Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thoughts on Road Racing

I waited with much anticipation for the Adelphia Gran Prix, looking forward to competing after a month of training. Today, however, my post-race thoughts revolve around: confusion, frustration, and emptiness. Not exactly an experience worth paying $30! Of course, I’m to blame. I’m either going to become addicted to the challenge of road racing or quit trying altogether. I am of the mindset the fittest survive, gleaned mostly from my years of playing goalie in soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. If you were the best player, you got the start to help your team win. This mentality followed me into my mountain bike racing experience as you are truly an individual versus the mountain. Your finish position is gauged by how much better you are than your fellow competitors. It certainly doesn’t rely on these other racers. This brings me to the challenge I’m having trying to understand road racing: it’s not the fittest who survives and wins; it’s the laziest (who sits in the back of the pack the entire race and saves legs for a sprint) or smartest (who knows what break is legitimate and goes with it) or the one with all the teammates (who has the race under control to their advantage). So why train? Just hope all the stars align in your favor and race as hard as you can the last 100 yards or so and call it a day!
As I mentioned in my race report, I was in the Masters’ 35+ class which evidently is meant for Cat. 4 or higher riders. How can I compete in Masters’ ‘cross races then?
Anyway, from here on, I’m going to race the Cat. 5 35+ class and build a resume to move up to 4. My approach is to take off at the gun and never look back. Rather than try to understand the pack mentality, I’m going to challenge it by going out hard early and see if they catch me. What’s the worst that can happen, they catch me and I finish with the pack? That’s fine, this way I actually get a workout in!
We’ll see how it goes I guess. Stay tuned, next race is 5/12.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Adelphia Gran Prix Report

Masters 35+: 16th/21

April 23rd was my first "counter" road race of the season. I competed in the Masters' 35+ division although apparently I'm not qualified to. But I'll touch on that in another post.
The best part of the day is the fact that the weather was tolerable. There was an ominous prospect of rain and wind but it held off right up until after my post-race ride. It was, however, overcast and chilly necessitating long sleeves and leg warmers.
The race got underway fairly quiet. It was helpful to get a lay of the course which included a steep bumpy downhill to a left hander. There were a couple of attempts by individuals to get away , but they were pretty tame and no one took them seriously. Suprisingly, a pair of teammates did get away 1/4 of the way into it and they were never seen again. That was unfortunate because they locked up 1st and 2nd without a fight. The pack, despite having 2 teams with multiple riders, was uninterested in pursuing. I'm guessing it was on account of the fact many rode in the 45+ race earlier now that I see the results. Had I known that, I would have sought out someone to take off with as I felt good. Another pair took off 3/4 of the way through, another opportunity missed.
Hindsight is 20/20 however. I stayed at the front of the pack helping keep other fake breaks in check. On the final lap halfway to the finish, I took off with another rider who I thought would help distance us from the field, but after I pulled out in front of him he faded. I was doomed, but figured I'd stay with it as I pretty much was burning my legs and if I sat up to wait for the pack I still wouldn't have a sprint in me. Plus, I would avoid any entanglement on the treacherous descent. So I trudged on solo with the pack 10yards behind me. After the downhill, the pack swooped in and sprinted for the remaining spots. I did the best I could, but ended up with a disappointing 16/21.
I am registered for the Sterling RR on May 13th in the Cat.5 35+ division. Based on this experience, I think I'm going to attack early, ride my ass off and leave the tactics to the pack. That way I'll have no regrets, just sore legs!
The Victory has needed nothing but a wash and some chain lube since it was at the shop in March. The bike instills confidence in me and I can safely say I'm adjusted to it and it's reactions are very predictable.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Training Update

It's been awhile since I last posted. It's been a busy month of work, coaching lax, and training. I haven't had much down time except at night, and that's reserved for reality TV shows! I want to learn to do more with the Garmin 305, but haven't taken the time. The info it provides (HR, cadence, speed, etc) is sufficient for now!
I think I've been progressing well. Physically, I look like I normally would mid-season so that's a plus. It's difficult to guage where my endurance and lung capacity is. The first mountain bike race will be my best test I guess.
The last couple of weeks are the first I've been able to ride outside. Although the weather was relatively mild in March, it was easier to do the training drills on the trainer in a controlled environment. Plus, I realize I'll be riding ALOT outside from here on so why not watch a video and sweat it out!
I've always been critical of my surrounding geography as there truly are no exstensive flat rides from the house. Everything is rolling or hilly, and don't even get me strated on the wind! Bur, I've managed to cater routes towards the type of training I have to do and the headwind is actually helpful resistance. So, hopefully this will translate into good results down the road.
I raced today but don't know the official finish so I'll post a recap when I do.
By the way, the Aegis is awesome, PERIOD!