I raced at the Driveway Criterium tonight in the Cat. 3/4 race. I got a shitty start, but managed to move up over the next few laps. The pace was fast for the first 5 laps as was expected. I was sitting about 15th wheel or so coming into a left hand corner. The previous laps I had taken an inside line and did so again. I ended up sliding out and crashing hard at around 10 minutes in. As I hit the ground I got drilled straight in the back by another rider who endoed over me. I felt bad about taking him down too. He was able to get back on his bike and go. My bike was not rideable with a flat and untrue rear rim. I am bummed because I felt good and was having a good race.
These bibs are almost new. I am pissed about the hole.
Pretty minor arm carnage.
The usual damage after a crash.
My biggest problem by far at this point is my back. I do have a picture of the bruise right across my spine, but I am going to spare you the sight of the back hair. I am lurching around the house tonight in pain and have a feeling tomorrow is going to be bad. I am supposed to race the Belterra Circuit Race on Saturday. I will have to see how I feel tomorrow and make a decision about Saturday.
The past week hasn't been a great training week due to travel and sick kids, but that is life. I had a good ride yesterday from Southwest Cycle Sport with a few friends. We started at 7:30am which is nice because it got me home around 10am giving me the whole day for the family. I hope to get out today for a ride if possible.
My wife baked one of my favorite things in the world yesterday. Easter Bread! I think that is the best thing about Easter - the Easter Bread.
Notice the braids. Not only good tasting, but also good looking.
This morning, the Easter Bunny, who is also called Chris hid eggs for Angelo to find. It was great watching him fly around the house with his little basket looking for eggs. I think he is on his way to O.Ding on chocolate, so I am going to have to reel it in on him a bit. I imagine before I know it he will think Easter is stupid and will sleep until noon on all holidays. Sighh. He is growing so fast. :(
The wife also made an Easter Basket for us and the dogs. In college when me and my rugby roomies would order pizza the first thing you had to do upon opening the lid was spit all over your pieces to make sure that you got your fair share. I did the same thing with the Easter basket today. In fact, I am quite sure that Karen now wants nothing in the basket. The dogs don't seem to care though.
This weekend was the Fayetteville Stage Race which is a Division 1 Texas race comprised of a road race and a time trial on Saturday followed by a road race on Sunday. My plan was to do the RR and TT on Saturday and come back on Sunday if I was in a reasonably good position. The reason for this is that Fayetteville is about 110 miles each way from my house. So back to back 220 mile driving days with racing could be a bit much. I was entered in the 35+ 4/5 category. The category was full at 75 racers.
The road race on Saturday morning was 46 miles which was basically a 2.5 mile road out to a 22 mile loop which we ran twice. I got a reasonably good start and was in the top 15 when we hit the loop. Then as is usually the case with me, I drifted back as a result of letting others slide by and not aggressively filling openings. In another 5 miles I was probably in the last 25 riders and pissed off at myself. I have to work on this issue because it is a problem every race. I started to work my way up as opportunities presented themselves and worked my way up to mid pack by about half way through the first lap. The race took a turn onto a side road that had no center line, but the center line rule was still being enforced. I moved up a few more riders and then saw a beautiful opening near mid road that I shot through and as I did there was nobody in the way as they were all pacelining on the edge of the road. I hit the gas and went right to the front. There was a reasonable headwind at that point so I took a pull and then another rider came through and took a pull. Then I took another pull and a different rider came through and took a pull. After another rider I pulled again. I decided I was probably doing too much work and drifted back to the 5th or so position and tucked in for a while. Around that time we came through the start/finish for the completion of the first lap. 22 miles to go. As we turned left after the start/finish, I was on the front again, but there was another pace line formed with a rider beside me. There was not wind at that point and the pace was moderate. Then the first real attack of the day came. A rider in red tore off wide left on the yellow line and floored it. In the distance I could see the steepest hill on the course and understood his plan. I chased and was about 5th wheel at the bottom of the climb. I was overtaken by several riders on the climb, but the attacker died on the climb and the whole race came back together again. Over the next few miles I stayed in the top 20. After another 5 miles another rider attacked and got what I thought was a good gap. I was sitting 2nd wheel and asked my teammate if we should be worried because the gap was getting sizable. We agreed we