Friday, June 26, 2009

Come Do 100km With SiR

Ever wanted to give the whole rando thing a try, without having to sign away a whole weekend?

Perhaps you'd like to ride with us, but aren't sure if you "can hang."

Well now's your chance - behold the 100km Populaire being put on by Dr. Codfish, Robert, Chris G., me, and Seattle Rando:

Well I can't take much credit for doing anything in preparation for the ride, Dr. C & Robert have done the lion's share of the work - I'm just tagging along on their coat tails.

Pre-ride registration has ended, but you can still show up tomorrow and get a brevet card and a cue sheet. What's a brevet card? Well that's the funny little piece of paper you carry around and have signed at each "control" - and there will even be a few "info controls" where you have to write down something you see. This is the "paperwork" of randonneuring that some love, some hate.

As for the course, it's a darn good one. SiR elders wouldn't let us make this a "killer hills" route, but being SiR they of course allowed for some good old climbs. Randos love climbing, this is one thing I know. (Well, at least brevet course organizers like them!) There are a few memorable hills for sure - I remember seeing 16% grade on one of them - but hopefully nothing that will turn people away from riding with us.

There will certainly be some grunts of "who created this course?!" but once you crest that hill and look back a great view of the sound, the fury will soon leave your body.

Come out and see what you think of it tomorrow! I won't be riding, just helping out along the course. The weather looks great, so you realy have no excuse not to show up.

Seward Park Race 6/25/09 - More Good Training

Yesterday was another installment of the Seward Park training race. Another opportunity to either get in some good training, a nice placing, or better yet both. Too bad for me last night was mostly good training, I didn't end up placing well at all.

Lined up in front with Ian & Rob, two guys I recently met at Seward. On the first lap Rob was off the front, and held out for a few laps. Thought about chasing but it seemed to early - while it would be good training to try to break away so early in the race, I wanted to at least finish and didn't want to jeopardize that.

Also met Mark yesterday, a strong racer that I've been seeing a lot at the front of the pack. He said he's done the Race Across Oregon last year - and here I was thinking that I was the only "mileage junkie/ultra guy" in the peloton! Mark is a very strong sprinter and a good all around racer - he took both primes last night, and the win! Congrats man.

Here a shot of Ian & Mark in the peloton at some point during the race (they're on the left, black & blue jerseys respectively):

I didn't show up in many of the pictures taken, but did find this one with me in it. (Black/white jersey, blue/white helmet):
More pics from the 4/5 race on the teampics smugmug site.

I basically "sat in" for most of the race, though I did spend a little while on the "business end" of the peloton. Tried to stay up front, and found that I could move up well on the uphill, given space. Trouble is space to move is hard to come by on the hill, so you either have to be up front in the first place, or find a way around the pack.

For the second prime I was somewhere mid-pack at the beginning of the uphill (leading to the line) - and decided to chase the sprinters, even though there were 20 riders in between me and them. Found some space on the left, dumped my gears way down (or is it up?) and sprinted for dear life. I passed a good 15 people, and felt like I was doing twice their speed at that point. But of course I didn't catch the sprinters, they were way ahead. Still, it was a nice little practice of a sprint and also good practice of moving up in the field.

Now that I'm getting more comfortable with racing, and pack racing more specifically, I feel like I don't want to just surf the pack until the big final surge. I've heard a quote that goes something like "It's called racing, not riding around waiting for shit to happen." So on that note I decided to go off the front, even if it was probably at the worst tactical moment to do so.

Off the Front, If Only for a Few Seconds

So on the last lap, after we made the 140-degree turn onto the flat, I sensed a slow-down in the pack and took off up the right side, hoping to get up front and make a clean line through the sharp right at the bottom of the hill. But I'm pretty sure that attacking downhill is a stupid thing to do, and I'm pretty sure I learned that last night.

I took a dig, got up front, and hit the corner as hard/fast as I could. Once on the flat gave it some more gas, but upon a quick glance behind me I see the whole friggin' pack on my wheel! So much for that...

Totally spent, I had to let the pack consume me and overtake. Just kept riding straight until I had room to move, then tried to recover for the final surge - too bad it's a 4-5% uphill surge, and if you're already cooked going into it best of luck. I had nothing to offer in the end, I'd "burnt all my matches" at the wrong moment on the last lap.

Totally out of breath/energy, all I could do was watch the final surge from a distance. Started to stand up and give something just to finish with the pack (e.g. sprint for 30th), but decided to just sit up and let it go. Rolled in a few seconds after the pack did, my first time being "off the back" even if slightly.

In the end though, it was a lot of fun, and more damn good training!

Power Data

Seward Park Race 6/25/09:
Duration: 28:36
Work: 417 kJ
TSS: 52.3 (intensity factor 1.048)
Norm Power: 299
VI: 1.23
Pw:HR: -1.08%
Pa:HR: -1.65%
Distance: 18.405 km
Elevation Gain: 369 m
Elevation Loss: 364 m
Grade: 0.0 % (5 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1015 244 watts
Heart Rate: 126 195 183 bpm
Cadence: 29 127 81 rpm
Speed: 5.1 73.4 38.5 kph
Pace 0:49 11:46 1:33 min/km
Altitude: -1 24 14 m
Crank Torque: 0 203.1 26.3 N-m

failed break: (on the last lap)
Duration: 1:18
Work: 25 kJ
TSS: 3.6 (intensity factor 1.295)
Norm Power: n/a
VI: n/a
Pw:HR: -40.49%
Pa:HR: 29.93%
Distance: 897 m
Elevation Gain: 18 m
Elevation Loss: 20 m
Grade: -0.2 % (-2 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 899 316 watts
Heart Rate: 185 191 189 bpm
Cadence: 47 100 81 rpm
Speed: 15.2 67.7 41.4 kph
Pace 0:53 3:57 1:27 min/km
Altitude: 4 24 14 m
Crank Torque: 0 91.6 31.6 N-m

weakest sprint ever: (final sprint)
Duration: 0:24
Work: 8 kJ
TSS: n/a
Norm Power: n/a
VI: n/a
Pw:HR: 55.23%
Pa:HR: 43.31%
Distance: 204 m
Elevation Gain: 12 m
Elevation Loss: 0 m
Grade: 6.0 % (12 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 11 691 348 watts
Heart Rate: 187 190 189 bpm
Cadence: 52 98 77 rpm
Speed: 15.2 56.3 30.6 kph
Pace 1:04 3:57 1:57 min/km
Altitude: 8 20 16 m
Crank Torque: 2 67.3 41.1 N-m

Peak 2min (342 watts): (last two mins of race)
Duration: 2:00
Work: 41 kJ
TSS: 4.1 (intensity factor 1.112)
Norm Power: n/a
VI: n/a
Pw:HR: -6.23%
Pa:HR: -33.14%
Distance: 1.351 km
Elevation Gain: 33 m
Elevation Loss: 25 m
Grade: 0.7 % (9 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 899 342 watts
Heart Rate: 170 191 185 bpm
Cadence: 31 113 82 rpm
Speed: 24.3 67.7 40.5 kph
Pace 0:53 2:28 1:29 min/km
Altitude: 4 24 15 m
Crank Torque: 0 119.4 35.4 N-m

Peak 5 mins was actually not in the race, but on the ride down! Dammit! This is not good, it means I was pushing too hard on the way down, wasting energy before I even got to the race. And I wasn't even late this time, it's just out of habit. Need to work on that....

