Posts tagged ‘videos’

Epic ride finishing week atop three Strava leaderboards

The Samford student chapter of the ACM organized a ride today leaving from Chelsea High School and climbing up one of my favorite climbs – Double Oak Way. Three brave students and one crazy professor (me) met at 1:00 to complete the ride. We were waiting on one person before the start of the ride, so we found a 30+% gradient grassy downhill to have a little fun on before the start of the real ride. I’ve told the story of the ride in pictures below. At the bottom of the post, I explain about Strava and my position on the leaderboards after today’s rides.

It was definitely cold with the temperature below freezing for the entire ride. Note the min, max, and average temp for the four hour ride.

Samford computer science students John, Adam, and Greg brave the conditions AND the Double Oak Way climb up Double Oak Mountain

Me along with two of my students – John and Adam – on the top of Double Oak Mountain

Adam descending grassy hill with a few snowflakes visible.

Greg descending grassy hill – taken from slightly different angle more edge on – check out that slope!

Me descending grassy hill – view from front

Watch a video of John descending the hill after the ride

I finished the week atop three Strava leaderboards – best climber, best commuter, most rides – plus 3rd overall. I climbed over 34,000ft for the week, commuted 214 miles or even more if you count my commute today from church back to my house, plus 14 different rides this week totaling 348 miles

December 13, 2010 at 1:50 am Leave a comment

Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Race Report

Zoomed in view of the start/finish stretch before the start of the Cat 2/3 race.

Race report
Raced and fought hard to a 30th place finish out of a strong field of about 100 starters. I got caught up in a crash near the middle of the group about 10 laps into the race ultimately skidding to a stop holding onto the original rider who went down – a United Healthcare rider – who had just stood up as other riders squeaked past us. The hardest part of the race was when we were put back in one lap later at the very back of the peloton, which was being led by the entire Hotel San Jose team as they were chasing a six-man break that had gotten away without them because of the crash. About 10 laps later the pace had eased up, and I was able to work my way up to near the front of the group where I stayed for the remainder of the race. In the end, I missed a seven man move that escaped on a $1000 prime lap. One lap later, I moved into position to keep ahead of the “swarm” on the downhill, when Ben Zawacki from Team Ion attacked off the front to chase the group of seven. I had an opening, and so I launched off the side of the group, thinking that if I could reach Ben then perhaps the two of us could make the bridge — but Ben already had a great gap by the time I attacked, and I couldn’t close any so I sat up after the downhill to conserve energy for the finish. In the end I fought hard for position, finishing 18th in the field sprint, which meant 30th for the race with twelve riders off the front.

The course was a nice 4-corner around the American Airlines Center arena in Dallas. The course had a short (but steep) 6% uphill immediately after the start/finish and a longer but more gradual downhill on the back side of the course. The uphill was with a tailwind and the downhill was into a headwind/sidewind blowing from the west on the most exposed part of the course. I got a call-up before the start, and that is the first video posted below my heartrate/power data. Two helicopters were hovering over the course to stream the race for a local news station. Also, there was a giant jumbotron screen for spectators – so it was an exciting race to end my 2010 season – although I am planning on racing the Alabama state time trial (Oct 2) and the Tour de Cullman (Oct 23) for some good fun and training!

Trip details
This race was a crazy trip for Kristine and I as we made the 650 mile drive (one-way) from Birmingham to Dallas on Wednesday after I finished teaching my Wednesday afternoon class. Then Thursday night after the race, we “turned and burned” and drove the 650 miles back to Birmingham to make it back in time for my 9AM Friday class. We were gone for a total of 40 hours, 22 of which was spent driving, about 3 hours of racing and warm-up, a few hours during the day on Thursday hanging out with friends, and only 8 hours of sleeping. We shared the driving on the return trip, spent the night with awesome friends at the Christian missions organization (Mercy Ships) where the two of us met which was on the way to Dallas, and had an all-round great time.

