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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Giro Della Montagna Criterium

I have produced two videos for this blog post (actually 3, I just added a new one at 9:20 Dec 26, 2010).  The first is my "short" version at 1 minute and 51 seconds and my second video is my long version at 5 minutes and 7 seconds.  The 3rd video is 8 minutes and 3 seconds and is without any transitions/interruptions and no background music. 

I'm posting all three and adding a request from viewers for their opinions as to which is best, and what I could do to make them better.   Feedback would be valuable for me for future video projects.  I really would like to make videos that not only capture the excitement of bike racing, but are actually worthy of viewing. 

A little about the race: First here's the race results.  (This race is the Pro 1-2.  results near the bottom of this link.  I, David Henderson was officially 14th.)

Here's my watt data.  First a race overview below:
And an image of the finish data from the last 8 minutes and 28 seconds of the race below:

And here's the course below (St. Louis, Missouri) 

Here's the race flyer below: (My videos on this post are from the Giro Della Montagna Criterium which was held Sept 5, 2010).
To learn even more about these races, click here to be taken to the website that is pictured below:
It has been requested that I give a bit of supplemental commentary  to the above videos and direct my comments to the topic of race tactics and the like.  All righty then.

The most valuable thing that I can say about the 1st video is my quick field position change (:47 to 1:10).  I went from almost the back of the field to the front in a matter of 23 seconds.  I did this tactically correct.  I used the timing of course location, point of the race (in duration/time), and physics to know when, where, how and why. 

First, I choose to advance myself near the end of the race (this is when it is clearly critical).  Secondly I choose the uphill side of the course because I would get more purchase for spending energy going up a hill vs going down a hill (speed from power related to aerodynamics and gravity).  Third, I began my advance immediately after the corner.  I was already going near full hard coming out of the corner.  Instead of letting off and staying in the draft I remained full throttle (a body in motion tends to stay in motion) and charged up the left side.  I could see that the pack wasn't all strung out in a straight line (this meant the pack was not at full speed.  It is best not to advance when a field is single file).  Lastly I tried to reinsert myself into the draft with ease before a turn.  I try not to advance through turns, but racing sometimes requires this. 

The most valuable thing that I can say about the 2nd video is toilet paper.  It's one of the primary reasons that I started from the back (I was late to the line).  Let me explain.  I arrived at the race with just enough time to prepare for the race, which included "heaving a Havana" or "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl" (also known as "putting one through the hoop" or "pulling into defecation station").

To my chagrin all of the port-a-johns were out of toilet paper except for possibly one.   A lady had entered it just before me.  I had determined that all the others were sin paper.  That particular stall was my only hope.   All I had to do was wait for her to exit to find out. 

So I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited.  More than 10 minutes later nothing.  I even knocked a few times just to make sure that she hadn't fallen in.  I couldn't believe that she hadn't come out!  It was near 90 degrees outside......  and the smell!  Good God man! 

Well, she never came out (as far as I know, she's still in there).  I did come up with a solution, but I will leave a little mystery here.  My advice to all (including myself) bring you own toilet paper to races.  It is not uncommon for port-a-johns to run out of paper.  In fact, it's probably a good idea to hit a public restroom somewhere just before arriving at the race site if possible.

Finally, the third and last video shows the last eight minutes of the race.  It might of have been nice to show the last ten minutes because basically I was following Brad Huff (pro- Jelly Belly).  He told me to stick with him and I did, which lead to us getting into a break-a-way. 

I made at least two errors.  One, I was touching my breaks on the lower two turns.  This actually wasn't necessary.  A few times I was ok, but overall I was poor in my confidence.  The other error is a bit more forgivable.  I didn't see the field catching us just before the last 2 turns.  I wasn't looking back at all.  I was just concentrating on making it through the last 2 turns.

You can see in the video that Brian Jensen bridged up from the field to us and then attacked my group just before the bell lap.  Brad Huff reeled him back in and countered him.  All I could do was keep my speed up and reattach gradually.  Brian did eventually surrender, and my group of three were quickly swallowed up in the turns and following sprint. 

