Throw the bike................. NOW!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Delmarvelous Criterium

Hello race fans:  This race was actually fun.  Click this to get in the spirit of the event.  I don't have a lot to add to my race video.  I did decide to fade out the audio and put in my musical creation.  Primarily because the chatter noise was so loud and annoying.  Plus, I actually like my little musical piece.  Someone gave me a little encouragement so what the hey, why not. (don't worry, I'm not going to start singing). [Use your inner DJ to select music from the music player on the sidebar and mute it and/or the video's audio icon.]

Ok, so I promised to dish out a little wet weather advice that I have learned over the years.  Here's possibly one the best ones:  In order to dry your shoes quickly use newspapers.  Simply ball the sheets up and fill your shoes up.  The capillary action of the paper will quickly dry your shoes out.  After a few hours pull out the paper and allow to air dry.  What?  You already knew that?  Damn.

How about this little ditty:  Another drying trick was given to me recently by my friend Charles Gentry.  This is good for all sorts of drying needs, including removing water that is trapped in your carbon rims (if you have them).  Charles says, Let the "air out of the tube and get a desiccant pack from Walmart.  Comes in a cup and you take the lid off and put the rim and the frame (oh yeah, bike frames too) in a large trash bag with the open cup of desiccant.  Soon the cup will fill with water and you pour it out.  The desiccant will suck out the moisture out of the air in the bag and in the rims and frame.  This is the easy way.  I raced in Hawaii for 5 years and this is what we did."

It is also important to not fully inflate your race tires, in particular the front.  Instead of the standard 120psi, try 85psi for the front and 95psi for the rear when using tubulars (consult the manufacture's instructions for clinchers).  This is most important on the front tire.  You can slide the rear a bit and usually recover, but you will almost never recover from a front wheel slide.  Where the front wheel goes, so does the bike.  Typically racers take the first corners tentatively and progressively get faster.  The last corners before the finish often have wipe outs. (for information concerning high speed cornering see my post on the topic.)

That leads me to the single most important rule of bike racing and general group riding (rain or no rain).......NEVER HALF WHEEL!  Basically, half wheeling is the potentially dangerous and foolish practice of positioning a bicycle such that a rider's front wheel crosses the plane of the rear wheel of the rider in front of them.  If the front rider swerves suddenly on purpose (say.... to avoid a pot-hole or a dead aardvark) or accidentally (say..... because they noticed some discarded porn in the ditch)  they can sweep the front wheel of a rider that is half wheeling.  Again, as we have already learned:  where the front wheel goes, so does the bike.  Half wheeling is probably the most common cause of bike crashes and is most common when the pack is bunched up and not going very hard. That's one of the reasons why I say that fast races are safe races.  When it is super fast, there is no half wheeling.  And if someone crashes in a corner, they are usually sweep off the course by the pure momentum of their trajectory.  As Martha Stewart says:  "It's a good thing!"

For information concerning biking and racing safe see my post on the topic.

Well, that's enough dude and dudettes.  Enjoy your you know what.  (bicycle)

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The Carondelicious Circuit Race

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

Hello race fans!  Here's my video of the Carondelicioius Circuit Race.  I was basically skunked in this one, but I'm ok with that.  Racing in the rain, typically isn't my bag.  I did accomplish some of my primary goals though.  1. I raced.  2.  I finished.  3.  I didn't crash.   So other typically goals would include having some degree of fun (otherwise why do it?) and placing well or hopefully winning.  I failed on the last one, and I had a mix on the fun category.   Stacie Tindle and Cory Redmond put this race in the "fun" column.  I did not expect their hijinks, but it was greatly appreciated by at least me.  I think it helped everyone's moral who was standing at the line in the rain while waiting to race.