Peak 5min (279 watts):
Duration: 5:00
Work: 83 kJ
TSS: 8.7 (intensity factor 1.025)
Norm Power: 292
VI: 1.05
Pw:HR: 19.29%
Pa:HR: 9.63%
Distance: 3.066 km
Elevation Gain: 33 m
Elevation Loss: 30 m
Grade: 0.1 % (2 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 496 278 watts
Heart Rate: 164 186 177 bpm
Cadence: 42 109 95 rpm
Speed: 4.1 50.3 36.7 kph
Pace 1:12 14:38 1:38 min/km
Altitude: -29 -26 -27 m
Crank Torque: 0 87.5 27.4 N-m

Looking forward to next week, maybe I'll give another flyer a shot - but this time on an uphill!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Seward Park Race 6/18 - Nth Place

(This post is a few days late, e.g. it's about the race from last Thursday)

After doing the big 600k + commute over the weekend, I was tentative about doing Seward only five days later, but also excited. I felt about as fresh as I could after a 425-mile weekend and a few days off the bike, and just wanted to see if I could do it or not.

One thing I noticed on the way down, was that after de-converting the Ciocc back into a race bike (remove fender, lights, dynohub, B17 seat) I realized I forgot to move the seatpost back up. Weird how much taller a Brooks B-17 is compared to my Bianchi race saddle. That 1cm of space gone was noticeable, but I didn't feel like messing with it so I let it be.

The Race

The race got off after the usual pre-race talk, with the usual jokes ("Please don't make aggressive moves sideways, only forwards. Some of you will attack off the back, and that's OK." Something like that, I'm not doing his jokes justice!), and a reminder that "this is not the world championships." Apparently some people forget that it's just a training race that doesn't even count towards upgrading. So all that's left is to have fun, train, and compete a little while you're at it.

Right off the bat an unattached rider (I think it was Jordan, who I just met last week) went off the front, with a vengeance. Before we knew it he was almost 1/2 lap up ahead of us, but nobody gave chase. With 14 laps to go it was only a matter of time he'd be caught, I figured.

Nothing wrong with going off the front early, especially in a training race, that's what it's for. I think it'd be fun, but I'm not sure I could recover enough to get back in the pack after an effort like that. I've ridden the course solo and it feels way slower without the draft, then again I didn't have 40 people chasing me.

He stayed off the front for another four laps or so, with each lap we could see him slowly getting closer and closer, reeling him in. Another unattached rider bridge up to him, but once the prime lap came I think the upped pace and the rider who bridged (was that Mark?) was barely beat at the line for the prime. But nice job on the attempt! Makes me tired just thinking about going off the front.

After the group was together again, it was relatively smooth sailing from there, though on the second to last lap (or was it last?) I got stuck behind a slowing rider and had the whole pack come around me.. By the time I realized it I was sitting at the back, at the bottom of the hill! Dammit, that's the worst place to be if you want to move around people on the climb. I seem to be able to move up on the climb, as long as there's room (which there usually isn't).

A pic of me (blue helmet) hanging in the pack, thinking about how I'm glad this isn't a 35-hour ride, just a 25-minute one!

The surge went a little earlier than I would have liked (what else is new?), and I wasn't in a great position when it happened (e.g. behind 10 or so riders). Still, I went with it and pushed as hard as these little legs could, passing a few riders on the uphill, and one or two more as they sat up near the line. At some point it doesn't make sense to even try to get 10th as opposed to 9th, but at the time you're just thinking of doing the best you can.

Here's a shot of the winner - I'm somewhere just behind this little pack that broke away from the main pack for the surge:

And then there I am (blue helmet, black/white jersey) sailing in for 8th or 9th. It might as well be 30th place, but it was a great workout.

Lots of pics from the 4/5 race (and the other ones too) on smugmug, thanks to Beki.

David from the PI's Velocity blog captured some video snippets from the 4/5 race - from looking at the vid I think I got 7th. He also shot vids of the 3/4's & 1/2/3's.

Talked to Rob after the race about our Ciocc bikes - pretty rare to see that brand, especially in races. And his is actually a classic (straight-tubed) model with lugs and everything, nice! He was at Ballard a few weeks ago as well, always fun to share war stories and different views of the epic crashes that we witnessed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Auburn-Westport-Auburn 600k: From the City to the Coast and Back

This weekend was Seattle Rando's 600k starting in Auburn, about 25 miles south of Seattle. After completing the 200k, 300k, and 400k's from earlier this year it was time to take on the next challenge. When you complete all four of the "series," you then qualify for the Super Randonneur award, and of course I want it! Last year it took three tries to nail down a 600 and the SR award, but this year I was hoping to get the first one done.

I think the 600k is where the randonneuring really starts - on the 200k-400k distances, you can get away with ill fitting gear or bike, inadequate nutrition, minimal training, and/or lack of sleep and planning. You can get away with those on a 600 too, but it's a long time to spend if you're not happy.

It's not that the 200-400 are small rides, but they are just practice for bigger rides. Such as the 600.

Gear For The Ride

I chose to ride the Ciocc for this ride, which doesn't have a ton of space for gear, but since it was warm enough outside I could get away with a small saddlebag and a ton of Shot Blox/food in my jersey pockets. I caught some flak from other randos for traveling so light, but it worked out. It's nice to have everything you want, but sometimes you can get by with just what you need, or something close enough to it.

My packing list was pretty short compared to normal; without a large handlebar or saddlebag, I left out a few things usually brought along: spare socks, leg warmers, arm warmers, extra tools/parts, a bunch of tubes.

For some reason I was confident that I could "get away with" going ultra-light. Luckily, I was right!

I just had to do a few modifications to the Ciocc to get it ready for the 600:
  • Changed out the Bianchi race saddle with a Brooks B17, a much wider saddle that really is the best one I have. (As a side note, I've decided I don't like the Brooks Pro model, it has a weird convex shape)
  • Put on the dynohub, and attached the Schmidt E-6 headlight
  • Slapped on a rear "race blade fender" - all it does is protect your butt from spray.. my plan was that if it rained I would just go to the back of the pack (if applicable), and prepare to suffer for a while. If I recall correctly it's been a long time since a cyclist and their bike has melted from the rain in June.
  • Put on two rear LED lights, one as a backup
  • SIR short-sleeve wool jersey, light poly base layer
  • Ibex wool shorts
  • medium weight wool socks
  • Jacket for night or rain
Yup, that's it. No spare socks, shorts, or arm warmers, etc. Just the basics, just enough to get by. I figured at worst I'd be dirty and uncomfortable - two things that are just temporary, I can deal with that. Lucky I only ended up dirty, not really uncomfortable due to my clothing choices.

