Tag Archives: circuit race

Mississippi Gran Prix 2013

Quick summary
Friday night crit – 6th in a race that ended in a field sprint
Saturday morning road race – 7th in a race that ended in a field sprint
Saturday afternoon time trial – 32nd in a time trial that ended with a sprint
Sunday morning circuit race – 6th in a race that ended in a field sprint
Stage race overall – 18th place (one spot out of the money)

I’m happy to have made top 10 in all of the races – excellent practice/preparation for all the positioning that is going to happen in the upcoming Sunny King and Athens Twilight pro crits. It looks like WordPress is starting to overlay ads on top of each of the videos … click the “youtube” icon on each video to watch a version of the video without an ad.

Friday night crit

New, fast course this year with a new combination of roads in the downtown part of Brookhaven. I brought my family this year, so after we finished the drive from Birmingham I left them at the hotel and biked over to registration so that they didn’t have to get to the race start quite so early. I was riding through downtown admiring everything before the race got crazy when a pickup truck passed me and clipped me with his rear view mirror. Other than a sore back (I was very lucky that his mirror collapsed immediately and it was tall enough to clear my handlebars), I was OK. What a crazy start to the weekend.

After a quick stop by registration, I continued my long warm-up by heading over south of town through the old antebellum homes underneath huge oak? trees. It was a nice relaxing way to warm-up for what was a pretty intense race. ThinkFinance was the primary instigator constantly sending riders off the front. I tried to get in a few of the moves and attacked once or twice myself (Kristine got this great picture of me attacking to bridge up to one of the ThinkFinance riders) but with many highly motivated racers competing in a timed stage race, everything was getting brought back together. Along the way I managed to lose a very close finish for a $50 prime sprint at the halfway point of the race.

Kristine got this great picture of me attacking to bridge up to a ThinkFinance rider who was off the front. We lasted less than half a lap off the front.

Kristine got this great picture of me attacking to bridge up to a ThinkFinance rider who was off the front. We lasted less than half a lap off the front.

With about 6 laps to go I was still pretty close to the front of the race, and I managed to find myself on the wheel of Michael McBrien (Bikes Plus Racing) a super strong sprinter from Pensacola – who himself was glued to the wheel of Mat Davis (Team La’Sport) another strong sprinter. I’m thinking “this is perfect!” – but then on the second to last lap I got pinched between two riders heading into turn 1, hit the brakes briefly, and lost several positions by the end of turn 1. I tried to work my way around again, but I had lost the good wheels and ended up starting the sprint from about 8th spot and finishing in 6th.

Colton Jarisch (ThinkFinance) took the sprint, followed by Michael McBrien (Bikes Plus), and then Mat Davis (Team LaS’port). The three of them were pretty much a photo finish for the first three spots. A few meters behind was Bryant Funston (Marx and Bensdorf), Woody Boudreaux (Herring Gas), and then me (Friends of the Great Smokies).

Saturday morning road race

This year’s race started out a bit slower than last year with me not attacking from the start line. It took less than a mile though before riders started launching off the front … Scott Kuppersmith (Absolute Racing) and Marx and Bensdorf had some initial solo attacks, but then it was a ThinkFinance rider and a Marx and Bensdorf rider (Brett Shanaman?) who finally broke the elastic sticking a two man move that got quite a bit of time on the field (maybe a minute or more?). Herring Gas and Team La’sport settled into a steady mode of chasing with a few attacks interspersed, but it took about 25 miles of the 27.5 mile lap before the two-man break was reeled back in.

Towards the start of the second lap, I got into one promising looking move, but then I ended up struggling a bit with some of the counter attacks and the cross-winds — hoping that none of those attacks would stick b/c there was no way I was going to be able to bridge across. Fortunately, everything was coming back together. By about midway through the third lap, it was pretty clear that nothing was going to get away. Again, I found myself in great position heading into the final sprint again on Michael and Mat’s wheel. But about 3K before the sprint started in earnest there was a surge and in the reshuffle I slid a few spots back. I started the sprint this time from maybe 10th wheel, but as it was a long sprint I was able to pass a few of the guys who were fading to end up in 7th.

Colton took the field sprint for his second win in a row. Michael was moving up fast but then as the sprint shifted over, Michael ended up off the left side of the road on the gravel (you can see that on my video). Blair Krogh (4D Fitness) flew up the right-hand side to take 2nd with Mat in 3rd. I was on Bryant’s wheel as we were passing everybody, but he made it around Andrew Hammond (Herring Gas) and Woody (Herring) to take fourth whereas I didn’t quite make it around either of them … if only the line had been 5 meters farther down the road … so I ended up 7th.

