Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cupcakes at Wells ave!

Tomorrow, I'll be at Wells with cupcakes. Just so you all know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SSWC (Single Speed World Championships)
2008 Napa, CA Report

Just got back from SSWC08...and boy are my legs tired. For those of you wacky enough to think that race reports are about more than results and wattage outputs, the long story is HERE.
If you want the short story, here it is: I placed top 11 out of 400+, but two guys in Borat bathing suits beat me, and I put out about 18 Billion "Whats?". Like: What the hell am I doing? What the hell is that guy wearing? What lap is this? What time do I get to stop riding my bike and start drinking beer? What time is it? Really, I never converted my watch to California time and now I don't have enough blood going to my brain to figure it out. If you can still perform basic arithmetic while racing your bike, you're just not doing it right.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gate City Cyclone Criterion Race Report M35+

When I heard how much fun I had missed at last years Gate City Cyclone Criterion in Nashua I made sure I wouldn’t miss it this year. To help prepare for it I did the Concord Criterion the weekend before. This was a real confidence booster because I was able to match all the accelerations during the race and I finished a respectable 6th in the M45+. Now I just needed to iron out some race tactics and thought I’d be able to do a little better in this race.

This was the first time I saw that the organizers, Team BOB and Goodale’s Bike shop, had a list of preme sprint lap prizes. After reviewing the list it was apparent that some guys were going to be motivated to win multiple sets of Conti tires, Giro sunglasses, floor pumps, CO2 kits, a Bontrager wheel set, valued at $300 and a bunch of miscellaneous items. Chris White (BOB), who I haven’t seem on the oval all year, took my application and told me to lookout because the dynamics of the race would be drastically different with so many sprint laps. I wasn’t sure how it would affect it but my goal was to stay up front as much as possible either way.

I lined up with teammates Greg and Lance towards the back of the group. After the race started one thing became obvious within the first few laps. The chicane half way around the course made it difficult to go thru with more than three riders wide. And if you were in the back of the group there was a major slinky effect going into and coming out of it. Because of this I tried to stay towards the front as much as possible. And by doing so it actually felt easier to be up front. The other advantage I found going thru the chicane towards the front was my Father, step mom, sister in-law, niece and nephew were in those corners and could see me coming sooner. This helped with my motivation because every time I came thru I’d hear them yelling “Go Uncle Steven!!!” And that really helped me block-out the fact that my heart rate was hovering around 184BPM which is over my threshold.

As the race progressed it became obvious that no one was going to get away from the field with all of the sprint laps unless they were in a big group. This played out to my advantage because I’ve never been successful in small breaks and typically have a stronger finish if I don’t attempt many of them. As with most races the last few laps are the fastest and a true test of ones fitness. So as we got down to 3 laps to go I did my best to stay towards the front. On the bell lap things got crazy because the whole field thought they should be up front also and we really bunched up heading toward the hill. I did my best to accelerate up the small hill before the chicane and found myself in ~6th place coming out of it. I had some contact with a rider thru the last corner and the guy on the outside skipped his rear wheel when he jumped to accelerate. I tried to stay on the wheels of the guys in front of me without standing and wait till the end to get around them. But all I could do at such a high pace is stay behind them and spin as fast as possible till crossing the line in 5th place. After the finish the judges reviewed the results and some protests were filed against the rider that I made contact with. Apparently he made contact with the other riders ahead of me and was relegated to 11th place for his actions which placed me 4th overall.

So it seems doing the Concord Crit the weekend before helped prepare me tactically. I didn’t walk away with any of the sprint lap merchandise but won $55 and had a great time. I’m happy my family was there to witness my efforts and share in some of the adrenaline. Seems they almost had as much fun watching. Almost.
Steve G.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Concod Crit Masters 45+

Like last year I’ve been concentrating mostly on track racing. Last year I concentrated purely on the sprint events and didn't do some of my favorite Crits to concentrate on my first Masters Nationals. But this year I wanted to be a little more diverse and changed my routine to include more 3-5 minute intervals midweek with Doug Jansen. It seems to be paying off as that extra day of suffering has allowed me to have more fun by doing better in the longer track races. So with my hometown Nashua Cyclone Criterion a couple weeks away I thought I’d give my fitness a good test by entering the Concord Criterion the week before. I’ve done this race a few times in the past and had a good idea of what to expect.

The Concord Crit. is a popular race and I entered the Master 45+ with 57 other riders. The race started off quickly but I moved up to the front within a lap and tried to stay there to watch for any major threats. I found I could maintain the pace on the hill by staying seated, dropping a gear and just spinning up the RPM’s. Most guys stood to accelerate or maintain their pace. My Hr hit 184 regularly every time this happened but I was no worse off than anyone else. There were a couple of premes but I didn’t go for them. Instead I stayed towards the front to make sure that they didn’t stay away and be in a good position when the counter attacks occurred. This seemed to work until 7 laps to go when Paul Curley (Gearworks), Keith Ford (Sunapee) and Peter Megdal (NEBC) attacked and stayed away until the last lap where Peter won by a bike length. Team BOB was doing most of the work trying to reel them back in as the other team mates of the break would block. There were a few surges with 4 to go and I kick it back a notch with 3 to go. I might have let up to much as I really had to work to move up with 2 to go and it was almost impossible to move up with 1 to go. On the last lap I saw a 191Hr at the top of the hill and the group was strung out in a line. I was in about 12-15th place so I put my head down and just told myself to bury myself until the end. I caught a couple of breaths while drafting on the downhill and might have waited one breath to long to start my sprint. I started to accelerate 50m before the last turn and stood at the apex. The rider to my left skipped his rear wheel out badly but I ignored him and kept the power down. I had a good jump and gained places quickly and continued my seated high RPM track sprint. It was a little crazy trying to pass people as everyone spread out across the road but I managed to make my way up to 6th at the line. I don’t know if I had the advantage of coming up in the riders draft but I had a 39.4mph Max. This is my fastest top speed in flat sprint.

