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Monday, May 31, 2010

Heat management or how to race when it's hot out.

It's getting hot out. Based on the theory of Global warming, it's getting hotter. So whatcha gonna do? Ok, maybe you can deny Global warming, but you can't deny the summer heat that is about to take place here in Mid-America. I'm talking 90s (Fahrenheit) and an occasional trip into the 100s (32 to 37+ degrees Celsius).  There are several helpful tips to maximize your racing performance during high temperatures and they all involve heat management techniques listed below. 

Train in Race-Day Conditions

The first and possibly one of the most important tips is to train/exercise in the high temperatures that you expect to encounter on race day.  The goal is heat acclimatization,  and this will improve your ability to tolerate higher temps, feel more comfortable, and most importantly be able to race better. A large portion of adaptation can occur within 3-4 days, but total effects are realized in 10-14 days.

Some really cool stuff happens in your body during this period. My personal favorite is plasma volume expansion resulting from increased plasma proteins and increased sodium chloride retention, ranges from +3 to +27%, and is accompanied by a 15-25% decrease in heart rate (Armstrong 1998). Cool stuff huh?

Here's why plasma volume expansion is my favorite effect of training in the heat:  after a sudden exposure to a large and sustained temperature gain during a racing weekend, two or three days later, I found that I had gained 5-6 pounds. The reason for this was a physiological adaptation to heat (or that 5 pound burrito from Chipolte's).  This weight gain comes from water weight in the form of increased plasma volume, which will be used for increased sweat production for cooling purposes.  Weight watchers take note:  plasma volume is a healthy weight gain; performance effects are diminished as dehydration occurs (Cheung and McLellan 1998).  

 The Multiple Reasons for Proper Hydration

My second tip is as important if not more and is just a little bit obvious: WATER! It's by far the biggest performance enhancer out there (and it's totally legal!!!).  Our body's are largely composed of water, about 50-60% of our total mass, and water plays critical roles in cooling, blood circulation, respiration, and digestion, among many other processes.   Your body knows that water is extremely effective at keeping you cool, which is why you sweat.  It's your body's natural cooling mechanism to maintain a homeostasis.   But as you perspire, you have to replenish the loss of water and electrolytes.  It's important to note that the thirst response is slow compared to the speed that dehydration can occur while exercising in high temperatures, and therefore it is best to drink before becoming "thirsty"  In addition, you can help out your body by using the evaporative properties of water the same way your body does. 

There is a ton of research to describe all the different aspects of this topic, but for pithiness I have gleaned the following rules regarding proper hydration: Drink H20 until your urine is no longer dark yellow, but instead is lightly colored. Do not drink so much that you are peeing a lot and your urine is water clear (Water intoxication is caused when sodium levels drop below 135 mmol/L when athletes consume large amounts of fluid without electrolyte additives). For short criteriums (less than 1 hour) I think you can get away with 2 bottles of plain iced water (along with a normal healthy diet). For road races I strongly encourage a electrolyte to powder such as "Hammer Endurolytes Powder", or "Nuun",  to reduce cramping and some energy foods such as "GU" (I consume 2/hr). Drink one bottle every 30-45 minutes if possible.

But as I mentioned above, water on your skin and clothing can be more effective than sweating alone.  Spray water on your head, back and thighs. Pre-race pre-wet your jersey, shorts and hair (not groin area or shoes because of risk of rash and wet shoes are heavy rotating objects).  When combined with your circulatory system, the external water will produce a heat exchange, just as it does when it evaporates through perspiration.  Additionally, it's valuable to note that occasionally flushing salt deposits from clothing and skin with fresh water facilitates evaporation by effectively lowering of vapor pressure the surface fluids there (this would have greater importance for long events where salts can build up from evaporation).

Consider starting with some frozen water as well.  For criteriums, put ice packs in zip locks or frozen water bottles or frozen sponges in your jersey pockets.  Socks, nylon stockings or jersey pockets full of ice can be helpful as well, stuffed in jersey pockets and hung around the neck or stuffed in the helmet vents during extreme temperatures.  If you use the ziplock bag, dump the melted water down you head/back if possible.   It's nice if your frozen water can do "double duty" - that is - provide cooling and later a drinking supply (in the heat, ice will melt rather quickly).

The reason for wetting your clothing is that water is 25 times more conductive than air, and as the water evaporates from your clothing/skin, the captured heat is removed with the water.  (cooling towers efficiently cool large buildings using these principles).   As an illustration of the effectiveness of evaporative cooling, consider the results from the following simple test done with canteens covered with water soaked fabric covering versus canteens with dry fabric covers with only 3 hours of temperature exposure:
Starting Water Temperature (both containers): 74 degrees F
Air Temperature: Varied; between 98 and 101 degrees F
Ground Temperature (in direct sunlight): 119 degrees
Water in Plain Canteen after three Hours in Sun: 117 degrees
Water in Canteen with wet cover, hung in sun but in breeze: 75 degrees
Evaporative cooling produced a 42 Fahrenheit degree difference in the interior water temperatures (23.4 degrees Celsius difference)! 

Now imagine that the water inside the canteen is your blood and vital organs.  You can further increase the rate of evaporation by riding your bicycle because you will create air currents that constantly lower the vapor pressure at the immediate surface area of the water.  Wind plus water equals cooling.   Pre-wetting your clothing can temporarily save  (or extend) body fluids and can increase your stay-time to exhaustion during a heat stress event.   Water has some amazing properties for heat management.  For example:  water temperatures below 70 (21.1C) degrees can actually remove body temperature faster than the body can produce it.   Air cooling doesn't compare to the cooling effects of water.  While being exposed to 50 (10 C) degree air temperature isn't generally dangerous;  being immersed in 50 (10 C) degree water can quickly become life threatening. Such are the effects and power of water via conduction and evaporation.  Therefore keeping your tight fitting clothing wet can produce a huge cooling effect (with lower levels of humidity).  A loose flapping jersey will not transfer heat from your body nearly as effectively as a wet skin suit.   

Another trick is to consume an ice slurry before racing. This reduces your core temperature and as a result increases your body's heat capacity and (most importantly) performance during high temperatures. 

