Tag Archives: breakaway

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

GSMR #1 – Race Report

Camp Sumatanga is a Christian camp and retreat center located in rural Gallant, Alabama at the base of Chandler Mountain. The folks that run the camp have been so kind to let GSMR use their facilities for the start/finish of the annual training race series. Each year, close to 200 cyclists gather in late February for what is traditionally the first race of the year of the upcoming season.

This year, about 45 riders lined up for the “A” race, and the action started as soon as Bill Seitz said “Go!” with Travis Sherman (Tristar/Warp9 Bikes) taking off. I was closest to the front from our team (Tria Market/Ivan Leonard Chevrolet) so I set off in pursuit. I looked back and saw one of Travis’s teammates coming up to me and my own teammate Darryl Seelhorst rocketing up on the outside so I eased up to fall back to the pack and let Darryl join Travis and Mike Hurley (Alabama Masters/Bobs Bikes) on a three-man breakaway that defined the first half of the 50 mile race. With three of the major teams represented, the pace in the pack plummeted for the rest of the lap until near the beginning of the second lap when we saw that the break had dwindled to just two riders. This put Alabama Masters back on the offensive and there was a series of attacks. We took turns covering them content to let Darryl fight it out with Travis up front because we wanted the move to stick.

Then because the racing was starting to get fairly negative (i.e., slow). The Tristar/Warp9 team moved to the front and began drilling it not necessarily in full chase mode but definitely at a very high speed. With the crosswinds on the back side of the course, this put a number of people into “a spot of bother” as the gap to Darryl and Travis started to shrink. Also, there were individual riders that would attack which Tristar/Warp9 would respond to by sending a rider causing us to send a rider too. We covered all these moves well.

Then on the primary hill on the backside of the course, Mike Olheiser (Tristar/Warp9) attacked hard on the hill and I gave it everything I had to bridge up to him and then hang onto his wheel up to Darryl and Travis. We caught them right before the start of the fourth lap. Mike drilled it up the gradual climb just past the start/finish line at a pace that only Darryl and I could keep up with. This meant that Mike was outnumbered and therefore had to stop working with Darryl and I. So we had a few discussions trying to figure out what to do. One option would be for one of us to go with Mike to even out the break and for the other to drop back to the pack. The other option was for Darryl and I to ride tempo and see if we could stay away with Mike sitting in for the finish. I was leery that Mike would put in an attack to drop both of us when we were tired so we couldn’t really ride a fast enough tempo to stay away from the group and it all came back together a little before halfway through the 4th lap. There were some shortlived attacks that didn’t go anywhere.

Then just before the start of the 5th lap, Mike Lanham (Tristar/Warp9) put in an attack that Wes covered. The two of them started to put time in the field when Travis Hagner (Tristar/Warp9) attacked to see if he could join the break, too. Darryl covered this move, but decided with the effort that he had put in the break from earlier that he wasn’t going to work with Travis. So they came back to the field right about the start of the 5th lap. We had a pretty fast pace up the gradual hill on the start of the 5th lap and then Mike O attacked super hard just after the top of the hill. I was right there so I latched onto his wheel and we had to work together to catch up to Mike and Wes. Shortly before the last turn, Mike Lanham put in an attack that I covered. Then Wes attacked taking Mike Lanham with him. I looked at Mike and said I was happy to let the two of them sprint it out.

He agreed and we had a running commentary going as we were able to watch them cat and mouse their way to the finish. In the ensuing sprint, Mike Lanham was just able to outsprint Wes (by less than a wheel from what I hear). We didn’t see their sprint as we had our own to deal with. Shortly before the finish the pack had closed the gap enough that I had to pick up the pace and lead out the sprint. Mike came around me at the line to take 3rd. Sammy was in good position for the field sprint but then cramped just before the finish. Next week!!!!

So this week we settled for 2nd and 4th behind Tristar/Warp9’s 1st and 3rd place finish. All-in-all a good start to the racing season with a strategic tactical race, lots of lessons learned, and a bit of hard riding mixed in. Here’s my topocreator map of the course, elevation profile, and heartrate/power data.

Camp Sumatanga Training Race - 2009 - Gallant, AL

Camp Sumatanga Training Race - 2009 - Gallant, AL

2009-2-23 GSMR Training Race #1

2009-2-23 GSMR Training Race #1

  1. Following Mike’s wheel to bridge up to Darryl and Travis
  2. Working with Mike to bridge up to Wes Douglas and Mike Lanham
  3. Watching the sprint for first unfold and then our own sprint for third

US 100K Classic Race Report

Quick Summary: 41st out of well over 100 riders, 3rd place in a 3-place mid-race sprint, initiated the main break of the day, rode aggressively

The Details: Wow, what a racing experience – from start to finish. Let me run you through the day. 5:15AM wakeup call to eat some pancakes and let them digest before our early 7:15AM start in Atlanta, Georgia. This race is part of the US 10K Classic – a huge running race/walk with thousands of participants. Our staging time was 6:30AM so I left our hotel in the very dark early morning to ride the 3 or 4 miles from the hotel to the start line. When you crested the top of one of the many rolling hills on US 41, you could see across a small valley to the hill where the race would start. The roads were already blocked off and there were police cars with blue lights flashing at every intersection on both sides of the road and in the middle all the way up the hill. It was quite a sight in the dark!

