Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Racing - CCAP Tuesday Night Race - June 14, 2016 B Race (Some good work and a sprint)

Ah, Tuesday Night Worlds. This season in particular this will be my only regular racing because of its close proximity. The only other venue this close to home is New Britain, so my racing this year will realistically be confined to those two spots.

This week Tuesday ended up being a beautiful day. Dry, sunny, mid-70s. Someone on the radio said it was a "Top 10" day of the year, it was that nice.

So of course we packed up and headed out.

I pack the car beforehand, doing as much as possible. For example for the Tuesday races I pin my number on at home, in a leisurely, calm, spacious, and non-windy environment. Unfortunately this Tuesday I couldn't find my number. I normally leave it in the car after I unpin it, but with a couple days of driving with the windows wide open ("Daddy can you open my window all the way down?") I suspect that there's a #185 floating around somewhere outside.

Speaking of #185...

As a last resort in looking for my number I asked Junior, after his nap, if he'd seen my race number. I wasn't even sure he knew what one was so I asked him a few questions at once.

"Have you seen Daddy's race number? The number when he races? Do you know what a race number is?"
"Fifty eight one!"
"It's 185... waitaminute. You know the race number?"

He looked at me with those big, round eyes and nodded.

4 year old kids are super observant and remember everything, just to let you know.

Anyway he hadn't seen the number either. Writing the number off as a loss I went on and checked and double checked everything else, and then the Missus did also.

"Did you get your phone? Helmet? Shoes? You want to charge your phone? I see your gloves here."
"Can you check my bike?"
"I already did, strap and everything."
"You have wheels, the chairs? Bottles. Your sandwich is in the cooler."

Etc etc. Time to go.

We got to the Rent in reasonable time. The Missus drove this time so I got to sit in the back and hang out with Junior. He sang along with a couple songs like "Cake By The Ocean" and some other song that I don't know at all. Apparently Junior is in his "narrative phase". This means he talks about everything. He points out stuff outside the window, then relates them to stories like Thomas the train or to friends at school. He'll randomly tell us about stuff, like what happened a year ago, or about a clip that I showed him (like of me tickling him when he was 8 or 9 months old). Sometimes it's hard to understand because there's no context when he switches topics from one word to another, but you can figure these things out after a while.

The Missus set up base camp for Pops, I got my bike ready, got another number (#472), and even got to roll around the course for a lap. Okay, I did it to get to the portapotty and I didn't want to go against the direction of the race to get to it.

My pin job. Outside, in the light wind.
At least Junior held the pins, feeding them to me one at a time.

I lost my SRM cadence/power, meaning the computer head just displayed zeros for them. That means the pick up under the BB is not right or the wire is busted. Since it's a new wire and since I had just checked the battery I'm pretty sure the pick up needs to be aligned better. That's on my to-do list now.

Start of the B race, neutral laps.

I'm doing the B races this year for a couple/few reasons. The primary one is schedule. With Junior's bed time around 7 PM, even the B race ends sort of late. We don't get home until 8-ish so it's a late night for him. Another is Pops - he can't stay out very long without needing some care so I want to minimize his time at races. And usually he eats dinner after the race. His dinner and bed prep might take 3 hours so I don't want to start it at 9 for example. For the record I finally got him to be around 10 PM and missed out on reading Junior a story.

Anyway tonight a lot of riders started the B race. Two laps neutral and we were off.

Moving up to close a gap.
Yes, that's the field way up there.

Early on I tried to help a rider at the back of the field but realized that I was going to be distanced if I hung out there too much longer. I moved up and saw a pretty big gap to close. Fortunately it wasn't all out so I could close it but it took a close-to-30 mph effort and cost me a huge effort.

Wind from left-front just after Turn Three.
I'm sheltering on #457's right side.

Wind from right-front about 200 meters later.
I've switched to sheltering on #457's left side.

Early on I realized that the wind was a left side cross-headwind exiting the third turn. This meant I wanted to be to the right side after we took the turn. As the road curved left though the wind direction changed accordingly, until it was clearly a right side cross-headwind. This meant sitting to the left of the wheel in front.

I had a difficult time making this move from one side to another while wind was hitting my front wheel sort of hard. I definitely bobbled a few times so my apologies to whoever was on my wheel when I got a bit sketchy.


A very rare sighting - Spinergy Rev-Xs in the wild! A pair of them no less.

Getting ridden off the wheel...

As the race progressed there were some sharper and sharper attacks. Or I was getting more and more tired. I did pull here and there but I got ridden off the wheel twice. Here I simply couldn't follow the wheel. Tailwind section so it makes sense - drafting is less effective in a tailwind. My heart rate hit 166 bpm here before I came off.

This move never came back.

Getting ridden off the wheel again...

Here again I'm losing the wheel. I had less of an excuse here - it's a cross headwind and I was sheltered. I simply couldn't follow. Here my heart rate was about 165 bpm before I had to ease.