  • Shot Blox "fastpacks" - about 10 packs. Those things really add up in weight, and were tugging at my jersey pockets at first. But the great thing about food is that it disappears into your stomach eventually. Finished with two packs left over.
  • Shot Blox gels - a few fruity ones, some with caffeine. I wanted to save the caffeine ones for when they really counted; at night or on the second day. In the end, I only used one of them, a caffeine one. I should have left the others at home.
  • Two burritos - Kira offered to put together two of her great burritos for the ride - sweet! Beans, cheese, avocado, salsa. I ate them throughout the first day, and it was great to have solid food anywhere I wanted, and also to skip long lines at food stops.
Of course that wasn't enough food for the whole trip; it was supplemented along the way by gas stations, controls, etc.


  • Tools - 5mm allen for bike adjustments, 4mm allen for SPD cleat adjustments, FiberFix spare spoke, spoke tool, chain tool, spare batteries for rear lights & headlamp
  • Backup front light (Cateye LED, pretty weak by rando standards), backup rear LED
  • One tube, and a pack of Park quick patches. Yup, just one tube. It was my dirty little secret along the way, many randos would have scoffed at the low number.

The Ride To The Ride

Lucky for me the commute to this ride wasn't quite as epic as the last brevet. With the brevet starting at 6 am 25 miles away, I could wake at 3:30, leave the house by 4-ish, and keep at least a 12.5 mph average speed. Should be doable even with a possible flat tire along the way, and it's really flat along all the way.

The nice thing about riding to the ride is that you don't need time to get ready once you get there. You can just get your brevet card and go. No threat of a low tire, missing helmet or shoes, no need to warm up. The ride down is the warm up.

The Ciocc in Renton at about 5 am. Making perfect time down to the start.

I took Rainier Ave down to Renton, from there taking E. Valley Highway which turns into Auburn Way or something like that. A pretty straight-forward and flat route, and with no traffic and the sky starting to turn pink, it was a great ride. I was familiar with it since most of the ride down was the same as to the Chili Feed 200k a few months ago.

Got to the start of the ride at about 5:35 or so, plenty of time to get my card and say hello to a few folks.

The start at a hotel in Auburn:

The Ride

Our route started in Auburn, Wa - just south of Seattle, then took us west to Tacoma, from there over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and north to Port Orchard. From there more or less southwest to Westport, on the coast. Then from there south for a while on the coast, then head east to Centralia. From there north-east back to Aubrn. Nothing too hilly, but of course it wasn't flat either. Here's the bikely route:

The rollout at 6 am on Saturday of about 60 riders. The guy right behind me in this shot was on a fixed gear, and finished in about 24 hours I heard. Whoa, that's a whole other level I don't think I'll ever be on.. he's prolly doing Raam or something, and using my "epic" ride for "training". Just goes to show there's always somebody out there stronger/faster/better than you:

The fast riders like Ryan Hamilton went off the front soon into the ride, probably doing 23 mph while we were doing 20. I sat with the pack, about 20 or 30 of us rolling through mostly empty morning roads. Oh if only we could have kept that peloton intact for the whole route, it would change the ride. But we all knew the first big hill would break it up, and from there on out it was pretty much either on your own or in smaller groups.

The first control broke up the pack pretty well, with some riders stopping for water and others continuing on. I rolled out pretty quickly, and was riding with Chris, or perhaps it was Robert. Eventually all three of us were together, and we went over the bridge towards the rest of the ride.

The Tacoma Narrows bridge:
I hear the crossing for cyclist on that bridge used to be a different experience - a narrow lane and small divider between you and traffic.. these days it's a nice wide bike lane, inviting cyclists to cross it frequently.

Then on the peninsula we headed up to Port Orchard, through a bunch of backroads that pretty much all looked like this - which isn't a bad way to spend a few hours on the bike:
I'm glad I'll never get tired of views like that, since you get a lot of them on rides in Western Washington.

Now heading down the Hood Canal, I think:

We hit the next control, and Eric Vigoren was there offering all kinds of goodies and water. Got a refill and ate a few cookies, but before I knew it I'd spent too long there, and our small group of 5-6 had left me behind while I visited the porta potty.

After a 10-minute chase at 22+ mph, with the pack eventually in sight though far away, I finally got up to them. In a ride like this I've learned that sometimes if you let a group go you may never see them again. On the other hand, sometimes you end up seeing the same people even though they're ahead of you. But I didn't want to risk it, so I figured the extra effort would give me saving later in the group.

Before I knew it we arrived at the Union control, a general store where I got some iced tea, water, and ate some burrito. We sat on the porch for what seemed like quite a while, but I guess we weren't in a hurry. We had hours in the bank already, and I for one felt good but didn't want to push too hard. I'd rather go too slow than too fast and blow up, so I try to pace it well on these rides though it is hard sometimes.

After the Union control we got on a really nice backroad, our little group of five or six intact. Joe, Andy, Robert, that one guy and a few others maybe. A good medium-pace group to ride with, and conversation always makes the ride go faster, even if you're just listening to one.

But on the turn onto Highway 101, we hit an incline and Robert started falling off the back. I hung back with him and we slowly watched the group fade away. It's a harsh reality that in the end we're all out here to ride our own ride, but sometimes I just can't let someone ride by themselves especially if they aren't feeling bad. We all have bad days, and it seemed like Robert was having one.

But he was in good spirits and we continued on together, soon getting on familiar roads from the 24 hour fleche back in April. More great backroads that were almost all flat. We made slow but steady progress forward, which is all that counts on a brevet. Going slow is a lot better than not going at all.

In Matlock, which is really just about three or four buildings and a general store, we caught back up to Joe & Andy, and stopped to get some water and whatnot. I saw this little PSA inside - just had to get a shot:
I guess they've had issues with that lately. Man that must be embarrassing when you call 911..

Robert & I continued on, past the Corrections Facility and through tons, and tons, of woods. Or clear cut woods. We were soon joined by Mike Richeson, who once helped me through a 600k in Oregon. A great randonneur who is really steady and good to ride with. We continued on with him for miles until a few hills put him in front of us. We caught back up to him and eventually turned onto that one road that heads west to Montesano.

I don't remember what road that is, and honestly I don't want to! First of all it's just about the worst chipseal on the ride. Only five or six miles of it to Montesano, but it was so rough that my handlebars were bouncing around as if I was riding on cobbles. Second of all we turned into a fierce headwind coming from the coast.

