon I found myself hanging onto his wheel trying not to let any gap open. I made it to the 3.1 miles to go sign where the road is really steep before coming off Jimmy’s wheel. Once I was off, I settled back into a slower, wiped out rhythm about 25-50 watts below threshold. I could see Jimmy almost all the way to the top, but had lost sight of him completely with 1k to go. So I’m thinking he ended up doing the climb 1-2 minutes faster than me.
I went straight across the top, and caught Jimmy by the bottom of Hogpen hitting 56.5mph along the way and railing the corners at 45+mph. The Hogpen descent is relatively straight though without the major switchbacks of some of the other descents. From this point on, we were pretty much committed to finishing together. We pushed it hard back to 180 and then the initial climb towards Wolfpen. When we made it to Wolfpen, we started to pass the 3 Gap – 50 mile riders. We had to negotiate our way through them since we were going maybe 5-10mph faster up the climb. It was really fun though to see all the different people challenging themselves on the ride.
By the top of Wolfpen, I was down to just a plastic 1/2 liter bottle of water in my back pocket so I figured I would make a quick stop at the rest stop. Unfortunately, it was jammed packed with people so I opted to stretch out that 1/2 liter for the last 25 miles or so figuring that we had a lot of downhill left in the ride and not much uphill. This worked out well because I ended up finishing without cramping and with a couple sips of water left. We chatted a lot about races between Wolfpen and Woody Gap, and it was nice to reflect on a long racing season. Jimmy still has more racing to go this year heading to New Zealand for Tour of the Southland. I expect with the climbing form he has now that he will be doing very well in that race!
After the Woody descent, we picked the pace back up again and pushed it hard through the time trial course that was used in the Dahlonega Omnium a couple years ago. We continued passing 3-gappers along the way, and the finish at the high school came much quicker than I expected. Jimmy and I crossed the line together just shy of the course record by a minute or so. It was an amazing event, and I am looking forward to next year!
Excellent course in downtown Dahlonega. Excellent way to end the season winning three primes, although I repeated my Pepper Crit mistake from 2008 of confusing the last lap of the race with the suicide prime. I thought we still had one lap to go and was going to forego the suicide prime in favor of an attack on the hill to try to win the field sprint. Unfortunately, it was actually the last lap! Oh well, that mistake lit a fire under me for the 2009 season so I am hoping this bodes well for a really good 2012 season!
While the course in downtown Dahlonega was an excellent technical course, it made for some goofy Strava lap times as the laps overlapped each other. I tried my best to pick out the lap splits, but I think there may be a couple missing laps. I goofed up the final sprint thinking that the bell lap was for the suicide prime when it was actually the final lap. I was all ready to attack on the hill for the last lap but realized that the race was over … what a sinking feeling. Also, my heartrate monitor has been acting up and it took a few laps before it started picking up the correct heartrate.
NAME DIST SPEED POWER HR TIME NOTE Lap 1 0.5 mi 23.3 mph 364 watts 115 bpm 0:01:23 Bad HR Lap 2 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 269 watts 115 bpm 0:01:14 Bad HR Lap 3 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 301 watts 114 bpm 0:01:16 Bad HR Lap 4 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 268 watts 112 bpm 0:01:12 Bad HR Lap 5 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 259 watts 125 bpm 0:01:19 Bad HR Lap 6 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 310 watts 182 bpm 0:01:10 Bad HR Lap 7 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 169 watts 166 bpm 0:01:19 HR OK Lap 8 0.5 mi 24.2 mph 265 watts 164 bpm 0:01:20 Lap 9 0.5 mi 27.3 mph 414 watts 172 bpm 0:01:11 Lap 10 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 250 watts 180 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 11 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 269 watts 170 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 12 0.5 mi 28.1 mph 349 watts 180 bpm 0:01:09 Lap 13 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 444 watts 183 