velodrome track race - kissena queens new york

Thursday, September 04, 2008

8/29 - 9/1

The Green Mountain Stage Race 2008.

Friday, day 1. Prologue. 5.7 hilly miles.
Never got the feeling of going fast. Average heart rate 174. Could have rested a little better before the start instead of doing 5 and 8 minute intervals on Tuesday. Finished 31st.

Saturday, day 2. Circuit race. 65 miles.
We're doing two laps on this 30 mile circuit. There is a KOM competition on the first lap as well as a sprinter's competition.

KOM: I'm feeling good. Somehow I seized an easy opportunity. With 100m to go to the KOM there are two riders up the road and a third struggling in between. I am sitting 10 wheels back, but nobody is making any moves. We just watch him struggle. At 50 yards to go I find a hole and sprint up to take third. I have two points in the KOM competition, this is a bizarre surprise to me.

The KOM is followed by flats and a long descent. At the end of the descent is a sharp right turn and a straight line to the finish line / sprinter's competition.

Breakaway: After coming out of that sharp right turn I find myself 100 yards ahead of the field. This is interesting, so I pedal on at good pace and gain a few more yards on the field. I can hope that other riders will join me. After a little while, Robert Carmen bridges up and we start to work together. I think this is going to be a 2-3 mile break but the sprinter's points are much further away than I expected. Although we establish a good gap, I think we should have waited until the 5k mark. After riding the break for a few miles I ask Robert if he knows where the finish is? He says we have about 8 miles to go... 7 miles more than I expected! I should have dropped back at this point, but we had such a huge gap that we both press on with all the force we can muster. I feel we can make the gap insurmountable. With 250 yards to go our gap is worthless, only 10 yards, and it's over. No sprinter's points for Robert or me.

Lap two: Halfway through I drink all my fluids and start to feel crampy, another rider at the back notices this and kindly offers half a bottle. Finished 14th.

Day 3, Appalachian Gap. 75 miles.
No cramping!!! 4 bottles fluid.
Our motopace stops the entire field for a pee break - that helps a lot since I really have to go.

Sprinter's competition: From 3k all the way to 1k a bunch of skinny non-sprinters are all battling for position. I try to stay away from them since it is a downhill sprint. At 1k, I am at the front, waiting. There is still a lone rider rider off the front. The yellow jersey passes on my left and I accelerate to take his wheel. I stay on the wheel for a second too long and another big dude flies past me at 200m. I jump... but but it is too late for 2nd place so I have 3rd.

I stay with the leaders all the way to the top of Baby Gap. I've decided to ride the Appgap at my own pace, but an error in judgement causes me to forget the long descent from babygap to appgap. The support vehicle passes me and they are screaming to catch back on! Mentally I decide the effort is not worth it and lose a few minutes riding alone to the start of Appgap.

Day 4, Criterium, 21 miles (34 laps)
The day starts out with an unpleasant surprise, a $35 penalty and retraction of my sprinter's points. The rule is cited as 4H9A (p.91 of the usac rulebook). Basically the motopace driver decided that when some rider behind me crossed the yellow line at 800m to go it was my fault -- I never crossed the yellow line and never had any physical contact with any other riders. Nor did I obstruct any other riders. It is the other rider's responsibility to mind the line and I did not do anything erratic. So I search for 20 minutes until I locate the chief referee and she is not much help. I didn't file a protest in writing before the start of day 4, and there is no chance to contest the penalty. I must pay the fine.

Once the race starts, I decide that the smartest strategy is to not contest any of the midrace sprints and save it for the finish. I drop my chain right before the neutral start, but the racing feels good. Towards the end there are 2-3 riders whom I'm consciously trying to avoid, they seem tired and erratic. At 7 laps to go I give a little jump up the hill to test the field. Nobody seems to have the legs to respond. I do it again with 4 to go and again nobody responds. I decide I must start riding at the front.

The crash: With two laps to go, I am 3rd wheel (I think). Unfortunately the GMBC rider in front of me cooks the turn pretty badly as I'm going around him and we smash into the hay bales. I start to get up and another rider comes slamming into my head. Ouch. I decide to curl up until everyone finishes piling up. Finally, when I can get up, I check my wheels and although both are out of true I release the brake adjusters and they spin. I spend what seems like an hour getting the chain back on. The free lap rule ended at 8 laps to go. I pass 3-4 riders and finish. I am disappointed. Finished 21st.

After the race I notice the carbon seatstay on my gorgeous Lemond is completely broken. I decide that racing cat4 sucks and I'd rather have my ass handed to me in the 30+ master's field (with former pro's all the way down to cat 4s) than do this type of race again. The 4b race is full of old beginners. Until my wrist stops aching, my roadrash heals, and I have a bike to ride, I may be a bit surly.


dan said...

Hey Gui,
Ill be in jersey on the 20th(the day before Hillier Than Thou) so i'lm going to talk to my man Steve about your bike. Will you have it take apart by then? Feel free to come along to talk to him your self hes a nice guy. Anyway don't be so surly you raced awesome this weekend and suffered some bad luck.

40x14 said...

Dan, you're awesome. Staying in that house with everyone was amazing... the delicious food, great company, and incredible cheer that you and the other Kissena racers delivered. I'll get over my surliness as soon as I have two wheels to roll on. I'm rebuilding my old steel roadbike with the parts from the Lemond and found an italian thread dura ace bottom bracket - so I'll be good to go soon.

casual entropy said...

damn, Gui. i am very sorry to hear that.

however, I have a fine new bike tip for you. email forthcoming.

Mike said...

nice blog; can't remember exactly how i found it;

i'm interested in racing; any tips, links, books you could offer on how to test the waters would be most appreciated; i'm still reading through your older blogs

specifically, what i want to know is:
- can i do this?
- how would i learn and not cause crashes?
- when should i try my first race?
- should i join a club or stay independent?

thanks and keep writing and racing

40x14 said...

Hi Mike,

Those are all good questions. If you're like me and many others, you'll enter your first race and get dropped or finish at the back. Then you will be hooked and there's nothing to lose but pride.

I think Greg Lemond once said bike racing never gets any easier just faster.

There's a link on this page to "50 Great Books About Cycling", with lots of information.

It never hurts to talk with someone who's already in a club or on a team. Sometimes I forget how hard it can be to find peer cyclists since NYC is a virtual cycling mecca.

You can find lists of clubs in your area by visiting online. That's the governing body for bike racing in the United states.

Good luck.