Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SERC #1 Gainesville - Race Report

I decided a few weeks ago that I'd hit this race as a way to get in some high-intensity training. Being early in the season, I've only had the chance to push into the 'red-zone' a few times and usually for not too long. It's pretty hard to go out and simulate race-pace by myself. I figured this would be a great way to force myself to go hard for a long duration. To me, a XC race is pure suffering from the starting horn to the finish line.... I love it! That's one thing about mountain bike racing that I don't think you get from road racing - its pretty much an all out effort - kind of like a time-trial. In most cases, its a great judge of fitness - because there is no 'hiding' out in the pack.

I decided to not 'taper' down for this race, so I stuck with my plan of just training through. On Saturday, I got out early for a little warm-up with Saswata and then hit the Saturday Lodge Group ride. I ended up doing a little more work than I wanted to, but had fun anyway. After the Group ride - we turned down A1A and headed south to the Gate Station to refuel. I had planned on heading to Vilano but I looked at our ride time and figured that I'd just loop north through Atlantic Beach to round out my 4hrs. It was a good steady pace on the way back with just the two of us - even with some gusty cross/head winds. Finished up Saturday a.m. with 4hrs15min and 83miles. So needless to say, this was not a good prep ride for Sunday - I knew I'd be feeling it come race time. The Zoot CompressRx Recovery Tights were in FULL EFFECT all night on Saturday! On Sunday, I got up early and took my time getting ready - I like the late wave starts early in the season (Summer-time..... not so much!). Upon getting to the park, at first it didn't seem like it was a big race, but as time went on - it filled up and the place got packed. I set up my table with some extra bottles right alongside the feedzone. That's the one hard part about heading out to a race solo - no bottle-hander-off'ers! Oh well, it was a killer day and I was just glad to be out riding some fun trails. Here's a few shots of some of the quarries that we ride down into and climb out of -- these are our Florida 'mountains'! There were a ton of pros there - including Woodall, Thomas Turner and even Jeff Schalk (Trek Factory Co-op).....sure was glad to not be sitting on the line with those dudes! Master 30-39 Expert class had about 14 guys - including Andy Johnston (former semi-pro), Allison Anjos (super fast cat 1 roadie), Andy Mills (former semi-pro), Harvey Minton (badass enduro-guy) and Gary Stern (super fast roadie). Small class - but stacked! On the starting line - my hr was already close to 160bpm....I got a great start and headed into the first power climbs in third. Andy Johnston up front, with Anjos in second and me in third. On one climb, Anjos drops his chain so I go around him. He must've caused a pile up - I looked back and didn't see anybody. I caught up Andy Johnston and we had a HUGE gap. I could see out of the corner of my eye that Anjos was coming up quick - I figured Johnston would have to slow up some - but this guy was flying and kept pushing it pretty hard. At this point my HR was JACKED and I was way anaerobic. The leaves and pinestraw in the single-track were making it hard to hold my speed in the turns, so I had to push hard on the straights to stay close. We hit a short jeep road section and by this time Anjos was on my wheel. Andy guns it hard and I can't react. Anjos goes around me and I dig really hard to grab his wheel. I stay in third through the first climb and then my chain pops off due to a mis-shift about half way through the lap. I was getting sloppy because I couldn't recover, so at this point - I'm DROPPED! I settle down but keep moving. All the while thinking that 4th place was going to catch me at any minute. On the last quarry climb - I could see a train of guys heading down into the quarry as I'm headin up and out. So I knew they were about 30 seconds back. At this point - I could definitely feel the miles from Saturday in my legs. All I could think about was just sitting up and spinning easy. Somehow, I just kept pushing though. I caught onto some senior expert guys and rode with them for a while which helped me to recover. I finished up lap #3 and realized I only had two more laps to go.

This is me heading out for my last lap: My gap on the 4th place guy seemed to be staying around 30 seconds, so I took a gel and decided that I'd keep pushing as long as I could. I was going to make them work for it, if they were going to catch me. I knew 1st & 2nd were long gone - b/c I couldn't see them anywhere - even in the open fields. I started the last lap and had some newfound energy.... love those Roctane GU's! I just concentrated on staying smooth and settled into a nice rhythm through the climbs - I'd push it hard up the climbs and then recover and then repeat on the next section. On the last climb - I didn't see the fourth place guy until I was at the very top - he was just coming out of the woods and heading down into the quarry. I knew I had 3rd wrapped up at this point. I finished about 5 minutes back from 1st and 4th was about 45 seconds behind me. I was glad that I pushed myself to keep going - it felt good to cross the line. I hung out afterwards and took my podium shot and collected my winnings ($60.00 = race fees back + beer & pizza money!)......

Next race coming up is the Cohutta 100 on April 24th - getting pretty psyched for this race. Sounds like its going to be a tough one.
- Rb -

Monday, March 1, 2010

Results, Upcoming Events, and Training Update

Big congrats to Radulian Pop for 2nd Place yesterday in the Cat 3 road race held in Tallahasse. It was a 60 mile race (10 mile laps with 2 miles of dirt roads). Radd has been tearing it up on the road this year and will be definitley a force to reckon with in the Cat 1-2 class later this year!

Also, Chad Parker had a solid race out in Arkansas at Round #2 of the National Ultra-Endurance Series. 6th place in Age Group / 43rd Overall -- Not too shabby especially considering the guy has about 1 month of actual training under his belt and he just came off of the 12 Hours of Santos the week before!

Upcoming Events / Races -
Training Update -

The weekend started off nice and mellow with an ez ride on Friday. I got out of work a few minutes early and was able to hop on the bike for the last few minutes of daylight.

I'm definitely looking forward to daylight savings time. On Saturday - we had some rain as expected so it was an hour on the rollers with some intervals to help pass the time.

Finally, on Sunday the weather cooperated. I was able to head out on the bike for a killer day of riding. I ended up going south down to Marineland. I turned around and realized how much of a tailwind I had actually had. Let's just say it was a brutal 2hrs and 45 minute return trip. At some points - it was 14-15 mph with 190 bpm.

For recovery from this ride - I went straight to the Ultragen . This stuff did the trick. I also made sure to stretch out really good and even knocked out some rolling on the Grid. And, then it was time for my Zoot CompressRx Recovery Tights. These things are great! I wore mine for about 2 hours later on in the night. They always help my legs feel fresh. I love these things.