bpm 0:01:10 $100 Prime Lap 14 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 305 watts 189 bpm 0:01:12 Chasing Lap 15 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 317 watts 186 bpm 0:01:15 Chasing Lap 16 0.5 mi 23.9 mph 268 watts 178 bpm 0:01:21 Chasing Lap 17 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 220 watts 174 bpm 0:01:17 Caught Lap 18 0.5 mi 24.5 mph 240 watts 168 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 19 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 230 watts 167 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 20 0.5 mi 21.5 mph 153 watts 161 bpm 0:01:30 Lap 21 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 294 watts 165 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 22 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 251 watts 184 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 23 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 329 watts 180 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 24 0.6 mi 24.5 mph 236 watts 173 bpm 0:01:19 Lap 25 0.5 mi 25.8 mph 203 watts 169 bpm 0:01:15 Lap 26 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 266 watts 165 bpm 0:01:14 Lap 27 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 291 watts 176 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 28 0.5 mi 27.3 mph 404 watts 181 bpm 0:01:11 $50 Prime Lap 29 0.5 mi 22.0 mph 177 watts 179 bpm 0:01:28 Lap 30 0.5 mi 24.8 mph 266 watts 169 bpm 0:01:18 Lap 31 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 261 watts 170 bpm 0:01:08 Lap 32 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 246 watts 171 bpm 0:01:12 Lap 33 0.5 mi 26.2 mph 216 watts 167 bpm 0:01:14 Lap 34 0.5 mi 27.7 mph 285 watts 171 bpm 0:01:10 Lap 35 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 225 watts 171 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 36 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 386 watts 180 bpm 0:01:08 $50 Prime Lap 37 0.5 mi 25.1 mph 217 watts 181 bpm 0:01:17 Lap 38 0.5 mi 22.5 mph 235 watts 175 bpm 0:01:26 Lap 39 0.5 mi 25.5 mph 243 watts 166 bpm 0:01:16 Lap 40 0.5 mi 26.9 mph 245 watts 168 bpm 0:01:12 Lap 41 0.5 mi 28.5 mph 282 watts 167 bpm 0:01:08 Lap 42 0.5 mi 31.7 mph 525 watts 182 bpm 0:01:01 Missed $150 More laps???
What a fun experience to ride the Six Gap Century 15 years after I first rode it in 1996. Fifteen years ago, there were about 200 riders assembled at the North Georgia College campus gymnasium to head out of town to tackle six mountains. On the very first climb, we rode from a sunny valley up into the fog and I still remember thinking maybe this is what it feels like to climb L’Alpe du Huez. Fifteen years later, yesterday, thousands of riders assembled at the North Lumpkin Co High School parking lot to tackle the same climbs. I’ll write up more about how the ride went yesterday and post a race report from the crit Saturday night later, but I wanted to go ahead and post all the data from the ride. As a quick summary, I ended up crossing the line together with Jimmy Schurman (Chemstar) in a few minutes over 5 hours after Mike Stone (Hincapie Devo) flatted on the Unicoi Gap descent taking him out of our three-man group established halfway up the first climb (Neels Gap). Click on each image below for a zoomed in view, all graphs are smoothed at 30 seconds from Golden Cheetah:
INTERVAL/POWER DATA SUMMARY IN THE IMAGE BELOW:
What a great day for Tria Cycling! My teammate Pat Allison took the win from a 2-man break hopefully moving up into the top 10 on the GC based on the time differential and time bonuses on offer for the stage. Another teammate, Sammy Flores, took the field sprint for 3rd place in the race. I was just two spots behind him for 5th place in the crit wrapping up a 5th place overall in the GC. I also won a prime for a Park Tool Bike Stand with about 8 laps to go.
The race started out interestingly as the rider to my left slipped off his pedal trying to clip in and plowed into my foot with his foot and then into my rear wheel with his front wheel. This is why it is so important to make sure your rear skewer is pointed correctly up the seat stay so that another riders wheel and/or spoke doesn’t get caught in the skewer and pull you down. Fortunately, I don’t believe there was any damage to my wheel, but I went from the third row near the front to near the back of the pack by the first turn. The course was really wide, however, and I had moved back up to the front by near the end of the second lap.
