Saturday, May 31, 2008

Auburn Lake Road Race-Short Version

Don't worry there is no long version.  First, this is the first time I've done this race and haven't gotten soaked!  I liked that.  It rained the whole way up and with 45 minutes to go it was 50 degrees and pouring.  But it stopped, so I raced.  We did 5 laps, 57 miles, in a combined field of 35's and 45's.  There were a couple of breaks, they all got caught but the last which was Tom Officer off the front by 20 seconds for the last 4 miles.  Joe Rano, another rider, and I led the pack up the first half of the finishing climb.  Rano and the other guy pulled off, I kept the lead for the second steep section.  Then I backed it down to tempo and waited for the surge, hopped in, and got 8th.  Kevin, who did more work than me during the race, got 15th.  All in all, I was very happy.  9 pts of the 25 I need for Cat 2 upgrade.  I might make it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What You Missed or The View from Mt. Wachusett on Memorial Day

Our fearless leader (Julie,) John Fennel (her domestique,) Kevin Young, Brian Anderson, and I took advantage of a nearly perfect Memorial Day to ride to the top of Mt. Wachusett today.  John and Julie rode to my house in Weston from Somerville making it more than a century, Brian swung by from Concord.  For Kevin and I it was a tad over 86 miles.  While armwarmers were a good idea for the first 5-10 miles, I was in full Little Stevie Weller mode by the ride home with full zip jersey fully unzipped.  We wound away out through Weston, Wayland, Sudbury, Hudson, Stow, Bolton, Lancaster, Sterling and Princeton.  Wachusett was a bit crowded but visibility was a 9 and just marvelous at the top.  On the way home we added Harvard, Acton, Lincoln, and Concord to towns hit.  I learned a bit about neuro-biology (about as much as I'm capable of) and managed to learn that John hates Quine (I don't) but did avoid sex offender defense strategies.  I'll have to wait for the next team night for that.  Sorry more of you couldn't join us.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lake Sunapee Road Race

Masters 45+ Report
A strong masters contingent raced Sunapee on Saturday - Brett, Jody, Kevin, Brian and myself. Many of the usual suspects from CCC/Keltic, Cycle Fitness, Bethel Cycle and other teams were there. The race was lively, with attacks starting right away coming out of the rotary. Brett and I participated in many of these. It seemed the rest of the field wanted a piece of this action too, and nothing could get away.

On back side of first lap, Tom Butler (CCC/Keltic) and I got a small break going in the hilly section. We got caught just before the long, steep hill. Bad situation. I nearly got shelled right off the back. I licked my wounds in the field for a while, having already spent too much time at the front of the race.

As we finished the first lap, two riders got a sizable gap. Chase efforts were disorganized at best. Then Brett, Brian, myself and one other rider came up to the front with an agenda. We kept a nice 4-man tempo paced rotation going to bring the gap down. By the time we reached Rt 11, the break was put out of business. The IBC effort here was a nice piece of work.

A number of additional attacks ensued on Rt 11, with Tom Officer (Cycle Fitness) making what looked like a promising move with two others. Not sure what happened with that one, as it ended in some strong words being exchanged. Cresting the big hill on Rt 11, I found myself behind a split with several strong riders cresting the hill ahead of me. Those stronger guys did not seem to have any interest in driving a group of 10-12 riders, so we soon bridged back together. I was cooked by this point, foolishly playing way too many games at the front of the field.

On back side of second and final lap, Randy Kirk (Cycle Fitness) strongly surged off the front, growing a sizable gap on the field as we merged onto Rt 103. There seemed to be no response from field. I was quite certain Randy had the win. I decided on last pitch of stair step climb to rotary to launch off the front. The field let me go. I might have had a 10 second gap cresting the hill, 20-30 seconds behind Randy, going for 2nd place. I knew my chances were slim however, as my matchbook was empty. Sure enough, as I approached the rotary, I was swarmed. The best I could do at this point was limp up to the finish line. Turns out Tom Butler won, as Randy Kirk was swarmed in the last meters too. So it turned into a bunch finish with 37 riders given the same time. I finished 19th, and Kevin was down just a couple spots from me. In discussion after the race, a shift in strategy may be required to capture stronger finishes for our team. At Sunapee, a lot of the work IBC put in benefited other teams.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

CTodd seen racing...a BIKE!


Yes. It is true. My running shoes are getting less and less use these days. I raced Wells Ave. for the 3rd time this morning. Unlike Mike, John and Marvin, I was too chicken to race the A field. I saw the Slipstream kit and became a wuss. (OK, really I didn't have the time...) Considering my training consists of an occaional run and a 25 mile (one way) commute to work on the nice-weather days, I have very little mileage in my legs and no "real" training.