TopoCreator map of our return trip from Dallas back to Birmingham

Texas Tough, Dallas, TX, USA Crits Finale 2010-09-16
Dist:       38.22 mi (1:24:04)
Energy:    1207.3 kJ
Cals Burn: 1154.2 kcal
Climbing:     549 ft
Braking:    -13.9 kJ (-1.2%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  239.4   793  W
Aero        0  112.3   661  W
Rolling     0   36.3    50  W
Gravity  -508    0.5   436  W
Speed     0.0   27.3  37.8  mi/h
Wind      9.1   16.3  31.5  mi/h
Elev      363    375   387  ft
Slope    -4.5   0.01   6.1  %
Caden       0   78.2   115  rpm
HR        128  178.9   192  bpm
NP 271 W; IF 0.979; TSS 134.2
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/16/2010 5:56 PM
87 degF; 1012 mbar

Annotated heartrate data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The race started with a neutral lap – riders inches from the pace car completely surrounding it on both sides, too!
  2. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  3. The hardest part of the race, hanging on and trying to move up with Team Hotel San Jose drove the pace chasing the break
  4. Easier – fighting to stay at the front

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Heartrate Data

Annotated power data corresponding to the graph below …

  1. The wreck in Turn #4 ten laps into the race
  2. Bridge attempt late in the race (about 6 or 7 laps to go)

2010 Texas Tough USA Crits Finale Power Data

Note the drafting differences (i.e., difference between the white line and the blue line) in the two different parts of the race. In the first red circled area, the pace is super fast and I am just hanging onto the rider in front of me. In the second circle area, you see more places where I am attacking or moving out into the wind to try to continue to move up or maintain position at the front of the race. I love being able to see this data on my iBike, and over time I am hoping it will help me figure out how to better mete out my energy for crits.

Videos from the race – Kristine took these videos on her iPhone.

Call-ups at the Texas Tough Grand Prix

Start of the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Early lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

Middle lap in the 2010 Texas Tough Grand Prix

The start/finish stretch underneath towering hotels and high-rise condiminiums
Racing in downtown Dallas, TX
Spending the night with friends from Mercy Ships in Van, TX
Eating breakfast at the iconic Dinner Bell restaurant in Van, TX

September 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm 1 comment

Dothan Cityfest Criterium Race Report

Oh so close to a late season podium… 4th place after 20+ laps in a 4-man break. Still, the Dothan Cityfest criterium was an awesome new race on the calendar this year in Dothan, AL. The Pro/1/2 race featured a $10,000 prize purse paid 25 places deep. My awesome teammates Stuart Lamp, Terry Duran, and I lined up with me in a field of about 30. Even though the field was small, the action (and temperature) was HOT. I had a front-row start, and clipped in first and took off from the gun. I didn’t get anywhere though and simply pulled the field around for the entire first lap. This meant that when the first attack went at the start of the second lap, I wasn’t ready to go with it. Fortunately, my teammate Stuart saw the move and covered it. The field came back together and I moved into position to go with the next move, which came from Andy Crater (Aerocat) who animated the action attacking repeatedly in the first 10 laps. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far in front of a fresh field before we were pulled back. I was pretty tired after the intense early laps and had slid back and missed the next couple of moves. My teammate Terry covered each one.

Then, about 10 laps into the race, there was a solo move from Emile Abraham (Aerocat). He got a good 5-10 second gap on the field before Team Ion moved to the front and drilled it back. I saw Crater move into position to counter attack and immediately hopped onto his wheel. An Ion rider, Winston David, also latched on, and we were off. When we passed through the start/finish line, I knew we must have had a good gap because the intensity of my wife’s cheering increased a notch or two. One or two laps later, John Atkins bridged up to us solo. I was still recovering from early moves and was struggling to maintain the pace that Andy and Winston were setting, but our lead kept increasing so eventually our pace settled down into something that I could maintain. By the time we lapped the field, there was only 4 laps left in the race. My teammate Stuart came to the front and set a very fast pace for the last 2 laps to prevent any of my breakmates from attacking. I settled comfortably into 3rd or 4th position when we were swarmed coming out of the start/finish line with one lap to go. I saw an opening on the left on the uphill between turns 1 and 2 and attacked to move to the front. Looking back, I should have attacked with the intention of breaking away b/c I think there is a chance I could have held it with the tricky corners in turns 2, 3, and 4.

