Monthly Archives: April 2012

Athens Twilight 2012

Race summary
If last weekend’s Sunny King criterium was dominated by Kenda, then this weekend’s Athens Twilight Pro Race was quite a show of strength by Team Mountain Khakis. They had riders in just about every move. And then they were still able to set things up in the end for their sprinter Luke Keough, who edged John Murphy (Kenda) on the line with Emile Abraham (Rosetti Devo) rounding out the podium in third. Even the announcers were getting in on the action. I remember rounding turn 2 maybe 30 laps or so into the 80 lap race and Jeff Hopkins (announcing from the back-side of the course) was already saying that Team Mountain Khakis deserved most aggressive team. Kudos to the whole team for quite a performance and the huge win!

I did not do the grid qualifiers so I started at the back of the 130 rider field. A minute or two before they said go, I realized that I should be on the left side of the group so I turned around and rode around to the left side to be ready to take the outside line in Turns 1 and 2. This worked out really well because the guys in front of me clipped in well and we were able to pass a few people within the first few seconds of the race. On the second lap I was still on the outside and was able to shoot up the hill coming out of Turn 2 passing 10-20 riders. I had tons of momentum across the top of the hill, and the group was still going fast enough not to bunch up on the approach to turn 3 – so I was able to carry my momentum all the way down the hill passing another 10-20 riders. I went from the very back of a large field to mid-pack by the end of the 2nd lap. I continued to fight for position moving up every time the pace slowed down even a tiny bit. The extra energy burned to move up was well worth it for the faster lines you could take through the corners.

By the midway point of the race, I had worked my way to nearly the front of the field with a two-man break a few seconds up the road. The front of the field slowed down coming up the hill out of turn 2, and I decided this was my moment to do something in the race whether it worked or not. I attacked hard up the left side with Jeff Hopkins calling out my name over the PA – something along the lines of “and there goes a move from Brian Toone”. Coming across the top of the hill, I could hear Chad Andrews (who was announcing the start/finish line) mention something about “rider from Alabama”. Then going into Turns 3 and 4, I could hear him mention “Toonesfanclub”, which is the twitter handle my wife uses to announce updates during races (see sidebar of tweets to the right). So by the start/finish line I was caught, but I was elated to have at least done something in the race. That is always a goal for this race – not only to finish well, but also to do something in the race. Last year I was able to win a prime. Three years ago I was in a late race break of 10 riders that eventually produced a smaller break (unfortunately without me in it) with the winner Heath Blackgrove.

After getting caught, I fought hard to maintain my position but had slid back to maybe the top 40 riders with 5 laps to go. This worked out well, though, because with 5 laps to go and again with 4 laps to go there was a bunch-up on the hill as the front riders slowed down which meant that those of us a little farther back were able to shoot up the sides. By the final lap I had moved up into the top 20 and maintained that position all the way to the line taking 20th – my best Athens Twilight finish yet … DNF in 1997 and 1998, 48th in 2007, DNF in 2008, 27th in 2009, DNF in 2010, 26th in 2011, and 20th in 2012.

Here is all my data and graphs from this year’s race.

