Notes from the back...Way back (long race report)...
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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Notes from the back...Way back (long race report)...

    Well I wish I had better news to report but I figured I'd write this experience anyway.

    I'm currently in the middle of a three-week cluster of big races for me. Last week's MTB race turned disastrous when I drivetrain imploded. This weekend, I lined up for the Bear Mtn. Classic road race in Harriman, NY. This is a very popular race for the NYC area racers. Many of the 100-rider fields were filled with waiting lists.

    I had been stressing about this race. There are very few road races in my area. The population density and society make it very difficult for promoters to do anything but crits. When we do get a road race on the schedule, people get excited. Added to my anxiety is that this race is 70 miles long with a ton of climbing. I'm one of those skinny climbing dudes so I was putting added pressure on myself.

    I stayed overnight about 30 minutes away. I showed up with my good friend and teammate, Joe, who would be my feeder. After getting my race packet, I go back to my car and realize I had forgotten my duffle bag of gear. It had everything, shoes, helmet, clothes, etc. Thankfully, I still had time to get the bag but that meant no warm-up. I return to the race in time to only get dressed and pee. Joe heads off with to the feed zone, I drop my wheels off in the wheel van and head to the start line. I'm still in good spirits and find a good position at the start.

    The Cat. 3 race called for 5 laps of a 14-mile course (70 miles total). The 14-mile laps consisted of very rolling state park roads including one 650' climb early in each lap. As we start, it's about 50 degrees with light rain and soaked roads. We head down about 500' to the base of the first climb. I'm freezing my a$$ off and laughing at all the bikes that picked up a high speed wobble (from riders shivering).

    We hit the first climb and I'm near the front in the top 20. The climb is not exceedingly long or steep (I'd say 6-7% range) but it slows you down nonetheless. All seems well for now. We are all soaked but the climb allows me to gain some warmth. A few riders go off the front as we crest this climb. It's way to early for me to care about a break. I'm happy with my current position.

    We go over the top and things remain settled through the flatter portion and rollers. The rollers are still worth noting. A couple rising a few hundred feet at about 5%. I find myself it a great spot, opposite the slight headwind that we had. Things are good. I maintain a good position leading through the feed zone as we are about to finish the lap.

    This is where the beginning of the end came for me. We come through the start/finish and the marshalls flag us off the course and into the parking lot. They then explain that we have to stop the race temporarily because a required ambulance is not present. We are left to wait around in the parking lot until an ambulance shows. It doesn't take more than a few minutes before I'm shivering again. I thought to get in my car and stay warm but Joe has my keys and is a mile away in the feed area. A fellow MTB racer was also in my race and I convinced him to start his truck and we huddle inside.

    45 minutes later, we are told to reassemble at the start line to begin again. I find another good spot near the front and the organizers explain the restart process. They have us ride down the base of the first big climb. They would then restart us and give the 6-rider break and a small chase their leads. Any warmth gained in the truck goes quickly out the window descending to the restart. Everyone gets a good look at the break and the chase and knows exactly what the gaps are. This would act as the proverbial "carrot on a stick" for the main group. When we restarted the pace was absurd. We go up the climb and I slip to the rear quickly. By the top, I'm struggling and loose contact and form a chase with about 15 other riders.

    We form a good paceline and are hammering but not gaining any ground. The support van goes by which sends a bad signal. I'm having difficulty maintaining even this pace. I grab a bottle as we finish the second lap and try to relax on the long decent. We hit the climb again cold and wet and my legs said "NO!!!". I loose contact with the group.

    Before cresting the climb, I'm passed by the Cat. 4s and integrate with them. Although, I'm completely depressed, I stay with these guys for a while and chat with a few other 3s that had been swept up.

    I finish the lap with the 4s but once again get dropped on the big climb. I fight to stay within reach. The 4's support truck for actually offers a draft and paces me within reach and I reintegrate.

    Before long, I'm falling OTB with some straggling 4s and do just one more lap. I ride alone or with a couple other guys that were just as miserable as myself. I stop in the feed zone after 4 laps and call it a day. Joe had been recruited to feed a couple other people we knew so I stayed there and dropped in the grass. To add insult to injury, I had to wait an hour to get one of my wheels from the truck. The 60 or so wheels in the truck were too much for the volunteers to keep organized. My wheel went to someone else who flatted and he took his sweet old time to return it.