Saturday afternoon time trial adventure
As much as I love racing, and as much as I dread time trials – this was probably still one of the highlight from the weekend. And it has been for the past three years — from three years ago when Justin Bynum, Pat Allison, and I all did ghetto skinsuits (wear the bibb shorts over the jersey) to last year’s Strava climbing challenge where I did maybe 100-150 repeats on a tiny 30 foot hill to eek every ounce of elevation gain out of my 2.5 hour warm-up ride to this year’s adventure of riding to the start and back from the hotel on some cool backroads watching a beautiful sunset while my wife and kids went roller skating at the Brookhaven skating rink. The time trial always seems to pull through in the fun factor even if my legs cannot seem to pull through to not absolutely kill my standing in the overall. This year, I even had help from the awesome guys at 4D fitness (Blair Krogh, William Jones, Daniel Wisner, Dustin Drewes) with Dustin loaning me his disc wheel to replace my Reynolds with a broken spoke (I forgot to mention that in my write-up about the road race — I broke a spoke in my rear wheel in the road race, either just riding around or during the sprint).

Even with the disc wheel, tt bars, and a full-fledged skinsuit from FGS cycling, I couldn’t crack the top 30. The annotated heartrate data below pretty much tells the story:

Saturday time trial - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Saturday time trial – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)
Saturday time trial - heartrate zone summary.Saturday time trial – heartrate zone summary.

Colton crushed the time trial to take his third win in a row, but behind him the times were pretty close leading to a somewhat tight GC battle for 2nd-10th spots.

Sunday morning circuit race
The one potential benefit of a lousy time trial is the chance for more freedom in the circuit race. Unfortunately, there were a lot of riders close in the overall so ThinkFinance needed to watch pretty much everyone. When Kenny Bellau (Herring Gas) geared up to attack into the headwind on the backside of the course on the first lap, I was already right behind him so I went with him to test the waters. We never got more than a few seconds before being reeled back in. This played out a few more times before it became clear by the end of the first lap that ThinkFinance was going to ride the front of the race at a fast pace to discourage attacks and then if anybody got away, just continue to average about 26-27mph until the break was reeled back in. This was a very effective strategy. When I went to position myself for the bonus sprint at the end of the third lap, I realized that there was no way to get around the ThinkFinance train. With all of the fighting for position happening behind the train, I realized that joining the ThinkFinance train and helping to work would be more effective than all the jostling/fighting for position behind. On the fourth lap, I worked my way up the left side waited for an opening and then surged the remaining few spots to pull alongside the ThinkFinance team leader, Colton Jarisch, who was riding behind the rest of his team plus Stephen Mire from Team LaS’port who was employing the same strategy to help keep his teammate Mat Davis second in the overall. I asked Colton if I could help work in his train – he said “sure” and let me in front of him. One of the smoothest trains I’ve been in, we rotated well for the remainder of the fourth lap and then all the way through the rough road on the fifth lap. Then, the pace wasn’t quite fast enough and several riders drilled it up the sides causing quite the reshuffling. I ended up a few spots behind the train, but it did make for some great video of the lead-up to the final sprint as I watched Mat and Colton positioning themselves a few riders ahead of me. I ended up on Mat’s wheel for a while trying to move back up. Then I made a big mistake of trying to come around Mat when it seemed like he was too far back. Mat went on to finish 2nd behind Colton (who completed a clean sweep of all the races), whereas I ended up 6th so I would have been better off just staying on Mat’s wheel. Andrew Hammond (Herring Gas) had a strong sprint to take 3rd – good view of the sprint in the video below.

Here’s all the data from my races, including the lap power data from Friday’s crit.

Friday night criterium
6th place, 1/2/3
Lap 	Time	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH
1	1:37	316	790	157	90	26.4	
2	1:33	259	941	166	82	27.2	
3	1:28	324	971	171	87	28.6	
4	1:27	322	808	177	90	28.8	
5	1:31	257	854	175	83	27.9	
6	1:31	328	745	169	86	28	
7	1:30	272	972	177	85	28.4	
8	1:28	266	643	172	84	28.9	
9	1:34	308	983	169	82	27.4	
10	1:30	280	978	177	85	28.2	
11	1:30	355	920	180	85	28.5	
12	1:37	251	981	173	80	26.1	
13	1:30	271	773	175	84	28.3	
14	1:29	282	901	171	83	28.6	
15	1:34	246	755	170	83	27.3	
16	1:28	271	590	171	85	29	
17	1:28	271	689	174	85	29.2	
18	1:25	393	1061	170	85	29.9	($50 prime sprint)
19	1:34	270	719	179	86	27.3	
20	1:33	267	742	170	85	27.5	
21	1:33	242	797	167	83	27.1	
22	1:31	262	838	166	81	28.2	
23	1:27	318	907	171	87	29.4	
24	1:33	275	652	178	82	27.4	
25	1:33	242	837	169	82	27.5	
26	1:30	349	669	176	88	28.4	
27	1:31	302	713	180	86	27.7	
28	1:31	256	615	177	85	27.6	
29	1:32	247	628	169	87	27.7	
30	1:32	270	834	164	86	27.4	
31	1:32	280	822	168	84	28.1	
32	1:34	262	769	174	81	26.7	
33	1:33	282	754	174	86	27.7	
34	1:32	285	815	171	85	27.6	
35	1:33	249	680	173	86	27.6	
36	1:30	279	702	175	85	28.4	
37	1:32	288	821	172	87	27.5	
38	1:29	288	959	180	83	28.4	
39	1:23	382	915	186	83	30.7	