It was the kind of headwind that demoralizes you and makes you feel like you're going backwards. I decided I wanted to spend as little time on this road as possible, and sprinted into the headwind, if only to go 20 mph it meant I would be done with it that much faster. It was good that I was alone at this point - looking back I couldn't even seen Robert & Mike any more - since I was cursing out loud at the wind. All you could hear was the roar of the wind in your ears, it was really brutal.

Before too long I was in Montesano, and took a left on Main Street to head towards Cosmopolis, just as we'd done on the fleche. I pushed on at a snappy pace, faster than I'd done earlier in the ride. Caught up with another rider but then lost them when I stopped for a nature break in the woods on Blue Slough Road. While in the woods Robert & Mike passed by, and I quickly caught up to them. So much for my breakaway!

The three of us rolled up to the control is Cosmpolis, and finally caught back up to Andy, Joe, and the rest of the group we'd been rolling with before. They were taking a break and we had time to sit down and eat some chips, get some water, but made it short so we could leave with the group.

We rolled out quickly after the group did, and caught up to them just after we went through Aberdeen, a small town that was even smaller than I thought it'd be. We got on a road with a wide shoulder, and the group was rolling efficiently.

At some point, I think it was an uphill, I just kept pedaling at whatever felt good, and before I knew it was ahead of the pack. Then looking up the road there was a rider way in the distance. Nothing like a "rabbit" to entice you to chase! I for some reason gave chase, and opened it up more than I had before on this ride. For once I was actually getting faster as the ride went on, instead of the opposite.

Caught up to the rider eventually, I think it was Joe Llona. We rode over a little bridge on a bay and it was finally time to see some water. I grew up surrounded by water so I always have an affinity for it.

And then we were at the Westport control, just another gas station in the middle of nowhere. But at least they were close to the water.. I made this a quick control, got some water and munched on the burrito. There was a Subway inside but I wanted to stick with what I had and keep the stops quick from now on.

As I was leaving Robert and the crew were rolling in, but I pressed on. If anything I figured I'd be seeing them at some point or another, and indeed I did, though not for quite a while..

I turned on the Garmin unit here, since it only lasts 15 hours so I wanted to see just how slow/weak I am after 15+ hours on the road.

Interestingly what felt like 300 watts was only 150.. it seemed I could only put out 250 at most on the climbs whereas when fresh that's closer to 450w. Part of that is obvious - as time goes on you just can't keep up the same power - but I wanted to measure where I come in on these long durations. Not to compare to others' data, but to compare against myself in the future.

Leaving Westport

After going through Westport at about 6 PM, I left my friends behind and started a solo journey that would last just about the rest of the ride to the 400k point, which ended up being about six hours away.

I averaged about 30 km/h for the next hour or so, after that I stopped keeping track. That was higher than normal but from looking at the elevation profile it turns out a lot of that was slightly downhill! But I was making good time either way, and probably better time than I ever had on a ride this big. It's really easy to bog down as you get bored/tired, but I was trying to avoid that.

You could kind of smell the ocean, but couldn't see it yet. Just a few houses, and one with plywood nailed up all along their fence, apparently trying to hide a broken house, with a patched-up roof. Interesting neighbors I'm sure.

Eventually the road (Hwy 105) finally hit an open view of the Pacific for a few miles, this was pretty much the "goal" of the ride for me. It was so worth it!

After a mile or so I hit another spot I just had to stop and get a picture of:

I've always wanted to ride from the city to the coast and now I've done it, though in a round-about way. Woo hoo!

On the next stretch it started to get dark, and the lights came back on. I kept expecting to see the group's lights coming up behind me, but they never did. I also never saw anyone in front of me until I got to the Raymond control, a little corner store. There I had chips and water, and stocked up for the next 30 miles or so until the Rainbow Falls control, where Dr. Codfish and others would be waiting with good cheer and snacks - I was really hoping for a Cup-O-Noodles, and that thought helped me through the next stretch.

At one point my E6 headlight started to flicker - not in a rapid, predictable fashion, but seemingly at random, and not just when I hit bumps. I was really weird, and kind of disconcerting. It was 11 pm or so at this point, and about as dark as it gets. I had a backup light, but it was so small I'd be embarrassed to use it on a brevet (it's more of a be-seen light). After stopping and unplugging the connection to the dynohub and then pluggin it back in, it seemed to work again. Weird.

A few riders passed me when stopped, and I eventually ended up passing them after a long while. It was like the tortoise and the hare, but you know who won that one..

After a while I saw a sign that said "1/2 mile to Rainbow Falls" - sweet! That meant food and rest was not far off. Soon I saw the expected blinkie, a SIR tradition for controls that are generally out in the middle of nowhere and in the dark. Rolling up to the blinkie there was an empty field and a road on the left. Hmm.

Well what not take the road on your left, right? I mean the cue sheet said this is where the control was, and there was a blinkie so... I rode down the road for about 1/2 mile, but didn't see anything but dark houses. Nothin.

So I turned around and headed back to the blinkie, what the hell was going on? Upon getting back to the main road, I looked at what seemed to be a tiny sign stuck to the real road sign. Hmm, looking really closely I could see what looked to be ball point pen scribbled arrows (e.g. hard to read at night) pointing forward. Hmm, this is not SIR tradition to give you tiny clues and riddles, but I figured something must be up that way so I trudged on.

I was kind of irate at the situation, and I heard others went further down the road (like 10 miles further) and were ever more upset than I was. But by the time I rolled up to the tent on the side of the road that ended up being a mile or two up the road, I was just happy. How could I be mad at smiling volunteers offering a Cup-O-Noodles? I sat there and snacked, talked, and rested. With shorts on it was either keep moving or get chilly, though the space heater they had set up was great. It was an excellent control, thanks!

Robert and crew eventually caught up here, but I was about to head out. It was only 20 or so miles to the overnight control where a lot of food and a shared bed was waiting. The plan up to a few hours ago was to ride through the night, but at this point (a tiny bit of) sleep felt like a better option.

I rode through the dark solo, and ended up going on that one road from Chehalis to Centralia that the STP uses. Got to Centralia before too long, and rolled up to what seemed to be the biggest operation in SIR control history.

Centralia Overnight Control

A bunch of rando bikes at the 400k "overnight" control in Centralia. Of course, the riders that wanted to finish in 24 hours or so rode straight through. I got in at about 2 am, and slept until 4:30. Ate a bunch of pasta and salmon. Wait, salmon?! Yes, they went all out for this one. And even promised a custom breakfast burrito in the morning. An ever-smiling Vincent M. was there offering positivity and calories. An also smiling Peter Beeson led me to a room where I could get a few hours of sleep.

