Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Capitol Reef Classic 09' race report

Time Trial - Sam and I rode to the start from where we were camping, which gave us a look at the entire TT course in reverse and a good 8+ mile warm up. It also gave me the opportunity to mislead Sam in regards to where the finish line would be. Race officials had changed the course contrary to what they'd published in the race bible, and the spot I'd suggested would be a good place to floor the gas ended up being the finish line, they'd cut the course about a half mile short. Sorry Sam... The ride over also provided time to test and fine tune the set up with any necessary adjustments. I'm yet to get out on course and not notice some tweaks I want to make to the bars or seat set-up. It's a process getting it dialed in.

My tendancy on the time trial is to go out a little hot to the point where I have to spend a little time recovering before settling into top end pace. In my case, it's better to start out less hot and ride up into the right workload - but I'm a slow learner and apparently still need a few more of these to learn how to start correctly/efficiently. I told Sam on the way over that I thought maybe 27-28 mph may be the desirable/necessary pace on the course. Once out and settled in, I pushed it up to 30 mph to see how I felt there, and it was too much. Backed it right back down and after the finishing hills ended up averaging a little over 24 MPH. It was a good ride for me, average HR was right at my 175 threshold - but need to develop the fitness that will allow me to go faster at that number - 27-28 MPH would have been about right. Watched Steve, Mark, and their dad Dave come in, and then rode back to camp to find some shade to hide in until the afternoon circuit race stage.

Circuit race - Brutal hot. First half was real mellow, got a chance to meet most of the guys in our group, then, just past mile 8, the speed kicked up and the selection was made. There were a few short, but stiff climbs here that split the group, 11 of us in front, 7 off the back. We had just finished the last hard climb, and descened down the last big hill before a relatively flat last few miles, when I felt a slight slip of the seatpost, then a large one as it fell all the way down. I wasn't carrying any tool, so pulling over to fix it wasn't an option. Needless to say, in my new position that facilitated some nice, skiwampas pedal strokes with limited power, I fell off the back. It was now a game of trying to limit the damage. Staying in the saddle to pedal was a pretty bad option, so I got into a little bigger gear, and went into a stand and pedal hard, sit and coast til momentum dropped, stand and pedal hard sequence the rest of the way in. I was the wrench in this case so nothing to blame but myself. Deduced that I didn't get the bolt tight enough when switching out the aero seatpost for the road set up (or, maybe the small amount of grease, which bodes the question, do you put a light amount of grease on the seatpost?) - was pretty fortunate it happened as late in the race as it did, as I was able to stay ahead of the back group, and limit damage from the front to about two minutes - it could have been much worse.

I did witness, shortly after begining my limp home from my position off the back, a pretty impressive breakaway up ahead. I couldn't tell who it was at the time, but thought it must have been a heck of an effort to create the gap off the front of the group. Found out at the finish line it was Sam, and he'd held it all the way home for the win - awesome.

Road Race - Again, fairly mellow for 85-90% of the miles. Typical Cat 5 with some foolish attempts to get away, some sketchy riders in the group that you had to watch closely or ride in front of to stay safe, and some good time to visit. There were a few spots where either a hill or short lived acceleration would stretch the group out a bit, but it always came back together. There was a final climb within the last 5k that we knew would be the spot where the race would blow up. In my rookie mind I began to formulate a plan that could have two potential good outcomes, one neutral outcome, and one poor outcome. The plan was to attack a few miles ahead of the big hill, hoping to instigate the following in order of importance/desired outcome:

1 - Get the Evo guys to chase and work a little prior to the hill, expending some energy that Sam could then hopefully capitalize on and gain some time on the leaders on that last climb.

2 - If not chased by the Evo guys, try to stay away on a breakaway, not an overly difficult idea given the pace we'd been riding.

3 - If the breakaway prospect didn't look good, sit up and rejoin the group.

4 - Underestimate the impact the attack would have on me, not recover quickly enough, and have to work hard to stay with the group to the hill.

I got up front and took a long pull to test if outcome #2 was a legit possibility at the groups pace (needed two positive potential's to justify the effort), it was, so I went. I got a mix between 3 and 4. I got the gap I wanted, but no chase and hit a stiff headwind that I wasn't about to take on solo, so sat up to wait for the group. But, I had a hell of a time getting back on with the group when it came by and then had to work hard to stay there. I managed to do it, but was a little gassed at a time when I needed to be preparing for the last climb. Needless to say, for the first time during the weekend, I wasn't able to match the acceleration when the hill hit and the group shattered, and dropped another couple of minutes in the last 3 miles.

Good race for me, made some silly errors that I'll learn from, and gained some confidence that will help going forward, so all in all, pretty satisfied with the weekend. Congrats to the Evo guys who rode a good team race all weekend, and congrats to Sam for posting the win on the Circuit race, which I thought was the hardest stage of the weekend.

Overall and stage results are here: http://www.capitolreefclassic.com/2009_race_results.htm


Killer said...

I was the organizer of the motorcycle escorts and would like to know if there was anything you would like them to do differently in future? I was the only one who had done this before and that was just last year’s CSC so not much experience.

Jason said...

Killer Bob - the moto's in our race did a fine job, no problems from my seat.

The only suggestion I'd offer to the organizers was that they could have announced at the start line that they'd shortened the TT course from what was published, and maybe ask the one official to tone down the bitter beer mood a little - she was having a rough day at the circuit race start area.