The runners had already started to mass waiting for their start after ours so we had a send-off crowd numbering close to ten thousand as we started. The race starts out on a very wide road down a very steep hill. By the bottom of the hill, we had already hit 45mph in only the first 30 seconds of the race. I had a great start at the front of the group and was waiting for somebody to attack on the first roller. Sure enough, there was an attack and I was in good position to go with it. About 6 of us were in the move and we had a small gap of about 5 seconds on the field going into the tricky “flyover” onto South Cobb Drive. I was at the back when we reached the ramp and I knew we were supposed to go right but the five guys in front of me all want straight. I yelled that we were supposed to go right, but they missed the turn and so I ended up leading the way by myself onto the flyover. This was really, really funny and ironic because Kristine and I had pre-driven the course the night before and gotten confused at the intersection so she told me somewhat adamantly that I shouldn’t be the first person leading the way – and yet I was the only one who got it right!

The field caught up pretty quickly on the rollers and there were several very shortlived moves. I worked hard to fight for position and saw how easy it was to get passed and lose position on the wide roads. Then on one of the hills, a rider next to me lost control (hit something maybe?) and started to fall. It scared me a bit because it was right next to me, but I thought to myself wow he is about 4 feet away no problem I’m safe – well, he swerved a little bit in my direction and was close enough that when he fell his helmet glanced off my left calf kinda hard. That wasn’t enough to knock me over so that was the first crash of the day that I narrowly avoided. On the second lap I made it into a large move (mabye 20 riders) but we never had more than a 5 second gap and we got caught shortly after the feedzone.

For the next three laps I was tired and trying to recover and still fight for position. Several large groups of riders separated from the field including a group of 10 at the front and then maybe a group of 25-30 chasers. I was still back in the field and thinking “oh no”, but fortunately the groups in front of us never worked well together and the field stayed pretty strung out to bring them back. Near the end of the fifth lap, the field had just come back together, and I had just gotten pulled to the front by a rider trying to advance his position in the field so I decided to slingshot around him and gun it up the hill to see if I could get a move going. I looked back and only Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe’s) had responded in the field. Right as I looked back he came flying by and I drilled it to catch onto his wheel. We started working together right about the time that Yosvany Falcon (Toshiba-Santo) bridged up to us. The three of us worked well together for the next lap, but then on the lap after that I started to cramp a bit and decided that I needed to just sit on for the hard part of the course (the rollers on S Cobb Drive), but I helped where I could on the windy part of the course and the main downhill stretch on US 41. It was awesome because the 10k run went the opposite way on the course and literally thousands of people were cheering for us as the three of us would fly by going the other way.

2008 US 100K Classic - Leading the breakaway

2008 US 100K Classic - Leading the breakaway

2008 US 10K Classic Runners

2008 US 10K Classic Runners

We ended up staying away for the mid-race prime which fortunately was a three-place prime! Our maximum lead was just about a minute, but that was nowhere near enough without several of the major pro teams represented in the break (Kelly Benefits, Healthnet, Jelly Belly, Inferno). When we were finally caught after four laps away on our own (20 miles), there were seven Kelly Benefits riders on the front working together to bring it all back together.

There were still 3 laps to go (15 miles) plus the finishing stretch (1.5 miles) so I was able to sit in the field and recover, but I was too tired to fight for position on the lap after we got caught and so I ended up near the back of the large pack. With 1 lap to go, I was feeling much better and fought my way up to about mid-pack, but still about 75 riders from the front. On the feedzone hill with about 2 miles to go, I saw an opening and attacked hard but I was tired and the pace was fast so I only moved up about 25 riders by the time we made it to the nasty corner. I was sitting in about 50th going into the last mile and moved up nine spots by the crazy downhill sprint finish for 41st place. I hit 51 mph in the sprint and towards the end simply tucked low and coasted across the line passing about 5 people while coasting!

There were a LOT of crashes on the last lap, but the worst crash was with two laps to go. I didn’t see what happened, but I nearly got taken out by a bike (with no rider on it). I never did see where the rider was. All I saw was the bike – and I could see at least 15 feet on either side of the bike and there was no rider. That had to have been a bad crash for the bike to get flung that far away from the rider.

Finally, here’s my power and heartrate data for the race.

2008 US 100K Classic Power and Heartrate data

2008 US 100K Classic Power and Heartrate data

  1. This is the early move I went with
  2. I was aggressive early and tried to get in a number of moves
  3. Here I was trying to recover and still fight for position
  4. Here is the attack I made to start the break that would last for four laps
  5. Got caught here
  6. The last lap and finish