Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Velocity RR, Aerobic Power TT

The road race's plan was to attack, attack, attack...except for the odd man out, me, who was going to sit in as plan B and be ready for the sprint. Plan went well, I had a bit of fun near the front thwarting attempts by the non-represented teams to organize a chase, and although Stephen was sheparding me for the last few km, I was biting on every (fruitless) attack (mistake number one) and then flinched when someone swerved toward me with two km to go (mistake number two)...balanced on the edge of the road for 10 metres, before rolling into the ditch. Race over! Bugger. But Alex stayed away in the break and got a solid second place, to put him spitting distance from moving up to cat 1/2.

Next day I was less organized than usual (my bikes were being transported in Mike G's van (thanks!) and I had trouble finding him)...a quick warmup, realized I didn't have a number on yet, but made it to the line in time number-less. Hit it as hard as I could have hoped on the way out, passed some people and felt great. On the way back I was passed by rocket-man Trev and another guy (that I passed back, take that!...then subequently was re-passed by). Got a 4th for my efforts, and beat my previous PB by 2 minutes and 10 seconds!

The TTT was wicked fun. Alex and Keith are super-strong dudes, and we hit it pretty hard. Rotations weren't perfect, but we felt great about the pace and think we did well. No word on time or results yet.

Lethbridge stage race

A quick post since the race is already two weeks old...and I had a crappy end to the weekend.

Drove down with Andy Sat morning in gorgeous weather to the hill climb. I knew I had to get my new cassette (yes, I now have two cassettes. So pro!)on and deal with my powertap wheel having the low-gear (13-26) cassette, but I managed to fart around long enough (basically hang out with all the people that had they ducks in a row already) that my warm-up was a last minute panic, and luckily Alex was kind enough to throw my cassette on for me. Anyway, after the stressing, I got to the line in time (I think that's 3 and 3 for getting to the line in time now), spun like a mofo for the first flat section, before getting in a groove for the hill.

I often finish TTs thinking "did I really push it, or was there more to give" and when hill climbs are usually decided by a few seconds, it's easy to doubt yourself. But once I crossed the line I was hyperventilating and wheezing like I had to do the hill climb under water, and my heart rate was 4 beats off max, so I think that was all I had to give.

I think I would have had a shot at winning, except that, well a) I'm not that fast..., but b) it was about half as steep as Edworthy, and not really a hill-climber's hill per se. I was stoked to get 3rd. And lucky as hell that I beat A-Train by 1 second.

That afternoon was the MTB race, but since the only single track I've ever ridden was two years ago, and I don't own a mountain bike, I didn't think I was going to do it. But Trev was awesome enough to lend me his wicked bike, since I was racing with the Novices and he was racing Expert later on. Started off feeling good, crushed the first hill (compared to the 15 or so other people in the field, but was still gauging my comfort level at the top and was riding at the top in about 3rd. Trev and co were there, and yelling at me to pass...so I passed, and hit the first downhill in first. Woohoo! Traversing the hills at the bottom (think 45 degree hill with a 6 inch wide horizontal trail cutting across it) was not going so well for me, but the women's race slowed me down to a coordinated speed for the most part. But when was up to me I was often coming out of the track and have to unclip a pedal to stay upright, then taking forever to get clipped back in, since they weren't my pedals or shoes...thanks for the loan, Tom! I was considering riding in road shoes, since Trev thought I could do the entire course without unclipping, but since I ended up running half of it, it was lucky I had MTB shoes!

Anyway, that's how my race went, with one dude that was clearly a better bike handler, but potentially not as fit, passing me a couple of times. He'd just re-passed me with about half a lap to go, so I was taking a few (more) risks and bombing down the hills, when it all came unglued and I bailed down the hill (luckily in the grass) with the bike using me for cushioning. Back on the bike, battle battle, unclip for the friggen uphill again, and then I had no chance. But a solid second place anyway.

Turns out riding a somewhat new sport, on a bike set up for someone 6 inches shorter, may not have been the best recovery for the following day's road race. And not being able to handle a mountain bike wasn't good either. After much icing and vascillating, I rode in the following day's race (somehow with another last minute mechancial issue that required panicking and last-minute assistance). Felt great in the first 30km, and was in a breakaway with Alex and a couple of others, when he reminded me it was going to be a long race and we should get back in the pack. Luckily he was there, I would have been dropped for sure otherwise - most hills had me crying for mercy, and although I stuck with the lead pack for the entire race, my spirit was crushed and I couldn't summon the willpower for the pack sprint at the end. Lame!

Not a good first cat 3 RR.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

First race of the year

April 15th or there abouts was the first race of the year, but more significantly, was the first race since:
a) I bought a TT bike, an uber-expensive (for me) Cervelo P3C
b) I bought a skin suit
c) I came last in a race, in my cat 3 debut at the end of the 2008 road season
d) I trained my guts out for 6 months over winter in warm (not!) sunny (not this year!) Calgary

So I was pretty nervous...if it didn't go well, then I was threatening to throw my TT bike in the dumpster and take up mini-golf.

I rode the course on the Friday before. When the guy from Crankmasters said it was hilly, well, he should have said really, really hilly. But custom made for a light-weight like myself.

The ride itself didn't go totally to plan...I just couldn't bring myself up to a "PHD level of suffering". I felt fast on the way out, but assumed that the way back would be a painful slog into the wind. Turned out that the way out was into the wind...huh. So I came screaming over the line with about 20km worth of energy left.

But once the results came out, it turned out that I did really well. In fact, I beat my race result from Strathmore, which I did the same time of the year in 2008, only, the race was two kilometres SHORTER! Looks like the hard yards (and big bucks) were not in vain.