The rain and in particular, the poor visibility put this race in the "not fun" column.   Part of that was my own fault.  I wore my prescription sunglasses instead of contacts and my "Transitions" eye-ware.  It was much darker than I expected.  Also, not warming up before the race started put this race in the "not fun" column.  But I recovered from that and adjusted to the shock of not being able to see well (for a visual reference see the end of my next video..... my vision was actually worse for a while)  and returned mostly to the fun column.  I was going to set up my tent and trainer, but I was solo on this trip and simply didn't have time.  Typically it is advisable to warm up before a criterium or a time-trial.  There are many ways to do it, but as a general description for a newbie with no high tech heart-rate or wattage gadgets I would suggest the following:  30 minute warm-up.  1st 10 minutes easy to moderate, then 3-4 30 second bursts (80-90% effort) with a minute of soft to easy pedaling in-between. Follow this with a steady pace that would allow conversation if riding next to a fellow teammate/racer.  There are plenty of other variations including some short threshold (a maximal effort that you can sustain for up to an hour) intervals for a minute or so with plenty of recovery to eliminate lactic acid. 

Two important points of the race:  I was afraid of crashing and the other important point is that I was afraid of crashing.  Despite not warming up I choose to race at the front early on.  This is very good advice for racing in the rain.  I always want to be in front of a crash instead of in or behind one, plus I can pick my line and not get tire spray in the eyes.  I did make a couple efforts at the end, but I was pretty much gassed for the actual sprint and again "I was afraid of crashing".  I'm sure hard core racers will criticize me for this, but to that my response is...... I will be racing another day, no broken bones or bicycle on this one.

As a matter of fact, I raced the time trial just a few hours later.  I was 2nd fastest in the category 1-2 field.  The funny thing is that I had an absolutely fabulous tt, one of the best I've ever done, only to find out that I had mistakenly turned too early!  The race official (Buddy) asked me if I turned early and I truly thought I hadn't, but after a bunch of questioning we figured out that I had in fact made an error.  So I said, "No problem.  I'll just do it again."  I did, but it just wasn't like the first one.  I was about 20 watts lower, plus very slow near the area that I had mistakenly turned on the first go round.  The road is not visible at first.  At first glance (while traveling near 30mph) it appears as if the road loops back upon itself.  The actual road/course is hidden from view, downhill and sweeping to the left.  Most people got it right (they were probably going slower and had more time to see the road), but some other riders also made the same error as myself.  I'm only half dumb.  This is one case where a video would have either vindicated me or implicated me.

I have some really good rain racing tips that I'll share in the next post which is shortly coming up.

Have fun cycling everyone and try to keep your pecker powder dry!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

How to high speed corner, or techniques for effective cornering with a bicycle

This photo taken by Paul Pate (thank you sir!) shows the camera position that I used.  A friend of mine said the video looks like it was shot from my spleen.  Basically he was very close to correct.

Also pictured in this photo is Justin Maciekowicz (trying pronouncing Maciekowicz.... good luck with that).  He's a very good time trialist, but not so much on criterium cornering.  If you don't believe me, just watch the video again. Oh, and in the video, there is a young rider from team Mesa, named Martin Lang.  I don't know him yet, but I've heard very good things about him from my friend Ethan.   He says Martin is talented and has a good future in the sport.  After the race, when explaining his poor cornering, Martin said that he didn't trust his tires.  My genius response was, "Dude, get new tires!"

[Follow up comment:  The only problem with the cornering in this video is the gaping caused by a combination of not drafting tight to the rider immediately in front and also riding the breaks before and during the turn.  The lines are good, inside pedals up, and body position are all good.]

Below are the key elements to ideal high speed cornering, or techniques for effective cornering on a bicycle.

The ABC's for high speed cornering on a bicycle

A. confidence.  Confidence is key.  Successful high speed cornering requires it.    One  beauty of criterium racing is that you do the same corners over and over.  Repetitive successful navigation of high-speed corners will give you more and more confidence .  This confidence will be carried into your next race and continue to build for subsequent races.  Eventually you will become a master at cornering. 

B. Smoothness.   Smoothness is basically not grabbing the brakes, looking ahead, and staying on the wheel of the rider in front of you.  Smoothness comes from both confidence and good form.  Smoothness  involves relaxing and not thinking too much,  and doing the exact thing as the other racers  are doing in front of you through the corner.   Do not think..... "I could crash.  I might crash".  This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Instead think...... "If that person in front of me can do it, I can do it!"   That's the racing attitude.   