By the start of the fourth lap, I was in a good position to attack to try to bridge across to a small break that had gone up the road on the second or third lap. I attacked hard through the start/finish going into the first turn. I nearly lost it over the bricks but recovered to find myself with three chase group companions – Tim Reagan (Herring Gas), Michael McBrien (Subaru), John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies). We were joined half a lap later by another rider who had bridged across. We worked well together and stayed away for almost 4 laps averaging 27.5mph along the way. Kristine got this video of a couple of the laps of that early break:
Behind us, there was a hard chase by the GC contenders who didn’t want to see me get up the road to get time back that I had lost in the time trial the day before. Once we were caught, my teammate Pat Allison launched a strong attack that was perfectly timed, but there was still too many people fresh and the field brought it back each time. The next few laps saw a few attacks being brought back. Then Pat launched a nice solo move through the start/finish. Another rider from Velobrew was either already up the road or saw the move and bridged across to Pat. It was a bit confusing because some riders were already being lapped and weren’t being pulled from the course. So it was hard to tell who was up the road from the field and who was being lapped. In any case, Pat eventually merged with the Velobrew rider and the two of them worked to establish a 47 second lead. With lap times of just over 1’30″, they were halfway around the course to lapping the field before our pace picked up in the field.
John Hart (FGS) attacked several times to try to get away and chase, but each move was brought back by GC contenders intent on conserving their lead. The field pace was slow because of the short attacks and catches. But then there were a few attacks from GC contenders that saw our pace ramp way up as I and others chased them down. Shortly after these attacks, the promoters rang the bell for the park bike stand as a field prime. Nobody attacked throughout the course so coming down the straightaway before the last turn, I attacked hard (1088watts) up the inside. I thought for sure somebody in the field would have grabbed my wheel to go for the prime so as I sprinted full speed to the finish line I was crossing the gap to my teammate up the road. By the time I made it to the finish line, I already had nearly a 10 second gap with the field just making the turn around the final corner.
At this point, I debated for a second that maybe I should try to finish the bridge to my teammate. I quickly realized, though, that the field would chase hard until I was caught possibly leading it all to come back together before the end. I didn’t want to spoil a nearly certain win given our strongest sprinter in a two-man break so I sat up to let the field catch me as quickly as possible. This worked perfectly because our pace dropped in the field and the break’s gap grew again. Only a couple laps later, the officials announced 5 laps to go, and our pace jumped up again. Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) got away with one other rider ahead of the field. It wasn’t until coming out of the final corner going into the final sprint that we caught them. I made sure to stay as close to the front as possible, which turned out to be really good because there were two crashes on the final lap. Kristine got this awesome video of the finish of the race with Pat taking a clear win, my teammate Sammy winning the field sprint, and me taking 5th.
Here is the lap data from Strava -
NAME DIST SPEED POWER TIME COMMENT Lap 1 0.7 mi 24.4 mph 224 watts 0:01:45 Lap 2 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 199 watts 0:01:42 Lap 3 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 244 watts 0:01:39 Lap 4 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 371 watts 0:01:30 EARLY BREAK Lap 5 0.7 mi 27.8 mph 305 watts 0:01:32 Lap 6 0.7 mi 26.9 mph 277 watts 0:01:35 Lap 7 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 259 watts 0:01:38 Lap 8 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 195 watts 0:01:43 Lap 9 0.7 mi 28.4 mph 302 watts 0:01:30 Lap 10 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 341 watts 0:01:34 Lap 11 0.7 mi 27.2 mph 283 watts 0:01:34 Lap 12 0.7 mi 23.5 mph 171 watts 0:01:49 Lap 13 0.7 mi 24.1 mph 178 watts 0:01:46 Lap 14 0.7 mi 25.8 mph 261 watts 0:01:39 Lap 15 0.7 mi 24.8 mph 212 watts 0:01:43 Lap 16 0.7 mi 22.4 mph 157 watts 0:01:54 Lap 17 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 217 watts 0:01:42 Lap 18 0.7 mi 24.6 mph 216 watts 0:01:44 Lap 19 0.7 mi 23.0 mph 135 watts 0:01:51 Lap 20 0.7 mi 25.6 mph 243 watts 0:01:40 Lap 21 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 211 watts 0:01:42 Lap 22 0.7 mi 25.1 mph 230 watts 0:01:42 Lap 23 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 277 watts 0:01:36 Lap 24 0.7 mi 29.4 mph 387 watts 0:01:27 BIKESTAND PRIME Lap 25 0.7 mi 26.1 mph 356 watts 0:01:38 Lap 26 0.7 mi 21.9 mph 200 watts 0:01:57 Lap 27 0.7 mi 25.3 mph 208 watts 0:01:41 Lap 28 0.7 mi 23.2 mph 160 watts 0:01:50 Lap 29 0.7 mi 23.9 mph 183 watts 0:01:47 Lap 30 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 249 watts 0:01:36 Lap 31 0.7 mi 27.5 mph 285 watts 0:01:33 Lap 32 0.7 mi 26.6 mph 247 watts 0:01:36 Lap 33 0.7 mi 29.7 mph 385 watts 0:01:26