Instead, I eased up and waited for someone else to make the first move. It came from Winston, who was one of my breakmates. Crater got on his wheel, and I was on Crater’s wheel coming out of Turn 3. About halfway down the hill, Crater attacked. It was a perfect attack and caught me on the wrong side of Winston so I settled onto Winston’s wheel as he chased to catch Crater. My thinking was that if he couldn’t bring Crater back, that at least I could come around him to secure 2nd or worst case settle for 3rd, still up on the podium. Instead, I wasn’t able to come around him, and John Atkins came around me immediately out of the last corner so that I ended up 4th in the sprint, beaten by all three of my breakaway companions.

Disappointing finish for me to an otherwise awesome race! The Dothan organizers went all out for this event, with excellent commentating by Chad Andrews, support for a very large kids race, and awesome prize money. All of this combined with the festival that was going on just down the street, it made for a great day of entertainment. Analise and Josiah both had fun in the kids races … and riding their bikes with me at the start of my warm-up on a closed street with railroad tracks to cross! Just before the start of the Pro women’s race, there was a 1 lap celebrity race with the mayor of Dothan, a congressman, senator, and other local government officials and celebs. They all road on the green single-speed cruiser bikes that Regions Bank has in their commercials and provides to universities like Samford. It started out like any other celeb race, but the finish was like none I have seen. The mayor completely decked out in a suit and helmet was sprinting against the congressman from out of the last corner all the way to the finish line. They were so close that you couldn’t tell who had won and they had to look at the finish line camera to decide it! Wow!! This really got the crowd amped up for our race, which turned out to be pretty exciting.

My teammate Katherine Herring had a great race with the Pro/1/2/3 women holding her own until she had a run-in with a hay bale on the last lap. Still, she picked herself up, and crossed the finish line in 8th place. Also, Sammy raced the 2/3 race earlier in the day taking 8th place even while battling a cold. But it was good enough for him to hold onto 1st place for the year long Alabama Cycling Series Cat 3 competition taking home the jersey. Also, our team snagged the team title which spanned all categories, and we got to take home a cool bicycle statue consisting of a bicycle frame welded onto a statue pedestal – very cool!

Heartrate, power, pictures, and video below …

Power data: 2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Pro/1/2
Dist:       26.83 mi (1:02:06)
Energy:     861.8 kJ
Cals Burn:  823.9 kcal
Climbing:     964 ft
Braking:      0.0 kJ (0.0%)
          Min   Avg    Max
Power       0  231.3   708  W
Aero        0  147.8   473  W
Rolling     0   34.5    50  W
Gravity  -511    0.6   328  W
Speed     0.0   25.9  37.5  mi/h
Wind      7.9   18.0  29.0  mi/h
Elev      271    287   309  ft
Slope    -4.8   0.01   3.8  %
Caden       0   79.1   104  rpm
HR        122  181.7   195  bpm
NP 270 W; IF 0.974; TSS 98.1
CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039
173 lbs; 9/11/2010 7:05 PM
85 degF; 1012 mbar

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium power and heartrate data

2010 Dothan Cityfest Criterium Heartrate data

  1. Lots of speed and heartrate spikes corresponding to attacks
  2. This is where the 4-man break started
  3. Notice how much smoother everything is, but still in the red zone
  4. This is where we lapped the field
  5. Resting up for the finish, my teammate Stuart setting the pace
  6. The final lap

September 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

Tour of Elk Grove wrap-up

Another year, another great trip to Chicago. We had a great time hanging out with friends both at and away from the race. Josiah played football for the first time and got his first real taste of baseball with the family that we stayed with. He loved it! We took our scenic drive route past Fermi National Lab and through the outskirts of far western Chicago (Batavia, Geneva, North Aurora) to drive slowly past a horse jumping contest that takes place every year this same weekend as the Tour of Elk Grove. The races went really well, but my results were only mediocre. Check out my reports and heartrate data at the end of this blog.