So with this being my first real Crit since Stafford Springs I feel good about my fitness and finish and was reminded that it’s all about the last lap. In next weeks race in Nashua I need to be in the top 5 with 2 laps to go and protect my position no matter what. Stay tuned...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tokeneke Road Race - Women's open

Lizi & I did the Tokeneke Road Race in northwest CT, along with over 40 racers in the open women's category. We rode 2 laps of the 22mi relentlessly hilly loop, which has 2 particularly long climbs separated by a long & fast downhill, and then a deceptively subtle and painful rise to the finish. The first climb was set at a brisk pace, and Lizi and I advanced towards the front of the field to respond to any developing breaks. As we approached the feedzone/finish line, with fatigue in our legs suffered through the 2nd climb, 2 women from the Radical Media team attacked and broke away. Groaning, because I was quickly reminded that a similar move was made at that spot last year, I had to get around riders to close the gap. This move splintered the field, but Lizi and I managed to work with a few other women to chase them down. Although they were just up the road, we chased for what felt like forever, and finally after a long descent, I managed to close the gap. At this point we were 11 women-- Lizi & I, an IF rider, NEBC rider, 2 other ny riders, and then outnumbered by 5 Radical Media women. With little time to catch my breath, we made the right turn for the next climb. Lizi and I did a great job closing in on any jumps or gaps. Later on, a RM rider attacked and broke away and none of us were too enthusiastic or had much left to chase. But we motored, causing a few of us to get gapped, passed by the pace cars, but we managed to chase downhill and rejoin the field. Through the second climb, my legs cramped, and then cracked with less than 2 miles to go to the finish. I saw Lizi ahead, looking strong and climbing so beautifully! We both raced very well, with Lizi placing 6th and I placing 10th.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bow Road Race

Masters 45+
Brian, Jody and I raced Masters 45+ at Bow. The weather was threatening, and we did get wet. The P/1/2's who raced in the afternoon did not fare as well, as their race got cut way short due to severe weather. I'll post an abbreviated report here. Visit my blog if you are bored enough to read a looong report.

We kept the modified course from last year, which makes the climbing just a bit harder. We also were neutral up the bulk of the climb on the first lap. This suited me fine, as I did a hillclimb race the day before. However, as we approached the KOM wall, John Funk (Cycle Fitness) and Paul Wonsavage (Onion River Sports) bolted away from the pack. Funk had two potent teammates, Tom Officer and Mark Luzio, in the field to keep the rest of us in check while he rode away from us.

Funk and Wonsavage soon had nearly two minutes on us and were out of sight. But on the second lap, we brought Paul back into the pack. Luzio and Officer performed flawless blocking duty while Funk was still up the the road. It seemed nobody wanted to deal with this situation. So Alec Petro (Team Psycho) and I put in some double duty chase effort. We repeatedly came around the blockers to keep the pace going. This started to work. Soon we had Funk in our sights again. I wanted to finish the deal, but Bill Thompson (CCC/Keltic) suggested we let Funk simmer out there a little longer. Bill and I tried to get away at one point, but Officer and Luzio would have none of it.

As we came through the start/finish for our fourth and bell lap, we caught Funk. When we began the climb again, Petro rode off the front solo, surprisingly, since he contributed so much effort to the three lap chase. Nobody responded. Then we hit the KOM hill. This fragmented what little was left of our field. Funk, his teammates and one other gapped me at the KOM. I was toast. Fortunately, a couple other strong riders with me had some juice left and were able to close the gap. Now we just had Alec Petro off the front by 10-15 seconds with half a lap to go. Being at the front, as I too often am, I did not realize the pack sat up just as we began the big descent. I accidentally rolled off the front. With Petro disappearing and a non-responsive pack, I thought to myself I was not going to let Petro win this race by himself. I was quite sure my bridge attempt would be futile, but then again, in a sprint against those guys I was looking at like 15th place anyway. I had nothing to lose.

After insane hammering downhill at speeds approaching 50mph for 2-3 miles, I caught Petro. He was glad it was me, as the two of us put in disproportionate work to shut Funk's break down. We essentially worked together for much of the race already anyway. So we drilled the remaining 3+ miles of the race through all those turns and steep, punchy climbs, never completely out of sight of the chasing pack. But we made it. Crossing the intersection by the fire station, we saw nobody back. Then it got interesting. I can't sprint even if my life depended on it. I wasn't about to play cat and mouse games either and screw a sure thing up. So we just lined up and ramped it up side by side. Alec slowly inched past me. That was all I had. I was quite happy with second place. A chase group of about 20 came through just 16 seconds behind us. What is interesting, this is almost exactly how this race played out for me last year. Similar cast of characters, different finishing order for the others. Brian came through in 25th, Jody in 31st. It was an exciting race, and the brief downpour mitigated any overheating problems.