velodrome track race - kissena queens new york

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Green Mountain Stage Race

For me this was an incredibly fun way to spend 4 days, but it was also frustrating because of technical problems, a crash, a flat, and what a referree called a rider adjustment issue. Molly and I drove up to the Mad River Glen in Vermont. We spent our nights at Buffalo Bill's retreat with our own private outdoor jacuzzi nestled in the woods. The hot water and bubbles were a great way to relax after the hard day.

Day 1.
Uphill prologue to the top of Appalachian Gap. I used the powertap wheel for this and our 1 mile "neutral start" had me over 300 watts (almost 5watts/kilo) for the first section of the course. This pace is already above my LT, and coupled with the fact that I had 2 hours sleep the night before I did not get to the top of the hill with haste. Although 39x25 is the recommended gear, 39x27 would have been better since there are some very steep sections.

Day 2.
Yesterday's prologue was a great opener for the circuit race - I felt strong and ready for 54 miles of Vermont's rolling hills. 39x25 felt like the perfect gearing. I was riding with the first group of 7 racers when we started picking up the pace assertively. I thought we were going to form a break, when in fact we were sprinting for points. I was unaware of the sprinter's bonus until after we crossed the sprinter's line and since I felt good and thought I'd contest the points if I could. On the next lap two riders got away leaving three of us to battle for the very last sprinter's point. Of the three, I came in second, logically it was the other guy who got the point. By now I had memorized the location of the finish line. Then disaster struck on the third lap: I overlapped someone's wheel and crashed about 1km past the feed zone. I picked myself up and got back on the bike to try and catch the pack. Mavic's neutral support wagon pulled up along side me and asked if everything was all right. I looked down at my bike and noticed that my powertap head unit had come off. So I turned around and rode back down the mountain to retrieve it. Fortunately it was still intact but this ruined my chances of doing well in stage 2. I rode in with 6 others, winning our own little mini-race.

Day 3.
Mountains. I did not expect to do well in this stage, but gave it what I could. I flatted on the dirt section and had to change my own tire. I was glad that I brought a pump. Powertap data demonstrated my body was tired, 45% of the ride was spent in the heart rate recovery zone, 6% at race pace, 1% at max. The previous day recorded 26% in recovery, 7% at race pace, and 38% at max. With 39x27 gearing the best way to climb the appalachian gap was delivery boy style (zigzag) when conditions permitted. Molly had chalked a huge larger than life GO GUI sign on the road near the finish, but I was so tapped that I did not see it as I rode over it. Instead I was thinking don't peter-out (since I had seen text with "go peter" written on the road). I also heard Alan announce my name and club as I approached the the finish, giving me a little boost of extra energy.

Day 4.
Burlington criterium. The first 8 laps of this race were blisteringly fast as the top racers tried to drop anyone who couldn't maintain the intense pace. I started towards the back of the pack but was moving up quickly and feeling better. I was riding somewhere in the top third when my chain fell off. I pedaled it back on but then I couldn't shift into the big ring. I stopped in the pit area for an adjustment - grateful of my first opportunity to use the support services. A marshall in the tent told me it was a "rider adjustment error." He said I had to chase to catch up to the group instead of taking advantage of the a free lap rule. Madness! I chased but could not catch up to the lead group. I was pulled from the race with a 6 other riders and we all got 1 point.

I finished with a GC score of -19. This put me in 51st place overall. Next year I will arrive prepared.

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