Saturday – big field, aerocat, kenda, jamis sutter home, is corp had strong teams, started out front row and fought hard to stay there — until the last lap where I lost a lot of position in a swarm going into the 180. Then trying to move up going into the next turn, I got bumped pretty hard and pushed into the gutter losing even more position, fought to get it back, ended up 22nd. So this race was perfect for me except for the very last lap where it counted most!

Sunday – 90 starters, same strong teams. I was more aggressive in this race with $1650 worth of primes on offer. I made it into a break with John Eisenger, agreed to split $100 prime when two more riders bridged up to us foiling that plan. John attacked and got the prime. This was a few laps before the $500 mid-race prime. Our break got caught shortly before the announcers rang the bell for the mid-race prime. A rider attacked hard and got enough of a gap to stay away for the prime.

I was in a couple other moves, too, so I spent more time today either off the front or recouperating mid-pack. With 10 laps to go, I was determined not to get swarmed again so I did a lot of work out in the wind, attacking whenever I heard riders coming up from behind. With three laps to go, I was in sixth or seventh position when the Jamis rider in front of me slid out on the 180 degree turn. I was already on his inside so I scooted by safely with no problem, but this created a split in the group. With three aerocat riders in the front group of 10 riders, they decided to drill it, but nobody else wanted to help work so with two to go we were all back together. I fought hard to stay at the front, but still lost some position in the 180 swarm. I came out of the corner better than Saturday’s race, though, and I think I started the sprint in about 15th place, moving up a couple spots to 13th by the line.

The kids raced the bigwheel race and Kristine got some video of the finish of our race both days. Check it out below:

Saturday’s 1/2 finish

Sunday’s 1/2 finish

Here’s a topocreator map of the Sunday’s race and warm-up. The race course is the part in the middle with the start/finish indicated and traveling in counter-clockwise fashion.

  • Nothing exciting to annotate here – just conserving energy for the finish

  1. Two-man break going for $100 prime
  2. 10 man field split after Jamis rider wrecked at front of field with 3 to go
  3. Field all back together for the finish

August 2, 2010 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

2010 Giro d’Grafton race report and heartrate data

Quick Summary

  1. 2nd on 1st $200 prime
  2. 3rd on $750 prime with 7 laps to go
  3. Narrowly avoided crash in final 100m to finish 14th.

Heartrate and power data for the entire race

  1. Going for the $200 prime
  2. Struggling to move forward from towards the back of the pack
  3. Easier once I made it to the front
  4. Attacking to go for the $750 prime
  5. The finishing sprint

Heartrate and power data for the last seven laps

  1. Attacking for the $750 prime
  2. The actual sprint for the $750 prime
  3. Hitting it hard to keep my position at the front of the pack
  4. The 39mph crash in front of me with 100m to go
  5. The actual finish of the race, tied my current known maximum heartrate

I just found this youtube video online that has some good clips of the race. At about 34 seconds into the video, I am the first rider around the corner with Andy Crater behind me. Andy had just won the $200 prime, and I decided to keep rolling in case a break came up to us. It did, but our break only lasted for maybe half a lap before the field caught back up to us.

Detailed Summary
Nearly 140 riders lined up for the start of the race. I got to the staging area real early, but after all the callups and people rolling in front of the staging area, I ended up on the third row for the start. Better than at the back, but not ideal. Fortunately, somebody in front and to the right of me had trouble clipping in, and this opened up a hole so I was able to zip around him and into the top 15 or so. The pace was fast, but manageable. Then at the start of the sixth or seventh lap, the announcer rang the bell for a $200 prime. I wasn’t intending to go for the prime, but I was already at the front when Emile Abraham (Aerocat) attacked with his teammate Andy Crater on his wheel. I was right there so I jumped in third wheel as we got a small gap on the field going into turn 5 and 6. Out of turn 6, Emile peeled off and Andy launched his sprint. I tried to come around, but couldn’t do it and had to settle for second (i.e., nothing).

I was happy to be in contention for the prime, but it was a lot of wasted energy. I spent the next 20+ laps trying to recover and work my way back to the front of the group. It was pretty crazy back in the pack and it took a really concerted effort to work my way all the way back to the front. A few thoughts kept running through my mind:

  1. “The #1 rule in moving forward is to NOT move backward”
  2. “Gee, it’s still a really long way to the front” when the group was strung out single file ahead of me
  3. “How on earth am I not to the front, yet? Who is passing me and when?”