Intensity? You're funny!

30 minute intervals? Are you kidding me?!

The B race was probably the largest field I've seen at Wells Ave: 100 riders or more. They said it was "full" and they weren't kidding. I started at the back with Ms. Giulia and soon realized just how many people there were in this field! Hannah-bannana and Julie-your-cruise-director rounded out the IBC representation.

Since I was near the back - I started clawing my way up to the front. Once there, the competitive instinct takes over. Who cares if I haven't been training? Somehow, I had the juice to chase down a break or three as well as try twice (thrice?) to attack and make a break. After each attempt I hid in the middle of the pack to recover. This B race was a little faster than the typical B race. Typically B races are ~24mph. Today we were ranging 24-28mph with the occasional 22mph post-prime lull. The last 5 laps were 28-30mph though. We were cookin'. With gas!

Mysteriously, I had myself setup pretty well on those last few laps. Coming into the home stretch I was maybe 5th or 7th wheel with a perfect line on the inside.

Remember the part about no intensity and no intervals?


About 60 meters from the line my legs quit..


..and I floundered across the line somewhere in the top 15 or so. Maybe top 20. Maybe not. Who's counting anyway? Its just Wells Ave!

I guess I should start training, huh?

UCI meets Wells ave?

Don't get too excited...yet. Its only a race report :-) I went down to Wells today to get in some tempo riding and change up from the boredom of my usual 3 hour sunday rides. I've done wells, what feels like thousands of times, and most of the time am falling asleep waiting for our races to start, but today there was a bit of a buzz in the air. Out in back of the school there was a rider warming an argyle blue and orange outfit. Looks like Slipstream-Chipotle kit, but I'm thinking no effin way one of those guys is showing up to Wells. After circling around the parking lot waiting for the B's to finish, a couple of MRC guys are telling me "he's the real deal". So, in my mind i'm thinking A.) who is he (hard to recognize...maybe one of their developmental riders?) and B.) how soon after the race starts can he make his split so i can resume my usual Wells ave pace and not die trying to chase. With ego checked at the door, we start.

The pace was fairly standard Wells' A race for the first 5 laps (26-27 mph). I'm just sitting in, thinking about how bad i've been feeling all week getting over a cold/allergies, and promised myself "I'm just sitting in". After about 10 laps, i notice that the S-Ch rider isn't all that intrigued about setting the pace for everyone. A bunch of breaks go away, somme big, some small. I get tired of weaving around the back of the field so I bridge up to the lead group of about 20 guys. they're just putzing along and soon we're caught. Maybe it was the ease to which i bridged to that group, but against my own best advice my limbic system over-took my rationale (as it always does during racing) and i thought..."maybe i don't feel so bad"....let's look for a move. The S-Ch guy goes...i grab his wheels he pulls me for about 200 m, i pull though...he sits up. I'm clearly not the guy he wanted to go with him on the big move.

Halfway prime comes and goes and another 20 rider break goes up the road with about 5 sec over the field. then, from what i remember, like a shot out of hell Mike Norton comes up the left side of the finishing stretch and i grab his wheel. We promptly catch the break in short order, and next thing i know it's me, Mike, S-Ch man, a sakonet rider, and about 5 other guys and we go right past them. I took a quick look back and noone was chasing us. Ambivalence, or accepting fate? i don't know, but the field let the strongest dude in the pack go up the road, and with about 18 laps or so to go we're off and i'm sitting in what will be the winning break-away with a S-Ch rider. Where the hell am I? Not on earth clearly.

Out of no fewer than 120+ races i've done, I've been in about 10 break aways my whole life. 9 of them went nowhere. One ended up with me placing 6th. this one however was made to stick. We spent the next 30 min setting a decent tempo, taking turns, with a bit of discoordinated attacking going on from some of the riders, but all in all a manageable pace. At about 5 to go guys are starting to miss pulls and i'm sensing a move. S-Ch rider goes with sakonnet...we cover it. 2 to go and S-Ch says good bye. Thing about it was, his "jump" was not that explosive...but after 30 min of FTP level riding he ever so slowly just outpaced us and rode the last 2 laps solo. We fought it out and in the end i crossed the line last in the break...eighth or something. I've finished better at wells, but man did i turn myself inside out to get that spot today. Probably could have moved up some places but i tried to chase down the sakonett guy on the last lap and he toasted i sat up in the final turn and cruised across.

Final stats for the breakaway: 30 mins, 13 miles, 26.5 mph, 301 watts avg, 500 kcal, 50 TSS.

