Tag Archives: usacrits

Sandy Springs – USA Crits Speedweek Finale

Quick summary – chasing after avoiding early crash, riding in a cold hurricane, slideout crash with five second slide, another near-crash, 20th place!

The details – I drove over from Birmingham past all the craziness that is talladega – partly cloudy and I’m thinking that it’s not going to rain. By the time I make it over to Sandy Springs, it is sunny and HOT. I thought about moving my car to find some shade, but by the time I picked up my number and changed clothes the clouds were starting to get much thicker. Still, there were periods of warm sunshine as I was riding over by the Chattahoochee River. When it started to get closer to race time, I headed back towards the course and suddenly encountered very wet streets with steam coming off them b/c it was still sunny where I was. Apparently while I was out warming up it started to downpour on the women’s race — whereas I didn’t get a single drop of rain or even know that it was raining just a couple miles to my east!

The sun was out, though, with no rain clouds anywhere close (although there were some ominous looking clouds visible south of town). The firefighter’s race scheduled between the women’s race and the men’s race was cancelled b/c of the wet course so there was about 20 minutes of time to ride on the course. With a bunch of riding laps easy on the course, it was drying out pretty quickly. Still, the course was by no means dry on those first laps. We did a reasonable 23 mph on the first lap even with a $200 prime on the line – but apparently that was enough to give the guys at the front confidence to ramp up the speed for the second lap. Unfortunately for those of us at the back, that means even faster speeds around the corners to keep from having a gap open up. So that second lap was absolutely insane. The course was drying out pretty fast, though, but not quite fast enough as there was a nasty crash at the front of the race about three or four laps into the race. I was far enough behind it to maneuver around, but ended up in a second group with people not chasing very hard.

This only lasted for a few seconds though b/c a rider behind me attacked seeing that this group was not going to make it back up to the field. Sergio Hernandez (Predator) and I both followed making for a three man chase group. The rider who attacked never slowed down and did all of the work. Fortunately for us, the course was almost dry by this point so the three of us could fly through the corners whereas the field was a bit more tentative. So after almost 10 laps we finally made it back up to the lead group that had maybe 30 riders still left in it. Sometime during our chase, Frank Travieso (Mountain Khakis) and Karl Menzies (United Healthcare) escaped. Since these were the two strongest teams in the race, they were happy to let them go meaning that the overall pace of the field dropped with only Empire Foundation (NYC) chasing. The next five to ten laps were sporadic with various surges, but the pace always seemed to ease up. I came off the back once or twice through the start finish with the moto-official even passing me, but just steady chasing through the corners meant that I was able to catch back up to the field.

Then the rain started again – fairly gradual at first – so that we had about two or three laps of rain with a course still dry enough to go pretty fast. Then it was a crazy downpour / hurricane. Very hard rain with some high wind gusts dramatically slowed down the field – but because I was at the back, I had to risk the corners at a bit higher of a speed to keep from getting gapped. The last turn was the trickiest. About every other lap, I would be gapped off b/c I would still be taking the turn slowly while the front of the group was already attacking up the hill. This meant that a gap would open up, and it would take me about half a lap to close it back down. The irony was that once I was off the back, I could actually go faster through the rest of the course then when I was with the group because it was easier to pick a line.

Eventually, during one of the laps where I was chasing and hadn’t quite caught back up yet, I tried to take the final turn a little bit faster to carry some momentum up the hill. Without warning, though, both wheels slid out from under me and I ended up sliding on the ground for a good five seconds through the turn. It took me a while to get my chain back on the bike b/c I didn’t realize I had bent my rear derailleur and the chain was off the pulley wheels. Once I figured that out I was able to get the chain back on the bike and pedal back to the pit where I thought I was going to have to use one of the SRAM neutral bikes. One of the mechanics was putting zero pedals onto the neutral bike while the other mechanic worked to straighten out my derailleur. Amazingly, he got it working so I was able to hop back on my own bike and into the race with 9 laps to go.

I got put in on a particularly fast lap b/c everyone was strung out single file through the pit area. I quickly drifted to the back tentative through the corners not wanting to crash again. A lap or two later the rider in front of me went down on the same corner that I had fallen. I was able to get around but there was no way I was going to be able to go fast enough to catch back up to the pack. I settled into a pace that I was hoping would keep me far enough ahead of the leading duo of Frank and Karl, but with three laps to go the head official pulled me. The field was so small by this point that I ended up in 20th place, anyway!

Sandy Springs USA Crits Speedweek Finale
May 5th, 2013
20th place

Lap	Time	AvgPow	MaxPow	HR	RPM	MPH	Comment
1	1:34	274	808	140	77	23	Wet
2	1:21	265	836	160	84	25.8	Insane
3	1:23	273	883	164	78	25.2	
4	1:22	241	932	169	77	25.5	
5	1:23	256	871	171	75	25.1	Chasing after crash
6	1:19	292	864	177	74	26.3	Chasing
7	1:19	252	909	177	77	26.4	Course starting to dry out
8	1:19	226	876	174	77	26.1	Chasing
9	1:19	294	846	177	77	26.7	Chasing
10	1:19	232	865	177	79	26.3	Chasing
11	1:19	266	890	175	77	26.5	Chasing
12	1:17	272	893	176	79	26.8	Chasing
13	1:18	239	892	176	77	26.8	Chasing
14	1:20	224	981	173	76	26.2	
15	1:26	212	872	169	78	24.3	
16	1:21	230	1009	169	78	26	
17	1:18	244	893	173	80	26.5	
18	1:23	188	873	171	77	25.3	
19	1:18	248	913	171	78	26.8	
20	1:21	227	875	170	77	25.7	
21	1:22	210	946	171	76	25.2	
22	1:24	212	972	168	83	24.8	
23	1:23	207	896	168	75	25.1	
24	1:21	228	824	171	77	25.7	
25	1:27	202	913	168	75	23.9	Heavy Rain 
26	1:30	231	906	167	76	23.2	Heavy Rain 
27	1:31	217	894	166	71	22.9	Heavy Rain 
28	1:30	214	866	167	77	23.1	Heavy Rain
29	1:27	198	680	170	78	24.1	Rain 
30	1:31	233	803	168	80	23.2	Rain 
31	1:27	214	845	169	74	23.9	Rain 
32	1:27	206	832	167	75	24.1	Rain 
33	1:24	221	876	168	73	24.4	Rain 
34	1:27	204	667	167	77	23.9	Rain 
35	1:27	219	744	166	75	23.7	Rain 
36	1:24	198	818	164	75	24.5	
37	1:26	202	889	164	75	24.2	
38	3:22	73	491	155	60	23.7	Crash
39	3:43	73	816	128	66	6.2	Crash
40	1:32	185	784	154	70	5.3	Bad speed
41	1:31	209	587	160	74	5.8	Bad speed
42	1:37	199	644	157	75	5.8	Bad speed
43	1:34	187	642	156	75	19.2	
44	1:42	149	603	155	72	20.4	

Sandy Springs power map - you can see that 1/3rd of the course is hard and the rest is coasting/brakingSandy Springs power map – you can say that 1/3rd of the course is hard and the rest is coasting/braking (click to enlarge)

Annotated plot with crash data (click to enlarge)Annotated plot with crash data (click to enlarge)

sp-hrsumm Heartrate zone summary

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.