Finally, with less than 15 laps left to go, I had worked my way back into the top 20-25 riders. It was much smoother, and not too hard to maintain that position as long as you made sure to pass people on at least two different parts of the course. This was the status quo for the next 8 laps when with 7 laps to go (no more free laps), the announcer rang the bell for a $750 prime. Coming through the start/finish line, I was sitting maybe 20th wheel but carrying some momentum so I swung to the outside, moved up to maybe 10th wheel when the group in front veered right opening a hole for me on the wind-protected side of the group. Without hesitation, I attacked as hard as I could hoping to get a gap that nobody would want to close. Unfortunately, I brought two riders with me – Rahsaan Bahati and a Mountain Khakis rider (Myerson or Howe). Nevertheless, I knew that Kristine would be excited to see me off the front so I drilled it and we absolutely flew through turns 2, 3, and 4. Turn 3 was a right turn, followed by a short 1 block straight away and then a left turn. I was going so fast through those corners that it felt like a corkscrew instead of two 90 degree turns! Plus I caught the pace car coming out of Turn 4 so we did get a little bit of a draft up the hill. By the end of those turns, we had a 5-10 second gap on the field. I was in the front and coming off turn 5, I coasted hoping that one of them would come around, but they didn’t. We gradually slowed down and started our sprint for the $750 prime from about 23mph with a comfortable gap on the field. I’d like to say that I crushed the sprint against one of the top sprinters in the country and walked away with $750, but what actually happened is that Rahsaan won by maybe 15 bike lengths, the Mountain Khakis rider was next, and then I trailed in maybe 3 or 4 seconds later with the field coming up hard.

Strategically, going for the prime wasn’t the best thing I could do — but I had the opportunity, and I wasn’t going to let it slip away and wonder what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, etc… The only strategic advantage about going for the prime is that it meant I was at the very front of the race with 6 laps to go. When the pack came by, I knew that it was going to hurt, but I drilled it as hard as I could and slotted somewhere into the top 20 riders. The pace was fast with Aerocat, Bahati, and Mountain Khakis riders at the front drilling it. Even so, there was a lot of shuffling where riders from the back would carry more momentum and push forward ahead of the leadout riders. I tried to anticipate those “surges” and ended up in the top 15 with one lap to go.

The last lap was really fast, but I was able to move up a couple more positions going into the last corner and the downhill sprint. So I already knew at this point that barring an accident, I was going to place in the top 20 maybe even top 10. Well, with 100 meters to go, there was an accident — a bad one. According to my bike computer, I was going 39mph in the downhill, tailwind sprint when the accident happened. The sole BMC rider in the race, Cole House, got tangled up with a Mountain Khakis rider and the two of them went down at the front of the sprint — immediately in front of me. A third rider in front of me and to my right went down as he collided with another rider trying to avoid the original accident. Since I was going 39mph with very little time to react, I had already resigned myself to the fact that I was going to fall when I realized that if I punched it I could maybe squeeze between the riders and bikes on the ground to my left and right. The only obstacle was the BMC rider’s bike which was currently up in the air. It was just off to my left though so I ran into it with my shoulder and pushed it out of the way and very, very luckily no part of it got tangled up with my bike. So I made it through, but according to my computer I had slowed down to under 30mph. A lot of people were having to hit the brakes and slow down because of the accident, but there was still room for some people to come around carrying speed so I ended up getting passed by 3 or 4 people in the final 50 meters while I was trying to get back up to speed. Still, I was very happy (and lucky) to have stayed upright and finish 14th.

Brent Mahan (Nashville Cyclist) finished 11th riding a great race and has now moved into the green jersey for best young U25 rider! Congratulations Brent!

June 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Tour de Grove 2010 Race Report

Always a great weekend of racing, this year’s Tour de Grove (formerly Tour de Winghaven) was awesome — even with all the bumps and bruises along the way. No, I didn’t crash at all, but my poor kids were on the pavement as much as they were off of it. Read the quick summary below or scroll down for the detailed write-up!

