Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tour De Syracuse Omnium

This race was overall... kinda a disaster. Three races in two days. First day was a rolling hils 15.2km out and back TT and a crit race with no real turns but lots of flowy curves in a mile long track. Second day was the road race which was also the state championship road race and was my big target for the weekend.

So a bit about the course, it was rolling hills, but not big rollers, lots of small rollers not really that steep but noticeable. Close to flat but not quite, the outbound was 200m longer than the inbound. My goal for this was to really give it a practice run for Killington. Same equipment, position, and all out. I knew my 20 second man was a strong TT rider and did not expect to see him again, I was hoping to hold off David Richardson who started 40 seconds behind me off for as long as possible with a overly optimistic goal of not having him pass me, and a realistic goal of having it happen past the turn around. I set into a pretty good tempo and ended up settling into a position I've never used before but felt quite good and low, I'm looking forward to seeing pictures.I wasn't able to generate quite the power I would in my normal road position, partially because I need to move the saddle forward and up to hold this position. I wasn't getting much activation of of my glutes. I was able to hold a solid effort, but couldn't get much past threshold in the position. I ended up doing 234w for the effort, 41.8kmh, 22:02 was my time. I feel like I could have gone a lot harder though, afterwords I was tired but not much more than a 2x20 this was more like threshold effort not 20 minute effort. David passed me maybe 1km past the turnaround, but went faster on the second than I did finishing in 20:39 for the win. I was 11th/19. Not bad for me in a TT, but I can do better.

This is were things really went wrong. I wasn't entirely looking forward to this as an omnium event in a crit means EVERYONE sprints at the finish. It makes for a more sketchy event IMO (versus in a stage race where many GC contenders will just sit in for same time, a  'rest stage' of sorts). We were also combined with the P12 field, but scored seperately. Alright, but I think this just causes more prolems in a bunch gallop. I figure the saving grace would be that there were no real corners. I was wrong.

This was the sketchiest race I have been in were no one actually crashed. I'm not sure what it was exaclty, but I've never seen so much line changing, half wheeling, and shaky all around handling in 'corners'. It was bad, and REALLY bad in the middle. think cat 5 race, except without the freaking out and crashing instead lots of saves. It was one of those races where either the very back or the very front of the race. I chose the very back and once we got into the last lap I let myself fall off the back and pedalled it in. DFL on purpose.

After talking to some people after the race I think that part of why it was bad was that lots of cat 3's felt really on the rivet and had quite literally never ridden their bike that fast in a pack before. Person after person I talked to said "It was FAST!" There were no corners and we averaged 44.25 kmh. It was fast yes, but it was only an hour and it was not that hard for me at least. I guess that is a good sign. Avg power: 157w, NP: 191w. Really... not hard. Bristol had a NP of 205 for 3 hours, not one hour.

This course was close to perfect for me, 58 miles one long (~8min is the strava KOM) 5% grade climb 3/4 of the way through and an uphill sprint to the finish. I was really looking forward to this one and thought I had a real chance of winning. Unfortunately, I never actually made it onto the course which totally ruined the whole race weekend. Why did I miss out?

First of all I missed the start. The race was staged not at what appeared to be the only entrance to the parking lot, nor did it come out it. It was staged off the side of the main school parking, in another parking lot and sent the race off through an alley between 2 buildings. I realized this at just about the time we were supposed to start (I had been riding in circles next to where I thought staging was and thought it was weird no one was there when we were supposed to start). I got to the start line 30 seconds or so late, and found out they had started the race 2 minutes early. There was no announcement in the main parking lot about staging or where it was occurring  Not the end of the world though... I can chase right? Well when I asked where to go they said: "Take a left and then a right." I did just this which took me out on the main highway through town. I chased for 20 minutes at a sweet spot effort level (211w, 36.6kmh. A good pace but something I knew I could sustain for what I figured might be a long solo ride.), then passed some guy clearly not racing asked him if he had seen a group come by (I had been going on the same road for a while and not seen a glimpse of a group, support vehicle or volunteer). The answer was no.... I knew something had to be wrong and so I turned around and road back into town.

I wasn't supposed to go left and then right... I was supposed to turn right until I saw the corner marshall. I was now over 40 minutes behind my race field with no way of catching up, totally dejected. It was WINDY and kinda cold, spitting rain at times. I'm still upset, I am not the only person who missed the start. I talked to 2 others (out of a 30 person field) who missed it and and many others who "almost" missed it. I'm just the only guy who was given incorrect directions. Not cool.

From now on I will be obsessive bout being early to start times and knowing staging locations. I could have prevented those, but the guy who told to turn the wrong direction..... I can't control that and it destroyed any chance I had of racing. Good thing I  don't know exactly who it was because he would have gotten an earful, all I remember is that he was wearing an USAC official shirt.