C.  Good Form.   Good form involves pushing down on the outer leg, pointing your inside knee toward the corner, and leaning the bike while keeping your body mass  over the bike. The most important thing is  lowering your center of gravity and transferring your weight to your outer leg by pushing down on the pedal.   Stay light on your handlebars and saddle.  Generally this is instinctive, and is experienced by "the lean" (or counter steering)   Just lean the bike into the turn and it will follow.  Look up ahead (not short-sighted) to where you plan to go.  Straighten out the turn by starting as wide as possible, and then aiming the bike to the inside edge of the corner.  Try to do most of the turn early for the following reasons:  One, if you don't, you can run out of room and hit the curb and crash, and, two, the physics of a rotating wheel is such that when it is suddenly or quickly leaned while spinning,  it physically causes the wheel to WANT to go in that direction.  To be sure:  Spin a wheel (held at the axle) in your hands and lean or tilt it and see what naturally happens.  The wheel will try to force itself to turn in the direction it is leaned. 

The best tires for racing

Tubulars, or Sew-ups,  are the best race wheels/tires for racing, period.  Second best is Vittoria Open Tubular clinchers.  They rule in the rain.  I know I said "period" on the tubulars, but for the newbies:  tubular wheels are lighter than clinchers and, therefore, faster (force divided by mass equals acceleration).  Also tubular tires are in effect like riding on balloons and are much smoother than clinchers and tend to grab more on extremely fast corners.  Additionally, tubulars have a rolling resistance that is lower than clinchers (illustrated here in my post with other important factors influencing performance ).  Also tubulars are less prone to "snake bite" flats (as when the rim double pinches/punctures the tube from say.... potholes or rocks).  The downside of tubulars is that they are much more expensive and generally can-not be patched and take a little coaching on gluing.  I would recommend never riding a patched tubular in a race or put stop leak junk in race tubulars.  Think about how important tires are.  Not only is your race outcome dependent on them, but possibly your health. 

If anyone has opinions or ideas concerning tubulars, cornering, or how to help Justin and me out, please feel free to comment.  Cheers!

Update:  Justin seems to have the cornering down....   Additionally he has beaten me a few more times.  Not to worry, I will try to return the favor as the season progresses.  Additionally, Martin Lang is riding well.  He must have gotten new tires!

Additional update that I think is quite important, comes from my friend, former coach, and former professional bicycle mechanic for the Pro Jelly Belly Cycling Team.
"Thomas McDaniel June 2 at 3:24pm
Dave, I read your blog about cornering and felt compelled to add commentary. You make reference several times about keeping weight over the center of gravity, but then later add to point the knee into the turn, which in fact moves valuable weight outside the center of gravity (or more importantly, away from above the contact patch of the tyre). The reason pointing the knee towards the inside of a turn helps is because it facilitates the hips rotating, which guides you through a turn. Bicycles are steered with hips, not hands. Unfortunately most cyclists are so tight through their hipflexors they cannot keep their knee above the tyre while rotating their hips into the turn, thus losing the benefit of additional weight atop their contact with the road.
As for other ideas....tubulars are not meant to be run @ highest of pressures. In fact, I would run tyres for the team @ 90 front and 105 rear on technical courses like Downers Grove, but only 85/95 if raining. My riders absolutely loved it, and rarely crashed because of it. The supple nature of the pressure allows the tyre to soak up lots of the effects of cornering, and keeps the tyre consistently in contact with the road, which is great for high speed cornering and power transfer. The energy potentially lost is negligible compared to the security and performance of properly inflated tyres. Keep in mind, this is from 284 days of racing with 9 bikes worth of tubulars per day. Never a rolled tyre, and significantly fewer punctures and crashes, especially in wet conditions."

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hermann Criterium Power data 18April2010

Here's my data from the Hermann Criterium.  It is worthy to note that my speed sensor failed yet again.  I have a wireless Suunto that broadcasts to my SRM control device.  I would estimate that the descent was in the 40 plus mile per hour range.  Average wattage appears to be about 337 (my weight is about 158lbs or 71.67 Kg).  I've decided not to post my time trial wattage in that it is a true measure of what I can and can not do.  But please feel free to guess.