    Considering the training and mental effort exerted leading up to this race, it was a miserable failure. The only thing gained is that I realized I need to work on my cold starts. I already knew this as I tend to start my MTB races slow. In those, I'm able to make up places as the race continues. That doesn't work in a road race if you loose contact with the group. I've been considering a workout to help improve this but put it off in favor of others. Now, I'll be adding it to my regimen. Next week is another huge MTB race. Then, I'll be chillin and reassessing the training regimen leading up to later in the calender.

    Sorry for the down story but I figure we can't always have success stories. I hope everyone else had better days than I.
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  2. #2
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    Is it possible that in the cold, the time pressure to get your stuff, and then with the delay, you plain forgot to eat and drink enough?

  3. #3
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    Unfortunately not...

    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    Is it possible that in the cold, the time pressure to get your stuff, and then with the delay, you plain forgot to eat and drink enough?
    The intake was typical for me. I had breakfast before arriving (the 1st time). Food and drink on the bike went as planned.

    The combination of the 45 minute lay-off after starting and then the immediate quick pace afterwards is what did me in. The added stress of forgetting my bag certainly did not help.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body!!!
    Work to Eat / Eat to Live / Live to Ride / Ride to Work

  4. #4
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    Not much better for me

    Bikn, that's a rough race man. My race didn't go as planned either. I did the Muskego Park crit, which is more like a short circuit race. The race is 20 laps and is advertised as 100ft of climbing each lap. I was really hoping for a great season this year, and while it hasn't been bad, and is definitely better than last year, I don't see myself making my ultimate season goal of upgrading. I'm still just lacking that bit to really contest the sprint.

    As I was warming up for the race I could tell my legs didn't quite have it. I was pretty tired Thursday and Friday, and although I felt pretty good Sat, I could just tell something was missing. I stayed in pretty good position the entire race but when it came to the last lap, I just did not have it. I had to nail back one little gap before the "climb" and just didn't quite re-integrate and drifted in at the back of the field across the line. Why this race was depressing for me is that it showed that despite all the work I did on my sustainable power this winter, it still is just not enough. Close, but not quite there, and that's tough considering how hard I worked on that aspect of my riding this winter. And I'm only trying to get out of the stinkin' 4s.

    Oh well. We have a RR this weekend that should favor the climber types, and while I am no climber, I am fairly light, so I am going to take it easy this week and see if I can't do any better this weekend. I sure hope so.

  5. #5
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Worse yet...

    Mine was cancelled.

    TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=biknben]

    This is where the beginning of the end came for me. We come through the start/finish and the marshalls flag us off the course and into the parking lot. They then explain that we have to stop the race temporarily because a required ambulance is not present. We are left to wait around in the parking lot until an ambulance shows. It doesn't take more than a few minutes before I'm shivering again. I thought to get in my car and stay warm but Joe has my keys and is a mile away in the feed area. A fellow MTB racer was also in my race and I convinced him to start his truck and we huddle inside.

    45 minutes later, we are told to reassemble at the start line to begin again. I find another good spot near the front and the organizers explain the restart process. They have us ride down the base of the first big climb. They would then restart us and give the 6-rider break and a small chase their leads. Any warmth gained in the truck goes quickly out the window descending to the restart. [QUOTE]

    Man...that 45 minute wait is ridiculous! What a bummer, especially having to DESCEND to the restart! My teeth would've been clacking away too. Don't let this discourage you. It sounds like you're doing the right thing re: trying to improve how fast your body warms up. Hey man...you're still "biknben" - CAT5 to 3 in one season, right? =) Besides, there are still many more races in front of you this season. Every racer has days like this.
    -Jeff

  7. #7

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    Hey biknben, it was nice and warm and sunny for the LBS ride on Sunday back at "home"...but unfortunately I broke a spoke 3 miles out and and had to limp back so I guess your bad luck rubbed off on me...

