Monthly Archives: February 2012

Camp Sumataunga Training Race WIN

Video of a very tired me crossing the line after more than 40 miles on a solo break (Video taken by Russell Fulmer’s wife – thank you!)

What a great way to start off the racing season – with our team taking 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th. I won on a long solo break after my initial break companion, Joe from Florence, came off the pace on the hill before the transition back to smooth pavement. We already had a somewhat sizable gap so I couldn’t just sit up and wait – instead I really didn’t have any choice but to put my head down and ride as hard as I could for the next 2 hours. My teammate Justin Bynum put in a late move and got away with and then outsprinted a Velocity rider for 2nd. My teammates Pat and Chris Allison took the top two spots in the field sprint for 4th and 5th. What a great start to the season!

Here are my iBike stats from the race -

---------Selection Stats---------
Dist:       48.51 mi (2:05:38)
Energy:    2338.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 2235.5 kcal
Climbing:    1708 ft
Braking:     -2.9 kJ (-0.1%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  310.2   681  W
Aero        0  253.9   774  W
Rolling     0   42.4    61  W
Gravity  -645    3.0   479  W
Speed     0.0   23.2  33.6  mi/h
Wind      0.0   23.1  37.9  mi/h
Elev      671    770   856  ft
Slope   -11.2   0.04   8.8  %
Caden       0   75.5   107  rpm
HR         99  165.4   185  bpm
NP:332W IF:1.11 TSS:257 VI:1.07
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0055
168 lbs (includes bike, clothes, equipment); 2/19/2012 2:32 PM
45 degF; 1015 mbar

Here is my Powertap data (yes I had both my iBike and my powertap for this race) including the new personal power records for the entire range from 20 minutes to 2 hours!

New power record from 20 minutes to just over 2 hours (click to enlarge)

Interesting “Y” shape on my pedal force / pedal velocity graph. I’m used to the spike in the middle, but not the strong underlying portion – I guess the darker CP curve section is b/c of the steadiness of the flats/downhills and the vertical portion is attacking the hills

Power map – annotated with the really intriguing wind directions caused by the channeling effect of the ridges

I arrived really early so I could do some of my favorite climbs in the area, including the 231 climb which is just awesome after/during rain b/c there are waterfalls pouring off of every cliff … the panorama below doesn’t even include the ones you can see as you are climbing – I hiked off the road to a kudzu cliff (that’s the way kudzu looks in the winter) to get the picture of this large waterfall.

Panorama including waterfalls with Chandler Mountain just barely visible in the far upper right of the picture

Looking towards Chandler Mountain

Finally, here is a topocreator map of the entire race plus my warm-up climbs up 231/Blount Mountain and the always steep Chandler Mountain climb.

Topocreator map – such intriguing topography … the standalone nature of Chandler Mountain plus the “hidden climb” from northwest to southeast from atop the Blount Mountain ridge line

Skyway Epic plus Alabama’s Newest Cat 2 climb

I might use “epic” a few times in this post… Today was epic x3, starting with my commute into work climbing up South Cove Dr inspired by the Dirty Dozen film I watched last night describing an annual ride that goes up Pittsburgh’s toughest climbs. Then after finishing teaching, I headed back home climbing up and over Little Valley Mountain hitting 60mph on the S Cove Dr descent. Afterwards, I hopped in the car to drive 43 miles out to Lake Howard in Sylacauga to pre-ride part of the Skyway Epic course. Traffic was already pretty bad on 280 and it took over an hour to get there and get ready to ride.

I headed out about 1:30 hoping that I had enough daylight to ride the course. 4 hours 15 minutes later, I just barely had enough light left finishing about 20 minutes after sunset. Along the way, I encountered just about every possible terrain you could imagine for a mountain bike race course – flowing singletrack, a few roots/rocks in singletrack, a grassy dam, various levels of bumpiness on gravel/dirt forest service roads and rural roads, steep rocky fire roads, huge mud puddles at the bottom of each hill across the top of the ridge line, fast steep relatively smooth descents, fast loose rocks … basically everything you could imagine in a non-technical epic mountain bike race.

COURSE ANALYSIS FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN RACING
THE SKYWAY EPIC ON MAY 20TH

  1. The singletrack portion that I rode is fast and smooth … only a few rocks and roots … much, much less than the Bump trail at Oak Mountain. I only had enough daylight to ride the opening singletrack section, but there is quite a bit more singletrack that will be included for the finish of the race … has anyone rode that portion and comment on whether it is more technical or about the same as the opening singletrack?
  2. The opening county roads (Wiregrass and Rocky Mt Church) are very fast in both directions. The rollers are pretty steep, but you can fly down the descents leading into the climbs to chop off some of the work you have to do on the climbs
  3. The “big climb” of the day is much more gradual than I expected. It does, however, go on and on forever. I rode the whole thing in my 38 (big chainring)
  4. There are some rather large mud puddles all across the top of the ridge line – basically every small hill that bottoms out into another small climb will have a large mud puddle. I was able to ride around most of them, but the ones I had to ride through were not that deep even though they were HUGE taking up the entire forest service road!
  5. The most difficult part of this entire course is the DESCENT and rollers from about mile 14 to mile 18 … I went FASTER on many sections of the climb back up (mile 36 to mile 40) than I did on the descent!!!
  6. The descent to the turnaround at AL-77 is very fast and fun. There are a couple of loose gravel corners mixed in with the fast corners. It is pretty easy to see the loose ones in enough time to brake.
  7. The entire skyway portion of the ride (mile 12 to mile 42) is rough with ruts, rocks, and sometimes water. I found a few sections where you can just bomb over the ruts, but there are definitely some sections where you need to pick and choose your line through the rocks/ruts carefully. If I were to guesstimate, I’d say that 25% of mile 12 to mile 42 is really rough, 50% is moderately rough, and maybe 25% is smooth. As I mentioned before, there are definitely some rough sections that you can still fly over, but there are also some rough sections that are kinda slow (at least for me, coming from a road racing background)
  8. Overall, the course is AWESOME. It is definitely EPIC. I am very tired after having ridden only the first third of the course at near race pace and not having ridden the last several miles of singletrack. This course has something for everyone, which should really even the playing field. Plus, simply finishing the race should be reward enough for anyone who enters!

Complete ride data from Strava is here: http://app.strava.com/rides/4244882.

Here is the elevation profile and topocreator map – note that my garmin was reading a couple hundred feet lower than the real elevation. Note all the hills and the long climbs. The first long climb is Alabama’s newest Cat 2 – the climb from Rocky Mt Church Rd to the first high point on the Skyway forest service road. This brings Alabama’s Cat 2 climb total up to 9.

Elevation profile – my Garmin recorded data is shown as the dark line shifted down (reading a couple hundred feet too low) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Annotated topocreator map of the ride – it should be fairly easy to see from the topography why this is called the “skyway epic”! CLICK TO ENLARGE

Finally, I’ll let the pictures and garmin screenshots tell the rest of the story for the day –