Road Race Summary
I’ve got a 4th place streak going on here with two races in a row missing the podium by one spot. The race went well until the final sprint where I came in a disappointing 4th from a 5-man break after losing the wheel of the winner Grant Potter (Z-Motion). Phil Gaimon (Kenda) for sure deserves most aggressive rider since he realized that Grant would win the sprint from our breakaway group and repeatedly tried to dislodge him with attack after attack in the last 10 miles. But it was altogether for the finish with Grant taking the win, Jonathan Atwell (The Hub) 2nd, Serghei Tvetkov (Aerocat) 3rd, me 4th, and Phil 5th. Our break had a sizeable margin of 3-4 minutes over the field by the end.
Time Trial Summary
The time trial was amazingly fun and also went pretty well. I surpassed my predicted 6 minute power threshold by a few watts (see annotated CP curve towards bottom of this post). My goal at the beginning of the time trial was to focus on maintaining a lap average of 375 watts. After the first couple minutes, I was still well into the 400s, so I began to be really motivated that maybe I could maintain 400 watts for the entire TT. But then my legs started to fade and my power started to drop. I still had a lot of upper body strength left, though, so I stood up and cranked it back up to 400 watts a couple times. Normally, this would be a big time trial aero “no-no”, but with a massive tailwind, I’m pretty sure that it was OK since I was able to get my speed back up both times. In the end, my average speed was just over 29mph, and my average power was 395 watts. Checking the results today, it looks like I was somewhere in the top 15 maybe around 13th, but I was last place of the five of us in the break from the road race, which put me in 5th place on the GC going into Sunday’s criterium (next post). Time trial data posted at the bottom of this post. Also – kudos to John Hart for absolutely smoking the time trial with a time of 5’35″ for an average speed of 33mph!!!
Road Race Details and Data
Here is how the road race played out:
1st lap – there were lots of attacks/chasing in the first few miles with one group of 3 eventually getting away and another group of 3 chasing. When we made it to the longest hill on the course, Phil Gaimon (Kenda) attacked hard. A few of us were able to hold his wheel as we caught the break by the top of the hill. They latched onto our group essentially turning the race into a field split. There wasn’t enough cooperation in the large front group, so after a few miles the rest of the field caught back up to us. I believe there were a few more attacks to finish off the lap, but it was basically all together by the start of the second lap.
2nd lap – Towards the beginning of the second lap, a small group of maybe 3 or 4 riders including Jake Brewer (Herring Gas) rolled up the road. I attacked repeatedly to try to bridge across, but every time field would string out and chase. John Hart (Friends of the Great Smokies) was able to escape, though, and set out in pursuit. A few more riders were able to get away solo and chase. Eventually, there were at least 8 guys up the road including Serghei Tvetcov (Aerocat). This group all came together into one lead group. I tried a couple more times to get away or form a second chase group before the long gradual downhill section, but I was reeled back in each time. So on the downhill, I decided to rest in anticipation of the downhill. I was near the front when I saw a rider getting ready to attack at the base of the hill. I grabbed his wheel and followed him knowing that the real attack would come a little bit later. Sure enough, Phil came flying around a few seconds later. I drilled it hard and was able to close the gap back up to him by the top with only one rider in tow – Jonathan. My teammate Pat Allison was caught in the middle behind us. I could hear him yelling across the top that he was coming so I stopped working so that he could finish the bridge to our chase group. Unfortunately, Phil and Jonathan were drilling it super hard through a heavy crosswind section so Pat was unable to make the bridge. I was struggling just to hang onto their wheel, so I can’t imagine crossing the gap alone. By the end of the crosswind section, Pat was swallowed by the field and we were getting close to finishing the bridge to the lead group. This was about 3/4 of the way through the second lap. As a large group, we rotated well for the rest of the lap and kept a pretty good speed.