Without a drop bag, I just slept in my bike shorts. I kind of wish that I'd had some boxers to sleep in, but it wasn't all that bad. I was only down for two hours, and then hit the road at 5.

Day Two

Once I got up I had a smidgeon of coffee, a huge breakfast burrito, and hit the road with Chris and some other riders that had been ahead of us all yesterday. I'd slept less than them, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to put up with. The finish was "only" 200k away!

It was another dry day, though it seemed a bit chillier. Centralia-Alpha road was looming ahead, and I knew it was going to be some climbing. We were only going to hit about 1,800 ft so how bad could it be?

The Ciocc, in motion on day two.

It was fun riding them for a while, having caught up to someone faster. Though soon I overheated and needed to take off my jacket. Then it was the rest room.. and before I knew it they were gone up the hill. I didn't have the energy or determination to chase, so I let them go.

The road was really scenic, and nothing but farms and forest surrounded us. It was overcast and there was fog in the hills. A tiny bit of sprinkle came down, the only precipitation the whole ride. It was an excellent road to ride on, and I was glad to be doing it during the day so I could actually see it.

Lots of lush scenery like this on Centralia-Alpha road, which went on for 30 miles or so. Nothing but forest, fields, and road.

There were some nice inclines along the way, but nothing too crazy.

Nice little river somewhere between Alpha and Morton or so. Just had to stop to get a shot of these rocks:

This road went on for a while, and eventually I came to Morton, a tiny tiny town east of Centralia. The gas station was up the road and I stopped there to have some more cheese sticks (one of my favorite fried goodies on rides) and water. Oh I also had some donuts along with the cheese sticks, I was loading up for the day ahead.

Met up with Joe P, who I'd ridden with yesterday but had gotten away from. We rode together for hours, and eventually Robert caught up too. He caught up as we were resting and they rolled off while I still wanted to rest. Funny how we jump in front of each other so much on these rides, but I was happy to see Robert looking good again. I got on the road and caught up to them before too long.

Now in Elbe, near Mt. Rainier. Getting closer to the end! I forget how much we had left here, but it was still enough to make me think "ugh, I wish this ride was over."

We went through Elbe, and got on part of the Ramrod route. Didn't stop for anything there, I'm getting better about passing up chances for water if I have enough. We rode as a group on the way to Eatonville, on a tiny road that was hillier than I'd recalled. The cars were getting heavier in the early afternoon, lots of RVs and trucks pulling trailers. Passing on blind curves... hey it's their life, I guess they can do what they want with it.

I started to get tired on this stretch. Finally, after about 28 hours of riding with two hours of sleep, the sandman had come for me. For some reason it was when I was taking a pull at the front of our small group that I'd seem to drift in and out.. without anything to focus on I think I would just lose track of reality and the road. When it would happen I would just peel off and go to the back, where it seemed like I could wake up again.

I ate some caffeinated gel and felt a little more awake. We got to Eatonville eventually and sat down at Subway for a quick snack. We knew it was the home stretch. Plenty of time in the bank, we were in no rush.

Here was my afternoon snack in Enumclaw, about 30 miles from the end. (Jalepeno cheese stick with relish for dipping sauce, and iced tea):

After Enumclaw we got on Green Valley road, a familiar one for SIR training rides and brevets. It's flat and scenic, and went by quick. We kept trudging along, all wanting the ride to be over for sure.

Eventually we turned off of it and were back in Auburn! It was about 4:20 PM. Pretty much the only time I'll ever be excited to arrive in that town..

The final control in Auburn. Hooray!

At the final control we congratulated each other and handed in our cards for final inspection. I couldn't believe it, I finally finished a SIR 600k! Granted, it was one of the "easy" ones but hey I'm not sure you can call anything about a 600k easy.

We went into the hotel room reserved for resting/washing, and was greeted by Chris who had gotten in an hour or two before us. Pizza and soda never tasted so good. We all told war stories from the ride and shared our experiences. Even though we were all on the same roads, our experiences varied as much as our bikes do.

Then it was time to head back home - for once I didn't feel like bumming a ride home and actually was excited to complete the 425-mile door-to-door trip.

Results are here. Be sure to check out Robert's view of the same ride here.

The full photoset is here. The photos actually tell a better story than what I can do here - but there are 250+ of them!

Data from Westport to about Raymond (battery went out, I left it on at the overnight)

Entire workout (119 watts):
Duration: 7:00:59
Work: 3096 kJ
TSS: 190 (intensity factor 0.521)
Norm Power: 148
VI: 1.21
Distance: 263.748 km
Elevation Gain: 2612 m
Elevation Loss: 2512 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 727 123 watts
Cadence: 15 127 63 rpm
Speed: 0 79.7 25.2 kph
Crank Torque: 0 194 17.9 N-m

The Ride Home

After a celebratory four or five slices of pizza at the end, of course washed down with some sprite, it was time to head home. Just 25 miles back north to Seattle, and it was pretty flat. I was tired, but not too tired to continue on. At some point you just reach a "steady-state" where you can keep riding for what seems like forever, as long as your mind can handle it.

My mind can take it, but just barely. Part of what keeps me entertained along the way is taking these pictures so I can show people what it was like along the way.

Finally back in Seattle, at about 7 PM on Sunday. And of course one of the first things I see is someone with rolled up jeans walking a bicycle.. oh if I had a nickle for every time I've seen that on Broadway... (actually I'm glad they're on a bike, but I do see that a lot)

It was a great feeling to roll on Broadway, knowing the bike and I were now "connected" to roads far, far away. All the way to the coast.

It was a great ride, thank you to Albert for organizing it! And thanks to all of the other volunteers I forgot to mention, it wouldn't have been the same ride without your support.

Friday, June 12, 2009

3rd Place At Seward Park

Before I shift gears and do the 600k this weekend, I made it out to another Seward Park training race yesterday. Saw SiR member Gary Prince on the way down, chatted for a bit but had to hurry down to the park to get there in time.

I've been riding down Lake Wa Blvd so much lately (for training and to get to Seward) that it feels like I know each and every turn, bump, and crack in the road. Luckily there's great scenery with the lake and the mountains in the distance, so it never gets too boring.

The Race

I lined up in the middle, just found a gap in the crowd and planted myself there. No reason to start in the rear if you don't need to. Spoke briefly to another unattached guy who was at the 4/5 crit in Ballard last Saturday. Said he ended up going down in the crash on the second to last lap, that must have sucked to have come that far in the race and have that happen.

Decent turn out on this sunny-but-not-too-hot day, probably 30-40 riders in total. Funny how I barely know anyone in the field yet there are many familiar faces. Even in the 3/4 race I'm starting to recognize people, the racing scene is a small world I guess.

We were going clockwise this time, which changes the race a bit. Slows the overall speed since there's more of a climb, and also makes the downhill "interesting." You swoop down to where the road squeezes narrow and makes a decently-hard right. Going into this turn in a pack is a "fun" experience, because everyone has their own idea of a "line" through the turn and how to accelerate out of it.

