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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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