After the race Brad said that if he hadn't been in the break that probably the field (several pro riders) wouldn't have chased quite so hard and Brian said that we all would have had a better chance had he not attacked us and instead we all worked together. 

Who knows, it's not terribly important.  There were two riders up the course who were successful, and we all gave it a good try. 

For another perspective of the race read Steve Tilford's account.

Here's a few still images (more can be found from the link above).

The above image is a frame grab from my HD Hero camera that was mounted to my bike.  This image can be seen in the longer video clip above around 4:35, which is the last corner of the race leading to the final sprint.  Pictured here is Eric Young who won the field sprint.

Some other notable riders in this video include Brad Huff @ 4:00, Brian Jensen@4:10, Steve Tilford @ 4:33, Daniel Holloway @ 4:36.

Of course there are many other fantastic racers beyond my short list, including Jonathan Jacobs who actually won the race!  He's not in my video because he was to busy winning this race with his break-a-way companion, Robert Bush.

Click here to learn more about the camera I use to video my races. They can do much more than just record cycling!


  1. Hi Dave, LOVE The videos man! Thanks for taking the time to do them. The one thing that I really liked about some of your other videos was you would do a play by play of what was going on down at the bottom of the screen.
    Also I don't know if this is possible or would hurt your riding aerodynamics too much but it would be really cool to have camera views on the side of your bike. That way you could almost make a 360* view of the race from your bike.
    Again thanks for all the hard work and I look forward to cheering for you this year.

    Nick Hand
    708 Racing

  2. Nick, I appreciate your comment and agree. I forgot to give the play by play for this race post. I will certainly add it in the next day or so.

    Also concerning the 360 view, I don't think I would recommend it for racing, but it would be brilliant for documenting certain "beautiful rides" such as bike vacations and the like.

    It can easily be accomplished by making a camera platform (3 cameras at 120 degree angles) and then mounting it on a helmet. The videos can be all added on one screen with a little cropping as necessary.

  3. Love your videos, the double camera gives the sensation of actually being in the race more than any other videos I've seen. The longer video was much better.I wish you would add some commentary, like announcing the bell lap. The short version wasn't long enough to give a feel for the race and I felt the camera tricks when cutting to different segments just shortened an already too short video.
    I check your blog frequently for new material, enjoy your posts and am looking forward to more videos. The aero move you pull with your forearms on the bars is something I've never seen in crits, very impressive and I'm sure you worked up to it gradually.

  4. Rick, thanks for the feedback. I entirely agree. As a result I have added a third video (with the bell lap marked) The video is near the max that YouTube will allow me (2 GB is the max), and I did not add any music (basically unedited footage). It really tells the tale.

    As a result of your input I plan on posting an entire race in one blog post. The videos will be in order and labeled in a series (such as 1 of 10).

  5. Hi David:

    I realy enjoy your videos. They capture the "race feel" as well as anything I have seen. What I try to learn from the videos is race tactics, especially towards the finish of a race, the last 3K or so. I think, like the other comentators, the more commentary and analysis that you can put in, either in the video or in text is helpful for me. I would also love to see your wattage numbers at times to see how far behind you I would be!

    Thanks again, Steve Garvin.

  6. Steve, I just added the watt data. I hope that is helpful. It is important to know my weight in order to have a better understanding. At the time of the race I was around 165lbs or 74.84 kilos. I think my bicycle is around 15.5 pounds or 7 kilos. The watt numbers are with zeros averaged in (not pedaling/coasting). I don't think normalized wattage is very helpful for understanding a full effort.

    I will do a race analysis shortly. Hopefully tomorrow after some coffee.

  7. I must say just watching your videos gets my blood pumping… great stuff Dave!! I’m a novice to the sport but can’t get enough it (despite the fact that I still struggle at the back of the pack) I follow your blog faithfully and I have learned tons about racing from all the material you generously had added to your blog. I personally like the second video and yes adding footnotes helps me to understand the tactics of the race. Thanks again for the time and effort you take into create this blog and looking forward to more of your videos.




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