2012 Athens Twilight Lap Data
		    POWER (watts)
Lap	Time	Avg	xPow	Max	HR	Spd
1	01:19	330	292	820	168	27.2
2	01:12	267	228	827	172	29.2
3	01:14	270	236	975	173	28.8
4	01:11	305	261	851	177	30.1
5	01:13	257	228	895	178	29.5
6	01:12	256	226	845	176	30.3
7	01:16	234	212	890	173	27.5
8	01:15	243	219	919	173	28
9	01:18	258	223	891	174	27.2
10	01:18	231	211	860	176	27.6
11	01:18	272	238	873	178	27.3
12	01:13	271	235	918	179	28.6
13	01:11	284	239	931	179	29.8
14	01:10	250	212	821	182	29.6
15	01:14	249	223	973	179	28.7
16	01:10	280	235	917	180	30.1
17	01:13	234	203	901	179	28.8
18	01:11	268	229	876	179	29.3
19	01:15	261	232	884	179	28
20	01:12	236	210	934	179	29
21	01:13	249	216	903	179	28.7
22	01:10	262	230	864	178	29.5
23	01:18	234	214	897	177	27.1
24	01:17	262	238	896	179	27.6
25	01:17	244	215	920	178	27.4
26	01:15	256	224	976	178	27.6
27	01:18	238	218	903	177	27.2
28	01:16	226	203	790	175	27.7
29	01:16	216	190	794	175	27.7
30	01:14	235	199	706	175	28.5
31	01:13	239	209	885	176	28.8
32	01:13	253	220	875	177	28.6
33	01:18	260	235	900	178	27.5
34	01:13	247	223	933	177	29.3
35	01:13	218	198	885	176	28.7
36	01:19	257	234	883	172	27.1
37	01:16	232	205	842	178	27.4
38	01:16	232	200	881	172	27.5
39	01:14	222	195	832	173	29.3
40	01:16	241	210	856	172	27.8
41	01:13	262	223	930	176	28.9
42	01:12	228	200	820	176	30
43	01:19	224	202	800	171	26.9
44	01:21	215	193	862	169	25.8
45	01:14	267	232	775	172	28.3
46	01:15	244	214	755	174	28
47	01:19	229	206	817	169	26.9
48	01:19	214	191	851	169	26.6
49	01:20	191	186	813	171	26.3
50	01:17	246	222	821	166	26.7
51	01:12	225	199	775	170	28.8
52	01:13	251	218	868	171	29.1
53	01:14	240	213	844	170	29.2
54	01:12	259	225	802	172	29.8
55	01:15	214	186	816	171	28
56	01:16	280	228	842	171	27.3
57	01:13	325	280	971	181	28.9
58	01:21	202	170	783	174	25.1
59	01:17	243	213	701	169	27.5
60	01:14	212	190	743	170	27
61	01:19	224	199	852	167	26.8
62	01:14	232	201	816	169	28.6
63	01:12	244	215	832	173	28.8
64	01:15	245	225	885	173	28.4
65	01:14	261	229	731	172	27.7
66	01:14	232	203	827	172	28.2
67	01:11	238	211	876	173	29.6
68	01:16	244	216	846	173	27.8
69	01:17	239	211	854	174	28.1
70	01:14	212	189	817	173	28.9
71	01:15	236	206	879	172	28
72	01:12	253	217	875	174	28.6
73	01:16	243	218	812	176	27.6
74	01:19	261	214	782	174	26.5
75	01:16	280	233	865	175	28.3
76	01:12	254	221	919	178	29.1
77	01:13	226	190	827	176	29
78	01:13	284	236	850	176	29.4
79	01:10	276	233	922	180	29.5
80	01:07	363	304	1088	184	31.5

Heartrate zone summary. 47.6 miles is a long way to race in a crit!

2012 athens twilight heartrate power data (30sec smoothing on power data) – click to enlarge

This was what a pedal force / pedal velocity graph looks like the more “bursts” of power you have. The black dots are from my long-warmup. The red dots are from the race. Click to enlarge.

Sunny King Criterium and Foothills Road Race reports

Josiah ready to race the kids race and me ready to warm-up for the pro race
Sunny King Criterium
This is a tough criterium for smaller guys like me – the hill on the course isn’t steep enough to take advantage of power to weight ratio. Similarly, the downhill is shallow enough that you have to work to keep the wheel in front of you. Making it even worse this year was a stiff headwind on the downhill and strong tailwind on the uphill. Still, this is one of my favorite crits because it is practically a home race (Anniston is about an hour away from my home in Birmingham). Chad Andrews (totalcyclist) does a great job of announcing the crit and getting the crowd pumped up so the energy in the air is palpable.

Kenda Pro Cycling dominated this third stop on the National Criterium Calendar pretty much from start to finish. Phil Gaimon (Kenda) got away on the first or second lap with an Exergy rider. Eventually Phil dropped the Exergy rider and solidered on alone. He swept up three primes in the process and was away for a lot of laps. Mountain Khakis did a lot of the chasing, and the pace was steadier and a bit easier than previous years. Still, I was struggling a bit because I was too far back in the field and the slingshot effect of this course was particularly bad coming out of turn 4 with a bit of a crosswind before the tailwind up the hill. So basically the guys at the front of the pack were flying up the hill with a tailwind while those at the back were still trying to accelerate out of the corner with a nasty crosswind.

My wife observed that the back of the race was getting closer and closer to me – i.e., I was maintaining my position but more and more people behind me were getting gapped off or dropping out. Eventually, though, I was able to move up to maybe the front third of what was left of the field. With 10 laps to go, I worked hard to maintain my position. With two or three laps to go (I lost count) I noticed that I was maybe in the top 40. Kenda, Mountain Khakis, and Exergy were all battling with their leadout trains. I knew that riders from the train would be peeling off when their turn was done so I figured I was pretty good to move up into the top 30 by the end. Our field was strung out single file flying around the course. I would be looking intently at the wheel in front of me to stay as close as possible when out of the corner of my eye a rider coming off the front. It was amazing to see them rocketing backwards as we went by at maybe 20mph faster than they were going with their job for the day done.