Some other heat management tricks:
  • Wear as little clothing as possible during racing or to wear light colored clothing that is designed    to be breathable and wick moisture away from the body. Again, adding water to the clothing will significantly increase the cooling through both conduction and evaporation.   I personally don't wear gloves, but if you do wear them, wet them.  Generally, I recommend not wearing large sunglasses or ANY if the conditions permit (they block heat transfer and evaporative cooling).  An exception may be when the face is exposed to direct sunshine (they can reduce radiant temperature in this case).    If at all possible, try to avoid warming up on a trainer.  Stay in the shade or  air-conditioning prior to racing and warming up.  Consider a very short warm up (again wet your clothing), then drink the ice slurry. 

Click this link for greater information on thermoregulation, the body's basic responses to heat and humidity, fluid loss, clothing for exercise in the heat, and heat acclimation.  It's a pdf article written by Matt Richardson, and Stephen Cheung, entitled The Basics of Thermoregulation.

Some additional information:  A person should cease exercise if they begin experiencing heat exhaustion symptoms.  Symptoms include:  fatigue or weakness, nausea, headache, dizziness and can lead to worsening and additional symptoms.  Generally, once a person has experienced a heat injury their body is more susceptible to heat injury again.  (Perhaps this is the body's response to rising core body temperature to prevent it from overheating again by  making exercise unbearable).

Although training in heat is necessary for adapting to heat, there must be limits and restrictions.  I can not quantify this level (variables include environmental temp., humidity, physical work load, cooling techniques used, subjects level of adaptation to heat environments).    High humidity combined with temperatures exceeding  >90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2C), and rigorous physical activity can be potentially dangerous.  Duration and intensity of exercise should be shortened with higher heat index numbers (temperature/humidity rating).  .  I have read, believe, and even have written an in depth article that shows that high intensity of training can trump duration of training alone for athletic improvement or maintenance.  Shorter intense workouts can reduce the total exposure amounts to heat stress which can lead to heat injuries.   With higher temperatures and humidity it can also be helpful to split up a workout to a heavier exercise load (intensity and duration) in the cool of the morning, and a light short workout (or exposure event) in the high heat environment in the mid to late afternoon.

Remember, cooler heads prevail...... literally!  Stay wet my friends!

To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Missouri State Road 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 and here's my condensed analysis of the Missouri State Road Race that was held in Ste. Genevieve on May 23, 2010.  The course was 87 miles on a rolling course with a couple of good climbs.   Pretty good temperature around 90 degrees, but a large sudden jump from weeks of 50-60 degrees and rainy.  The field size was relatively small maybe 35 or so riders, and predominately 3 large teams consisting of Dogfish (largest numbers, and with defending champion), Tradewind (very powerful team), and Mesa. 

Several break-a-ways were attempted early.  I found (as usual) that whenever I would jump into a break that was allowed to roll away, suddenly this break was pursued quite heavily.  This occurred repetitively and without exception.  

My main goal was to try to win the State Championship, and not the overall race (I considered it nearly impossible to win against the out-of-state team Tradewind).  By my estimation I mainly needed to mark Austin Allison (defending state champion) and his teammate Justin Maciekowicz.

As it turned out, Justin did a long solo suicide (nobody bridged up) attempt and was indeed brought back.  Allison escaped into the final break-a-way, which had other riders that I knew where not in contention for the State Championship.   The break had the major teams in it and because of team tactics, I could not reasonably  pursue.  This did not worry me too much for at least 2 reasons.  1., Allison was the defending champion, a young rider and by my estimation a good Missouri Champion, and 2., I thought he might crack in the heat.  He is a very fair skinned person.  I'm not saying he's an albino, but he's the closest of anyone in the field!

Guess what...... he did totally crack (sorry Austin)!

So as my chase group road past Allison, who was barely limping along, I then knew that I was racing for the title again.  My group had only four riders including Jim Vandeven (he told me he was not from Missouri) Matias Mendigochea (he told me he was not from Missouri) and that left Oreste (Rusty) Pesselato (who told me that HE WAS FROM MISSOURI).

So as we approached the finish, we left the country roads and started making unknown turns into the town finish.  We didn't know the roads and the corner marshals were critical for us in making the correct turns.

Unfortunately as we approached the final  intersection/corner marshal, we saw the corner marshal STANDING IN THE ROAD (initially) and then as we continued our rapid approach she moved out of the road and pointed LEFT to the street that she was supposed to be securing for us from vehicles!!!!

It turns out that the reason that she was pointing left was to point at a spot in the road that she thought was dangerous.  UGGH!

The rest is in the video.  Rusty had a mis-shift and I was stuck in my small chainring on the final sprint.  No biggie.

Question:  who was the first Missourian to cross the line?

Answer:  See below.


Monday, May 24, 2010

O'Fallon Gold Cup Criterium

This was a pretty fun race:  I had never done it before and a bunch of new riders entered this race so it really helped even out the Dogfish domination.
Especially note worthy was the presence of the team "Tradewind Energy" which is a VERY strong team with some outstanding National caliber riders including: Brian Jensen (former pro and a good one), Steve Tilford (former pro and regional cycling legend), Nick Coil, Bill Stolte, and (I'll have to look up this other dude's name.... sorry). 

We were also blessed with the presence of Missouri's beloved professional Jelly Belly rider, Brad Huff.
Brad is a very cool dude, extremely likable and funny to boot. If you click his name, you may get the idea.  (I was trying to find his pro-blog page and found this instead).

I do have one funny Brad Huff story that I'm more than happy to tell.  Last year, the Joe Martin Memorial Stage Race (NRC PRO RACE) was my first TRUE Professional/cat 1 race and I was very happy and excited about the whole thing.  I most certainly knew who Brad Huff was and to my surprise he knew who I was and actually chatted with me at the first stage (we're both Missourians, but hadn't raced each other yet)   So, I'm all wide-eyed watching all these pros while hanging out at the back of the peloton cruising around 28 mph and I notice that Brad Huff is holding hands with Mike Creed of Rock Racing.  All I could do was laugh.  The weird thing is that they held hands for SEVERAL minutes, and pretty much only for their own self amusement and the chief official car that was immediately following.  

I should also mention Dan Schmatz.  (Brad mentions him in the video).  Dan is also a former professional bike racer, but now races for fun.  He's truly known as a sprinter and he's a good one.  Unfortunately he is also known for a mishap that occurred in the first Tour of Missouri (UCI PRO RACE) that knocked him out of it. 

So we are about to start the O'Fallon Gold Cup Criterium and some dude/spectator from the periphery yells to Dan, "No armadillos here!"