This move came back, but only after about ten other riders noodled off the front in various combinations, blew each other up, and got rolled up en masse after a few laps of chaos.

A huge pull for me, almost a whole lap.
You can't see the two guys I'm chasing.

After the fragmented field came together I wanted to see if I could cut into the gap of the two riders off the front. I did a pretty big pull. The gap was huge, about 25 seconds, so I couldn't just jump across; I can do that for a 10 second gap, maybe 15 seconds if I'm super fit. 25 seconds? No way. A gap like that meant doing some pretty hard steady stuff.

Two others with me but I was too cooked to work.

When I pulled off I was surprised to see just two riders on my wheel. I struggled to work with them but I think we were all struggling. We got caught after a lap or two.

The two man chase I was chasing? I think I cut about 30-50 meters out of their lead, so maybe a few seconds. Nothing substantial, that's for sure.

Three Expo riders in front of me, although we didn't have a plan per se.

At about 5 to go I looked up and saw three or four Expo riders in front of me. If it was planned it would have been super impressive but since it wasn't, well, maybe someone got a picture of it. It looked good, that's for sure.

Two Expos go. I never saw this as I was focused on the riders around me.

Along those lines two of the Expo guys took off. I never saw this as I was busy doing some closer riding in the group. The riders around me rode well, one guy kept looking so I knew he wasn't super comfortable but generally he was very good. He did back off unnecessarily in the turns; I'll have to say something next time I see him.

Approaching the bell!

Coming up on the bell I knew that at least two were gone, and I thought at least two more had gone also. Therefore we wouldn't be sprinting for the win. For me I decided I'd sprint. I wouldn't have power numbers due to the zero power/cadence readings, but at least I'd be able to do a maximal jump in a real world race situation.

However, because I only train on the trainer, doing a real out of the saddle sprint is a precious opportunity for me. My goal was to see how I sprinted on the 175s, do a real out of the saddle jump, and see how I fared after the initial acceleration.

First turn surge where the first two riders basically went clear of the field.

A couple guys in the field really went hard just after the bell, gapping the field off and riding clear of everyone else out of Turn One. I knew that my sprint would close a decent gap so that was okay. I was also happy to have a real race surge before the sprint - it would make my sprint test a bit more honest because I wasn't comfortable following wheels after the surge.

Backstretch - my left is clear so I jumped hard left.

I was thinking about the sprint for a few laps. I knew I could always just go out of Turn Three, but I didn't want to do the same thing as usual. Plus it was a headwind and it would be a demoralizing sprint for me. I wanted a bit more speed so at least I'd feel fast. This meant going, at latest, on the backstretch, which is really far away from the line.

In the back of my mind I was also thinking that if I went early and blew, the others would beat me. I didn't have a problem with that - my goal was to do a full on sprint, not necessarily to win the sprint.

Therefore I decided to go on the backstretch, in the tailwind section. It'd be 100-150 meters too early. I wasn't planning on making it easy for anyone but I felt that the field had a good chance of swamping me in the headwind finish.

I went to the left curb, got a gap.
Two riders in front, from that surge in Turn One.

My initial jump got me clear of the riders just behind me, allowing me to move to the left side. I shifted up as usual while out of the saddle and going 100%, two hard shifts. My bike felt nice and stable, I felt like I could get the bike going okay, and I didn't feel like I was holding my breath like I did with the 170s.

On the other hand the red bike felt a bit heavier up front. The black bike feels a bit more nimble out of the saddle - I can lift my front wheel easily in a sprint, which I like because I can make minor trajectory adjustments without steering much. I can also keep it planted, if it's wet for example, so the black bike has great balance. On the red bike I can't lift the front, even if I wanted to do so.

I spent about 10-11 seconds on the gas on the backstretch.

Turn Three, I was flying.

I went as hard as I could into Turn Three. I went a bit wide in the turn, rolling over the manhole cover. It looks like I hit the turn at about 33 mph after peaking at 37 mph on the backstretch. I coasted for about 4 seconds here.

Turn Three exit. I almost hit the curb.

I had to slow a bit as I got a bit preoccupied with the curb exiting the turn. I forced myself to look away from the curb and it ended up okay. Exiting the turn I did a minor jump to hit about 34 mph, passing the two riders just in front of me.

Looking back for any threats.

I started to blow up here, a long way away from the line. I managed about 8 seconds of pedaling before I sat up. This meant I sprinted for just under 20 seconds (with 4 more seconds in there where I was coasting), which is about my normal limit. I'd expect to be able to go 19 seconds in a tough sprint.

After I sat up it took me 20 seconds to get to the line. I think the group behind all tried to individually match me instead of letting one or two guys chase and waiting for 15-20 seconds (like after the turn). If I were back there I'd have waited until after Turn Three and launched an all or nothing effort from there.