Oh concerning my timetrial....... there was a car stopped in my lane at the turn around!  Needless to say I wasn't happy about that at the time.  I did an ok time trial, but not a great one and I was beaten by both Zack Reed (by 8 seconds) and Austin Allison (by 9 seconds).  According to my SRM data, I stopped pedaling for a total of 16 seconds.  That does not mean that I would have beaten their time, but I definitely would have been closer.  That is certain. 

I hope to try to tear my cranks off at the Tour of St. Louis's  Time Trial this weekend.  Hopefully I'm feeling top notch.  It should be fun!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hermann Road Race/conclusion of Omnium Stage Race

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

Hello race fans.  Here's my video of the last stage of the Tour Of Hermann Omnium Stage Race.
Race results are to be found in the below link:

The final stage was a 90 mile Road Race on a very hilly course, with one very very steep section (but short)  Racers could pick and choose individual stages, but must do all three to qualify for the overall prize list, which was by far the majority of the prize.  Individual days only paid four places and very little.  To give you an idea, I made $40 for 3rd place on my TT,  $25 on my 4th place Criterium placement and zero for 6th in the Road Race and $275 for 3rd place overall.  So basically I am absolutely rolling in prize money..... oh I had to split my money with team-mates (I still owe Dan and Jonathan at this time).  Entry fee was something like $95 for all three events.  Happily my entry was free as the current defending MOBAR Champion from last year.  

There is a reason why I am starting with money.  It is important.  It determines many things.  Like whether you will do the race in the first place.  There's fuel, food, possible hotel expenses to consider, and possible lost work wages as well (sucks to be a surgeon, conversely it's probably a  break even scenario  if you're a burger flipper).  Also it determines how hard a person might race, or at least it can for me.  For example:  My bicycle costs over $8,000.  My wheelset alone costs over a $1,000 used.  I decided it wasn't worth wiping out in the last set of turns (turns out finishing one up would have made no difference).  I would have to win several races to pay for destroyed wheels or bike frame.   I have no idea what a doctor bill for an injury might be, but I'm pretty sure it can be considerable.

So money has a push pull effect for me and most cyclists, but clearly it is not the reason for racing at the amateur level.  It's the thrill of the event,  the challenge, the adrenaline, the commradery, and for older riders it's a way to stay young....... oh and a little cash winning never hurt.

I totally got off of the race analysis.  I wanted to point out that because it was a points stage race with bonus points as primes in the criterium it is a little difficult to instinctively know what the hell is going on.  Ethan and I knew the basics.  Austin Allison 1st, Zack Reed 2nd, me third, then Justin M. 4th, and then Ethan 5th overall going into the last day.  We told Dan Miller and Larry Simonson that they could be aggressive early on (they did not do all 3 stages), but not to work in any break with the Overall Top GC Dogfish riders, but otherwise go crazy.

Turns out they did!  They both got in the break.   Dan ended up 4th in Road Race!

You know, I could go on and on about the details of the race, but I think the video is adequate.  I just want to say a few things.  The riders of the Dogfish team are really good riders, but not only that...... they are good sports and people in general.  In particular I have to single out Jim VanDeven for not "gigging me" at Froze Toes Race, and Zack Reed for being so darn friendly.  That dude is fast all around and I've never heard a single bad thing meantioned about him (plus he's not a trash talker) and in my racing circle that is rare (there are certain people who are haters...... you know it's true! LOL)

Speaking of talent....... Austin Allison.  Pro material?  Yep.  19 or 20 years old.  He's just going to get stronger.  I would suggest that he polish his TT skills, climbing power, 5-20 minute power maximums and not work too much on the sprint.  He shouldn't have to sprint too often.

Well, that's somethin' for race commentary.  I think I'll start getting ready for the Tour of St. Louis.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hermann Criteriuim

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

Ok, I only have a moment before I have to leave this morning for the 90 mile Hermann Road Race, so I will do a more through analysis later.  In short, I placed 3rd in the tt an 4th in the criterium

Concerning the video:  I somehow lost the finish data (about 5 minutes), but it wasn't terribly fascinating anyhow.  The big deal is that I did get the beginning and then some.  I was also a little unhappy with the very loud clicking that was associated with my pedal cadence.  (I've since discovered that the clicking noise is from the buckle of the camera mount and is preventable by installing a rubber device into the buckle.  The rubber device is provided with the camera.  I just didn't know about how to use it or what it was for.)  I normally don't put music on my race videos, but I decided to delete the video audio and replace with my own musical creation.  I would love to use professional music, but copyright issues disallow this.  Anyhoo, if my music absolutely sucks, I suggest muting my stuff and turning on your own music.

