I had a great three day weekend of racing and training this week in South Carolina and Georgia. Here’s the quick summary:
Saturday – Tour de La France criterium – top notch field, fun course, 29th
Sunday – Awesome training ride in Clemson on my old routes from college
Monday – US 100K road race – huge field, bad crash at the beginning, lots of breaks/splits, 25th (12th in field sprint)
Saturday, 9/4/10, Anderson SC
The P/1/2 race didn’t start until 5:15, so after a leisurely morning, I drove over from Birmingham to Anderson. The drive ended up taking over 5 hours because I drove some of old my training routes near Fair Play and Townville on some back roads into Clemson to try and get a picture of the packed stadium before the game … According to census bureau population statistics, Clemson becomes the fourth largest city in South Carolina when they play a home football game! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture so I headed on over to Anderson still about 2 hours early.
I checked in, got my race numbers, and hopped on the course after the finish of the women’s race. I would describe the four-corner course in downtown Anderson as fast and somewhat technical (particularly the third and fourth corners). The first turn was downhill and off chamber. There was a small hill that you climb leading into the second turn. Immediately after turning, you head downhill before climbing on a very wide 4-lane road up the steepest hill on the course before turning into an alley to head back downhill. The last corner takes you out of the alley back into a regular 2-lane street slightly downhill before rising slightly to the finish.
Before our race started, though, was a hand-cycle race. Those guys are amazing … roll to registration in a regular wheelchair, roll back to the car and take out their racing wheelchairs, pump up the tires on it, swap wheelchairs, and head out to the course — all by themselves. I know because I parked in the parking deck next to several of the hand-cycle racers. And those guys are fast!!! So after seeing their start, I headed back to the parking deck to continue warming up on my rollers. At about their scheduled finish, I headed back to the finish, watched the last of the finishers and followed them around the course back to our start to get a good spot.
After a few call-ups, the race started, and I worked hard to stay near the front. I went with a couple of short-lived moves, but for the most part the race stayed together as there was a super strong headwind on the steepest hill of the course … so even if the pack got strung out going into the hill, it always bunched up as the front riders lost all of their momentum on the hill. This made it hard for any of the breaks to stick. Then with a few laps to go, Joey Rosskopf (Mountain Khakis) attacked and got away solo holding off the field and taking the win. Karl Menzies (United Healthcare) took the field sprint. I thought I was in pretty good position with half a lap to go, but lost a bit of position in the swarm on the uphill before the next to last turn. I came out of the last corner carrying some good speed and passed three or four riders to finish just barely in the money in 29th … still good for $120, though!
Power data from Tour de La France, Sept 4, 2010 Dist: 36.96 mi (1:22:24) Energy: 1095.3 kJ Cals Burn: 1047.1 kcal Climbing: 853 ft Braking: -10.2 kJ (-0.9%) Min Avg Max Power 0 221.5 779 W Aero 0 91.1 544 W Rolling 0 35.8 50 W Gravity -588 1.9 641 W Speed 0.0 26.9 37.5 mi/h Wind 6.1 15.3 29.7 mi/h Elev 732 749 773 ft Slope -6.5 0.02 6.5 % Caden 0 78.3 165 rpm HR 105 174.8 192 bpm NP 246 W; IF 0.885; TSS 107.6 CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039 173 lbs; 9/4/2010 3:55 PM 87 degF; 1011 mbar
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Sunday, 9/5/10, Clemson, SC
Sunday was awesome as I got to ride some of my old training routes from when I was an undergraduate student at Clemson University. Every fall, we usually spend a few days up in Clemson where I do a big ride in the mountains, so I don’t normally get to do any of the routes that are closer into Clemson. So this extra trip to South Carolina this year gave me a chance to pick out a good route in Clemson with absolutely beautiful views of the mountains since the air was so clear. I ended up getting a little carried away and riding a bit farther than I originally planned. I remembered a photo of the mountains I took sometime probably in 1997 or 1998, and I went to the exact same spot to take the same picture for comparison … see below.
Here is my topocreator map of the route:
Monday, 9/6/10, Atlanta, GA
Monday was the US 100K race. The thing that I really like about this race is that it starts so early in the morning that it is completely dark when you are biking over from the hotel to the start. Plus, there are police everywhere, runners everywhere, and tons of anticipation. Kristine had driven over with my parents and the kids to meet me at the hotel Sunday afternoon. They would drive over to the McDonalds that is just after the feedzone for the best spot to view the race. You can see the thousands of runners coming across the hills and you can see over a mile of the race course from where we turn after the feedzone all the way down the hills to where we turn onto GA 280.
