2010 Chicken Dinner Road Race (Cat 3)

Groundhog Day; another race. 

Have I mentioned how much I love cycling?  I love it and racing feeds my need to test the limits of the human heart.  If you’ve done any bike racing you know what I’m talking about; your heart will be tested over and over, numerous times throughout a race.  It just plain makes me happy to race bikes, I feel cheated that my first bikes race wasn’t until a couple years ago…that’s OK, I’ll just race into my 70’s still putting the hurt on the young guys.

A couple years ago, I needed a Chicken Dinner in the race to avoid one of the better bonks I’ve experienced.  Alas, I did not pack a chicken dinner into my race day nutrition plan and paid the price; Race Report from 2008 Chicken Dinner; a glorious BONK.  This bonk foreshadowed my next race in St. Anthony’s that landed me in the St. Anthony’s Hospital. Yikes…!

Learning the hard way makes you pay attention.  This year, my nutrition plan included the ‘chicken dinner’.

The race organizers shortened the race from 4 to 3 laps making it a 42 mile course on rolling terrain with some nasty climbs.  Our race started and the guys got after it right away.  My favorite, let’s keep the pace honest the whole way.  The entire first lap had a string of mild attacks that had a cumulative effect on the peloton.  When Jeremy Ward aggressively crested the hill finishing the first lap, there were only 3 of us left in the party.

We cooperated for most of the next two laps as team SCOTT…both Jeremy and Josh were on SCOTT Addicts; it can’t hurt to be riding on the best bikes.  Josh played his cards on the first of two stair stepper hills on the final lap.  Jeremy and I stuck together knowing if we worked together we’d catch him fairly easily.  But we both admired the bold riding by the young guy.  When we caught Josh we didn’t do it forcefully enough and he hung around with only a couple miles to go.  We jockeyed away from the front, not wanting to be the first to attack.  With the 200m sign approaching I went for it with best impersonation of how a sprinter might look.  But it amounted to a nice lead up for Jeremy to blow by me at the line.  I’ll take it, 2nd place and a three-man break away was an honest effort.  And no BONK!  It’s all about recovery and building up now.  I think I’ve come full circle.

2010 Chicken Dinner Results

YMCA’s 2010 Spring Sprint Triathlon

The Racing Reward.

This race tends to make me more anxious than any other race I do.  The 8th year in a row doing this as the season opener proves an awesome test to how well the winter training has been.  Comparing splits from year to year gives you an idea of how the upcoming big races might play out.  At this point the hay is in the barn for the most part so I tend to get caught up in the numbers.  The numbers don’t lie.

This year’s Spring Sprint had extraordinary numbers with 350 athletes.  It amounts to a fun group of people rewarding themselves with a challenge.  The carnival like atmosphere made for a perfect day for spectators to cheer on their friends and family at Camels Back Park.  Having the privilege to coach and train with many of these competitors is a bonus that makes this day very rich for me.  It’s motivating to see people enjoying this healthy lifestyle and putting forth some fantastic efforts.

One reason I love this race is the swim is a true solo effort; there is no drafting because it’s a 750 yard pool swim.  I’d be thrilled to see what the swim times of the world’s best triathletes are without the benefit of a substantial draft.  The swim happens the day before the bike/run and continues when they start the clock and your swim time appears whereby you go into T1 and grab your bike as if you just finished your swim.

I’ve been obsessed with breaking 7:30 in the 750 yard swim, simply because it’s holding just under 1:00 per 100 yards.  Alas, having one of the harder bike weeks of my life doesn’t bode well for sharp swimming.  So I’m pleased with my 7:36 on fatigued legs, which I heavily rely on with a 6 beat kick. 

Today, was exiting for being able to test, under race conditions, the SCOTT Plasma, Tri Carbon bike shoes and T2 running shoes.  All these products benefitted me for their simplicity, high quality, and built for speed engineering.  It’s awesome to be racing with the best equipment, thanks SCOTT!

The Plasma was pure joy and had me smiling for much of my 28:40 20k ride.  It just feels sooo good.  I missed my window to warm up on the bike and this hurt me after revving up the legs the first couple miles.  The windy day helped substantiate my aero position and provide some nice leg burn.  Before I knew it I was in T2 and easily and simply slipped on my SCOTT T2 running shoes.