A follow-up post to this one is  called How to High Speed Corner (next in the order of posts)

[Update:  I now have a license to use certain copyrighted songs. Additionally I have added a music player gadget on my sidebar for everyone's listening pleasure.  When watching a video, mute the player or the video otherwise both will play.  You have to be a bit of a DJ on this site. :-)]

Gotta go race!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Look Out Sucka!

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

Ah yeah, I finally made it out to RockBridge State Park to ride a little mountain bike.  Very little.  It started sprinkling on the way there and I barely shot this video before I had to quit.  I'm racing three races this weekend in Hermann Missouri.  Time trial in the morning and a criterium in the afternoon and I didn't want to slip on a wet rock and injury myself.  I'm actually not very good at mountainbiking and I learned long ago that I have more fitness than bike handling skills in that venue.  I do love getting in a nice groove by myself though.  Sadly,  I have found that when I mountain bike with others it becomes a sort of race and it starts sucking.  In fact, the last time I mountain biked with Ethan,  I clipped a tree with my handlebar and found myself thrown to the ground like one of those calves in a calf roping contest.  My ribs literally hurt for a couple of months.  

Anyway, Rockbridge is fantastic to mountainbike on and I thought a video would be a great way to show you what I mean.  You know what I mean?

Now get on your bikes and ride!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finish of Tilles Park Criterium

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

This is the finish of the Tilles Park Criterium.  This was an unusual race for me in that it was stopped and restarted due to a serious crash.  Fortunately for me, I was in a break-a-way group of six (including myself) and avoided the crash.  I was told that Mike Weiss was injured (broken collar bone?), and I saw Andy Chocha bike was ruined with a fracture through the top tube. 

I didn't personally finish very well.  I think the video says way more than I can.  Just count the attacks.
April 15th, I've been thinking about this race and how I did it all wrong, or at least major parts.

Typically when I race I operate more on instinct than deep cognitive thought.  In fact it is best to have a series of rules to operate by so that decisions can be made very rapidly.  For example:  Never attack on a downhill or into a headwind. It is best to attack uphill or with a strong crosswind or a tailwind (second to crosswind all because of drafting factors)  Keep in mind there are some exceptions to almost all rules, but in general these rules help a racer who is often at a level of mental distress to make correct decisions.  I broke several rules.  Always expect a counter-attack when closing an attack.  Based on this rule I should have not entirely closed a chase by myself.  I should have sat up and forced my drafters to work.  They would have most likely done so with an attack, but it would have been a much more managable attack.  Another rule is to do the least amount of work as possible until the finish.  

I think my single biggest mistake was taking a flyer on the bell lap.  I over estimated myself and far underestimated four other riders.  I think I forgive myself for this blunder because just a few laps earlier I had chased Justin down successfully and when I moved off to set back in the rotation nobody moved up and Justin easily rode away.   At the time this meant to me that the group had no juice left, but I was quite wrong.

Another mistake I made was gifting my drafters with a free pull up to an attacker.  This is a subtle thing, if I do not believe I can close a gap by myself, then I should try to keep riders with me so that I can fall back into their draft later for recovery.  On the other hand, if I believe I can close the gap by myself I should NEVER PURPOSELY allow other riders a free draft.  This is a sure way to get beat, and this is exactly what I did.

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Tilles Park Criterium 2010 part 1 of 2

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

Here's the begining of the Tilles Park Criterium.  Pretty good sized field and great weather (about 80 something).  Sadly there was a serious crash (broken bones and bicycles) and happily I didn't see it because I was off in the break-a-way.  This video shows the difficulty of being able to move up.  Also you can see why it would be easy to crash when the field isn't moving real fast.  The pack bunches up at slower speeds and the roads are curvery with a bit of curb here and there.  I sensed a pending crash just before I moved up.

