Fool’s Gold 2014

Men's 100 mile podium.

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

Race Summary
10th place in the men’s open category, 12th place overall with two very fast singlespeeders (Gordon Wadsworth and AJ Linnell) finishing ahead of me. It would have been three singlespeeders finishing ahead of me, except Bob Moss got a flat mid-race. I passed him while he was changing his flat, but then he passed me again a couple hours later. With just a couple miles left to race, I caught and passed him again to finish 12th overall and 10th in the men’s open category. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the race for me was the Bull Gap descent and singletrack. It really clicked with me how to ride the berms both big and small throughout the doubletrack and singletrack portions of the descent knocking nearly 5 minutes off a six mile section of trail.

My finishing time was also 5 minutes faster, but it came through a much steadier pacing of my effort. I did the opening climb almost 5 minutes slower than 2012 – which means that I shaved at least 10 minutes off the more technical portions of the course … with the last 60 miles stuck in my big chainring. I missed a shift and bent the front derailleur cage so that it wouldn’t shift back down into the little chainring. I thought about stopping and trying to bend it back, but I realized that I was pushing myself much harder when I was forced to stay in the big chainring. The only time I really missed it was the few super steep sections which I just got off and ran up.

Race Highlights

  • One of the things that I love about mountain bike racing is the creek crossings. When you get caught up in a road season – a lot of times you forget about the fun of a legitimate creek crossing … i.e., enter the creek at full speed and the splash reaches above your head soaking you completely. Also, if you don’t make it all the way across, you are submerged at least up to your knee if not up to your hip or higher. Fool’s Gold didn’t disappoint – even with a really dry course this year. The creek crossings were DEEP.
  • Really deep field – Jeremiah Bishop, Tinker Juarez, Gerry Pflugg, Gordon Wadsworth, Rob Spreng, and a LOT of other strong racers.
  • Just seeing so many people I haven’t seen since Cohutta with my accident wiping out all the ultracx and mountain bike races I had wanted to do.
  • Singletrack fun … first time riding singletrack since Cohutta.

Race Data
HR summaryZone summary … not much time spent in Zone 5, but a TON of time spent in Zone 4.
Annotated HR plotAnnotated HR plot (click to enlarge)

Alabama Road Race State Championship

Alabama state champ! Woohoo, what a season!

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

Pro/1/2 podium – Left to right – Said Assali (Shama Cycles), Me (Friends of the Great Smokies), and David Potter (Infinity Racing/Tom Williams BMW-Mini).

I’m super happy to take the win today in the Alabama state road race in Elkmont up near the border of Tennessee. We had a small 1/2 field combined with the 3s and the Masters for a grand total of maybe 15-20 people in the race. This led to interesting team dynamics with team members spread across different fields, but there wasn’t a whole lot of choice for the officials given the small turnout. The race organizers did something awesome I’ve never seen before in 20 years of racing … they handed out black ribbons at the start for us to wear in honor of James Keith Green who was killed earlier this week bicycling in Lauderdale County not far from the race course. Given my accident earlier in the year, it meant a lot for me to be able to cross the line solo holding up the ribbon as a tribute to someone who was not as fortunate as I was.

The race itself played out differently than I had imagined … I was hoping for a break, which did happen — but not in the way I would have expected. On the first lap, there were a few attacks, but everything stayed together with everyone being fresh. Then across the top of the plateau after the first climb on the second lap, Said Assali and David Potter rolled off the front. I was near the front so I attacked to bridge across thinking that I would probably just pull the field up with me. Instead, I got away solo and when I caught up to them went flying by saying “let’s go, this is it”.

Sure enough, by the time the field started chasing we had already hit 53 mph on the steep descent off the plateau. We had maybe a 15-20 second gap as we started up the steeper longer second climb. I was thinking that somebody from the field might bridge across to us, but we stayed away to the top and then started really rolling well into the headwind part of the course. A few miles later, it seemed pretty clear that we were going to stay away. For the next 30 miles or so, we worked well together until I attacked at the entrance of the roubaix portion of the course (Robinson Rd – a mix of pavement and gravel and potholes).

I was hoping to reduce the break from 3 to 2, but both Said and David had no problem holding my wheel. The end of that section immediately transitions into the first climb. I hit it hard again … again hoping to get away with just one other rider … but both Said and David came off my pace, which meant I would have to push it HARD for the next 12 miles to the end of the lap if I was going to stay away for the win. Fortunately, I was able to hold them off for the win!

Here’s my annotated heartrate and power data:

Annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

hrsumm Heartrate zone summary.

Also, I’ve linked to my shifting data (specifically lap 6) from the race. One of the things that I learned from the 24 hour race was that I tended to shift into easier gears when I started to get tired. So when I started to get tired on my solo break late in the race and my power started to drop well below threshold, I would shift down into a harder gear for a bit and pick up the pace. This plays out in the data as more frequent shifting on lap 6 as opposed to lap 5, which was entirely in the 3 man break. 11.6 seconds between shifts on lap 6 vs 14.1 seconds per shift on lap 5.

di2dataView lap 6 shifting data on di2stats.com.