Quick Summary
Saturday’s Midtown Alley Kid’s races – Josiah – 1st place (3-4 year olds)! Analise – 1st place girl (5-6 year olds)!

Saturday’s Midtown Alley Pro/1/2 Criterium – 22nd after flatting with two laps to go (no free laps), getting a wheel change from the awesome SRAM neutral support and almost chasing back onto what was left of the field, passing a few of the leadout guys who had already eased up to finish two spots out of the money. See below for a detailed write-up.

Sunday’s NRC Tour de Grove Circuit Race – 8th place after a thunderstorm shortened the race by about 4 laps (11 miles). Kelly Benefits took 1-2 after a race-long breakaway stayed away. Jelly Belly was keeping the break in check, but the weather moved in before they could reel the break back in. See below for a detailed write-up.

Birmingham to St Louis ~500miles ( map)

Saturday morning – Moonrise Hotel

Friday’s Travel Day
St Louis is only about 500 miles from Birmingham – a reasonable 7-8 hour drive – even with nice long stops for dinner, stretching, etc… My 5 year old daughter Analise was in a girl scout day camp all week and participating in her “end of the camp” performance on Friday at 2:30 outside of Chelsea which is about 30 miles on the opposite side of town from St Louis. So we knew we would be rolling in to town late. What we didn’t count on was Analise waking up at 4 in the morning after having gotten bit by a spider at our house. Her leg was swollen Friday morning, but we gave her some Benadryl and she was happy and excited for camp so Kristine drove her out to camp. About an hour later, Analise was not feeling too good and her spider bite had swollen even further so the camp nurse called for us to come get Analise. Kristine went back out to pick her up, take her around camp to say goodbye to all her friends and then straight to the doctor, who confirmed the spider bite was probably not a brown recluse – but he drew a circle a little larger than a SOFTBALL on Analise’s leg and said if the redness expanded beyond the circle to call back or take her to the emergency room. With the change of plans, we hadn’t had a chance to pack so we weren’t able to leave until about 4PM. The drive was long with a stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner and we made it to the Moonrise Hotel at about 1AM. The kids loved all the cool quirkiness of the hotel with a rotating moon on top of it and fancy lights of the 4-star hotel (great deal on Expedia with coupon) so it took them a few minutes to settle back down to go to sleep.

Ready for the Midtown Alley Kid’s race

Analise finishing the 5-6 year old race.

Jelly Belly driving the Pro/1/2 Midtown Alley Criterium (photo by singer)

Saturday’s Midtown Alley Kids Races and Pro/1/2 Criterium
We knew it was going to be hot when it was almost 90 degrees at 11 in the morning when the kids were finishing up playing and riding scooters in Forest Park. My 3 year old, Josiah, took a bad tumble right as we were getting ready to leave and cracked his lip wide open. After a few minutes of screaming bloody murder, he settled down sucking on snow cone ice. We debated taking him in for stitches, but the last time we tried that we ended up waiting for nearly 3 hours for them to finally “glue” his forehead back together without any stitches. Totally not worth it as kids are so amazing in how quickly they heal. Sure enough, Josiah’s lip had stopped bleeding within a few more minutes and then scabbed over by dinner time and was looking really good by Sunday. But before all that, we had a kids race and I had a pro/1/2 crit to race.

We made it to the start of the kids race at 12:45PM, and it was already in the mid 90s with high humidity. Blazing hot. I was going through water bottles like crazy and drenched in sweat. It was worth it, though, as Josiah won his race riding super fast (check out the video!) Analise almost won her race, too! After a rough start on the uphill, she passed everyone except one boy who had gotten a clean start and stayed just in front of her. The kids were so happy though because they got a black ribbon they could redeem for a Build-a-Bear bear after the race – along with a t-shirt and jelly belly water bottle with jelly beans inside!

