Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cat 3 men 1st and 3rd at Deer Trail RR

70 miles east of Longmont, there's a little town called Deer Trail. This morning it snowed, rained and the wind blew gusts of more than 35 mph. Talk to the racers who rode in the morning for their Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) blown-apart experiences. The afternoon races brought less precipitation, slightly warmer temps and sometimes blue skies. The wind never died down though. The race was 65 miles with a little over 6,000 ft elevation gain, 4 turnarounds (see map of race here) and did I mention the wind?

PodiumCloseBut for Barry Schmidt and myself, this was our best race EVER racing together! Not really because we posted top numbers for the season (sorry, geeks can read about the numbers down below), but because we won the race!

Barry took 1st and I got 3rd after a 55 mile, 2 1/2 hr break in which we were two of the strongest riders. The break (the first and ultimately only one that mattered on the day - very rare in a SM3 race) went about 1/3 of the way after the very first turnaround in Agate. We started with about 13 guys and although at first I didn't think it would stick, once we passed the 35+ it became obvious that this just might have a good chance, so it was Game On! It also helped that most of the big teams had representation in the group and since it was a narrow road and strong headwind behind us, those teams helped keep the peleton under control.

The first 1 1/2 hours was chaos with half the group riding at different speeds than the rest. As we dropped guys the group got smoother and faster because there wasn't so many hiccups. I realized pretty early that I was one of the strongest in the break, but kept that under wraps and tried to just ride smooth. I do have to admit I did a lot of talking and even yelling at a few of the guys who were totally messing up the paceline and slowing us down, gapping and just not contributing. I felt bad for yelling, but one of the main guys I had been talking to thanked me after the race for the tips and help. Hopefully others didn't think I was just been an a-hole because I certainly wasn't trying to be. I just really wanted this break to work and it was obvious we had a good group, we just needed to work together.The last 20 miles I did a large percentage of the work along with a guy from Echelon. Our group was down to 7, but it was obvious most were either too tired or too smart to put in time at the front. Since we had two BSV guys, I told Barry to hang back so he would be ready if we got caught and for the final sprint. So I drove the front. After a couple hard uphill pulls, we dropped guys and were down to 4.

Finally, we could see the finish line. The road was nearly flat with a strong NW crosswind. With 1km to go, I looked back, saw Barry and I were set up perfectly, so I guttered the other two into the yellow line... and with the strong wind, that did the job. Barry took the cue and jumped, laying down a perfect Boonen-esque sprint. He didn't look back for 300 meters, but when he did he had the gap and kept it right across the finish line. Although my job was done, I still wanted to get 2nd. So, when one of the other guys jumped, I worked hard to stay on his wheel. I caught it and then the 3rd guy jumped past him. I grabbed his wheel, but was not able to come around and by that time we were at the line. But today my place didn't count - the fact that Barry got 1st made it a perfect race!

DeerTrailRR_BreakFor those of you interested in checking out the power file, go to the TrainingPeaks Power File Viewer and you can download the file into your WKO+ or just look at the numbers there. (If you want to see the GPS file of the ride, check it out here: TrainingPeaks GPS File Viewer

I spent 35 minutes at Anaerobic Capacity and 25 minutes at VO2max. The cool thing was that I only spent 27 minutes of that above Zone 4 HR, so I kept my heart rate at an average of 162 for the race. The goal of course is not to have super high numbers (although that of course helps). Instead, its how long you can keep your top numbers. And if you can keep those high numbers with a low HR, that's when you know your fitness is getting better.

My CP 5 sec of 1,322 watts was establishing the break, then my 2nd spike of 1,084 watts was going into the final sprint for the line 55 miles (2 1/2 hours) later - both places where I would have wanted wattage spikes. In between it was pacelining with headwinds, then tailwinds, then crosswinds (depending on the leg of the race we were on). During the break, my Normalized Power was 294 watts for the 2 1/2 hour break, and my Average Power was 20 watt less. That difference proves the value of the draft you get from a paceline and from working smoothly in a paceline where you don't have surges that sap your energy.

Oddly enough, the only top CP numbers I set today was the CP 5 sec setting up the break. The other CP numbers (463w - 1 min, 350w - 6 min, 317w - 20 min, 309w - 30 min) don't quite make the season's top 10. The fact that both Barry and I have been training using Hunter Allen's pre-built Training Plans this year has got to have something to do with our fitness this year and ultimately with today's success. But bike racing's not about setting peak numbers - its about winning! And that's exactly what we did today.


Ryan said...

Nice race guys. I tried to bridge to your group before the gap was too large, but couldn't make it. You guys were too strong and definitely deserved the win.

Anonymous said...

Great Ride Guys!
This has to go down as the first road victory for the capo forma MAN shorts we all know Barry is sporting this season... I think I want a pair now.

Jim Jennings said...

Congratulations!! Phenomenal job!! Awesome day and awesome write-up!!

bizalich said...

two words for the boys out there today.

nice work barry, and to jeremy for puttin' fools in the gutter--thats what it's all about.


Marty said...

Kick ass! you guys rock. This proves that the man-chamois DOES come with the big brass ones.