I have a second video that is pending due to processing from YouTube. It features some very good riders and lots of attacks.

Have fun cycling everyone!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 Hillsboro RR (finish)

[Special Note:  I have a "Music Player" gadget, 4th down to the right. You may run audio from it or the video as you see fit by pausing the music player or muting the embedded video. Enjoy!]

 Race Results
Here's the end of the Hillsboro Road Race.  I didn't do so well.  I was unable to pickup water in the feed zone and this resulted in race stopping leg cramps.  I just missed the final sprint.  I plan on trying to produce a "best of" Hillsboro race video later.

Let me just say that if you ask the guy who won, "What did you think of the race?" or "What did you think of the course?" He's going to say something like "It was great", or "It was a challenging, but a good course."  Then, if you ask almost anyone else (especially an unhappy finisher like myself or better..... someone who crashed or flatted) They would say something like this...... That was the biggest pile of shit race course that I have ever done.  I don't think they could have designed a more f'd up kind of course.  Much of the roads are so narrow that only one car  can operate on them.  All of the turns are full of gravel, the field size is so big that  staying to the right of center is ignorant or reality.  Placing cones and barricades up on an already ridiculously crowded feedzone is like begging racers to crash.  And if the cones don't get you, then maybe one of the two motorcycle operators can screw with you until you do.  Oh and to put a cherry on top, how about a local kid placing a log across the road on a turning descent!  That was NICE! You know, crashing and destroying a several thousand dollar racing bicycle and going to the hospital with a broken collar bone and concussion really isn't a big deal (or worse)

I would suggest that this race should have a rolling enclosure.  There are almost no cars out on it in the first place, the roads are narrow, the field size is large, and they already have two guys on motorcycles who could be riding ahead flagging cars over, pulling logs out of the road, or just simply alerting the field to traffic instead of badgering the field.  If the pack can dodge those two, then they can dodge a car.  It's the same concept as:  "If you can dodge a wrench, then you can dodge a ball."

Oh yeah, maybe the motorcycles could carry spare wheels so that the wheel vehicle doesn't abandon the riders behind the lead.  Just a thought.

I understand it is tons of work for the promotors and volunteers to put on this race and most people do it for free.  And I do appreciate them for that.  I also understand that they believe placing cones and baracades in the feed zone is to protect the riders (it doesn't, it endangers us), as well as the motorcycles honking and corralling the racers to the right side of the road.  I know the best intentions are meant, but in my opinion this race should either have a rolling enclosure or  not be held at all.
April 16, 2010 Update or addendum:   I had some time to reflect and I've talked to several people about the race since I (we) did it last weekend.  I think my analysis was a bit too harsh.  I think I was suffering from sour grapes syndrome.  The course was overall fairly good and the race was certainly well organized. 

I was contacted by Rich Pierce (former Hillsboro Race Organizer) to discuss how the race could be improved.  The race has grown dramatically over the years and the organizers have put a lot of thought and care into making the race successful, safe, and basically fantastic.  There are no guarantees for rolling enclosure, but it was discussed.  Or possibly a partial enclosure on the large finishing road where the wind typically is a cross-wind that tends to put riders in the wrong lane.  Otherwise it is generally understood that most of the small roads are driven down the center (by locals) until a car is viewed and adjustments made.  Clearly a cross-wind from the left does not need any special attention for the race/racers.  I also suggested neutral wheels on the motorcycles and a tall flag for the first cone of the feedzone and no saw-horse style barriers on the feedzone.  The wheel vehicle should remain behind the main pack.  I think the field size is ok with a partial rolling enclosure.

In conclusion, I give the Hillsboro Road Race a thumbs up.  I wouldn't expect a rolling enclosure next year, but it would be beyond fantastic if they could pull it off.  Until next year!