I literally almost cringe.  What a thing to say.  Dan crashed out of the Tour of Missouri after hitting a dead armadillo laying in the road.  The fan, says sorry and Dan says, "Yeah, I get that a lot."

Anyway, Dan ends up pinching me in the sprint.  I do mean pinch.  I initially felt that he had moved over on me during the sprint and I initially felt  wronged.  You can check the video, as I did later, and see that it's not too serious.  Plus it's important to note that we were sprinting for the 8, 9, and 10.  We had missed the final break. 

My biggest error in this race was that I allowed myself to float to the back of the pack after being reeled in after being in small break-a-way groups.  Live and learn.  Hopefully I will discipline myself to not do that again.  Unfortunately it's always easier said than done.

Well, that's it for this segment of ........... as the wheel turns.  Have fun riding your bikes everyone!


To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lemond's Sizing Chart and Hamley's Method Charted

I've been thinking about what I have learned over the years concerning cycling and what might or could be important to newer riders and really all riders.  The knowledge of how to correctly determine the size of your road bike frame and your saddle height is definitely something that should be shared. Even seasoned vets should recheck their saddle position occasionally.

Lemond Sizing Method:
It is my opinion that the definitive sizing chart for frame size and saddle height can be found in Greg Lemond's Complete Book of Bicycling.  Keep in mind that Greg did not invent or actually determine this chart.  It was the product of research from Dr. Ginet, and supervised by Cyrille Guimard, who determined the ideal leg extension for maximum efficiency and power output while cycling, and made famous by the legendary cyclist, and 3 time Tour de France rider, Greg Lemond.   Basically the ideal optimal saddle height is approximately 96% of full leg extension.  The chart numbers come from a calculation of the inseam multiplied by .883 and then measured along the the angle of the seat tube from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle and take into consideration average shoe and cleat thicknesses.   The chart removes the burden of math. 

There are multiple ways to determine your ideal saddle height.  Here I will discuss the "Hamley Method"  as well as the Lemond Method, and supply charts for easy calculations.  It is my opinion that the Lemond chart should be the gold standard for determining saddle height, based not only on science, but real world results.     I would also say frame size as well, but it should be noted that Lemond's chart assumes standard or classic frame design.  So that should be considered for sloping top tube designs, et. al. 

Below is the data from Greg Lemond's Sizing Chart that can be found in his book, "Greg Lemond's Complete Book of Bicycling".  I've compiled the data into one single chart so that you may copy, paste, print or share it.  Data can not be copyrighted so feel free to use it as you like. 

The Lemond Frame and Saddle Height Sizing Chart

This is an extremely easy chart to use.  The most import calculation to determine is your inseam.  This is best done in bare socks against a wall with a 2" hardcover book placed firmly between your legs as though it was the saddle. 
Simply mark the top of the book on the wall.  To be accurate, do this measurement 3 or so times and take an average.  If you have a large range of numbers, you need therapy or some kind of help.  Badda bing, badda bang, you now have your inseam.

Look at the chart to see what frame size you should be riding  and what height your saddle should be. Both measurements are taken from the center of the bottom bracket (middle of the crank or spindle or axle) to the center of the seat tube lug, and the top of the saddle (keeping your measuring stick even with the angle of the seat tube).  It is important to measure in line with the seat tube.  (it is noteworthy to know that by sliding forward on the saddle you effectively lower your saddle/reduce your leg extension and by sliding backwards the opposite.)

This saddle height chart is for typical or average crank lengths 172.5mm.  You can add or subtract accordingly,  based on different crank lengths.

Hamley Sizing Method:
Now let's review the "Hamley Method" for calculating the ideal saddle height.  Hamley with Thomas (1967) found that maximum power, albeit over a shorter period of time, was produced at a saddle height that measured 9% greater than the inseam when measuring the distance from the pedal in the down position to the top of the saddle when measuring along the angle of the seat tube.  These findings were again confirmed by Faria and Cavanagh (1978) who demonstrated that approximately one percent less power could be delivered for every percent that saddle height deviated from 109%.  However, Nordeen-Synder (1977) found that the most efficient (least amount of oxygen consumed) was at a measurement of 107%  on the inseam length.  And this matches almost precisely with the Lemond numbers.

Using myself as an example:  If I adjusted my saddle to the Hamley Sizing Chart from the Lemond Sizing Chart, I would have to adjust my saddle up approximately 1.3cm.  However, if I adjusted my saddle from the Lemond position to Nordeen-Synder's optimal 107% position, my saddle would only move about 1.5mm.  This small amount is effectively zero, or the same, because it would almost certainly be within the margin for error from measuring.

My suggestion is that if you are a roadracer or time trialist you should adjust your saddle height to the Lemond Chart.  If you are a track sprinter you should adjust you saddle height to the Hamley sizing chart. 

Do not be overly concerned if you already own a frame and it does not match this chart.  I would still  use this saddle height and your handlebars can be adjusted by stem size and spacers  as necessary for fit.  This chart puts you very close to where you should be.

Saddle position:
Generally the saddle should be flat and the UCI rule book requires that the nose of the saddle be at least 5 cm behind the vertical plane from the center of the bottom bracket.  Old school says a plumb blob should drop from your knee cap to the center of the pedal axle when the crank arms are horizontal.  Don't sweat these details.  I personally would just meet the 5cm UCI rule.  The stuff I've read is that slightly more power is produced from the forward position over further back.  I personally move around on the saddle from time to time for comfort reasons and to wake the sleeping turtle.  Additionally,  when time-trialing or "closing the gap" I ride the tip of my saddle.  I believe this is common.

Handlebars & Stem Length:
As for the handlebar position:  I think a book or at least a chapter can be written on this one.  I personally ride with wide handle bars which I believed helped with leverage for climbing and general comfort.  However, I now believe a smaller bar is slightly more desirable because it has less surface area and is thereby more aerodynamic.  Some bike racers prefer a narrow width handlebar for maneuverability during sprints.     It is going to be somewhat subjective, but generally the handlebar width should match your shoulder width.    I will say, concerning bike racing, try to get as aerodynamic as you can in your position.  It is a huge deal.  Wind Resistance has an exponential quality to it each mile per hour over 20 mph.  I highly recommend reading my post on "Aerodynamics and how to be faster with no additional effort" for further information.