This was my true test for the day.  My training has shown big gains in my run fitness and this needed to pan out under race conditions.  Having never broken 17:30 on this 5k hilly trail run, today’s goal was to better that number.  It’s a slight climb on mostly dirt and gravel road for the first half of the race and can make you feel sluggish having just smashed your legs on the bike.  I felt strong.  I enjoyed my speed and tried to keep my suffering honest.  Coming down the 300m finish in high grass I noticed the most important number, my finish time, was going to be a personal best;  a full 2 minutes faster than last year at 53:57 and a closing 16:30 run.  Cool…my training really is going well.

Congrats to all the athletes this weekend!

Next up Chicken Dinner (road bike race) tomorrow…Wildflower Long Course Triathlon May 1st.

2010 Spring Sprint Triathlon Results

Photos

Road Racing Season: Slammer & Birds of Prey

Photo thanks to Brian Smith

Photo thanks to Brian Smith

The road racing season kicked off in Southern Idaho on March 14th the day after the Jason Broome 10 mile TT got postponed due to snow.  On a blistery and cold sunny day the Slammer road race embarked with tentative athletes testing their legs for the first time this season.  Some idle chit chat and a pedestrian pace turned to the peloton looking up the road as one of the Broken Spoke riders attacked.  Being the biggest team in the Cat 3 race the rest of the team held up.  With over 50 miles left in the 60 mile total ride nobody was too concerned that this guy was going to stay away, especially with the wind.  He lingered off the front of our chase pack.  There were a few mild attacks but nothing cemented.  With the Broken Spoke guys happy to sit back, not wanting to chase down their own guy, it became hard to motivate any kind of paceline.

 

 

 

Learning my lessons from past races where I rode myself into the ground over and over again from being too aggressive I too was content letting the race take shape with little influence from me.  With 10 miles to go the lead rider was still up the road, now just out of sight.  Enough, the peloton put forth some good efforts and I was happy to take some long pulls in an attempt to reel this guy in.  With 3 miles to go it seemed the solo effort was going to pay off.  Wow, I was envious.  Matt Woodruff pulled off a well earned victory.  It wasn’t until the results came out later that I realized he only held us off by 5 seconds!  I was content finishing in the middle of the sprint finish just under 10 seconds down to the leader.

Photo thanks to Brian Smith

Photo thanks to Brian Smith

 

 

 

Birds of Prey.  Fast forward to today and again snow showers threatened to postpone or cancel the race.  But the deserts of southern Idaho can be wet for only so long.  Again the day was cold and windy under mostly sunny skies.  It is always a challenge to dress appropriately, remembering that once the race starts and your engine is revved up things heat up quickly.  I wore too much, luckily my arm warmers and gloves fit nicely in my back pockets.

 

This race got started with an honest pace, the riders wanting to warm up.  After a few miles, déjà vu, one of the Broken Spoke riders attacked.  Jake Turner lingered off the front for the next several miles.  At moments it looked like we’d pull him back in and then the pace would slow and it looked like he might be away for a while.  Then, another rider joined him and this posed a dangerous scenario, upping the pelotons pace.  We chased the two riders moderately hard with a few attacks.

 

The wind was brutal making the lead riders job a good 30% harder than the riders who drafted.  The peloton was determined to not have a breakaway last all day again and we pulled these guys back in.  Then, we had a few attacks that dropped some riders.  Things settled down and I took the chance to take care of some nutrition at the back.  We turned right, head on into the wind and someone pounced.  This was no half hearted attack.  This was someone who had smartly waited for this chance to splinter the pack.  I was in a bad place, at the back.  Looking up the road there were already two gaps developing.  Uh oh.  I went after it and riders were experiencing aerobic death after aerobic death whilst losing touch with the attackers.  I did not want to join them.  But there was definitely a danger of that happening.  These attackers kept at a blistering pace riding all the way to the right of the road allowing for a limited draft.

 

Teetering on the edge of blowing up I made sweet contact with one of the lead attackers back wheel.  Moments later there were another segment of charges and suddenly it was just me and two other riders. 

 

We organized and held off the 2nd chase pack for a few miles but they were too close and the other guys decided to let up.  Speeding along with the wind it was now down to just 5 riders.  The finish line came quickly and the those two riders I was with earlier ended up getting the jump and getting 1st and 2nd with me rolling in a close 3rd. 

 

2 of the 5 stages down in the Georges Spring Series, up next Chicken Dinner!

 

 

Slammer Results

Birds of Prey Results