shouldn't. After he was out there suffering for a few miles we picked up the pace. I took the front and we reeled him in fairly easily. I think he was spent and was happy to be caught. Here is where I made another rookie mistake. As I pulled the group up to the rider I fell in behind him when I should have just overtaken him and continued the pace. Of course, the whole pack blew right by and I was in about 20th again. IDIOT! We came to a flat tail wind section and the guys on the front just floored it. The pace was fast and hard for a few miles and I looked behind me to see the peleton strung out and breaking up all over the road. Perfect! As we turned back into the wind, the guys on front figured they had done enough work and the pace slowed to a crawl. I mean slow slow, like 15 mph. That gave everyone a chance to recover and get back on. At that point we were 3 miles from the finish. We turned right onto the finish road and the pace picked up, but wasn't blazing. We continued in toward the finish uneventfully. It looked like it would come down to a sprint finish. When we were within a 1/2 mile of the finish, the wheel truck with an official flew up along side us on the left and started yelling at a few riders about a yellow line violation just to my left. Seconds later there was a pile up. I saw it out of the corner of my eye. It took out one of my teammates. I think the official made a bad call interrupting the race at that point and the distraction probably caused the crash. He should have waited until we passed through the finish and talked to the riders. As we approached the line I got ready to sprint and then noticed two ambulances on each side of the road just before the finish cleaning up a wreck from a race that finished before ours. The site was enough of a distraction that there wasn't really a sprint and the main group pedaled through and were all given the same time. Pretty damn uneventful.
The time trial for me started about 4 hours after the road race finished. It was 6.6 miles over rolling terrain and the wind had picked up as well. I would be doing the TT on the same bike and in exactly the same gear as I rode the RR in. Eddy style. As I rolled up to the start line for the TT we were lined up by number. I noticed that more than 1/2 of the riders had full on TT bikes along with the helmets and all the gear. SHIT! That is the difference between the 35 4/5 and the regular 4/5. The 35 guys have money to buy the toys. Oh well. I would just have to do the best I could with what I had. 5,4,3,2,1 GO. I steadily ran my HR up to my target of 160-164. After 2 miles I was a hurting unit. This was basically a 6 mile interval and after the RR in the morning it was a killer. I just tried to stay low and be steady and turn the pedals. At 4 miles my legs were absolutely screaming. I also noticed that I had a long string of droll running from my mouth to my shoulder. Nice. I thought I was slowly catching my 30 second man. 5 miles in and I was telling myself it would be over soon. 6 miles and I was desperately looking for a finish line. There it was! 100 meters before the finish I got caught by a dude on a full blown TT rig. Check his number. FUCK! He started 2 minutes behind me! I rode back to the car fairly certain I had been slaughtered in the TT. I drove home feeling both satisfied from the road race and disappointed from the TT. I checked the results late last night and found that I sat in 27th position. I finished the TT in 37th. One guy beat me by over 2.5 minutes. I now believe that TT equipment is vital if you are going to do well in these things.
Given the 27th overall I decided Sunday would be better spent with the family than driving back to Fayetteville for another road race.
On an upside, crit season hits full swing here in April and I can't wait.
Peter at Southwest Cycle Sport let me use these for the weekend. I have been thinking about buying some deep dish carbon tubulars for racing and wanted to try some. They were fantastic. They were noticably stiffer and faster than the American Classic 420s that I usually race on. I took them out on a training ride today and you can really tell a difference at high speed. I honestly think that 28 or 29 on the ACs is 30 or so on the Eastons given the same effort. I need to own these or an equivalent.
I have fallen behind on blog reading and hope to catch up on all of your happenings tomorrow. Have a good Monday.
I am on vacation this week. I have been doing fun stuff like painting and fixing my laundry room drain. Thrilling. On the upside I have been able to get in some solid training rides.
Today the program called for a "Spin Basic" session which is minimum 90rpm with a target HR zone of 129-147. Not an ass buster, but it is not easy spinning at that rpm for 2 hours. I managed an average cadence of 98.
My new computer. So far so good. I especially like it because everything is heads up. No separate HR watch to glance over at. I have the same problem with this HR monitor as I have with my other monitor in that it takes a while to actually pick up the right HR. I wet my chest first, but it doesn't seem to do the trick. Once the sweat gets rolling it works fine. I need to try some of that gel that is squeezed on prior to wearing it.