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2010 Herman Power Data

Here's my 2010 power data.  Again my sensor failed, so it effects the data because there is no zeros (or coasting recorded) Therefore the race appears shorter than it was.  I'll have to check the offical time to see.  Ok 3:37 and I have 3:16 including a tiny bit of rolling around before and after.  So maybe 25 minutes have been lost.  Still it gives a comparison to last year.  1st the course was different (you can tell by the shadow elevation profiles).  Also this year had a bit more effort.  I would say the average watts looks more like 300, but the data says 262.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Last year, tomorrow

2009 data from Hillsboro

Hello race fans!  Tomorrow is the annual Hillsboro Road Race in Illinois.  I'm pretty excited about it for a varity of reasons.  1. I don't know how I'm going to do......developed either a cold or allergies (I'm generally not allergic to anything except cold weather) on Monday.  The only good thing about that is that I now have a lame excuse for a poor performance ;-).  I'm feeling better, but we'll see.  2. I have team mates this year!  Not only do I have team mates, but they are VERY GOOD riders. Ethan Froese is a fantastic rider with TONS of experience, Johnathan Schottler is a true up and coming rider (you just watch) but basically a virgin to top amateur racing, as well as Dan Miller.  They are both very young and green and both with TONS of potential.  I think it is good that they are paired up with Ethan and myself.  3. Not only do I have cool teammates, but I also have travel partners.  Tomorrow, I am traveling with Ethan and Schottler.  It should be a really fun trip (plus I'm less likely to get lost!)!
I have other team-mates and they are fantastic people and darn good riders as well, but they are doing other things on this particular race.  Kersha, and Ozenberger, you are going to miss out on some really good suffering!

I'm mainly writing this post for Miller and Schottler (both are wattage experts).  The data chart above has several interesting points (purple is speed, green is power).  The most important is the decreasing wattage trends on the 2nd half of the race.  That's the whole nature of long road races..... accumulative fatigue.  It sneaks up on you and that's when the stronger riders separate themselves.  So drink, eat, drink and do the absolute least amount of work that you can.  The watt chart illustrated has the data smoothed at 30seconds so it is more readable.   3,401 kJ of work (also approx. calories burned).  So clearly you have to be well fueled before and consume during.  I'm a fan of GU Energy Gel.  which states to consume them at the rate of one per 45 minutes (100 calories).  I shoot for every 30 minutes.  You generally can't get all the GU out of a packet, which causes a mess in your jersey pocket.  I was fined at Joe Martin for throwing away my trash (I thought that was what the pros did! LOL).  Anyway I would save one jersey pocket for waste packets so that you don't have to search through full verses empties and get sticky GU on your hand (that actually sucks).  So quickly do the math: in 4 hours of racing you can maybe consume about 700 -800 calories (the human body can not absorb calories for use anywhere close to what you can ingest), but you will burn maybe 3,400.  That can definitely cause a problem if you are not preloaded! [post note: for more information on when, what and how to eat for bike racing click here.]

A few other important reference points include the average speed 23.3 and wattage 242.8.  Both are a little low because they include warm up and (very little) cool down, but they show that tomorrow's race isn't crazy crazy hard.  It's just a long 87 miles with repetitive bursts of short suffering.

We will start with 120 riders and probably finish with less than half.  So be careful that you don't get gaped from groups or individuals that fall off.  Expect the wind to have a big effect.  We should protect each other in cross winds in particular.  Last year the ENTIRE  field was riding across the yellow line (probably one guy was on the yellow line) during a cross-wind section.  I would recommend the big chain for the hill climb/feed zone so that there is no chance of dropping your chain, but that is up to you.  Also pick up a bottle every chance you can and be very vigilant during the feed zone (sometimes people crash here).  Also sometimes people attack the field during feed-zones.  It is allowed but is generally considered bad form.  The hill is not impressive and generally has no consequence other than slowing the riders a bit to pick up bottles.  Lastly if anyone flats, don't worry about them unless you can see them trying to bridge back on.  This is a single day event (and we race again the following day) so it's not really worth giving up your individual chances for success because of one person's bad luck.  It's no big deal.  If you do flat ask (or even beg) the wheel vehicle if they would pace you back on.  Or I have had luck flagging passing cars and begging them to pace me back on.  After a serious attempt it is best not to keep going, after all, we are racing again on the following day.

Well, I think that about covers it.  I hope we have a great race tomorrow!  Fun! 

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