Glad you could join me...

... thoughts and stories accounted by me as accurate as I deem possible. Sit back, tilt a pint and enjoy the journey.

Patterson & Humphrey

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NC State Crit Championship - Friday - June 11th

Category racing tonight in hot and sticky Salisbury, NC.   The course was L shaped, fast, technical and a bit suspect, both in the neighborhood it went through and the roads and turns.  I am sure The Judge did his best at making sure it was patched and prepared well, but it was still with challenge.   As a matter of fact, one of my teammates went down, JPatterson "The Kid" and although all I saw was road rash and a cracked frame, I certainly hope he will be fine and be able to race again this weekend.  

In any event, I wanted some Cat 3 points so I can eventually move up since I seem to be getting quite a bit of crap from the friends, but after tonights performance it may just quiet them for a while.   A race that I really wanted to be super competitive in and quite possibly win to claim another State Crit Championship (won as a 4 in Fayetteville a few years ago).   It was all but that tonight.   The race started and I sat on the front from the gun just to make sure I got through the turns okay in the always nervous beginning of a race.  It worked and then I let others take their turn on the front. 

It started out extremely mild paced, but I am sure mid to back was challenging from having to go single file through turns 2, 3 and 4 (all night long).   There were a few minor jumps, not even sure I would call them attacks, but probably more for positioning.   I found it interesting that with at least two visible teams (Clif Bar and Bennissimo) there was very little to no teamwork.  Santana threw some attacks, but no one countered or let it go more than a few seconds.   At some point it was a given that this was going to be a sprint finish, so just sit in and wait your chances.

This is typically a good thing for me, but tonight, like Tuesday night at Orr Road, I just wasn't feeling it.   I thought with the mild pace and disposition for a sprint that my legs would come around about 30 minutes or so, but they didn't and I just didn't even have enough to put myself into a position to challenge.   I was sitting 12th wheel or so coming out of corner 4 and not much in the way of order was changed from that point forward based on the narrow and technical turns.  I gave it a go, but all I could muster this night was 10th and that was a challenge in itself.  My dreams of a championship were dashed as quickly as the race ended. 

Something has to give at some point in either my snap and fitness start coming around again OR I need to take some time off the bike and re-focus on the next wave of training.    It is always dangerous to be a self coached athlete that knows their body well.  They ignore so many signs and tell themselves it is something other than what it really is.

In the Pro/1/2/3 race, which I had pondered lining up for, but wanted upgrade points instead, it was ON!  From the gun, single file for about 1/4 of the course.  OUCH!  If  you were mid pack to back, good luck hanging on that train.   Started with 80 guys and dwindled to 40 or so.   Our team was well represented and was in every move or attempting most moves, but at the end of the day the race was controlled by Global Bike.   There were certainly strong guys, but not so much strong teams, so everyone appeared playing off of Global Bike's moves.   Charlotteans Ben and Alder raced their tails off to set up their man, DForkner for the sprint and of course he delivered since he was fresh and delivered to the line.  

The Judge and The Don were extremely active as RJenkins did his own patrolling of the front, but in the end, no breaks, no concerted effort from other guys and a great photo finish.  The Judge, and local Salisbury hero, claimed 2nd place and The Don snuck in for 5th.   Tough race and good team effort!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Orr Road - June 8th

The last Orr Road before the North Carolina State Criterium Championships in Salisbury, NC this weekend so everybody had the itch to come out and get that last real practice in.   The rest of the week will be used to settle down and allow the body one last rest before all hell breaks lose in Salisbury.   Category championships on Friday night, age groups on Saturday and good ole City Park Criterium on Sunday.  

The start was pretty ordinary in that you had a couple of guys attacking, but as usual nothing sticking.  Carolina Flyers were definitely dominant in number with perhaps 25-30 guys accounted for.    I tried a few moves but nothing doing, but also watched The Don (JP) patrol the front until he retired from the festivities and turned professional photographer.  Remember he had crashed at a Rock Hill time trail a few weeks ago and broke a rib or two, so he is warming up but certainly not 100%.   He is still dangerous at less than full capacity.   The Judge sat in for a while and you had to wonder what was going on there.   Mr. Jenkins was resting for the Lowe's TT on Wednesday night, so no Orr Road on schedule. 

I guess "the move" went with about 12 to go or so.  AMartz blasted off with MKelly on his wheel and me on Mike's.  Not sure how the others came across, but I am sure it wasn't long after because it was a strong move.   Alder pulled a 1/3 of a lap, motioned for help and Mike wouldn't pull through.  I pulled through and ripped it on the flat stretch and once I came off it was "blow up" city.   Then I saw the break come by and left the station.   Not sure who all it included but The Judge was there with Alder, MKelly, SMartin, TMiller, DLeatherman, maybe NBoyd and another.   They seemed to be working well together, although I can guess 3 or so that probably did not pull through expecting The Judge to carry their weight too.    All the major teams were represented, so it was up to Salsarita's, Harris Teeter and most of the unattached to do the work, although we all know that Carolina Flyers has the reputation for pulling their own guys back, so I saw some of that too.   