I don't have a strong opinion on stem length other than it must be long enough that when your are standing and climbing a steep incline, your knees should not touch your bars.  Also for greater aerodynamics/performance the stem should position the rider's body so that it is in a aerodynamic position (that is:  back near flat in relation to the earth).  Disregarding racing and performance,  the bar may be placed (determined by the stem length and angle) solely on comfort. 

Additional resources:
For a slightly more thorough description to bicycle sizing , handle bar, top tube and stem length go to this link.

I was going to link to the Lemond sizing charts  that I had bookmarked earlier. Surprisingly they were gone.  Happily I had copies of Lemond's chart in my cycling files.  Feel free to copy my chart here for your records.      Also I recommend reading "Greg Lemond's Complete Book of Cycling".  It is available at many public libraries and you can buy it used at

I hope this is helpful.  Happy riding everyone!

 To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hellbender with music

Wow, music does make a difference!  This music is by BS and the song is called Hero.  It is free to download at  I did however, buy a license to allow me to use this song on this website and in my videos.  I believe the band is from France (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it may or may not explain the band name).  Very cool stuff.

The music starts at minute 1:07.

Lastly I should explain to new views of this blog, that this is the same video as the previous post except that I added some music at the request of several people.

 [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!]
To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hellbender Road Race, hd bike racing video using split screen

This is my debut split screen race video using forward and aft simultaneous running HD Hero cameras.
I absolutely love it.  I've never seen a better way to show the action of a bike race.  In fact I think it gives the viewer a real immersion into my world from a bicycle.

This new leap for me has set my mind busy at work for new and amazing applications.  For example I was considering the fact that the video has dead spots in it, in-between cameras.  I could potentially mount the cameras back to back, and place them on top of my helmet.  This would eliminate most of the dead spot and would be fantastic for mountain biking or video touring.  (I would never want to race with lots of gear riding on top of my helmet).  Another idea is setting up a rig with three cameras.  My HD Hero camera shoots a 120 degree perspective.  So with three cameras I could literally produce a video that has full 360 degree viewing band of my entire moving environment.  Another idea is so mind blowing that it will make you crap your diaper!  I'm not kidding.  It's sooo good that I going to save it for later and reveal it in future video posts.

It has been brought to my attention that my video's audio could benefit from some good music.  I more than agree.  It has been suggested that I use copyrighted music, tons of people do it and Vimeo seems to allow it.  I do not agree on this topic.  I am strongly against breaking copyright laws for many reasons.  Besides the fact that it is an actual law with actual potential consequences, I have found that it doesn't fly on YouTube.  Early on I innocently used a 20 second audio clip without lyrics from The Beastie Boys and YouTube identified my video as potentially having copyrighted material that wasn't mine.  YouTube disabled my video.  I want good music, but I don't want my videos to be disabled or even worse litigation because I somehow made a couple of bucks using someone else's stuff without permission.

There is a musical audio solution.  I thought I would make my own basic music.  Using Music Creator software I have produced 6-7 tunes and they are ok.  The down side is that they are not fabulous and they take a bit more time than I can manage.  I think if I could tap the musical scene here in Columbia I could find lots of good music that could use.  For example, my teammate, Justin Craig, is in a band called FDR's Revenge.  We talked about this briefly, but I need to keep pursuing him.  I literally need to hear the music so I can judge it.  I really don't want to put up just anything.  The music must add to the video's view-ability, and not make it worse.

I have been told that there are free site's for music download which also allow public use for video embedding?, and (supposedly?) public domain music where copyright issues are not in effect.  If anyone can provide me with specific good music that I could use,  I would be happy to  compensate you for your services.  Additionally, HEY GARAGE BANDS!: If you have any music that you think would add to my biking videos, please contact me and I will promote your band with all of my ability.  I will give credit in the videos and provide links in my blog for people to purchase your awesome music.

Finally let me get to the race itself.  This road race was May 16, 2010 in Newburg, Missouri.  This was probably one of the smallest turnouts for a road race that I will end up doing.  But don't let this mislead you.  The riders who did toe the line are some of the best in the region.  Several are highly ranked category one riders.  If you don't believe me, just check USA Cycling's Results and rankings. (2009 looks better than 2010, but it's still early).

This was a hilly course and roughly the last hour of a 70 mile road race was in the rain.  Both the rain and the hills brought our average speed to just under 25mph. 

The most interesting aspect of this was the solo break-a-way by Zack Reed of team Dogfish.  With about 25 miles to go Zack left our 6 man group which held his team mate Justin Maciekowicz.  Initially I thought this was great.  Zack was clearly the best sprinter, and I was hoping that our group would let Zack dangle of the front, burn himself up, and then reel him in somewhat close to the finish.  I figured he would be toast for the sprint, and Justin's sprint is manageable.  I was sure that my group of riders would pull Zack back in.  Based on repeat timetrials, I was evenly matched with Zack by myself, and I had 3 other riders to help me pull in one guy.  Justin, of course, would not chase his own team-mate, and was given a free ride.

Well, I was shocked to see Zack slowly disappear out of our sight.  I'm still shocked.  We were going pretty hard, I thought.  For sure the rain did not help or paceline.  Also it probably hurt us mentally that Zack had a teammate getting a free ride.  I even told my group not to catch Zack too quickly because Justin will simply counter attack and we'll be in a worse position.  Zack's the sprinter and Justin's the time trialist.  For sure I was trying the hardest to pull Zack back, but I don't know if the others were holding back a little or a lot.  (I'm guessing a little).

I should also point out that Zack soloed away after counter-attacking his team-mates attacks.  So on the graph below, the "Zack Attack" came immediately after the spike in wattage which was from me chasing his team mate Justin. 

After Zack was gone from our sight for several miles before we let off the chase. Eventually Justin tried several attacks during the last few miles, but we all stayed together.  The final sprint was unremarkable.  Justin lead it out and just managed to cross 1st of our group, followed by me for a 3rd overall.  Turns out that Zack put nearly 5 minutes on my group during that last hour of racing.  Dude was racing hard, and the rain didn't help us with the chase.

Good job to Zack!

[Update:  I have purchased music liscenses for use in my videos from several different artists and I have also added a music player gadget to my blog.  It is the 4th gadget down on the right.  It allows additional audio choices for viewing videos and/or reading text on this blogsite]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Question of the day..... week....... uh..... year, concerning bike racing tactics

I do occasionally get viewer mail with questions and comments.  I truly try to respond to all and some are worth responding to in a blog format so that others may share this information, add to, or even correct my errors (which hopefully aren't too often, but I'm hope I'm called out whenever possible). I strongly encourage audience participation.  So let her fly!

