Tag Archives: criterium

Rockabilly Omnium 2013

Pro/1/2 omnium - me, Nathan Brown, and Johnny BrownPro/1/2 omnium – me, Nathan Brown, and Johnny Brown

Quick summary
The road race was cancelled for tornado warnings halfway through the race. My teammate John Hart and I had both made it into the break of the day – the only team with two riders in the break. For the time trial, I was desperately trying not to get passed by Paul Tower (Donohoo-Infinity Racing), my 30 second man and I ended up just missing a power record for 11 minutes by 4 watts – although the previous record was on a long KOM climb where you can use much more of your upper body. For the criterium, I ended up winning the field sprint to take 3rd in the race with Nate Brown (Bontrager) and Bryant Funston (Marx and Bensdorf) already having lapped the field. This was enough points, however, to move me up to 3rd in the omnium behind Nate and his brother Johnny.

The details
A very strong field lined up in the rain at the start of the road race. I drove up from Birmingham before the start and had just enough time to pin my numbers on in heavy rain and roll to the staging area. It was a very nice drive through rural northwest Alabama, northeast Mississippi, and southwest Tennessee.

The race started out neutral down the longest downhill of the day in a cold steady rain. The attacks started immediately after the neutral. I was towards the front and covered the first one or two. My teammates took turns covering the next set of attacks. Several moves got quite the gap on the field, but each one had one or more teams missing (but never ours!) – and it was amazing how fast the breaks got brought back in response to counter attacks from the field. After the first lap of constant attacks, a group got established when I covered a move by Johnny Brown (Hot Tubes) and Andrew Hammond (Herring Gas). I think there was one other rider with us initially bc I remember there being four of us in the initial rotation.

Then a few more riders bridged up to us – including my teammate John who got the free ride across covering an attack by Anders Swanson. We settled into a very good rotation immediately, but our gap to the field stayed not more than 20 seconds or so. You can see in the heartrate data how hard we were pushing it throughout the entire lap. Several times I thought we were going to get brought back, but then whoever was chasing must have given up bc our gap ballooned up pretty quickly to maybe a minute by the start of the third lap.

The rain had stopped by the start of the third lap, but you could see a wall of clouds approaching. Even before it hit, the wind had picked up substantially and our group was able to echelon and extend our lead as the weather really started to go downhill. Still, it caught me by surprise when they stopped our race – not much anyone could do about it bc the police wanted us off the course with the approaching storm having the potential to drop a tornado. We huddled under a covered entrance to the school at the staging area – probably 30 or more of us crammed in there to keep warm. Crazy for the first day of June! Disappointing to miss out on some good omnium points, but sometimes that’s just the luck of the draw with bike racing.

The sun came out in the afternoon for the TT. I’m always looking to explore new roads (one of the reasons I ride) so I decided to ride over to the start. Fun ride through some neighborhoods, followed by warmup on the tarmac track around the football field. I had 15 minutes until my start when I decided there was enough time to ride to the bottom of the downhill on the road race and turn around come back up it to match a strava segment. About halfway down the hill, I felt the rear wheel was squishy and sure enough I had a flat. I thought there was enough air to make it back, so I turned around and booked it back up the hill with it eventually going completely flat about a tenth of a mile before the parking lot.

I borrowed a teammates wheel and headed to the start where I only had to wait a coupled minutes before it was my time to go. I kept a close eye on my power meter trying to keep the average power around 365 – a bit unrealistic for that distance, but still I ended up with 352 watts for 11 minutes, 6 seconds – 4 watts shy of an all-time power record for that length of time.

Critical power curve with TT overlayCritical power curve with TT overlay

I think it’s somewhat comical that a power record for me doesn’t even get me a top 10 in the time trial – testament to how strong the field is and also how amazingly un-aerodynamic I am on the bike. So no points for me in the TT, but my teammates John Hart, Kurt Page, and Jeff McGrane all rocked it with John taking a close 2nd behind Nate Brown (Bontrager), Kurt in 4th (first cat 2), and Jeff in 9th.

Sunday’s criterium
No rain on the radar, but the day started out with a light rain mist from low hanging clouds. I started my warmup with 80 PSI rear tire and 70 PSI front tire in anticipation of the streets staying slick until our race. About an hour before our race, though, the sun was out and not hiding again before the start of our race so shortly before the start of our race I pumped up the tires to 95 psi back and 90 psi front – still a little low just in case it did start to rain. I enjoyed my warm-up through the hilly neighborhood on the north side of the course – seeing an albino squirrel running across a yard chasing another squirrel and I also stumbled across storm damage from Saturday’s storm and saw the Hillbilly outdoor stage and mural (see pic gallery at the bottom)

By the start of our race, it was hot, and there was attacks from the beginning. The speed stayed so high with some tricky corners that gaps started to open up. I chased around a few gaps and eventually found myself on Nate Brown’s wheel going into the backside hill. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize he was about to attack b/c as the group bunched up I went to the left whereas he shot off to the right. I was blocked in and missed the perfect opportunity to get away. I tried to bridge anyway attacking a few seconds later, but the closest I could pull the gap back to was about 4 seconds. With no one to help in the chase, I sat up after three laps off the front and waited for the field to catch me hoping that somebody else would be able to drill back the break. The video below shows Nate’s attack to bridge up to Bryant – and then me attacking to try to bridge up to them for several laps.