The break was keeping their time gap pretty consistent until 6 or so to go and the pack was inching back slowly.   Oh yeah, where was I you might ask... well after blowing up I decided to spectate and enjoy the view from the sidelines with the Patterson family and many others who got popped, thought they might get popped, or just wanted ringside for the drama to come.   And remember my lap counts, although I was watching, are at best a guess.  With 5 to go, there had been 7 or 8 in the break and the next lap, there was all of a sudden 2, The Judge and Shane.   I have no idea what happened, but when you can pop Alder, Trey, etc. then somebody obviously jumped... my guess, The Judge.   I thought they would have it with 3 to go, but Shane probably did the best he could, which probably wasn't yielding much for the break.   The pack was more quickly pulling them back and with 1 to go, it was about 5 seconds and we all know last lap creates excitement and chaos.   They came around for the finish and The Judge had to re-attack on the back side to hold Marcus and the field off.   The Judge wins again.  Impressive rally by the field.  Not sure who was putting in that effort, but I guarantee you it was a mixed bag trying to keep it all together.  

I heard we averaged 27.5 for an hour, which is our typical speed these days with a little longer of a session.  I think there were some tired cyclists after this heat and humidity has been setting in and some long training rides and races over the past month or so.   I know it was my worst Orr Road in quite some time.  I still don't think I was over 3 Mountain Madness, but just love the thrill of participating in Orr Road.  I remember when I was just starting out I would choose BikeSouth over Orr Road on Tuesday nights and man how that thought has changed.

Hats off to Gordon, Rick and Matt (yes, our rivals) for some consistent and solid results at Roan Moan last weekend in TN.   Nice to see our local guys fare well at races when we are not racing against them. :)  As well, Congrats to RJenkins for winning the S.C. Time Trial Championship over the weekend too. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

3 Mountain Madness - Sat - June 5th & Misc

Thursday, June 3rd - local Lowe's ride (road race simulation)... small group on the "A" ride, about 20 or so. Pace was being pushed none the less as we opted for a route that looked less likely for thunderstorms. Hot and humid was the cause for dropped riders. BMiller, SNavritil, JHathcock and myself formed a 4 man rotation with a little help here and there, but most hanging on to get back by dark. Came back to 521 with about 10-12, but at Sun City, BMiller punched it, Hathcock bridged across. I started late, but floored it and carried Navritil across. The four of us rode off into the sunset. 61 miles later...

Friday, June 4th - quick booty loop ride, from home, a few loops and back... 25 miles.

Saturday, June 5th - Well, well, well... the mountains and i just don't mix. Went up North to do a cookie ride, 3 Mountain Madness... Sauertown, Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain. My primary purpose was to get one last mountain ride in before BSG for training, but you always hope to do well. I guess well is relevant and by all accounts I did not.

Had two teammates there, but teammates don't mean much in one of these rides. The Judge, who typically wins this one and most others and MHill. The other team represented well was Triangle Velo out of Chapel Hill with three strong riders. Big group together for a while, til we got near Sauertown and a split formed. Sauertown is not that steep or long, so the group remained together, although a few of us were dangling on the back. Once we got to Hanging Rock at mile 29 or so, there was more selection, one of which was not me. I, along with a few others, got caught behind a park ranger driving like a grandma on the descent, so we were forced to slow, which gave plenty of opportunity for the lead group to put in some time and they did.

The chase group got somewhat organized and about 5 miles later saw the lead group in sight. I was hanging on the back fighting fatigue and heat when our group decided to put in a hard effort to re-attach. I popped, mile 38. I chased my tail off to get back on.  I caught back on at the bottom of a hill and popped not more than 5 seconds later when they were climbing again.  Bye, bye!  Mile 40.

What a lonely and windy countryside in Surry County soloing a cookie ride from mile 40.  Does it really build character or just show weakness and possibly stupidity? Don't answer that.  I looked back many a time to see if there was a chase group I could join up with, but I think we had already put too much time on them. So, then the game became how long could I hold off somebody... anybody?

I got 2 bottles at mile 32 and didn't refill until mile 68 (the next rest stop that was handing out full bottles), which meant I had been out, as was the heat and sun... 91 degrees and direct sunlight mixed with a nice breeze (called headwind). The fun of the ride was over early and often. I thought several times about taking the turn to the right called 75 miles, but then again I came to train, climb and paid my cookie entry, so to the left and 94 miles here I come, solo.