3rd lap – A couple miles into the start of the third lap, we could see that the field was not too far behind us. At this point, the commitment level in the group really dropped. People were still pulling, but not very hard. At one point, after John Hart and Phil pulled I noticed a gap behind Phil. So I attacked hoping that the two of them would come with me to form another group. They didn’t, though, and so I ended up riding off the front solo for a couple minutes. When the group came back together, we continued rotating but the impetus was definitely gone from the group. This was right when we reached the rolling section on the front side of the course. I noticed another gap opening up behind Serghei as he was getting ready to pull so I attacked again and this time there were three of us together. Phil and Grant bridged up to us a couple minutes later to form the final break of five. At this point in the race, we worked together really well with everybody pulling hard because the rest of the break behind us was chasing hard. Eventually, though, we started to pull away and get a sizeable gap. Our group was an interesting one with one strong sprinter and four all-rounders (i.e., not sprinters). For the last 10 miles, starting with the long hill on the course, it was attack after attack. Phil attacked the most with Serghei counter attacking several times with me on his wheel. Jonathan attacked a few times, and I attacked once or twice. Grant was able to chase back each move and still take the sprint at the end!
Going into the final sprint, I was sitting on Grant’s wheel after Phil had attacked and strung out the group. Serghei countered to start the sprint in the final few hundred meters. As Grant surged for the sprint with 200 meters to go, I lost his wheel for a second but was closing it back up to him when Jonathan realized that Grant was the better wheel than Serghei. So Jonathan pulled over to grab the wheel in the space that I had opened up. It was my fault for letting the gap open up in the first place, but Grant’s surge was probably several hundred watts more powerful than mine and it took time for me to get his draft and move back up. In the end, the two of them were able to squeeze by Serghei for the finish and I only made it halfway around him – so the final finish order was Grant, Jonathan, Serghei, me, and Phil.
All-in-all, it was a good race with a somewhat disappointing finish. There were lots of tactical sections as well as flat-out sections as well as strategic battles. Fun, hard racing. Lots of data below …
Road race data
Time Trial data
Yesterday, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee blew right through Birmingham transitioning into what our local forecaster, James Spann, called “the perfect storm” as it turned into an extratropical storm when it collided with a low pressure system just north of us. We ended up with almost 8 inches of rain and some pretty amazing winds last night. Some of the gusts were easily in the 40-50mph range given how much the wind was howling. We almost got the kids out of bed twice to take them down to the basement, but in the end decided not to since they were both sick and needed rest. This morning on my commute into Samford, I did a damage survey around the Cahaba Heights / Mountain Brook area all the way down to the Cahaba River. These are the pictures I took on my way into school. Once I got to school, however, I found the campus pretty much deserted. I found a couple people to ask what was going on, and it turns out the campus still didn’t have power (at 10:30AM) so they went ahead and cancelled classes for the rest of the day. Somewhat disappointed because I was looking forward to what I was going to cover today, I turned around to head home and took a few more pictures of the hardest hit area up on top of the mountain in Vestavia Hills where the winds must have been the strongest. Here are all the pictures from my ride into and then back home from work –
8:54AM US Hwy 280 – A key traffic light was out about a mile or two closer into town from where this picture was taken, and look at the impact on traffic at nearly 9AM! This is a sequence of pictures showing an ambulance trying to make it through the mess.
9:03AM Dolly Ridge Rd – In an effort to bypass the 280 mess, the parallel local road (Cahaba River Rd) was bumper to bumper all the way down to the intersection with Acton Rd near the Colonnade. These two pictures show the mess:
I was heading to the Cahaba River (the lowest point in our part of Birmingham) to see the impact of the flooding, and it was quite dramatic.
Normally there are two channels that bypass the tree that has been growing on a tiny island in the middle of the river just below the dam. Today might mark the end of the tree as it was bending quite heavily from the force of the water. The tire you see floating here is one of the two tires that you will see in some of the following pictures although I missed seeing it go over the edge.