It didn’t happen so I spent the rest of the race trying to help my teammates cover moves to get a chase group started. Jeff, John, and Kurt all got away at some point – but there was always one or two strong riders left in the field who would bring back the move. I tried to get away twice – once to get a prime and another time with Anders Swanson (Litespeed BMW) late in the race. Again, though, somebody was always able to bring it back. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to recover and position for the final sprint with Nate Brown having lapped the field and drilling it at the front leading out his brother Johnny.

Having attacked on the backside hill to get the prime, I knew that was where I wanted to attack for the final sprint. I pulled out of line towards the bottom of the downhill and attacked hard up the left to make sure I had a lot of speed heading into the corners — almost too much speed — I was on the brakes hard through half the final turn but still carried 30mph out of the turn and then ramped it up again trying to hold on, but half expecting a surge to come around before the line. Apparently, I had enough of a gap though to hold on to take the field sprint for 3rd place in the race. That was good enough to bump me up to 3rd in the omnium since the crit was weighted more than the time trial.

Huge shout-out to Adam Morris, Cat 3 rider for Absolute Racing, who took 2nd in the road race and then won the time trial and looked to be heading for a win in the criterium when a rider went down in front of him in the last corner. In addition to his great results, Adam gets the good samaritan award for the weekend as he helped me jump my car after I left my windshield wipers on with the keys in the ignition during the race. 100% absent-minded professor.

Here’s the rest of my data from the weekend – starting with the criterium:

Rockabilly criterium annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly criterium annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly criterium heartrate zone summaryRockabilly criterium heartrate zone summary

Rockabilly time trial heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly time trial heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly time trial heartrate zone summaryRockabilly time trial heartrate zone summary

Rockabilly road race annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)Rockabilly road race annotated heartrate power data (click to enlarge)

Rockabilly road race heartrate zone summaryRockabilly road race heartrate zone summary

Pro/1/2 criterium podium - me, Nathan Brown, and Bryant FunstonPro/1/2 criterium podium – me, Nathan Brown, and Bryant Funston

Finally, here’s a gallery of all the pictures I took over the weekend – in reverse chronological order.

SRS Kickoff Weekend – Albany

Memorial Day today
Kinda puts bike racing in perspective – so many people have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have here in America. Thank you all present, past, and future soldiers!

Quick summary
Yesterday, I ended up 9th in the road race after having finished 15th in the criterium on Saturday in a really strong pro/1/2 field. Would have liked to finish a few spots higher, but it was still a great start to the inaugural SRS series, with five races in five southeastern states spread out over five months. In the criterium, I missed the six-man move and ended up ninth in the field sprint to take 15th in the race. Then in the road race, I was aggressive to get KOM points managing two third place finishes in the sprints to get some early points in that competition. I fought hard to stay towards the front and ended up 9th in the race fading at the end having started my sprint too early.

Finish videos

The detailed adventure
The last time I raced in Albany was 2009, and I knew I wanted to bring my family back down with me some day. This year it was just me and my wife making the trip, but next year I definitely want to bring the kids with us to experience the River Walk, Riverquarium, and other fun stuff to do right there on the crit course. Even the drive down was awesome – I65 to Montgomery to AL-110 to US82 – awesome rural roads with long distances between the towns so you can make some pretty good time while enjoying scenic rural southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia.

Roadside market on the scenic rural driveRoadside market on the scenic rural drive between Birmingham and Alabama

We drove down Saturday morning with the relatively short drive (4 hours) putting us into Albany well in advance of the criterium. I spent a good two hours rolling around easy underneath the huge oak trees draped with Spanish moss getting my legs ready for the intense 75 minutes of racing. This was my first hot race of the year as we’ve had quite the extended cold, rainy snap hanging around the southeast for the early part of the season. This race was HOT, and as I was sitting on the start line excited to race the strong, large field I my heartrate was hovering around 120!

I started out towards the back and raced somewhat conservatively trying to stay towards the front but not trying to get in every move. There were a number of good looking breaks, but fortunately the field came back together. The break of six that eventually formed got away about midway through the race. Then about 10 minutes later, a large chase group formed that I also missed. I attacked a couple times to try to bridge across or at least get a chase going, but each attack got brought back and the overall pace in the field was high enough that we caught the chase group and made it to within about 10 seconds of the front group. But then towards the end (see the video of the last eight laps below), we had some slow-downs in the field and the break’s lead went out again to about 20 seconds by the end. Shawn Gravois took a flyer from the lead group with three to go, got caught, and then went again with two to go holding it to the end for the win. Andy Crater won the sprint behind for 2nd followed by Oleg Tanovitchi taking third. I fought hard to stay towards the front, but ended up sliding a bit too far back and spending a bit too much time out in the wind so I could only manage 9th in the field sprint, 15th for the race.