You could see lots of popup thunderstorms/rain showers in the area, but they were just skirting the race course until about midway through the women’s race when the first of a series of storms hit the course dead on. The pro women’s field raced through the storm as we continued to warm up on the wide course or on the rollers. The sun had come out and started to dry out the course by the end of their race. Then, just as we staged at the start line for the start of the Pro/1/2 race, the next storm rolled in. I was shivering a bit by the time we left the start line in a heavy downpour. The cold didn’t last long though because I was first off the line and determined to be the first rider through the first two corners. I made it through with I believe at least one crash behind in the field. Then on the back downhill stretch into a tremendous headwind, the first of a series of attacks that would take us through the first five or six laps, launched itself. Attacks, chases, field splits were common as the rain abated and the sun came out. Two Jelly Belly riders made it into a break of 3 that started to distance itself from the field. Chases, attacks, crashes, kept our pace highly variable — but fast. I was really struggling through the start/finish hill with its tailwind.

Midtown Alley map

The next storm rolled in about midway through the race when either one or both of the Jelly Belly riders in the break flatted. Even though they got their free lap and were put back into the race in front of us, the rest of the Jelly Belly team had moved to the front to block and look for opportunities to bridge up to the break with any rider who would attack. Still, the break of 3 held a lead of maybe 20-30 seconds when the final, most severe storm rolled in with maybe 10 laps to go in the race. The wind was truly amazing with our entire group snaking across FOUR lanes of roadway with sidewinds, headwinds, tailwinds, all buffeting us on the same stretch of road. Our initial field of almost 60 riders had been whittled down to just 25 riders left when we caught the breakaway that was basically stopped cold by the strong winds and heavy downpour. The stretch of road that we had settled into taking during the race between turns 3 and 4 was completely under an inch or two of water so once we caught the break our pace really settled down. It was dangerous so nobody wanted to attack or take any big risks.

I was resting, waiting, hoping to keep it upright as we went through 5, 4, 3, 2 laps to go when I ran into bad luck and flatted on the back straightaway. There was enough air left to let me roll with the group back to the pit, grab a wheel from the SRAM neutral support and start chasing back on. With the pace slow b/c of the storm and wind, I was almost able to chase back on by the end of the lap. But once the group made it past the start/finish line again, the pace picked back up and I couldn’t quite close the gap. Still, I was able to pass a couple leadout guys who had eased up after pulling off the front and one guy who had crashed to finish two spots out of the money in 22nd. I was hoping to have made it into the top 20, which would have redeemed the day despite the bad luck, but instead I was happy that one of the SRAM support crew said when I returned the wheel that I was his favorite rider for the day since I didn’t quit even after getting the flat.

During the race, Analise and Josiah would ride down the sidewalk on the back side of the course as we would pass by. It was fun to see them each lap. Eventually during the rain storms, Analise decided she was cold and wet enough to seek shelter. Josiah, on the other hand, kept riding through the torrential rain until Kristine dragged him away from the course on the final lap. When I got back to the car after the race, we had quite a mess to deal with as I was shivering and soaking wet along with the kids. Kristine is an angel though and managed to get us all dry and back into the car as I loaded up my bike, the kids bike, and everything else for the drive back to the hotel to clean up.

Josiah finishing the Tour de Grove Kids race on Sunday (photo by singer)

Tour de Grove finish (photo by jay beauvais)

Sunday’s NRC Tour de Grove
We found the race course just in time to unpack the kids bikes, register for the kids race, and watch the finish of the Men’s 2-3 race with the kids race to immediately follow. Again it was sunny and blazingly hot when the kids started so I am glad we hadn’t gotten there way ahead of time to bake in the sun and humidity. This time there were more kids in the race. Josiah and Analise did well and had fun, but struggled starting up the hill. No problem though as this time they got cool ribbons and t-shirts for racing.

I debated before the start of the men’s Pro/1 race whether to put on my rain tires. Then right before the pro women’s race, there was a brief downpour so I went ahead and switched tires. But then it got very sunny and very hot, the course dried completely out, and there was only a few small clouds in the distance. So I switched back to my normal tires since the rain tires have a bit more rolling resistance — and what good would they be if I was dropped before it started to rain?! I think I made the right decision even though it did pour down rain for the finish of our race, I had no problems keeping up during the insanely fast crazy first part of the race. Again, I was first off the line and first through the first of 13 corners on the course before a series of attacks saw different breakaways emerge from the field before each one was chased down again. I decided that my best bet for finishing well was to conserve as much energy as possible.

