Sunday, April 28, 2013

Binghamton Circuit Race

Everything from today's races has to be taken into context of how jacked up my body was after yesterdays ride. Severely glycogen depleted, muscles beat into submission (Black Mo is not forgiving!!). I woke up at 4:30am to pack up, leave our hotel and drive 3.5 hours from State College to Binghamton. Rob, Josinaldo, and I (aka the UR cycling team) decided to skip the Easterns crit, because we all suck at crits and none of us felt like doing the super technical crash prone course. Instead we all did two races today, against people who had fresh legs (starting to second guess this not racing over guys as jacked up as we are thing).

Anyways the course was 2.6km had literally no corners and a slight climb to the finish. When I refer to the hill I'm referring to that (it did in fact rise past the finish line). I was racing first the 123 race, an 18 lap race (~47km). Second and immediately following was a 34 race that was 16 laps (~41.5km). Both races took just a hair over an hour, the first race a bit longer time wise than the second.

Rolling around for warmup when you usually feel nice and springy, I felt none of those things. I felt terrible, I was pushing active recovery wattages and they felt like good solid efforts. It was bad. I knew my races were going to hurt, and they did. This is the thing though, they hurt not because I'm not capable of the power outputs. On fresh legs they would have been easy, they were hard because my legs had NOTHING left.

So the 123 race. I knew I was going to sit on the back, I still had a race and I had nothing left already. So I did basically exactly that. I was the last person in the field almost the entire race. It actually wasn't too bad. The course wasn't particularly selective and so I just sat on. 2 guys attacked from the start line, we never saw them again. 1 very nearly bridged up to them to finish 3rd and another finished somewhere in the nether. I tried to setup for my sprint, but didn't really have my heart into the aggressive riding needed for it, or the effort level. I sprinted from nearly the back of the pack and ended up taking 8th in the field sprint, 12th overall. I was gaining on everyone at a pretty awesome speed. Too bad I hadn't set myself up right, I could have done well in that sprint. NP was only 203w and avg power only 150w. By all objective measures it should have been easy, but it wasn't.

Next the 34 race. This was my first ride with Rob, and while we had said a while back we would set up a game plan of attack during the ~15 min between my races. We were both pretty shot though. Rob had taken 2nd about 30seconds ahead of the field with a leader long gone off a 2 laps to go flier. He said that if the opportunity presented itself he would tell me the code word... which we decided would be "Orange." I told him I'd see how my legs held up and hopefully we would talk during the race. We started and I instantly regretted starting the race, it hurt like your legs usually hurt at the end of a race you are barely holding onto in the last  5 minutes of the race, except at the beginning and we weren't really going hard. (visions of the pain of holding onto the P123 field with 1 lap to go at the Driveway Series after having raced the 34 earlier were flashing through my mind) Anyways we got going and I decided "screw it" I was just going to try and break away give it every last ounce and see what happened (this was only 2 laps into the race). I was trying to ride up next to Rob, squeezing past people when somebody drastically shifted lines pushing me over the yellow line, way over (I was toeing the line to begin with. I needed to go somewhere so I decided to attack. I gunned it up along the yellow line and as I passed rob screamed "ORANGES TILL I EXPLODE!!!"

In hindsight I really regret this, because I missed a possibly once in a lifetime moment to sprint past the group yelling "LEEEEROOOOY JENNKINS!!!" Which would have very accurately described what the futility of the attack, as well as it's haphazard nature. Instead the pack probably gave me a funny look as I launched off  screaming about oranges. Two other guys caught my wheel and when I motioned for them to pull through, they gave me nothing. Just like that the move was basically shut down before it started. Rob came roaring past me in a group of 4 or 5, they came back and I went again, I came back and he went again. It worked very well but honestly I think it was by accident. I had failed to tell Rob, that following my attacks was a bad idea, and would just bring people up to me. So ultimately I think it was a "this might be happening!!! lets go together" I see people catch me and back off, he comes back and then I went again. In the end it worked out well. Rob got off the front with a group of 3 which eventually ballooned to 7. I sat back matched as many attacks as I could until the group gave up, and then slithered back into this painful dark hole. Attacking had been a terrible choice. Our race really still wasn't that hard so far (checked while riding,  NP of about 230w for 40 minutes) I sat in till the end when the idea that "I think I can pop out one more SOLID sprint" popped into my mind. A group of 4 guys from "The Bike Shop" started forming a train and I hopped on the back. The were working well, coming into the last lap they were down to two guys and let other people take over pace making. I just sat on their sprinters wheel. Things got hectic on the back stretch, but he clearly was a good sprinter and was good at position we gunned it into some small gaps and I got into about 5th-6th position to start my sprint. Everything wound up and then.... the guy in front of me realized he had no sprint. He stumbled a bit but I was able to get around (losing a couple places) and gunned it. I quickly caught all but the lead two guys sprinting and was closing in pretty quickly, but there wasn't enough road. 3rd in the field sprint isn't bad. 10th overall. Overall race NP was 218w, average of 160w. The race ended up being harder and faster than the 123, and I think I can claim some responsibility for that (the "oranges" guy)

Overall I've got to be pretty happy, 12th and 10th on the worst legs I've ridden on probably all year. They still feel terrible... really really terrible. The races would have been easy otherwise and I probably could have done something good, but I raced hard yesterday. It'll make me stronger, and next week begins the string of races where I'm racing either just Cat 3 or Cat 34 and can go to hoping to have a shot at winning. Hollenbeck, Bristol, Tour of Syracuse (Omnium) and Killington Stage Race. I'm far stronger than ever before and really looking forward to hopefully pulling out a good string of results. Need to race smart though!!