Some open ranges on my route today. Sometimes the cows get surprised and bolt, but most of the time they could care less.
The bridge over Onion Creek.
Oak tree lined country roads. It was a great day for riding today.
Lately I have been pondering which class I fit into when it comes to racing. I am currently a Cat. 4 and will be 36 years old in a few months. Before the season, I had made the decision that I would race straight Cat. 4 this season. However, I have been wondering if that is the right decision. When I look at the guys that are consistently in the top 5 in the Cat. 4 races here they are 20 somethings on their way up through the ranks. I don't have the delusion that I will be a sponsored pro racer someday. Given that, what should my racing goals be? I didn't even start racing until I was 34, and by men's cycling standards, that is probably already past the peak years. Also, with two small children and a job that requires travel, I can't train as much as some of the young bachelor racers out there can. Given that, I have come to what I think is a reasonable conclusion - that I am not going to be able to dominate the youngsters as I make my way to the lower categories. I have decided that I am going to take advantage of the classes in which I will compete with other guys in my category and that are my age - ie 35+ 4/5. I am certain I can do well in that class. I am signed up for the Fayetteville Stage Race in the 35+ 4/5 category and am very much looking forward to it. When that class isn't available I will happily race Cat. 4. When I am no longer eligible for the 35+ 4/5 class, I will have another decision to make - 35+ open or Cat. 3, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
I had a good week of training considering the weather around here. Here are my thoughts on the previous week:
Monday - "My body has suffered so much trauma from the hilly race on Sunday that I can't bear the thought of getting on the bike today."
Tuesday - "This is one of the nicest days I have ever had on the bike. This weather is absolutely perfect. Could I be in heaven?"
Wednesday - "This wind is crap. I miss my beloved Tuesday."
Thursday - "I can't believe I am riding in the rain in 40 degree weather. Why can't I feel my fingers and toes. Could I have hypothermia?"
Friday - "Do I have a flat tire, or is the wind just blowing that hard? I must have a flat tire. Nope, I don't. Could it really be the wind?"
Yesterday was my wife's birthday. Did I mention that I have an awesome wife?? We got a sitter and spent the day out having fun. She had a massage and we had a great lunch and some alone time together. It was great. I made her a cake and we had a little party that evening.
Here is my creation. I could sell these. Cake decorators are overpaid.
And it was tasty too.
Most of you could probably guess that I have been on a YouTube kick lately. I found the gem below. I certainly hope these two pussies ride better than they fight. HA!
On Sunday I raced in the Primavera at Lago Vista, TX which is about 1.5 hours from my house. The course was 4.4 miles with a 1.5 mile climb, very little flat and a descent that works it's way back to the finish line, but with several rolling uphills in it. The finish line was atop a steep little hill of about 50 vertical feet after which the 1.5 mile climb started. To my knowledge, there were 83 riders at the start in the Cat. 4s.
For those of you who read my blog, you know I am not a great climber. I knew this course would be difficult for me. The race was 9 laps meaning over 12 miles of climbing up the long section. The race started out pretty fast in my opinion. From the start it was right into the climb. The first time up was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it got progressively worse from there. The rolling descent to the start/finish was fairly fast. My max speed was 47 mph, which is not that fast, but it is fast enough while surrounded by 80 other Cat. 4 racers. I repeatedly lost places on the steep little hill leading to the start/finish. There were two crashes. One happened to my right as one rider touched wheels with another. Another happened when somebody got into my back wheel. Shit happens. To make a long story short, on the 7th lap I lost touch with the peleton on the long climb. There were two groups away off the front of the peleton. Many had dropped out at this point and I was the next to drop out when we returned to the start/finish. I had had enough hills for one day of racing. A bit disappointing, but I just didn't have what it took on Sunday to keep in touch with the group. There were over 30 DNFs in my race if that is any indication of the difficulty.
In the P/1/2 race, one of the men hit/got hit by a deer at 30+mph. Other riders said he flew about 30 feet and miraculously wasn't seriously hurt. Lago Vista has a serious deer problem and this year was not the first for rider/deer incidents.
If all goes well, the next race will be the Fayetteville Stage Race in 2 weeks. Less hills will be good. Also, there is a 6.6 mile TT. That should be fun.