San Dimas Stage 2: Solid Race, No Points, Pack Finish

So my plan to win the green jersey was destroyed at the start of Lap 3, when a two-man break took off. It was perfect: right after a KOM uphill sprint, good team representation, attacking right before a corner that slows the pack. If I had the legs, I would have been part of that break.

So, instead, with the break gone and only one points-winning spot open, I could only sit in. My fitness is not where it was last year, which is frustrating since I remember feeling so strong for this race, but I also remember it being warm, so, there. I felt way more comfortable out of the saddle than ever before, which is good, because I have some real power when I stand.

I finished with the main group at the end of 8 laps of racing. Am I the only one who thinks these itty-bitty 7 mile laps feel like racing in Central Park in NYC? Anyway, this means I made the time cut and can start the crit tomorrow.

Speaking of power, I said "forget the power meter" today. (Well, I really said something else, but it was not rated for general audiences.) I'm not sure it helps. Besides, with crazy winds today, I wanted a more aero setup; enter the Soloist with 404s, one of the fastest road bikes available. Guys who have slower TTs than me still finish ahead of me, so, clearly, racing with the power meter isn't the trick.

Homework for me: learn to be more (physically) relaxed once the race gets hard. I tend to get tense and lock my arms, which only adds to fatigue. Maybe I'll make a sensor-embedded goniometer, connect it to a buzzer, and tape it to my forearm. Then, whenever I lock my arms, it can yell at me. If only.*

* noise making devices, i.e. Garmin GPS units with the beeping turned on, loosely bolted bottle cages, and loudmouths, are in poor taste. For an example of good taste, please see the Official Rules of the Euro Cyclist.

San Dimas HCTT: Disappointing

I made it up Glendora Mountain Road yesterday in 15:16.22, slotting me
into 31st place in the GC. It's not a terrible time per se, and if I
throw in some excuses (i.e. "I've been sick", "I've been stressed at
work", "the weather has been cold and miserable", "conditions were cold
and windy for SoCal", "TT helmet is 200g heavier", etc.) it seems better.

Still, the simple facts are:
- my time last year was 10 seconds faster.
- I was 5 pounds lighter when I did this race last year
- my average power, 394W, was 25W lower than my Old La Honda record two
months ago
- I was 7 pounds lighter when I went up Old La Honda
- I was hoping for a time that was 30 seconds faster, which seemed
perfectly reasonable given my OLH performance
- the field this year is stronger, due to greater interest from the
NorCal peloton

So, unless I get into a break that puts a minute into the field, I'm not
a GC contender. Guess I just need to win the road race...

The organizers are being amazing about results. Check them out here:


Race Report: Madera Criterium and Road Race

With the weekend off to a solid start in two time trials, there were two
more stages in the Madera stage race.

The criterium was nothing spectacular, just a garden variety four corner
course, albeit a super wide one with railroad tracks on the last leg. An
early break took off. Wohlberg won. I learned, once again, that pack
position is a natural filter for pack skills, and the further back I
get, the worse it gets. Really need to work on that...

The road race was brutal. There was a strong crosswind on the two
longest stretches of road, one of which had Paris-Roubaix quality
pavement (almost cobblestones, though not worse than Friday's TT!). I
felt great for the first two laps, though I spent too much time in the
drops (and put too much stress on my back). On the third lap, I had to
pee, but was unable to do so. This, along with being on the wrong side
of the wind on the "cobblestones" and riding in the hoods for comfort,
meant that I just expended a ton of energy. With Cal Giant driving the
pace on the front and guttering everyone else, I was cooked once the
rollers came up. This is unusual for me.

So, after three laps, I pulled myself. At least I had a chance to hand
my wheels to Jane. Those Dura Ace tubeless wheels work wonders on the
worst pavement - super comfy (relatively speaking) and no flat tires!

Thanks to Nils of the Bicycle Trip team, and all the Webcor guys, for
being good teammates through the weekend.

Not sure what races I'm doing this weekend, but I'm already looking
forward to San Dimas in two weeks...


Race Report: Madera Stage Race, Sharon Time Trial

My time was 22:31 according to my computer, for the first time out on Madera's pan flat 10.38 mile course. The course highlights included crosswinds, bad (but better!) pavement, and bees, the stinging kind! It was, otherwise, a beautiful sunny day, and a good day for an ITT.

After a good warmup up and down a road near the course, I got to the start without my shoe covers! Crap. I blame my lack of shoe covers for at least 5 minutes (okay, really maybe 10 seconds). The P3C, with a newly verified position and a tri spoke, looked and sounded fast. I felt strong, and certainly stronger toward the end, since it sometimes takes me time to warm up to full capacity. I passed three guys, which was fun, but can mean anything.

We'll see if things in the GC shake up at all. Ben's time last year was 20:39, and my time would have put me in 13th. Not sure how this year's conditions compare to last, and I'm too lazy to figure out how much the GC changed after this TT last year.

Flat, long TTs are my specialty. I just wish we had more of them up by Menlo Park. As my power data tells me, I clearly need the practice!


Madera Stage Race - Day 1 Results

Self explanatory: results from the TT stage...

Race Report: Madera Stage Race, Ben Hur Hill Climb TT

35:24 - 30th in GC, 3 minutes behind race leader

This is my first time racing the Madera stage race. As a Pro/1/2 rider, I get to do an extra stage: the Ben Hur hill climb time trial. The course is just brutal. Six miles of steep, unrelenting rolling hills and the worst pavement I've ever seen (even by New York standards) leads to 3 miles up a 6-7% grade with no improvement in pavement quality. To top it of, conditions were windy, and the sun gave way to clouds right before the start.

The course is a tradeoff. A powerful climber is probably the best rider, and a super light road bike with clip on aerobars is probably the best setup. I rode my Cervelo P3C TT bike with Zipp 303 wheels, and it was fairly light at 17 lbs, but not the ideal position for climbing.

A course like this just makes it so hard to find and settle into a rhythm. There is always something going on: potholes, patches in the road, a power climb, a slight leveling off. Perhaps I can do better next year. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's pan flat time trial!