    Too bad I didn't pack my swiss army k-nife and some dental floss or I would have rebuilt my wheel on the side of the road. Who need's all of those expensive tools like spoke prep, a truing stand, dial gauges, a dishing tool, and a spoke tensiometer? HAHAHA.
    "...makes you strong like Ox!"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asiago
    .
    At leat we didnt crash out, right? I am just glad to have came in back of the pack. I am not strong and have no sprint so coming in with the pack is good enough for me. I should'nt have took the lap before the race began when race marshall told us we had three minutes left till the start. One guy went out and I followed him. which resulted me getting stuck at the back . I didnt have a good warm up and I thought another warm up lap would be good. It was good, fun, and painfilled race. I am glad weather cooperated. How did you like the course by the way? They ran the course in reverse from couple weeks ago.
    Last edited by MD80; 05-11-2004 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9
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    The last lap of a crit is usually anaerobic so sustainable power isn't that relevant. How's your anaerobic power?

  10. #10
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    Nice course

    Quote Originally Posted by MD80
    At leat we didnt crash out, right? I am just glad to have came in back of the pack. I am not strong and have no sprint so coming in with the pack is good enough for me. I should'nt have took the lap before the race began when race marshall told us we had three minutes left till the start. One guy went out and I followed him. which resulted me getting stuck at the back . I didnt have a good warm up and I thought another warm up lap would be good. It was good, fun, and painfilled race. I am glad weather cooperated. How did you like the course by the way? They ran the course in reverse from couple weeks ago.
    Yeah, not crashing is always a good thing!

    I liked the course, though I was wondering what it would have been like run the other direction...

  11. #11
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    Not bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    The last lap of a crit is usually anaerobic so sustainable power isn't that relevant. How's your anaerobic power?
    Well, my anaerobic power aint bad, I'm a descent sprinter, but my limiter in races, including this one, is aerobic power. Eventhough last lap is anaerbic, aerobic power is still relevant because had my aerobic power been better, I would not have been forced anaerobic during the earlier part of the race, leaving me fresh to go all out on the last lap.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asiago
    Well, my anaerobic power aint bad, I'm a descent sprinter, but my limiter in races, including this one, is aerobic power. Eventhough last lap is anaerbic, aerobic power is still relevant because had my aerobic power been better, I would not have been forced anaerobic during the earlier part of the race, leaving me fresh to go all out on the last lap.
    Yes, that's the long answer.

    Is there a big difference between your anaerobic and aerobic powers on the power profiling table?

  13. #13
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    Not a clue!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    Yes, that's the long answer.

    Is there a big difference between your anaerobic and aerobic powers on the power profiling table?
    I really don't know what a profiling table is... As far as wts/kg I fair better at the 30min tests than the 6 minute tests, though the 30min test was nothing to be proud of. I fair better on the wts/kg for 30min as that is almost exclusively what I worked on this winter. The last time I did a 6min test my average power for that effort was really poor. It's frustrating because I worked so hard, it's just that, well, I suck!!! Ha-Ha.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asiago
    I really don't know what a profiling table is... As far as wts/kg I fair better at the 30min tests than the 6 minute tests, though the 30min test was nothing to be proud of. I fair better on the wts/kg for 30min as that is almost exclusively what I worked on this winter. The last time I did a 6min test my average power for that effort was really poor. It's frustrating because I worked so hard, it's just that, well, I suck!!! Ha-Ha.
    http://www.cyclingpeaks.com/powerprofiling.htm

    or

    http://www.t2r.org/train/powerprofiling.htm

    It includes trackies so a roadie would expect to be higher in P5 and P20 but lower in 5 sec and 60 sec power. The purpose of the chart is to let you know what to work on.

    How are you measuring power anyway? Hopefully not with a trainer... If you have a on-bike powermeter, you should race with it. You can get all kinds of useful data from a race.

  15. #15
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    Sorry to hear it Ben

    As I know you put the hard work in, it is unfortunate you had to be victim to a bad race day. But it happens, kinda comes with the territory. Besides, your training this winter made great advancments in your performance level and you learned alot. Your posts have been really reflective of you becoming a student of bike racing and training. That alone is impressive as many of us here know well enough. Just the same, bummer it had to be on such a great race. But it happens from time to time. At least it wasnt an A race =)

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    Re-analyze your training

    Ben, I have also moved over to doing primarily road racing this year from mountain bike racing. The only mountain bike race I've done this season was Sea Otter in the Expert class, and I was mid-pack, which I'm happy with because I'm not really mountain bike racing anymore. Actually Sea Otter is the only time I've even ridden my mountain bike in the last 8 MONTHS....so you see I've fully committed to the dark side of road racing!