I rolled around for a lap and headed to our base camp. Junior greeted me with glee. Or my bike anyway.

Junior greeting me. Pops looking on from his chair.

Junior likes turning the cranks and the wheels.

We got packed up and headed out. No messes, no fusses, and I didn't get totally shelled in the race. A good day.

Edited to add a picture of the Golden Cheetah display of the last lap efforts in speed and HR. Dips are 22 mph, HR maxed out at 172 bpm, about my max.


Aki said...

F16F22 - I'm not publishing your comment because your email is in it. You asked how fast a "Maximal optimal speed sprint" (MOSS) is for me and what speed I started my sprint.

My MOSS sprint recently is in the 41 mph range (2014) which was a no-downhill "leadout", i.e. I jumped at about 15-18 mph. I guess I haven't done a proper MOSS sprint since moving up here in 2007 where I'd jump while going 30+ mph. In the old days I could hit significantly higher speeds, regularly hitting 46 mph at SUNY Purchase Tues Sprints (massive leadout from teammates of 35-38 mph and a slight downhill final 200m - I was throwing my bike to beat other guys so a few guys were going as fast and one was always faster than me) and my own Summer St sprints (flat but solid draft leadouts from cars at about 35-40 mph), but that was 20-25 years ago. I have to remember that I'm getting old and I'm not cycling as much. I'm guessing that at the Rent my max speed would be in the 37-39 mph range with my race wheels. I've only broken 40 mph there a couple times, all of them after getting dropped, tooling around for 10-20 minutes so recovering pretty completely, and then doing a sprint before stopping.

Speed at start - I didn't have power/cadence data, just speed and HR, so it's hard to see exactly when I stepped on it. However speed was 22 mph just before the serious acceleration so I'm pretty sure I jumped at that speed. First jump, on the backstretch, 22->37 mph. I jumped as hard as I could there, the first time I've done a full on jump since last summer. Shifted three or four times. Then I slowed to 22 mph exiting the last turn (slowed due to going super wide in turn) and accelerated back up to 34 mph. I think I didn't shift at all which explains my poor acceleration out of the turn. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to go much faster at that point because my initial jump really killed me, plus not shifting into an easier gear to accelerate. Also wind/etc. If I'd jumped after the last turn I think I'd have been able to go a bit faster on that section, maybe 35-36 mph, but probably not 37 mph due to less favorable wind.

I'm guessing I jumped at about 1200w the first time and sustained 900-1000w. I'm guessing 900w the second, sustained maybe 500-600w before sitting up. Just guesses, based on how I felt/etc. My power/cadence has been flaky (pick up isn't positioned right I think) so I didn't have power/cadence data at the race but on the trainer two days prior I did comfortably over 1000w for 17 seconds, staying over 900w for more than 23 seconds. My peak on the trainer is low because I can't rock the bike, but still 1100w on Sunday. I'll usually hit 1100-1300w in a race ending sprint, sustaining 1000w for the duration of the sprint. My best race sprints have been 1200-1400w peak with 1100w sustained for 18-19 seconds.

F16F22 said...

Thank you Aki, you even answered another question I had but didn't ask, about shifting during the sprint. Talk soon.

Aki said...

I think I put it elsewhere but there are a lot of posts etc. I usually jump as I shift into one smaller cog, so I'll be in the 14T for example and as I jump I'm also hitting the thumb button shifter (Ergo lever, mechanical) to shift into the 13T. As I sprint I'm shifting. I did some work a while back in SoCal to calculate where my peak power hits. It seems like I hit the best power if I shift at about 110 rpm into the next gear. Therefore I try to get up there before I shift because I usually shift way too early, like 90 or 100 rpm. I haven't been focusing on that recently. I used a heads up display from 4iiii (Sportsiiii) to try and give me a visual cue for shifting up but I haven't used it in a while.

With adrenaline it's very hard to maintain fine motor control. You probably know that but I only learned this in the last 5 or 7 years. I found it very hard to shift just one shift at a time in really important sprints. I would accidentally shift 2 or 3 gears so I'd be in the 14, jump, and expect to be in the 13 but find myself in the 12 or 11. Therefore I "downgraded" to an Ergo shifter that only shifts one gear at a time, a Centaur shifter. The Record and Chorus allow multiple shifts but then I jump and I'm in the 11T way before I want to be there.

Finally regarding mechanical vs electric shifters. Since the chain shifts only when it hits a ramp, both mechanical and electric rear derailleurs will work similarly fast in most conditions. I suppose a muddy or worn mechanical derailleur may shift so slowly that the chain passes a ramp before the derailleur moves over, but that would be an unusual situation. Therefore unless you get a cassette with more ramps you won't shift any sooner. The front derailleur is a different story but if I'm shifting the front derailleur in a sprint I'm already done.