Friday night criterium - heartrate zone summaryFriday night criterium – heartrate zone summary
Friday night criterium - heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Friday night criterium – heartrate plot (click to enlarge)
Saturday morning road race - heartrate zone summarySaturday morning road race – heartrate zone summary
Saturday morning road race - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Saturday morning road race – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)
Saturday time trial - heartrate zone summary.Saturday time trial – heartrate zone summary.
Saturday time trial - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Saturday time trial – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)
Sunday morning circuit race - heartrate zone summary
Sunday morning circuit race - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Sunday morning circuit race – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

Labor Day Omnium Day 3 – Anderson Civic Center Circuit Race

This is the same course as the NRC race that I almost won last year. Read my detailed race report from last year. I was definitely hoping to make the podium this year, but the race played out much differently since the race was much shorter. We did 25 laps of the 2.7 mile course last year as opposed to only 13 laps of the same course this year. Consequently, this year’s race felt much more like a crit than a circuit race.

Basically, the entire race was similar to last year’s opening few laps with several splits in the group, large breaks, and everything coming back together. The one exception was Team Mountain Khaki’s Jon Hamblen and Team Type I’s Alexy Schmidt who got away at some point and stayed away for the length of the race. I don’t remember how they got away but I think it was later in the race. Maybe on the 8th or 9th lap. Speaking of laps, here is my lap power and heartrate data:

Lap	Length	Mi.	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	MPH
1	6:20	2.7	253	843	152	26.1
2	6:06	2.7	285	935	161	26.9
3	6:15	2.7	253	877	155	26.3
4	6:24	2.7	209	814	153	25.4
5	6:28	2.8	249	1049	153	25.5
6	5:48	2.7	320	1093	165	28.4
7	6:32	2.7	196	743	158	25.2
8	6:36	2.7	210	817	153	24.9
9	6:18	2.7	258	941	161	26.1
10	6:17	2.8	266	929	161	26.5
11	6:03	2.8	266	960	168	27.6
12	6:01	2.7	269	914	167	27.2
13	5:53	2.7	325	959	176	27.8

About halfway through the race was a 3 place omnium points prime that I decided I really wanted to get just to make sure that I had at least some omnium points for the weekend in case I didn’t get any in the finish. There was a global bike rider that attacked about 1K from the line and got away pretty cleanly. Our pace accelerated and then slowed. Right when it slowed, I attacked hard and got a good gap, and just barely closed the gap to the global bike rider in the final stretch. I didn’t have anything left to come around him, though, and Frank Travieso ended up passing both of us so I ended up 3rd in the sprint. It was a LOT of effort for 1 point, but I was relieved to have at least earned a point to be in the omnium results in case of a bad finish.

Going into the finish, I was in OK position (but not great) maybe 15 riders from the front but got boxed in on the big hill sliding to near the back of the field as it seemed everybody went up the sides while the middle completely stalled. Across the top of the hill, I swung out into the wind and passed pretty much the whole field narrowly squeezing through the righthand bend just inside the grass. Unfortunately, on the next roller somebody swung over and hit my front wheel. I could hear my spokes hitting some part of their bike, and I found out after the race that I had bent a spoke and my front wheel was rubbing the brake pads. I didn’t know this at the time, and the group had slowed just enough that I could repass the people who had passed me while I was checking to see if I had any broken spokes that would prevent me from sprinting. I attacked hard into the next to last corner passing people all the way into 5th position.

This would have been perfect for the sprint with me sitting on Frank Travieso’s (Team Cocos) wheel who ended up winning the field sprint for 3rd, but I got chopped on the righthand turn and lost a lot of speed — somewhat expected since I was moving up on the inside line. I was just hoping that the speed of the final lap would cause the leaders to swing wide with enough room for me to squeeze through. I thought wrong, and after losing speed I opened up a big gap that I felt obligated to close. Although strategically, it would have been better for me to have swung wide and let somebody else close the gap. I would have felt really miserable about that, though, since I had caused the gap to open so I tried with everything I could to close the gap (with my heartrate staying in the 190s for the last minute or two of the race), but I could only keep the gap constant at about 10 meters. Consequently, I got passed by 8 people on the final stretch since I had basically been sprinting for over half a mile by the end of the race, half of that with my front wheel rubbing the brakes. This put me in 12th for the field sprint, 14th for the race with Jon and Alexey both up the road. The result combined with my 1 point intermediate sprint was good enough to move me into 22nd in the omnium – tied with two other people, but the tie breaker was stage wins followed by total number of intermediate sprint points. I was the only one with intermediate sprint points, so that 1 point prime ended up moving me ahead of them in the results!

Circuit race annotated power map (click to enlarge)

Annotated power map from Saturday’s criterium (click to enlarge)