On the last lap, unfortunately, people immediately in front of me also started giving up. I had to come around several riders who lost the wheel in front of them. I ended up catching a few more riders in the final sprint to finish 26th. I was pleased to finish in the top 30 in a really hard race. Up ahead of me, Isaac Howe (Kenda) came out of the final corner 2nd wheel and took the sprint for the win.

By the end of the race the temp had dropped down into the 50s with a howling wind – it was very cold on the “cool-down” lap. This was Kristine and Josiah watching the race:

Josiah and Kristine bundled up watching the race.

Sunny King Criterium data

			Power (watts)
Lap	Time	Mile	Avg	Max	HR	Spd (mph)
1	01:38	0.7	367	897	159	25.4
2	01:28	0.7	317	948	173	28.3
3	01:28	0.7	279	839	173	27.9
4	01:28	0.7	236	767	172	27.8
5	01:27	0.7	282	970	174	28.6
6	01:27	0.7	316	900	177	28
7	01:27	0.7	272	855	179	28.3
8	01:26	0.7	303	1013	180	28.6
9	01:28	0.7	238	934	179	28
10	01:30	0.7	268	822	175	27.5
11	01:30	0.7	253	917	176	27.2
12	01:34	0.7	260	804	176	26.3
13	01:29	0.7	271	820	177	27.6
14	01:29	0.7	282	928	180	27.8
15	01:29	0.7	265	814	177	27.5
16	01:27	0.7	289	853	177	28
17	01:28	0.7	246	780	179	27.8
18	01:31	0.7	276	879	175	26.9
19	01:31	0.7	256	874	174	26.9
20	01:26	0.7	326	935	180	28.5
21	01:28	0.7	260	884	180	28.3
22	01:28	0.7	252	945	176	27.8
23	01:30	0.7	251	717	175	27.6
24	01:30	0.7	256	807	177	27
25	01:28	0.7	246	852	177	27.7
26	01:28	0.7	289	916	178	28
27	01:26	0.7	291	872	179	28.8
28	01:26	0.7	295	827	179	28.5
29	01:30	0.7	250	870	178	27.6
30	01:34	0.7	272	882	174	27.4
31	01:28	0.7	274	898	175	28.2
32	01:29	0.7	249	910	176	27.5
33	01:31	0.7	250	679	176	27
34	01:32	0.7	252	735	172	26.6
35	01:34	0.7	233	821	170	26.5
36	01:28	0.7	265	897	175	27.8
37	01:34	0.7	240	869	169	26.5
38	01:31	0.7	247	855	171	27
39	01:28	0.7	274	896	174	28.2
40	01:28	0.7	260	657	175	28
41	01:34	0.7	258	789	171	26.2
42	01:27	0.7	261	893	175	28.1
43	01:28	0.7	276	900	176	27.9
44	01:29	0.7	259	812	174	27.6
45	01:31	0.7	242	900	174	27
46	01:29	0.7	251	825	174	27.7
47	01:29	0.7	242	793	175	27.8
48	01:32	0.7	247	744	171	26.7
49	01:26	0.7	266	720	176	28.6
50	01:29	0.7	276	880	176	27.7
51	01:29	0.7	238	744	178	28
52	01:32	0.7	294	873	179	26.9
53	01:31	0.7	269	819	178	27.1
54	01:33	0.7	253	825	178	26.8
55	01:30	0.7	246	788	174	27.4
56	01:28	0.7	277	791	177	28
57	01:26	0.7	278	886	179	29
58	01:25	0.7	264	965	177	29
59	01:24	0.7	322	867	181	29.6
60	01:23	0.7	330	744	185	29.6

Heartrate summary – look at all the time in zone 5!

Annotated Sunny King pro criterium heartrate/power plot. Power shown has 30second smoothing filter applied (click to enlarge)

Foothills Road Race
This was my “target” race for the weekend – I was hoping to be in the top 10. I ended up missing an early move and a later move. So on the third of four Cat 4 climbs of the day, I attacked and got away solo chasing a group of about 10 riders up the road with all major teams represented. I was fighting a head/crosswind early on, but then had a nice tail/crosswind until late in the race. I kept the field completely out of sight for a long time. Once I made the left turn onto the rougher road to start heading towards the final climb, I was now faced with a strong head/crosswind again. I quickly lost time, and the field caught me at the base of the last climb. I gave it one more burst to try and stay with the group over the top, but even with a friendly push from fellow Alabamian Mike Olheiser (Competitive Cyclist) I couldn’t keep up. My legs were done. I ended up coming in with a small group a couple minutes back of the field sprint.

Strava map and statistics for my nearly 30 mile solo chase effort (click to enlarge)

Heartrate summary – zone 4 must have been feeling left out after yesterday’s crit.

Foothills Road Race annotated heartrate and power data (30 second smoothing) – click to enlarge.