More than once I went into this turn between other riders, and had to play a careful dance of not too close to this guy, not too close to that guy. There were a few close calls on that turn for sure, but we all made it out unscathed.

There was a new guy I hadn't seen before, wearing gold shoes and sporting some tats on his arm. But it wasn't the golden slippers or the tattoos that caught my attention, it was the fact this guy was throwing elbows left and right! This is in a Category 4/5 race (beginners) mind you. This guy seemed to be strong, and stayed up front most of the time. But almost every time I looked up he was jostling with someone next to him, at one point I think he even pushed someone!

Somehow nobody went down due to his crazy antics. He must be mad since he had to move down from Cat 1 to the 4/5's or something.. jeez. I wanted to say something to him about his "nice elbows" even though he never touched me, I just couldn't get over how much of a dick he was being. Might be a nice guy in "real life", but apparently not on the course.

Besides Mr. Elbows the race was generally uneventful and had the usual amount of Cat 4/5 sketchiness. I felt good throughout it and just tried to work efficiently as possible, e.g. not stay in the wind too long, and don't forget to try to coast a lot. After the downhill turn it was pretty easy to move up in the pack, I found that even seated I could outsprint many people and make up 10-15 spots in one fell swoop.

Final Sprint!

On the last three laps I made sure to be in the first 10 or so riders. A few people tried to break away on the last lap, but I just stayed in the pack and watched them suffer in the wind. No way they were going to be able to hold a huge peloton off!

Sure enough we swamped the break on the final uphill surge, but unfortunately were also overtaking a few lapped riders. I was near the curb on the right side of the road, and had to swerve around one guy to his right, then another to his left. Might have barely cut someone off with that little move, but it was either hit the brakes and get 15th or jump and get 3rd. I chose the latter.

I'm the third rider from the left, putting all I've got into my little steel machine. Interesting that the top three riders were all unttached! Go non-team.
Being chased by more than a few riders. Hurting, but excited to see clear road ahead of me at the finish.
My "rawr" face.
Now letting it all out. Ended up with a new peak 30 seconds of 628 watts. Way more than I usually put out, but having 30+ people chasing you helps a little.
The rest of the pack coming up behind me. Another randonneur, Ryan, was in the blue jersey and I think he got 5th! Way to go randos!
Full photo set on flickr. And of course a huge thanks to Kira for coming out to take pics of me!

After the race I felt more or less sick, validating the fact that I rarely work this hard on a bicycle. I could barely talk to Kira when the race was over, had to take a few minutes to catch my breath. I wasn't sure of the result, but after double-checking it was official!

This was my best race finish to date, so I'm really happy with it. Looking forward to a day of rest now before the 600k tomorrow. It's gonna be a great weekend of riding.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

From 35 Minutes To 35+ Hours

It's time to shift gears a bit, and move away from the short-but-fast races I've been doing lately. In fact I'm shifting just about all the way to the other end of the cycling spectrum: long and slow.

After doing 400 miles over two days about a month ago, all I've been doing is racing, with one 80km ride in there for "distance." I probably could have used a century or 200k somewhere in between for general conditioning, but I'm hoping that since I've at least be on the bike a lot lately that I haven't lost anything since last month.

In a few days, I'll be doing the Seattle Rando June 600k brevet. Starting in Auburn, we head over the Tacoma Narrows bridge, up to Port Orchard, west to Matlock, further west to Cosmopolis and the coast! But we won't be done yet at that point, nope, that's only about half way. From there we head east to Centralia, where the overnight control is. (At the overnight control, you can generally share a room and/or bed with other randos for a few hours, depending on how much spare time you have). I have a mini-plan to ride through the night, but we'll see how the cookie crumbles when the time comes.

Geoff wrote a nice pre-ride report from their ride last weekend. Mark also wrote up a little something about it. Sounds great!

Choices, Choices

I think since I've been on the Ciocc mostly for the last month I wanted to use it at first. But that's a big compromise in some ways, such as comfort and packing space. I'll never forget the ragged feeling I had after riding that bike on last year's STP & Sprint 400k. Yes they were fast (for me) times, but comfort was just not there.

Nonetheless, I came up with a packing list for the essentials I'd need to bring on a brevet using the Ciocc with maybe a small saddlebag (the rest would go in jersey pockets)

600k Minimal Packing List

  • Rain/night jacket
  • SiR short sleeve jersey
  • long & short fingered gloves
  • wool shorts
  • medium wool socks
  • reflective stuff (sash, ankle bands)
  • spare lights (front, rear LED)
  • backup halogen bulb for E6 light
  • Planet Bike headlamp (for reading cue at night)
  • Two 32-oz bottles, one spare 24oz bottle (folding)
  • Tools: 6 tubes/patch kit/frame pump, chain tool, master link, FiberFix (temporary) spoke, spoke wrench, 5-mm allen

  • Clif "Shot Blox" packs (10-15)
  • Shot Gel (caffeine)
  • nuun tablet packs (3)
  • sandwiches/burritos/something (2-4)
  • I would of course need more fuel for this, and for that I would turn to my favorite gas-station offerings that can be found almost anywhere. Mmm, mystery meat!
Other Stuff

  • Mini alarm (for sleeping on the side of the road, don't want to pass out for too long!)
  • cue clips (alligator clips), ziploc for cuesheet
  • Toilet paper, because you never know

But after thinking long and hard about this, I'll probably go with the more comfortable Pacer. With it's gigantic handlebar bag I won't need to leave anything behind. Yeah the Pacer is a good deal heavier, but more importantly much more comfortable. But at the same time, really noodly. On the Pacer I can just feel 20% of my power input to the bike disappearing into the flex of the frame. The Ciocc just feels more efficient.


In other news, I got off the Ramrod wait-list and into the ride! Somehow I moved from #250 on the wait list to in the ride, sweet. Looks like I'll be doing another Ramrod starting in Seattle this year, excellent.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ballard Twilight Criterium 2009

Saturday was the Ballard Criterium - an annual 1-kilometer race over some crappy roads in Old Ballard. A great spot to race at, with the bars and restaurants lining the street and people cheering you on along most of the route.

The roads are pretty bumpy and generally interesting to race on, what with nice ~30-mm gaps in the road on the backstretch, the man-hole cover surrounded by bricks that somehow rises up 6" from the road, some nice pot holes.. basically the works in terms of road wreckage.

I use to go watch this race since about 2004, and always dreamed of trying it out. Well, I tried it out finally! After having done decently at Seward Park the last few weeks, I figured I was as ready for this race as I'll ever be.