So without further to-do, Scott writes:

"I was also hoping to ask you a racing tactical question. I am a former collegiate track and cross country athlete transitioning to cycling. I am still in category five and I notice during our races that jockeying for position in the peloton is a key ability to stay towards the front. We have a lot of guys that will try and take a pull, but die within seconds of being in the wind so the lines are always changing speeds. When I make an attack on the outside it can be hard to get back into a line and back into the draft. Do you have any advice for me on how to get back into a line when I attack on the outside? It seems like the best way to gain position instead of trying to jockey through lines within the peloton which seems to have an element of luck to it."

Congrats Scott, and welcome to a new and strange world of bike racing.  I want to say right off that I NEVER encourage anyone to take up the sport of bike racingI say this because when they crash (and they will eventually), they can NEVER blame me for their misfortune.  With that said, if you are like me, nobody can talk you out of experiencing the thrill of bike racing, and therefore it's cool for me to encourage you and others who are equally crazy.    

Before I answer your question, I have to tell you that the single best bike racing advice (or survival tactic) that you will ever receive is this....... try not to half wheel. Half wheeling is probably the single biggest cause of bike crashes. This is true even for professional bike racers.  Basically half wheeling is when your front wheel crosses the imaginary plane of the rear wheel of the cyclist in front of you.  This is especially dangerous when riders are all in close proximity to each other.  Sometimes it can't be helped, but you should try to avoid it when posible.   If the front rider swerves accidentally or purposely to avoid an obstacle they could sweep your front wheel if it is close by.  The lead rider almost never goes down, but the half-wheeler often does and usually thinks it was the other riders fault. Not true...... it's the half wheelers fault.

Now to your question.  Staying up near the front of a race is important as follows and in this order:  1. Near the end of the race, as in the  last two laps or last two kilometer of a road race, 2.  if the race course is technical (lots of turns),  3. if the roads are wet, 4. if the field size is large.    Conversely, if these 4 conditions are not present, then it is not necessary to ride near the front.  I'm giving you the green light to ride in the back of a small field size on a non-technical course early in a race.  Just don't forget to move up during the end of the race so that you are positioned to sprint for the win.

You write, "We have a lot of guys that will try and take a pull, but die within seconds of being in the wind so the lines are always changing speeds."  I believe from your description that the lead riders are actually riding correctly.  Let me explain.  The lead rider is performing the most work.  Riders following tightly in his/her draft can travel the same speed but use up to 30% less wattage or energy than that lead rider.  Or in other words the lead rider is working up to 30% harder than everyone behind him/her. New racers tend to pull for long stretches and then get dusted in the sprint because they have no gas left for the real race. 

Check out my post on the importance of aerodynamics in cycing.  The graphics shows you the importance of being aerodynamic and also explains why the lead riders wouldn't want to stay there permanently.   Instead,  they take a short turn at the front and rotate back into the pack.  Smaller groups usually form a rotating chain. Typically a rotating paceline will travel faster than a single individual.

I would suggest copying the riding style of the other riders that you have described and DO NO MORE WORK (aka pulling, aka leading) than the rider who is doing the least work.  In other words save your juice for the big finish.  Also read my blog post called:  Do This and You Will Win.

My last advice for you is to have fun fun fun!  Oh yeah, and don't half wheel!

To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

University of Missouri Campus Split Screen

[Special Update:  I added background music.  Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony #7 in A major, OP 92 II. Allegretto, artist: Philharmonic Cassanova.  Additionally I added a music player gadget to this blog.  It's the 4th gadget down on the right.    The embedded video's audio can be muted to allow only the music player to be heard if so desired.]

Right off, think of your favorite song......... Got it?  Good, because that's the song that I was going to insert into this video, but copyright laws prevent me from doing so.  But......... we can still accomplish my goal.  Simply play your favorite song (on headphones, or i tunes on your computer, or whatever) and mute my natural video audio and badda-bing, badda-bang, now we've got something.

Actually,  I think that this video content is some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen.  I mean think about it.  This video format is the only possible method to allow me (or my viewers) the opportunity to tour an environment and see both what's happening in front and rear perspectives SIMULTANEOUSLY!

At anyrate, I love the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.  Many of the buildings are built with stone and over the last decade or so well over a 100 million dollars have been spent on new additional buildings.  I find it incredible and impressive, both at the same time.   

And this camera!  It is absolutely crazy cool!  The GoPro® HD Helmet HERO™ Camera weighs less than 5 ounces, shoots 1920 x 1080 high definition video (and 4 other video settings) as well as  5 megapixel stills, and a series of different time lapse photos, and can even film underwater.  Did you catch that last part...... underwater..... underwater!

For greater detail about this wonderful camera, just click on this link.  

Look at how stable the image is.  That is one thing that flips me out, because the roads and sidewalks are typically very bumpy, yet my images are typically smooth. True it's not smooth over cobblestones, but seriously have you ever ridden over cobblestones?   Your eyeballs rattle.

At any rate, I'm a super super big fan of the GoPro® HD Helmet HERO™ Camera and I strongly encourage everyone to buy one.  Specifically from the links on this site.  It  doesn't change your purchase price, but I do get a credit for said purchase.

Also let me say this: If you do purchase one of these awesome cameras (off my links or otherwise) and you need some technical advice give me a ring or email and I'll tell you any and everything I know about this camera and the software that I use for productions etc.

This camera has unlimited applications: biking , car racing, attaching it to your cat's tiny helmet, surfing, sky diving, on and on.  So what are you waiting for?  Buy it already!

To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

CBC interviews by Justin Craig

This is a really cool video project the Justin Craig produced. He interviews Huston Snell, Benji Bockting, yours truly (David Henderson), and Dan Miller. This project was for an AV1 class that Justin took at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  I should also mention that Justin is a talented drummer and some of his music is featured in this video from his band, FDR'S Revenge.  All of the on bike perspective video was shot with my GoPro® Helmet Camera HD Hero camera.

I think one noteworthy point about this video is that it shows a range of newer to more experienced riders that this cycling team has that I am on.  That's CBC or Columbia Bicycle Club.

Time limits prevented Justin from showing the teams full diversity.  We have women riders, junior riders, and all sorts of levels of ability and areas of focus on cycling activities.