Finally saw a guy behind me about mile 65 or so, but didn't want to concede too early, so I punched it again to keep the game going. Thought he would eventually make the catch, but just didn't happen. If I put time on him the way I was feeling and climbing, then there was no use of waiting up for another wheel.

Got to Pilot Mountain and wish I never would have. I was already screaming obscenities to myself for even attempting it when I could have just gone straight and won the race. :) As I entered the park, here comes Keith and Charlie. How depressing, since I know on a good day it takes me 19 minutes to get to the top. Today I don't even want to know how long, but probably double that. Got to the top and thanked God. That was the end of my ride... kind of. Now only 10 miles to go.

I found some renewed energy on the flats, felt a few rain drops at 90 and hoped for a lightning strike to my carbon frame. No such luck. Working down my 8th bottle and still wondering why I was cramping and just physically falling apart. Counting down the miles, thinking about the free cookies and wondering how many beers Charlie had already put down. Really wondering why I even left the house at 5:00a to do this freaking ride, but kept good company with my friend, DEngel.

Finished at last and had no care or concern what my time was. Ready to lay down and sleep. After Doug and I regrouped, ate and cooled, headed home with bikes we don't deserve. We should have to ride BSG with steel bikes and a 19 cassette. Okay, I will speak for myself and won't try it with a 23 this time.

I believe Lexington is on the way home, so of course we had to stop for Lexington BBQ. At least something good came of the day. Home by 5:15 and wife tells me we have to be at some friends for a cookout at 6:30. I am learning to internalize. Just another day on the bike....

Sunday, June 6th - too many "to dos" around the house today, but was able to get on the bike at 7:15p for 25 miles. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rain Rain Go Freaking Away - Tuesday - June 1st

How many days can it continue to rain in Charlotte? I am getting started on the ark tomorrow. I crossed my fingers and gave it a wish that the forecast would be wrong. The sun gave me hope, but of course 19 minutes into Orr Road the sky fell out and the downpour started as we floated back home down the River Tryon on two wheels. But first...

A sparse crowd of those not smart enough to believe the weather forecast. Got to Orr Road and got started just fine. MHill went from the gun, solo. Very impressive, but never have I seen an early move last, and certainly never a solo move. I think Mark just wanted to hit us quick and get his workout in before he headed off to the gym, or this night to celebrate his anniversary. And as always a few moves here and a few moves there, but nothing sticking and we never really made it long enough for legs to start fatiguing and giving up a little on attacks and covering attacks. I flatted about 15 minutes in and to be honest was somewhat thankful as I wasn't feeling it tonight, but it does take me some time to get the old body moving well. I had been in one of those early moves and didn't have the horsepower or representation needed to work that hard. Sorry, but it is a fact and why blow your load when you know the chase and catch will soon follow and the attacks will continue long after you wish you had those bullets back.

As we got back in town, it appeared dryer and once to the booty loop (that is another story) it hadn't even rained, so Santana and BMiller hit the loop for a few laps. Mr. Miller was on a single speed cross bike (again, another story), but he is strong enough to do so. We caught on with the local triathlete team.. some sort of threats - not real intimidating, but certainly look dangerous with those little funny bars sticking out ready to poke and prod while trying hard to hold a straight line. Just kidding. I can say that since I am a former tri guy and now wear sleeves and like to ride very inconsistent speeds. We took to the loop for a few laps at single file pace to keep the heart rate high and the legs in a spot of bother. A little game of cat and mouse to keep everybody entertained.

Rolling home and 55 miles later, I was still soaked from the earlier downpour. No way it can rain again tomorrow, right?

A little soapbox and if you are a metric or power driven geek and you know exactly who you are, then turn away and don't continue reading or you will be beside yourself in disbelief, but remember this is my blog and my opinion.  And yes I have a power meter and these things can be quite useful IF used correctly.  I certainly don't use mine correctly, but is is mine, right and I can do anything I want with it including not using it.   I do use it, but not with all the bells and whistles and graphs and plots and dots and colors and in the land of make belive of "what ifs".   As a matter of fact, I get questions about why I don't report my data and share some of those files.   I don't because I don't over analyze it and don't want to get caught up in data that keeps the mind from telling the legs to go until you blow.  I raced Saturday night at High Point and never looked down once to check speed, distance, power, cadence, etc.   It wasn't important.  What was important is that I keep the wheel in front of me and that I keep an eye (from the break) on what is behind me and stay consistent when need be and pick up power or pace when need be.   You get a feel for these things.  You become insightful and maybe even intuitive as a bike racer.   Use wisely and don't let power slow you down.  Gosh, I can hear CAndrews lecturing me right now.   Retract it all. :)