Photos & Story

The rear of the 4/5 (beginner's) pack, with the announcer's/judge's booth in the background. Having the announcer at the race was kind of cool, saying who was up front pulling (hard to tell from 50 people back) and little tidbits like that. Plus a big clock to remind you how much suffering you have left.

The head race official inspecting the Men's 4/5 field before the 4:00 PM race. I'm somewhere in there, nervous as hell. First crit! I think my legs were literally shaking before the race. Good way to get the HR up though, to hit the ground running.

And they're off! You can see the 79-person field stretched out by the high pace for the first 10 minutes or so. The pace wasn't too bad, as long as you weren't having to close a gap on someone in front of you.

The pack ended up shrinking quite a bit before the race was over. Since there was always someone hammering on the front, the pack barely got into a real thick group formation except for a few seconds on the back stretch each lap.

That's me in the SiR jersey, probably struggling to catch up after having to slow down for a crash (or close-call) somewhere along one of the corners or the back stretch. Luckily my wool outfit, steel frame, Open Pro rims, and mid-level Campy components didn't hold me back. My heart/lungs do that enough. Oh man was I hurting at points!

On the first few laps the pace was set really high to "shred the phreds" as they say. From the looks of this I'd say that's exactly what was happening at the back. I was somewhere in the middle, or at least trying to be. It was too much work to move up, and would end up being too much work if I moved back. The pace was pretty snappy for sure, but the hardest part is protecting your front wheel in the turns. I had some close calls, but stayed upright somehow.

More of the huge line of riders. It was probably strung out due to one of the big crashes.

I'm in there somewhere:

There we go again - a great shot:

And off we go for another lap - that first turn we were approaching was really rough, with some dirt & rocks in the road, big cracks, and some weird divots that you had to know about and prepare for. If you didn't know about them, you'd learn pretty quick.

Before too long, a few big crashes had taken out much of the peloton. In the end, only 29 people finished the race! (Out of 78 starters)

Trying to hang on when the pace got higher for a prime lap - after the first half of the race I finally had a chance to catch my breath a little, and while I wouldn't call it relaxing, I wasn't dying any more either.

The ever-shrinking pack: (or was this a straggling group?)

Then before I knew it it was time for the finish.. 35 minutes of racing done, and on the last lap the guy in white on the left below tried to go early, but a bunch of us jumped on his wheel. (I think, honestly it's mostly a blur)

The last lap was definitely faster than most of the others, and I worked really hard to stay up front, or close to it. I think there was a crash on this lap, or the one before it, and somehow that put me up towards the front of the pack.

I held on to the leaders through the last turn, and was happy to see the final stretch for the final time. 35 minutes is a long time at about 180 bpm.

I was too tired to put much into the sprint, so I just hammered it out from the seat - it was enough for 13th place! Pretty damn happy with that result.

Sailing in for 13th. Not bad for my first crit eh?

Huge thanks to Kira for taking all these great photos!

Cat 3 Men's Photo set: link
Cat 3/4 Women's Photo set: link
Cat 4/5 Men's photo set: link

Course Notes

Here's a shot Kira took of the 2nd turn, coming on to the back stretch. The little section of asphalt that the red riders are on was interesting, there was a gap/raised section that curved out in your line, and while it gave you something to shoot for when coming through at 50-60 km/h, it could also cause you to crash pretty easily. (from the Cat 3 Men's race)

The back stretch. It felt like the wind was coming from the east, which meant this section was a headwind. Staying in the pack was crucial here unless you felt like wasting a bunch of energy. My tactic on this turn was to brake as little as possible going through it, if at all, which is a challenge in the pack. If you slow down going into it, you're forced to sprint out of the turn, using a lot of energy. If you hold speed through the turn you still have to speed up a little to hang on, but not nearly as much. I rarely had to get out of the saddle here, while many seemed to be sprinting for their lives each lap here. (This pic is the 3's again)

The Crashes, Oh The Crashes

One thing you always hear about crits was that crashes were inevitable. Sure enough, our race had four crashes in it! I had a glimpse of three of them, though they're quickly becoming a blur in the mix of images from the race now. I heard some of the other races had crashes too, but it seemed like there were a lot of nervous people in the 4/5 field, which usually translates to sketchiness.

Crash 1 - On the straight back stretch, I was near the middle of the pack which was bunched up. Suddenly I heard the scratching/sliding sound of a bike going down, and saw one helmet smack in the middle of the riders ahead of me disappear. Within a split second just about all of the riders surrounding the fallen rider were also going down, either out of a reaction or getting hit by the guy going down. The classic chain-reaction effect.

This caused what seemed like at least 20 or so riders to go down. I had to swerve way to the left around the fallen/falling riders, and I distinctly remember one rider in white/red rolling out to the left as I went around - I barely cleared him. Whoa. And this was probably just 10 minutes into the race..

Crash 2 - I think this one was on turn three, coming back into the main stretch. It was behind me so I didn't see it, but someone's wheel probably just slid out. All I heard was that familiar sound of crashing bicycles & yelling.

Crash 3 - This one seemed pretty spectacular, though I didn't get to see all of it. Coming into the last turn, a rider on the inside got squeezed further inside, forcing him basically on to the sidewalk. I thought that would be enough to send them down, but they rode up the wheelchair ramp and seemed to be OK. Then when they came back on to the road (now slightly behind me, luckily), I just hear yelling and more of "that sound." This time much of the crowd could see the carnage, and let out a collective "!!!!!!"

Crash 4 - This was probably the worst one, or maybe it just seems that way since I had a decent view of it. Near the end of the race, a rider went down on the first turn. Either touched a wheel or hit one of the many obstacles in the road. All of a sudden there's a guy sliding on his backwards on his chest, and just looking up with open eyes in a state of shock. And there was at least another rider just about on top of this poor guy, about to crash on top of him or over him. Yikes.

I hope nobody got too messed up from all the carnage - didnt hear any ambulances so hopefully not. I got really lucky not to get sucked up into any of these.. though I know my day is coming eventually.


You can see the variability in the power data here (yellow line) - basically a lot of resting followed by a lot of jamming on the pedals. I could probably do some more work around saving energy for the final sprint, since I didn't have much left at the end.

The last few laps, including the "sprint" finish:

Ballard Crit 2009:
Duration: 34:17 (missed a few secs of the race)
Work: 500 kJ
TSS: 50.4 (intensity factor 0.939)
Norm Power: 268
VI: 1.1
Pw:HR: 9.5%
Pa:HR: -0.22%
Distance: 23.048 km
Elevation Gain: 251 m
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 966 243 watts
Heart Rate: 131 190 179 bpm
Cadence: 20 142 88 rpm
Speed: 6.5 57.9 40.1 kph
Crank Torque: 0 202.4 24.8 N-m

40.1 km/h - definitely faster than I usually ride! Though surprisingly not that much faster than the ~38 km/h Seward Park 4/5 races. It definitely felt like a faster ride, but on paper I suppose it wasn't all that much faster. It was definitely fun though.