Probably the most important point concerning this video for me personally is that cycling isn't just about the bike.  It's really about the PEOPLE who bike.  Everyone is unique and has an interesting tale to tell.

I really need to try adopt this type of philosophy into my video blog content.  I think it's fabulous!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Do This and You Will Win

So you want to win a bike race (i.e. criterium, road race, or time trial).  No problemo.  The surest way is to compete in a race where the only other cyclist is your little sister (if your little sister happens to be a badass, sorry you may be SOL).  Ok, seriously.  If you follow my advice to the letter you will eventually win a race.  This advice is primarily for the entry level competitor; however the following guidelines apply across all categories and levels.


The first step is training.  A plethora of books have been written about this.  PhD's have been attained on single detailed elements of this massive topic.  I'm going to boil it down to you in a couple of lines:  Ride your bike at least one to two hours a day, and rest one day a week (rest means no riding or riding at less than half-effort).  Do intervals training once a week as follows:  ride absolutely as hard as you can for one minute, then soft pedal as easy as you can for three minutes; repeat 5-8 times or until you think you see Jesus.  Place your rest day two days before your race.  This would be Thursday for a Saturday race.  Also place your interval day on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The day before the race you can ride moderately hard, but NO LONG HARD INTERVALS...... that's what the race will produce. (From personal experience I tend to race better on a second day of criterium racing, but not as well on the day after a long hard road race). 

At the Race

Now it's time to get ready to race.   You've done the training and you're riding the right equipment.  What equipment you ask?  Let me be pithy.  For the beginner to intermediate racer, the bike frame and components make (almost) absolutely no significant difference as long as they are functioning.  As you improve and move up in categories, I then begin to suggest spending some money on fast wheels such as 404 Zipp tubulars, or HED Stingers (or similar wheels by another company) and good carbon-soled shoes.   I would also suggest that you buy used wheels, and new shoes.  On second thought, at the category 4/5 level,  the special wheels and shoes are not necessary, but I would rank equipment as follows:  (1) wheels; (2) shoes & pedals (it's the point of energy transfer to the bike, plus it's rotating weight, and important for comfort);  (3) all else.

Ok, so now it's time to race.  (You better know what and when to eat first)  Warming-up prior to your race is important for time-trialing and criteriums.  Again, there are many variations.  Let me be pithy: ride 30 minutes at a conversational pace with 2-3 one minute intervals at 80% (estimated) efforts with full recovery in-between.  Allow about 5 minutes to get to the start line.  If you have a bike trainer, bring it to the race in case the surrounding streets are unsuitable for warming up.  Try not to use the trainer if the temperature is high, due to the potential for overheating and dehydrating.  If the trainer is absolutely necessary, you can dampen your body with water and consume ice water to keep your core temperature down.

How to win a Criterium Race

The type of course should determine the importance of starting and riding at or near the front of the peloton.  If the course is a simple, flat square or rectangle, your starting position is unimportant.  If the course is technical with a lot of cornering and the field size is large, it is critical to start and ride as near to the front as possible.  There are 4 reasons for this:  (1) It is safer because you tend to be in front of most crashes;  (2) higher chance for making it into a winning break-a-way;  (3) you will have smoother and easier cornering, with much less "accordion" effect of braking into and sprinting out of the corners;  and (4) you won't get gaped off the main group due to riders in front of you falling off the pace.  

The first two laps and the last two laps are generally among the fastest and hardest, so mentally expect this.  Focus on the wheel of the rider ahead of you.  Stay nicely in his/her draft.  Try to relax but concentrate on good cornering.  Do not half-wheel.  Faster races are safer than slow races because the riders become single file and if a crash occurs on a corner, the rider is swept out of the way by pure momentum.  Be wary when the group bunches up - allow yourself some escape room.  On very slow corners, ride the outside and faster corners try to be on the inside if riders are paired/grouped up.

Generally, the first half of the race is inconsequential.  Save your energy and spend zero time at the front pulling the field or sprinting for primes (prize laps).  Do stay close to the front during a prime lap, especially later primes.  This is a good opportunity to get into a break-a-way.  The strongest riders will naturally be up front during this period and attacking/launching off field after this period is ideal.  Often, the prime winner will not make this counter-move, which is also nice because you have illuminated a potentially good sprinter. If you do get in a break-a-way, it is critical to initially ride very aggressively.  The best scenario is to get out of the view of the chasing pack (out of sight, out of mind).  If you are lucky, you will have maybe 2-5 other riders with you that are all from different teams. Their team-mates should not chase you and may actually discourage others from pursuing you by drafting off the chasers behind you and not rotating through.

Winning break-a-ways generally occur when the field is at their most tired state and the strongest riders tend to be at the front, a gap occurs and bang they are gone.  If you are in the draft of other riders and are suffering, alarms should be going off in your head that this is the time that a break could occur.  Try to get near the front if it is possible.  You should do this in bursts and advance past as many riders as you can each burst.  If you are lucky, you can jump on a wheel of someone who is advancing in front of you.   If the field is single file it is generally best to wait until it slows down and starts to bunch up.  On the other hand, if a gap occurs and a break develops, it is best to bridge across as fast as possible, then try to sit on and recover, then start working with the break ASAP.  When in a break, generally try not to do more "work" than the racer who is doing the least amount of "work." Basically, after the break-a-way appears to be successful, try to save your energy.

 Often the winning break-away occurs late in a race when the least tired riders (i.e. at the business end everyone is hurting) will make the move.  Two common mistakes of beginning racers is to either be too aggressive at the beginning when everyone is fresh and strong or not aggressive enough at the end when a properly placed attack can win the race.  It generally takes experience and confidence for a rider to know when or even if they should leave their break-away companions late in a race. Lance called it divide and conquer.   And Boonen, who is a feared bunch sprinter,  said it was much easier to win alone than try and win a sprint!  It's important to know racing tactics and how to apply them to pull off this feat.  

Often break-a-ways don't succeed and even if they do the winner is typically determined by a sprint.  Bike racing is all about timing.  The last two laps of a criterium is critical for positioning.  If the race is not single file the back of the pack will swarm the front.  You must be aggressive (not reckless) and constantly try to stay at or near the front.  This is not a time to worry about drafting.  Get out front if necessary, you will be safer and if you don't go full out you should be able to get back in the draft.  You may be very tired at this point, but no matter what you must not let yourself give in and let off the gas.  The winner will generally not be the first person out of the last corner unless it is less than 100 meters and that person is a good sprinter.  You should be in 2nd position around 100 yards and perhaps 3-4 if the finish is around 200 yards.  There could be some variation to my description based on the sprinting abilities of you and your competitors.