9:13AM Cahaba River Rd – Lots of debris including the really large tree shown getting closer in these three pictures could not escape the backflow of the water going over the dam. In fact, it was incredible the force of the backflow. As I was trying to take pictures, smaller logs would literally jump out of the water and go flying directly into the waterfall! Then they would be forced down below the water and reappear slightly downstream before getting pushed again back towards the waterfall. It was amazing to watch – I probably stood there on the cement overlook for more than 5 minutes watching.
Check out the video we took with the kids when we were out driving around on Monday. Also, here is a picture of what the spillway looked on Monday during the heavy rains:
9:37AM Altadena Valley Golf Course – The pond that the spillway empties into was dug out, expanded, and deepened quite a bit from the natural pond that was there years ago to accommodate these flood conditions. It has worked quite well because the rest of the golf course was relatively unflooded compared to previous years.
10:18AM – It appears the higher parts of Vestavia took the brunt of the really strong winds with numerous large oak trees down. This one fell right in the middle of the three-way intersection! The second picture shows the same tree from a different angle. You can see how with all the rain, the saturated soil couldn’t hold down the heavy trees in the strong wind.
11:10AM Shades Crest Rd – This was the only tree that I saw that fell on a house. It was crazy windy last night around 8PM. Twice we thought of getting the kids up and taking them to the basement even without any tornado sirens going off.
11:22AM – Here is a smaller tree that fell in a yard on the descent off the mountain. This picture also shows the flying pig that is positioned in various places in this yard. It is directly across the street from a huge house/huge yard that has four mountain goat statues that are positioned throughout the yard doing different things. Once, they were playing badmitton. Another time, they were hiking with backpacks on the sidewalk. Another time they were pulling an old stage coach. I finally had my camera with me to take a picture of the statues, and they were nowhere to be seen! At least the flying pig was still there.
11:50AM – Tyrol Rd – This tree was the closest large tree to our house that was down about a half mile from our house. This is just on the other side of Rocky Ridge in the South Cove Dr / Panorama neighborhood. Maybe we should have gone to the basement after all!
I took 4th place today in the final race of the labor day omnium, my highest placing ever in an NRC event, and I fell just one lap short of taking a solo win. It was an amazing experience even though it was a bit disappointing to miss the podium by one spot. Still very happy though! Here is how the race played out:
The course was the same course as the long first lap of the time trial on Friday – technical 2.6 mile course closed to traffic but wide open for a fast tactical race. With 25 laps and nearly 70 miles of racing ahead of us, I figured that we would average 25mph. As soon as the race began, however, I realized that 25mph was definitely underestimating the speed of the group as we continued to average well over 27mph lap after lap. Once the race blew up into several small groups, the average speed dropped to a final average of 26.1mph … here are the lap splits annotated -
NAME DIST SPEED POWER TIME Comment Lap 1 2.7 mi 25.7 mph 220 watts 0:06:25 Lap 2 2.7 mi 27.6 mph 284 watts 0:05:57 Fast Lap 3 2.7 mi 27.7 mph 256 watts 0:05:55 Fast Lap 4 2.7 mi 27.5 mph 283 watts 0:06:00 Fast Lap 5 2.7 mi 27.5 mph 284 watts 0:05:58 Fast Lap 6 2.7 mi 27.9 mph 245 watts 0:05:53 Fast Lap 7 2.7 mi 26.8 mph 227 watts 0:06:07 Lap 8 2.7 mi 25.3 mph 257 watts 0:06:31 Points prime (1pt) Lap 9 2.7 mi 24.8 mph 244 watts 0:06:36 Lap 10 2.7 mi 26.8 mph 246 watts 0:06:06 Lap 11 2.7 mi 26.6 mph 256 watts 0:06:10 Lap 12 2.7 mi 22.9 mph 188 watts 0:07:09 Slow Lap 13 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 238 watts 0:05:59 Lap 14 2.7 mi 26.4 mph 207 watts 0:06:13 Lap 15 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 222 watts 0:06:01 Lap 16 2.7 mi 27.6 mph 271 watts 0:05:57 Points prime (1pt) Lap 17 2.7 mi 26.6 mph 290 watts 0:06:09 Lap 18 2.7 mi 26.5 mph 271 watts 0:06:13 Lap 19 2.7 mi 27.3 mph 272 watts 0:06:00 Lap 20 2.7 mi 25.1 mph 254 watts 0:06:32 Lap 21 2.7 mi 24.7 mph 267 watts 0:06:39 Points prime (3pts) Lap 22 2.7 mi 26.1 mph 306 watts 0:06:16 Solo Lap 23 2.7 mi 25.6 mph 283 watts 0:06:25 Solo Lap 24 2.7 mi 24.6 mph 263 watts 0:06:39 Solo Lap 25 2.7 mi 24.6 mph 244 watts 0:06:40 Caught finished 4th
The first few laps were really fast with splits in the field and large groups rolling off the front. I made it into one of these splits with about 15 riders, but there wasn’t enough cohesion in the group to stay off the front. At this point, it’s hard to remember exactly how the final break materialized. I was riding aggressively on the points prime laps to try to get omnium points and managed to snag 3rd place on two of them good for 1 point each.