George Hincapie (BMC) and Craig Lewis (Columbia HTC) were racing to test out their form ahead of the US Pro championships in a couple weeks. Also, Mountain Khakis had a full squad, along with Aerocat, Locos, Ion, Johnny Clarke and Karl Menzies from United Healthcare, Cesar Grejales and Yosvany Falcon from the new On the Rivet team for a total of about 125 strong pros, 1s, and brave 2s. My teammates, Terry Duran and Stuart Lamp, were there too so we had a lot of firepower to work with, too.
A nasty crash only a couple miles into the race helped a strong 7 rider break escape from the field. I was towards the middle of the pack when the wreck happened. It was the highest speed wreck I’ve ever personally seen. The pack was strung out and going over 40mph down a hill when all of a sudden, I see commotion up ahead as riders are falling down probably about 25-30 riders ahead of me. I also see a lot of blue smoke from tires as people are skidding directly into bikes and people already on the ground. I was heading straight for it, too, as I looked for someplace to escape. I found a hole to the right and started to head for it when another rider plowed into somebody already on the ground just in front of me. The rider was tossed into the air and his bike was tossed directly into my path — but very, very fortunately it was tossed with enough momentum to keep going and crossed my path right before I made it there. So I ended up squeezing between the rider and his bike. The water bottle from the bike was upright in the air directly in my path and I think I may have bumped into it — just another one of those visual images that is burned into your mind during the craziness of a bike wreck. Unfortunately in my maneuvering to escape the wreck, my rear wheel did bump somebody behind me, and I’m not sure whether they were able to stay up or not. I think they were b/c I didn’t hear any clanking metal behind me. I found out later that Travis Sherman and Scott Staubach had both gone down in the wreck with Travis breaking his foot.
So back to the race, the break of 7 that was already escaping before the wreck happened, was able to continue to expand its lead after the wreck. Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) attacked a couple times, and I happened to be near him both times, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. I attacked one more time through the feedzone hill hoping that somebody strong would go with me. Instead, I attacked too hard and got a great gap solo but with 7 riders working hard at a nearly two minute advantage at that time, there was no way I was going to be able to time trial myself up to them. I knew that Kristine would be watching though, so I thought it would be worth it to make it around the corner first and alone to help her enjoy the race more … unfortunately our pace had been so fast that we completed the first two laps before they made it out to the course from the hotel. Oh well, it was definitely fun to ride a couple miles solo with a police escort!
I wasn’t going very hard, so when the pack caught me on the backside of the course, I went with the counter attack, but it was very short lived. The next few laps were characterized by a number of short-lived attacks, and Terry covered most of those, but the pack wasn’t letting us get anywhere. The name of the game at this point was energy conservation, and my teammate Stuart helped out a lot there by helping pull me back up to the front of the pack whenever I had drifted too far back.
Once the gap to the lead group of 7 reached 4 minutes, George Hincapie and Craig Lewis moved to the front. At that point, our pace skyrocketed and the attacks stopped. The two of them along with help from Ben Kersten brought back the 4 minute gap over the course of about 4 or 5 laps. We caught the leaders shortly after the feedzone climb with only two or three laps left in the race. At this point, I had figured surely it was going to be a field sprint since we were so close to the end. Unfortunately, there was a counter attack that stuck and then a couple more splits in our group. I was still convinced everything would come back together, but it didn’t. I had been conserving energy, so I did pretty well in the fast downhill 50+mph finishing sprint, getting 12th — but with 13 riders already up the road, that meant I finished 25th for the race.
- The crash – speed drops from 40mph down to 25mph almost instantly
- My half a lap solo bridge attempt
- George Hincapie, Craig Lewis, and Ben Kersten reeling in the break
- Lots of attacks, accelerations after the break was caught
- The finish – 50mph downhill sprint!
My only annotation for the power data is when I attacked at the end of the first lap heading into the second lap – notice the more consistent power instead of responding to sudden accelerations and moving around in the pack. Also notice that my wheelspeed matches the windspeed since I was no longer drafting.
Power data from US100K, Sept 6, 2010 Dist: 65.62 mi (2:27:00) Energy: 1699.1 kJ Cals Burn: 1624.4 kcal Climbing: 3738 ft Braking: -6.7 kJ (-0.4%) Min Avg Max Power 0 192.6 784 W Aero 0 105.1 987 W Rolling 0 35.6 66 W Gravity -989 3.3 824 W Speed 0.0 26.8 49.6 mi/h Wind 5.5 14.5 30.9 mi/h Elev 661 795 866 ft Slope -8.1 0.04 7.4 % Caden 0 81.8 134 rpm HR 75 149.4 181 bpm NP 257 W; IF 0.928; TSS 210.8 CdA: 0.342 m^2; Crr: 0.0039 173 lbs; 9/6/2010 6:06 AM 63 degF; 1012 mbar
Again, all of this data brought to you by my amazing new iBike!