How to Win a Road Race

Nearly all of my tips for winning a criterium apply to winning a road race.  However,  there are some major differences.  Road races tend to be much longer in duration and often the course is composed of either a 4-8 miles long course that is ridden for several laps,  or a very long loop raced in just a single pass (rarely point to point races exist).  And, whereas criteriums are commonly an hour long, road races typically last 2-6 hours in duration.  As a result, it critical to know the course, conserve your energy, and consume both food and fluids.

Get a map of the course and study it.  If possible, preriding the course on your road-bike is ideal; otherwise if possible have someone drive you while you study both the course map and the terrain.  Mark on your map:  (1) where the feed-zones will be located; (2) technical areas with a lot of turns or narrow roadways; (3) road hazards such as pot holes, large cracks, significant hills and/or descents, etc.   Try to memorize associated landmarks that can help you remember these critical points and alert you as you approach the finish during the last 3 kilometers, the last kilometer, 500 meters, and the final 200 meters from the finish.  It may be helpful to know the history of outcomes from previous years on a particular race course.  Often, the final outcome of a race is determined  as much by the design of the course along with it's specific weather conditions as the racers themselves.  This information can help you anticipate critical points of a race (such as the winning break typically occurring at a specific hill late in the race, or that the race always ends in a field sprint, or the race typically has a very high drop out rate, etc).  Most importantly know where the finish line is; if you do not know where the finish line is, your chances for winning are greatly diminished.    

Consider the weather and prepare accordingly; conditions can change significantly during longer races.   If it is very hot out, feed zones are critical to your success.  If neutral support isn't available, long before the race you should find someone who will give you cooled bottles containing water and electrolytes.  If it is hot out, it is advisable to carry as many full water bottles with you as you reasonably can.  The weight and discomfort is worth the price.  (Read my article on heat management; it will help you).  If it rains or there is a high probability of rain, you should run a lower tire pressure.  Drop your psi down to  90 in the front and 105 in the rear.  If the course is technical and you are running tubular tires, it is recommended to drop another 5 psi.  It is also advisable to know the wind direction in order to get the best drafting position and know where cross-winds can be used for or against you.  Wind direction can change during a race.  Look for flags, plant leaf direction, and your senses of sound and pressure sensitivity to guide you (note it is hard to determine wind direction during winter because of lack of leaves and your skin and ears are covered up; as a default,  draft the same as others racers).   Cold weather requires having multiple layers of clothing that can be opened and/or removed and stored in your jersey pockets as you race.  If you are in doubt about as to what to wear, look at what everyone else is wearing. Being prepared is a key component to successful road racing.

Know your competitors (and yourself).   Sun Tzu says in his masterful work, The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”.  Applied to bike racing you need to know both you and your competitors strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly.  Typically, in bike racing you will race the same people - both locally and regionally - again and again and you should come to know your competitor's strengths and weakness.  If you travel abroad to a race with an unknown cohort group of racers, however, you would be advised to do recon.  Conduct an internet search the preregistered names, check their rankings and write down their jersey numbers on a piece of tape and stick it to your stem or top tube.  High criterium rankings suggest that your competitor is a good sprinter, whereas high time trial rankings suggest that your competitor is an extremely strong rider, but probably doesn't have a great sprint (a great rider to be in a break-a-way with), and high road racing ranking suggest an all-arounder.  Staying proximal to the wheel of riders who typically win can allow you to get in the winning moves. 

Road racing can be done individually or as part of a team, and thus far I've only described it individually.  Being part of a good team increases your chances for either you or your team-mate winning not only statistically, but because team tactics can tip the balance of winning greatly to the team who does so wisely.  Because the final outcome of road racing is so heavily weighted on endurance and conservation of energy for a strong finish, teams that protect and favor a specific rider can greatly increase that rider's chances for winning.  This is primarily done by protecting a favored rider from the wind, and by having team-mates chase down break-aways in order to keep the peloton together for a sprint finish or helping your team-mates bridge up to a break-away.  Also, supplying water and food for a favored rider makes a difference.  Often, the biggest help that a team-mate can provide is to not give chase against another team-mate, and to counter-attack if their teammate is caught.  Beyond the race tactic advantages of being part of a team there are a number of other advantages that team membership provides, such as having traveling partners, sharing expenses, having people you can socialize with, trust, support and encourage reciprocally.  Developing long term friendships with team-mates and even competitors can be considered an act of "winning" in itself.

How to Win a Time Trial

There are several ingredients required to bake a victory cake in the time trial.  The first ingredient is fitness, which is produced by training.  10 to 15% of your total training should be high intensity interval training, 75% should be low intensity (able to easily talk and ride) and the remainder should be between low intensity and lactate threshold level (not able to talk easily).

The second ingredient is bike/body positioning and equipment.   Because aerodynamics is critical to speed, a smaller frontal profile is ideal.  This is best accomplished by going as low as reasonably possible and becoming streamlined (note that the rider/author pictured would be more aerodynamic if the head was lowered by lowering the arm-rests/cockpit area).  Body position is best accomplished with the aerobars and is the most effective method for becoming more aerodynamic.    In order of importance add, aerohelmet, skinsuit (vs loose clothing), aerodynamic wheels, aerodynamic bicycle, and then shoe covers.  If you are racing in the Merckx category (i.e. none of the above equipment is allowed), then the best way to get the most aerodynamic body position is to simulate an aero bar position with your forearms resting on the handlebars.  This is currently legal for UCI racing, but obvious caution must be applied.  Do not attempt during cross winds, turns, or poorly conditioned roads; otherwise riding with your hands in the drops is the best position.

The third ingredient is a good warm-up.  Ride easy for 20-30 minutes, then follow this with a few efforts at or just below your expected time trial effort.  This isn't hard science.  You can do 4 leg openers. These should last for 3 minutes each. Over the first minute, gradually bring yourself to your threshold heart rate. This should be just below your time trial pace. Hold it there for one or two minutes and over the last minute bring your effort back down to an easy/moderate pace. Recover 5 minutes and repeat. These should be just hard enough to get your heart rate up and a sweat going, but not tax your system or require any significant recovery time.  Or you can do 2 five minute efforts with five minute recovery between and just before starting the actual time trial.