On lap 16, I was already in a break of about 12 riders when I led out the sprint for the omnium points hoping to get a jump on the faster guys. I managed to hold on for third but the sprint itself had shelled a few riders. At this point we were down to 8 riders. About midway through the next lap, a group of three including Alexey Schmidt (Team Type I), Serghei Tvetcov (Aerocat), and Demis Aleman (Jamis) rolled off the front of our break. For the next three laps, the five of us that were left – me, Oscar Clark (Realcyclist), Shane Braley (Chemstar), a Mountain Khakis rider, and Team Cocos rider worked to chase back up to the three off the front. When we finally caught them, it was back to a break of 8, but one that lacked any cohesion at all as everyone was tired and everyone had strong riders in the field and chase behind us. I didn’t want to get caught so I kept trying to push the pace and would roll off the front either by myself or once with Alexey and once with Shane. The rest of the group would always get itself organized again and work its way back up to us.
With 5 laps to go, they rang the bell for a points prime. Without any cohesion in the group, I rolled off the front again this time getting a pretty good lead. Realizing that there were three omnium points on the line, I drilled it hard to try to stay away for the points. I looked back and was shocked at the gap I had opened up. So that helped me to keep pushing harder hoping to have enough of a lead so that when the group started to chase I would be able to hold on for the points. About 3/4 of the way through the lap, I realized that I was going to get the points and that I had a big enough lead that there was a realistic chance I could win the race! I settled into as hard a rhythm as I could maintain and stayed away for the next three laps. I couldn’t even sustain 300 watts by this point in the race even with the extra motivation of a chance at winning an NRC race. So by the start of the last lap (2.6 miles from the finish), a group of 3 that had split off from the rest of the break caught up to me.
At this point, I no longer had any thoughts of winning the race, and I was still concerned about the remnants of the break or even the 1st chase group from the field catching up to us by the end so I went to the front one more time to try to keep the pace up into the rolling section. There was an attack at the bottom of the climb, then a counter-attack by Serghei at the top that saw him get away solo. A couple seconds later, Demis attacked hard up the right-hand side with Oscar and I on the far left. He immediately got the gap and closed the distance to Serghei. Oscar and I were left behind to fight it out for 3rd. In the final sprint, I tried to go early attacking on the feedzone hill but Oscar was able to hold my wheel and come around to take third with me getting 4th. Ahead of us, Demis took the win just ahead of Serghei.
Gene and the Swagger crew put on a great VIP tent with food/drinks for the riders, and the podium ceremony was in front of thousands of people gathered for an annual concert. With the 5 omnium points that I got during the race, plus the 14 points for finishing third, that was enough to move me up to 11th overall for the weekend. At the beginning of the weekend I was hoping for a top 20 in the omnium, so I was able to almost get a top 10. Great way to wrap up the NRC racing calendar. I’m excited for two more races to end the season – Pensacola in two weeks and then the Six Gap criterium and century the week after that.
Here is my power data (no heartrate this weekend, left my heartrate monitor in my office on Friday) -