For the Sunday road race, I had planned on attacking literally from the gun but before I could even attack Finishstrong had already set itself up at the front. I figured they were trying to setup Crater for the KOM but as it turns out they were trying to set up a different rider for the KOM. Still I followed their train to a third place finish on the first two KOM sprints. Finishstrong controlled everything in the race for the first two laps as they brought back attack after attack. I stayed very close to the front to go for the KOM sprints and also to make sure they didn’t try to slip anyone into a break. On the third lap, Brendan Sullivan (Lupus Cycling) got into a strong three-man move that swallowed up the KOM points. Shortly after the KOM, we caught the group of three and started setting up for the finish.

I had slid farther back than I wanted to, but then there was a crash in the middle of the field that unfortunately took out Michael McBrien (Bikes plus racing). In the crash chaos, I ended up sliding up a few spots and then continued to move up for the next several miles until we made the left turn with 2.5 miles to the finish. I was able to ride all the way up to back of the High Country Devo team sitting right behind their sprinter. They had a great train going, but it wasn’t quite fast enough to stem the surge from the field that sent me maybe 15-20 riders back from the front. When the big surge went up the lefthand side of the road, I swung out even farther to the left and was able to start my sprint with a clear line to the finish. It was at this exact moment when I went left that there was a bad crash on the right taking down Birmingham rider Payne Griffin. I was thankful not to go down, but I had started my sprint too early and even with a clean shot at the line I faded back to 9th by the finish. You can see the crash and the last 2.5 miles of the race in the two videos below:

Not quite the results I was looking for, but I was very happy to race against some of the strongest riders in the southeast and am very excited for the rest of the series! Here’s all my data from the races …

Albany criterium - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Albany criterium – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

Criterium heartrate zone summary - note the high average speedCriterium heartrate zone summary – note the high average speed

SRS - albany criterium
Pro/1/2 - 15th place
Lap	Time	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH
1	1:38	295	871	151	86	24.9
2	1:26	221	752	164	82	28.6
3	1:24	301	833	163	90	28.9
4	1:24	224	884	168	83	29.2
5	1:27	234	768	168	83	28.2
6	1:24	260	848	165	85	29.5
7	1:26	187	694	164	82	28.5
8	1:30	223	790	159	83	28
9	1:25	248	583	166	85	28.7
10	1:22	264	762	167	80	29.5
11	1:27	238	770	165	82	28.9
12	1:27	255	579	163	88	28.4
13	1:28	246	608	165	82	28.8
14	1:27	252	822	164	81	28.6
15	1:29	225	629	163	86	27.8
16	1:26	270	700	164	85	29.1
17	1:22	294	704	173	85	30.5
18	1:28	324	1084	176	83	28.9
19	1:27	233	546	173	83	28.5
20	1:30	272	616	166	83	28.2
21	1:25	352	927	175	81	29.7
22	1:27	255	786	182	79	28.8
23	1:30	245	858	167	81	28.4
24	1:26	410	879	183	81	29.5
25	1:24	230	731	182	80	29.5
26	1:28	272	949	172	79	28.6
27	1:29	274	834	172	79	27.8
28	1:23	336	877	179	81	29.3
29	1:28	312	996	184	84	28.1
30	1:29	264	597	185	81	27.6
31	1:32	204	636	172	78	26.7
32	1:27	246	745	171	79	28.1
33	1:27	253	863	169	81	28.3
34	1:25	266	691	179	80	28.9
35	1:21	282	867	180	77	29.5
36	1:27	233	593	177	74	27.6
37	1:31	292	1044	170	76	26.9
38	1:27	301	985	179	79	27.7
39	1:32	258	610	179	84	26.8
40	1:31	228	728	170	77	27.1
41	1:26	227	739	173	77	28.7
42	1:24	319	689	174	83	29.4
43	1:30	285	833	176	81	27.5
44	1:31	282	817	179	75	27.4
45	1:27	286	749	180	78	28.3
46	1:26	225	573	179	79	28.2
47	1:29	303	707	173	81	27.8
48	1:30	303	756	181	82	27.4
49	1:27	310	872	183	82	28.1
50	1:26	302	886	183	84	28
51	1:18	409	1016	192	82	30.5

Leesburg road race - annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)Leesburg road race – annotated heartrate plot (click to enlarge)

Road race heartrate zone summary - note the amount of time spent in Zones 2 and 3Road race heartrate zone summary – note the amount of time spent in Zones 2 and 3