The fourth ingredient is proper pacing.  If you have a watt meter, pay attention to it and ride according to your predetermined threshold level.  Always try to hold back a little during the first 5 to 10 minutes of a longer time trial, such as a 40k.  Because of adrenaline and fresh legs that are relatively lactate-free, it's extremely common to start too hard.  If you don't appropriately hold back you will more than pay for any gains later and have a net slower speed/time.  Instead, try to gradually increase your speed/effort slowly throughout the entire effort.  You should not be able to sprint across the finish line. 

A few additional tips.
(1)Take the shortest line through turns;
(2) run high air pressure in your tires (do not exceed manufacturers limits);
(3) if you have a choice go first in the morning or last in the evening because winds tend to increase in the morning and slow down in the late afternoon.  No wind is always better than any form of wind on out-and-back courses;
(4) hydrate before the race, and no drinking during the time trial if possible; consume your fluid intake before the time trial and use my recommended heat management techniques on hot days to help you;
(5) make sure your equipment is in good operating condition well in advance of a race and try to never make significant repairs to your bike just before a race (common rookie mistake);
(6) on hilly courses, pace your self by going harder on the uphills and recovering on the descents.  Hard efforts on steep descents is generally poorly spent energy;
(7) if you have to brake (such as a turn-around) do so at the last moment and then get back up to speed calmly, but quickly;  this is a technique that you should practice prior to the time trial;
(8) ride your ideal cadence (it may be lower than you've been told);
(9) focus on your breathing, cadence and pedal stroke (research shows that pulling up is not helpful for time trialing).  I suggest Lemond's method of a slight backward drag at the bottom of the pedal stroke, much like wiping your feet off on a mat.  The idea to help create a smooth pedal stroke through the dead zones of the pedals being straight up and down;
(10) don't slow down at the finish line; rather suffer all the way past the finish line and collect your prize and podium place accordingly. 

Badda bing, badda bang!  If you did everything just as I described, you have just won your first race!  Ok maybe not, but eventually.  You'll never forget your first victory no matter how small.  Mine was 2nd season as a category 4 in the Tidewater area in Virginia, while I was in the Navy, 1989.  I only caught partial seasons due to being out to sea on Mediterranean Cruises, but this 2nd season was the very last race of the season.  For some reason it was a really small race, almost like a tiny training race, maybe 15 guys.  It was around a school football stadium.  It didn't even really have true corners and I jumped the guy who typically won the sprints and did a long sprint (typical sprints are 200 meters and around 10-12 seconds) and he couldn't really come around on the curving finish.  That was over 20 years ago and I remember it happily.  I promise that you'll never forget your first win...... unless you bonk your head...... or become senile (like Fred does sometimes) ....... otherwise, you'll never forget it!!!!!

To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

RockBridge Split Screen Test

[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!]

I am still learning a few tricks.  This is my first dual operated or split screened video.  Currently I only own one camera so in order to shoot this clip I did the same bike run twice and shot it both forwards with a chest mounted camera and rear view with the chest harness.  The video looks completely and totally different on the left and right view even though the course is the exact same.  My speed on each trip is approximately the same (the start and end match up fairly well), but not exactly.  That's my only disappointment, but happily that will change soon, in that I have just ordered a second camera to allow true multiple same-time views. 

I am planning on videoing my races both front and rear view.  I think I should be able to capture and produce some really good race video.

 To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Finish of the Belleville Criterium

Blog content pending:  Need to go bike ride.  Questions?

[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!]

Beginning of the Belleville 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!]

Yo race fans!  Here's the beginning of the Belleville Criterium and a prime lap and it's after effects. 
What can I say about this race?  Where do I start?  Ok the basics.  This was shot at Belleville Illinois on May 2, 2010 and was sponsored by VeloForce Cycling Team and is part of the MOBRA (Missouri Bicycle Racing Association) racing series.  The cool thing for me is that I get free entry to all MOBRA races.  This adds up.  Last year I paid over $1600 in race entry fees (including non-MOBRA races.  46 races total). [for the record:  my team reimburses $600 for race entries for all team members cat. 1-5]

Oops, I got off topic.  This race, was a smaller "training race" category 1-3.  In Missouri, the traditional true race season used to be from Memorial Weekend at Quad Cities and ended on the Labor day Weekend at the Gate Way Cup in St. Louis.  Prior to Memorial Weekend (now the Joe Martin Memorial Stage Race that is in Fayette, AR this weekend) the races tended to fall into the "training race" category.   A "training race" defers from a "serious race" in terms of the field/peloton size's quantity, and quality, and that is often determined by the prize list.  Training races typically have little to no prize money and the entry fees go the funding and operational budgets of the sponsoring teams.  (All teams must sponsor or put on a race as per ruling of USA Cycling organization).

Ok, so on this particular video I shot from a rear perspective.  It turned out much better than I thought it would have in terms of content and quality and in fact I think it may become my default format.  It's rather cool to see what's going on behind me, it's a view that I would have never otherwise observed and from a race fan perspective it shows riders faces instead of their backsides (much better).

As for the race itself, it was a little frustrating for me concerning team strategy and individual strategy. Dogfish was by far the largest and most dominating team.  I estimate out of a field size of maybe 40, 7-8 riders were Dogfish (20%), while I only had one team-mate and breifly at that (Jason Wolfe, cat 3 raced earlier and did the last race for fun..... or so he had hoped.  Did you have fun Jason?).  At anyrate, Dogfish controlled the race and allowed their timetrialist Justin Maciekowicz to lap the field solo. I tried to pursue a few times, but Dogfish and the field decided that that wouldn't happen.  So I sat in and sprinted for a 4th place.  Not too bad, when all of the factors are considered.  Oh, and I did win that $25 prime that's in this particular video.  Pay attention to the corner immediately following the prime because I don't think it can be gone through any faster.  In fact, I was amazed that I didn't crash.  I was on the inside of the rider that I was contesting for the prime and I wasn't able to set up for a super fast left turn.  Happily my Vittoria Tubular tires held onto the road (I mentioned earlier that tubulars corner better than clinchers..... this could be opinion, but I believe it to be true). 

I have another video of the finish, so please enjoy.  Also, if anyone has questions that I can address, please ask and I will put a response into the contents of this lovely (or not so lovely) blog.

David Henderson

To learn about the best video camera in the world for videoing cycling (which is the cameras that I use for my videos) click here.


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