    But I digress. I would assume you are Expert on the MTB since you are a 3 on the road? If not, I'm sure you are a contender in Sport. In either case, coming over from the MTB race side, you probably have more than enough aerobic endurance and sustainable aerobic power necessary for road racing.

    While mountain biking is all about hammering along at a good hard sustainable pace, road racing is all about attack, recover, attack, recover. So the two forms of racing are not necessarily conducive. If anything, MTB racing just develops the base you need for road racing.

    So what I am trying to get at here is that you need to think about how much supra-threshold work you are doing in your training (if you want to be successfull on the road). How much anaerobic work do you do, and how often do you work on developing your sprint and peak power output? I would bet not enough since you are still targeting MTB races to do well in. I would bet that you work more on your time trialing (lactate threshold) ability than anything since that is the primary skill needed for the MTB. And if your fast starts are bad in MTBing (as mine certainly used to be) what you are missing is SPEED: peak power as well as anaerobic power.

    If you went from 5 to 3 in one season, you clearly have more natural ability than most. But the ability to put out that really high power and then recover quickly is (I think) probably the highest ability to develop in cycling. Since you've upgraded so quickly, this is probably what has caught up with you. After all, most of the 3's you are now going against have been racing for several years at least.

  17. #17
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    You are right on the money...

    I started road racing 3 years ago to compliment the MTB racing (Expert) that I've been doing for a while. I did mostly training races the first two years. I spent last year as a cat. 4 and upgraded to 3 over this past winter. I pushed for the upgrades in order to do the longer races. My MTB races are typically over 2 hours. A 45-minute cat 4/5 crit doesn't cut it for me.

    Yes, sustained anearobic power is the limiter. I can play workhorse all day...just don't attack me!

    My dilema is that MTB racing is still the focus but I wouldn't mind improving on the road. I started my spring working on sprinting and power but didn't see results or "feel the love". I transitioned to other workouts that helped the MTB as the season got closer. I'm trying to find a balance.

    Thanks for the input. It certainly helped to reinforce what I was already thinking.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body!!!
    Work to Eat / Eat to Live / Live to Ride / Ride to Work

  18. #18
    The web is a MUT
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    new web address

    Quote Originally Posted by Squint
    http://www.cyclingpeaks.com/powerprofiling.htm

    or

    http://www.t2r.org/train/powerprofiling.htm

    It includes trackies so a roadie would expect to be higher in P5 and P20 but lower in 5 sec and 60 sec power. The purpose of the chart is to let you know what to work on.

    How are you measuring power anyway? Hopefully not with a trainer... If you have a on-bike powermeter, you should race with it. You can get all kinds of useful data from a race.
    Just tried to follow your link and got redirected, don't know if this update has been posted yet.

    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/powerprofiling.html
    <<a sig line goes here>>

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound
    Just tried to follow your link and got redirected, don't know if this update has been posted yet.

    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/powerprofiling.html
    Yeah, I kept getting 404s (not the wheels unfortunately), yesterday, for the first link.

  20. #20

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    What happened to your wheel though? I knew I would freeze to death on the descent so I was wearing my sweat shirt under my jersey. I got real hot only at the last lap since the temperature went up to 60s. Last year they cancelled this race because of fog though.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orbea_Carbon_Force
    What happened to your wheel though?
    The wheel van was packed with wheels. In the event of a flat there was no way you'd be able to wait to find your wheels. The volunteers just grabed the first compatable wheel they could find and put it on.

    It's not a huge deal unless you've got some sweet wheels in the support vehicle. In my case, I had put my training wheels in the van while I raced on my good ones. When you get a wheel change, you leave you bad wheel with the support guys. Eventually you have to go back and get it. The guy who got my wheel left his Zipp 303 with the flat. Had he never shown up, I would have been happy to take his wheel home with me.
    Pain is weakness leaving the body!!!
    Work to Eat / Eat to Live / Live to Ride / Ride to Work

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