Huge thanks to Chris for coming out and watching me suffer for a while, and cheering me on! We'll get to suffer together soon enough, as the SiR 600km is coming up next weekend! I'm excited to do another big ride, I haven't really done much distance since the 400km a few weeks ago.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Seward Park Race In June Heat

It was a hot one for sure. Temps in the 80's, which for the PNW is pretty hot. I even bought a new lightweight jersey, since it's officially too warm to race in thick wool these days. As much as I'd love to rock the retro SiR jersey at the races, I don't want to overheat either. So I bought a generic black/white jersey, which is super lightweight.

Of course, I still felt overheated during the race. Guess we all did..

June 4th Seward Park Race

I've gotten the timing down pretty well for the 12 km ride down to the park. Unlike the last few times, I could relax a bit and keep the heart rate at about 160 bpm (85% of max HR) all the way down, which translated to about 34-36 km/h on the flats. So I got there with 10 minutes to go, just enough time to pay the fee and line up without losing the warm-up I did ont the way down.

The pack had already started lining up by the time I got there, probably about 40 people. I didn't get in the back though, I found a spot in about the middle and squeezed in. For the start, you don't want to be at the very back, it makes for a lot of work a) to move around people who can't clip in and b) move up the pack.

We rolled off and sure enough at least two people had issues starting out, and there was some yelling and swerving, but we all got around it. The course starts on a nice downhill, which makes it pretty easy to keep up initially, and even easier to move up. I find that most people either coasat or soft-pedal on the downhill, so now and then I give an extra push there to move up, through the draft.

Got in the first 10 or so riders of the pack for the first few laps, and stayed there. Not on the front, pulling through the wind, but fairly relaxed in the draft. Exactly where you want to be, unless you want to control the pace of the race.

About 5 laps in out of 15 for the 4/5's, they rang the bell meaning it was a "prime" (pronouned preem, oddly) lap so the first one across the line wins some kind of prize. For the beginners you win a water bottle or some Nuun tablets. Nonetheless, that lap gets pretty competitive and fast, and at least one rider will go sprint for it.

My First Breakaway

And the first rider to go this time was me! It was a little early to go, just at the bottom of the hill before the turn uphill. I was coming up the side of the pack after drafting, and had speed on the peloton. In a split second I decided not to coast on to the front, but to start sprinting right then and there, and give it a go.

My first breakaway. Before I knew it I was climbing by myself, assured that I had at least a little gap since I didn't hear the whoosh/whir of the peloton. Don't want to look back, that just wastes time. Giving it my all, climbing up the hill in probably too big a gear. After about 20 seconds two other riders show up, having chased me down. Still about 100 meters to go to the line, and I feel wasted.

One guy passes me and I fight to get in his draft. He eases up slightly and I think about going around, but I just don't have the energy to spare. Had this been for the finish I would have done something else, but for a prime lap I just gave up. Still, it was a blast! The three of us were ahead of the pack for half a lap, before we sat up and waited for the rest the peloton provides. Looking at the power data after the race, that was the hardest minute I've ever spent on the bike! 480-something watts (6.95 w/kg) avg for that minute.

Recovery During The Race

Even though the pack offers protection from the wind, it doesn't mean I can go from 194 bpm (what my HR hit during the break) back to 180 quickly. So I'm hitting the climb at probably 190 bpm, e.g. about as hard as my little heart can go. Just try not to move back too much on the climb, and I could get back in good position on the flat/downhill.

After a few laps, I felt better and was ready to move up again. But there were only about 4 laps to go, so I had to do it quick. I slowly recovered over the next few laps.

Last Lap

On the last lap I was about in the middle of the pack, and even though we were only at the bottom of the hill, the First Rate Mortgage guy on the yellow bike (who wins these races lately) went. A little early like my attack, but about 10 of us broke from the pack and strung out behind his wheel.

I figured someone would peel off/give up somewhere up the hill and in the next 150m to the line, so I just held my pace. But nobody did, so I ended up at about 9th or 10th overall. I was pretty beat at the end, and didn't have much more left in the tank, but was happy to finish in the top 10 (or close) again out of 40+ racers.

The Ballard Crit should be fun this weekend. (Saturday 4 PM is the Cat 4/5 Men's race - 75 people in the field!)

Race Data

Part 1:

(yellow=power, blue=speed (km/h), orange=elevation, red=heart rate)

(The breakaway is at 1:01 or so)
Part 2:

Breakaway Data


seward race 6/4/09:
Duration: 28:50
Work: 389 kJ
TSS: 53.2 (intensity factor 1.052)
Norm Power: 300
VI: 1.33
Pw:HR: 15.83%
Pa:HR: -1.82%
Distance: 18.56 km
Elevation Gain: 344 m
Elevation Loss: 357 m
Grade: -0.1 % (-13 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1056 225 watts
Heart Rate: 128 194 174 bpm
Cadence: 20 134 85 rpm
Speed: 6.1 89.7 38.3 kph
Pace 0:40 9:50 1:34 min/km
Altitude: 24 55 40 m
Crank Torque: 0 193.1 22.6 N-m

Entire workout (171 watts): (includes the ride to/from Seward)
Duration: 1:26:22 (1:50:46)
Work: 1002 kJ
TSS: 120.5 (intensity factor 0.915)
Norm Power: 261
VI: 1.35
Pw:HR: 2.01%
Pa:HR: 10.95%
Distance: 44.959 km
Elevation Gain: 674 m
Elevation Loss: 727 m
Grade: -0.1 % (-53 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1056 193 watts
Heart Rate: 101 194 159 bpm
Cadence: 15 134 79 rpm
Speed: 0 175.6 30.7 kph
Pace 0:21 0:00 1:57 min/km
Altitude: 10 173 53 m
Crank Torque: 0 193.1 22.2 N-m

Peak 20min (232 watts):
Duration: 20:00
Work: 282 kJ
TSS: 38.3 (intensity factor 1.072)
Norm Power: 306
VI: 1.3
Pw:HR: 7.68%
Pa:HR: -1.98%
Distance: 12.712 km
Elevation Gain: 241 m
Elevation Loss: 242 m
Grade: -0.0 % (-0 m)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1040 235 watts
Heart Rate: 157 194 175 bpm
Cadence: 30 134 86 rpm
Speed: 6.1 86.5 37.7 kph
Pace 0:42 9:50 1:35 min/km
Altitude: 26 55 41 m
Crank Torque: 0 193.1 23.5 N-m

No photos from this race, but I think I saw David Longdon from the PI's Velocity Blog there taking video, hopefully he'll post something from this soon.
Edit: Yup, he posted a cool composite video of the 4/5 race here. From looking at the finish at about 3:20, I think I actually ended up about 13th or so. Thanks to David for shooting that vid!