NRC Tour de Grove 2010, 13 corner circuit race in St Louis

I only went with one breakaway, and shortly after we got reeled back in the break of the day went during a particularly fast lap. Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefits) attacked and got away solo. Shortly thereafter, Andy Crater (Aerocat) attacked to bridge with David Veilleux (Kelly Benefits) taking the free ride on his wheel. The two of them bridged up and established a gap. Eventually Crater came off the break and back to our field leaving two Kelly Benefits riders up the road. This turned out to be the perfect scenario for the field because Jelly Belly got to the front and rode fast (but steady) to keep the break within striking distance and prevent others from attacking to try to bridge across. I kept waiting for Jelly Belly to try to send its own rider across, which would mean a series of attacks and skyrocketing pace — but I think they were hoping for a field sprint to let their top sprinter Mike Friedman clean-up for the win.

So our pace stayed steady, manageable, even easy (see heartrate data) as the break stayed at about 30 seconds. I believe that at any moment, the pace was about to skyrocket as Jelly Belly was going to turn on the gas to bring back the break riders who would then be too tired to be a factor in the sprint. But, unfortunately for Jelly Belly, it started to rain with about 10 laps to go. The rain was light at first, but it was enough to make it slippery, and going into one of the sharper than 90 deg corners, the first Jelly Belly rider fell taking out the next two Jelly Belly riders and derailing the chase efforts.

The field neutralized itself for pretty much the rest of the lap when the fallen Jelly Belly riders were inserted back into the field (the 2.8 mile circuit race was run as a criterium). Right as the Jelly Belly riders were put back into the field, it started to downpour. Two riders from an amateur team attacked and in the ensuing chaos there was a field split. I found myself on the front side of the split since I had been fighting to ride towards the front immediately behind the Jelly Belly and Kelly Benefits trains. With six laps to go, the storm worsened with heavy winds, thunder, and lightning. Dave Towle had announced a couple laps earlier that they would ring the bell for one lap to go if lightning was seen on the course so I knew at that point that we really only had two laps to go (even though the lap card said 6 to go). Sure enough, the next time around, they rang the bell for one lap to go and our pace stayed super hi only slowing down for the corners. I didn’t have to fight hard to stay up front because the pace was fast enough on the straightaways that nobody wanted to pass anybody else. This included the final straightaway leading into two sharp corners making a nearly 180 degree turn heading into the 250 meter sprint uphill to the line. We came screaming down the straightaway with a tailwind at nearly 35mph before braking at the last possible second to slow down to 15mph for the corner before accelerating again up the hill to the line. I got passed by one person in the sprint, but passed two other people before the line, meaning I finished 6th in the sprint and 8th for the race — a top 10 in a national race — woohoo!!!

Kristine did awesome, too, managing to feed me four or five bottles during the race while keeping the kids safe and entertained in the feedzone, too. One of my water bottles had popped out when I hit a manhole cover on the second lap, so I needed a water bottle within the first few laps of the 28 lap race. She heard me yell and left to drive to the feedzone a few laps earlier than we had planned, negotiated her way to the feedzone, and had a bottle ready to go on the next lap. Unfortunately, it was impossible to take a bottle at 30mph on that lap so I waited until the next lap when the pace had slowed down to a more reasonable 20mph to try to grab the bottle. She did great, and four bottles later I made it to the end of a 75 mile crit (shortened to 65 miles) with no cramps!

Heartrate data to follow as soon as my Garmin dries out (two days later!!!)

June 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Cold roller ridin’

The high temperature today was at midnight this morning. The temperature dropped throughout the day until it was just over 10 degrees by the time I started a two hour ride on the rollers outside on the back porch. By the end of the ride, the temp was down to 3 degrees.

December 27, 2009 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

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Men's 100 mile podium, Left to right - Justin Lowe, Gordon Wadsworth, Kyle Taylor, Barnabas, and Jeff Clayton. Before the start. Awesome preride with Kyle.

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Brian Toone

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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