Monday, August 15, 2011

Tokeneke Classic Road Race

Climbing with the pack at the Tokeneke Classic
Road Race before bad tactics got the better of me.
This past weekend I ventured to New Hartland, CT to compete at the Tokeneke Classic Road Race.  The course was rolling with two climbs, each about 2 miles a piece.  With rain pouring down from the sky and the pack going hard, I found myself with no brakes on the descents.  Now, this was not because I did not actually have brakes, but rather because I forgot cork brake pads and carbon rims do not have good stopping ability in wet conditions.  In the past I hadn't had problems with slowing in the rain, however this time it was particularly wet and slick.  
With descents hitting speeds over 50 mph and the pack moving like an accordion I figured as not to cause an accident I would hang back a little towards the top of a climb and just accelerate through the descent and catch back on.  Due to poor timing I wasn't able to tack back on to the pack and only completed 2 full laps with legs left to complete another 2.
After poor tactics pulled me out of the race, I used
the course to train hard to make the next result
a good result.
Had I thought about it more and considered my options, I should have attacked over the crest of the climb and led through the descents.  The uncomfortable part of not having brakes was not the accelerations, but the accelerations towards people who were slowing.  Without the ability to brake I psyched myself out, especially after already have seen a friend who crashed in an earlier race, resulting in snapped handlebars and some minor flesh wounds.  Even though he was okay and quite chipper after crashing, the image of sliding out, or crashing into someone at 50mph was not appealing.
The positive part of the race, my legs felt spectacular on the climbs.  I didn't particularly feel like I was struggling at any point other than settling into the rhythm of climbing accelerations.  After being dropped because of my poor racing tactics, I used the remainder of my time on the course to train to hopefully make my next result a good result.
Over the next week I will be traveling to Vancouver for my Cousins wedding.  While I'm there my plan is to spend the early mornings training in the mountains of British Columbia and aiming to peak for the Green Mountain Stage Race which will be happening on Labor Day weekend.

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back in Business and goin' strong!

After playing with new stretches and exercises off the bike, and finally getting a bike fit, I am back in business and going strong!


These past few weeks have been spent consulting with Steve and Hannah at Elevation Physical Therapy in Warren, VT.  They both helped my to begin the process of loosening my hip flexors which, as observed by Steve and Hannah as well as Sean at Ski Rack, are far too tight for my own good.

Before getting the bike fit, Specialized Body Geometry fit at Ski Rack, to be precise, I spent a lot of time doing stretches to loosen my hip flexor, strengthen my gluts, and separate my IT bands.  All in the effort to reduce stress on my right knee, which until this past week could not last more than 10 miles of easy efforts. The addition of simple stretches, as well as minute adjustments of the cleat, lead to my knee being 200% better than it was before.

While I am still working on loosening my legs in general, the additional help of the BG Fit from Sean at Ski Rack sealed the deal.  While I do not know how to fit, I had done my best by searching google and reading through almost every thing I could find on how to solve any problems I could find.  Alas, nothing beats having someone who is an expert had has the papers to prove it dial your bike fit in.  As demonstrated in the video, there was an amazing improvement of knee alignment.  Can you tell which is before and after?

Photo by Kenneth Saxe
The pack accelerates through the straights and corners
at the GMBC Practice Criterium in Essex, VT.
I finished 3rd in a local criterium in Essex, VT while racing in the A field.  After warming up with the B field and successfully testing my knee, I took to the road with the simple game plan of playing it safe and just keeping a good tempo through the entirety of the race as not to aggravate my knee.
The A race proceeded as expected, Bobby Bailey made a break in the pack, which held until the end, resulting with Bobby and Jake taking 1-2 and leaving the rest of us room to sprint for 3rd.  Feeling good, I wound up with 2 corners to go, taking the smooth line through the final corner I unleashed my sprint, finishing in what I thought was 10th, but turned out to be 3rd after a few checks with spectators and officials

Photo by Kenneth Saxe
Sprinting for the line out of what was apparently the
main field at the GMBC practice criterium.
Looking ahead...
I am planning to head down to Tokeneke Classic in East Hartland, CT next weekend.  After which I'll be heading to Vancouver, BC for my cousin Sarah's wedding... of course I'll be shredding some trails and riding some gaps while I'm there... I mean, wouldn't you?  When I return it's final preparations for the Green Mountain Stage Race....

Arc hard, ride fast, go plaid!