The beauty of this was that is was exactly at my FTP, and i'd been doing 30 min intervals for the past 2months at about that level so i was right in my zone. any harder and i would have had to throw up :-) thanks for holding it steady guys.

So, not to let the air out, but turns out it wasn't a UCI pro (no sh*t)...but it was however, Kirk Carlsen one of the S-Ch U23 team riders: . He won Sunappe yesterday as well. So, not pro-tour yet, but a hell of strong dude who was clearly way ahead of everyone else in the field. Not sure what i was doing in a break with him but like Kevin McHale said: "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while".


Friday, May 16, 2008

Brialee Ramblin' Rumble Mtb Race Report

Since uber-blogger Thom (no I’m not linking his page because I have no time and no knowledge, I'm actually just hoping this post shows up in some not-horribly-disfigured way) has not got to it yet, I figured I’d write up a quick report on this. Sorry: no pictures. This past weekend (May 11) saw the IBC mountain bike crew back down in Connecticut for the Brialee Ramblin’ Rumble. Not as idyllically pastoral as it sounds. I had mixed feelings about the course: this is the fourth time I’ve been to Brialee, and the course seems to have morphed from a pleasant wooded trail to a rutted, eroded ATV scar; otoh, it’s still a blast to ride. So, onto the riding. This week the crew was Linnea, Colin, Thom, and me (did I miss anyone?)

I got to the race course later than ideal, like, maybe 40 mins before the start. This didn’t faze me too much though, as I barely have enough in the tank to finish these races, let alone warm up. When you combined all of the expert women (I was racing expert women 35+), along with the pro/semi-pros we start with, we had a decently big field, maybe 16 or so. (I only combine numbers for the purposes of feeling good about having many women on the start line; I then make a clean and absolute distinction with the pros, since they are much faster than me.) My new-found strategy is not to go out ridiculously hard and blow up within five minutes -- after several years racing, I’ve reached this novel conclusion. This meant that I saw Linnea for approximately 30 seconds before she left me in the dust (or was it mud?), next to be seen at the water hose after the race.

The course, as I said, was essentially a rutted out ATV course. But it had fast berms, sketchy bridge crossings, at least if taken at speed, morasses of mud, several small rock gardens, and these especially fun sections where all you could see was an expansive brown pond, with who knew what beneath? My strategy there was to go as fast as I dared, hold on tight, and pray. That didn’t always work. My race went decently well anyway, I think better than last year, though I never made a completely clean lap. I’m pretty sure I rode everything clean at least once though. I ended up 4/7 in my group (we had a couple of DNFs just to make my results look worse, but I was ahead of them anyway, honest).

I consulted the boys’ voluminous blogs and while I may not have read every word I think everyone enjoyed the course. Thom had a smokin' fast race (despite my best efforts to derail him when he passed me) and ended up 2nd in the PRO men, which came down to a “sprint” (such as one sprints on single-speed mtbs) finish. Linnea won her (expert young chicks) race handily and also, I’m glad to note, beat my nemesis (I am about 1/15 in beating her myself, so it’s best if Linnea does it for me). Colin had an awesome race but for the fact that he had to run some large portion of it for mechanical reasons, but still ended up about halfway through the young expert men.

Next up: Gloucester Grind or Coyote Hill.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Masters 45+ Adventures in Sterling

Doug should be writing this as he finished highest and was at the front more than me.  But, as this blog is my doing, I figure I'll work at keeping it up to date.  We were scheduled for 5 laps but they tacked an extra lap on at the start just to remind us how old we are. Kristen has a mean streak in her.  

The promoter had us leaving 20 minutes after the 35's, which is about the time it takes to do a lap, so it was no surprise when the asst. ref. pulled us over after the first hill to let the 35's ride through.  Mike Harris described the race as a crit on a road course.  I think that is pretty accurate.  It was fast, most laps were 24+ mph and there were not the usual moments when everyone sits up.  

Doug got away with Eric Pierce and Dave Kellogg with 4 to go, but got caught.  Pierce and Kellogg and a Battenkill United fellow went off again and Doug, unfortunately missed the second move.  Doug, Brett, Brian, and I moved to the front and attempted to chase but got zero, nada, zilch help from anyone else.  At two to go I moved back a tad to rest up for one to go. Brian killed himself chasing.  

Doug was 18th, I was 21st.  The rest of us down from there.  Too bad, we had good presence but, frankly, it was a fast race. Good fun, though.  I almost passed due to strained hamstrings and they kept me from hitting the final sprint as hard as I would have liked.  But I'm glad I went. Life w/o bike racing is a bit dull.