Thursday, September 19, 2013

Driveway 345: Racing Smart

I've been progressively trying to race smarter lately, partially because it makes for better results but also because while in the Cat 3 fields I can get away with it, when I move up I'm gonna need a brain. I had to remind myself this during the race today.... but that means, no pulling unless you are setting a teammate up for a win, other times it is acceptable to be on the front doing work are when you are attacking, bridging, or in a break, when in the break don't be the guy driving the break, start sprint before others. Today it all worked out.

Early on given that we where doing the "speed loop" the plan was to sit in, but stay near the front, then go for the long sprint options. As is typical early on plans changed on course due to the way the race played out. Early on it was clear there were a limited number of people interested in chasing down breaks, and I was not one of them! Nate Sheetz went and we all debated whether or not he had another solo move in him. Then it was two, with a pretty healthy gap as well. I moved to the front. A group of 4 went off (not the right time to go I told myself).... the group was ratcheting up the pace. Water droplets started slowly from the sky. Then prime lap, the chase heated up. At what seemed to clearly be the highest pace we could go I took off. I expected it to hurt quickly but I pushed through that initial feeling and it dissipated, woo hoo race energy... I got the group of four quickly and debated going straight across. Bad move, stay here and go after some recovery.

After a little rotation I ratcheted up the pace, all but one guy came with me, and the rain started to fall. I quickly made the gap very small and then made the others pull through. With 7 in the lead group we started rotating more quickly. Oddly for a 345 field we worked well together. I thought the group behind us would likely speed up but the rain started to fall harder. Tthe group behind us would be very cautious in the sweeping bottom corner. No need, Driveway is a race track which excels in the wet. We worked together, but I never forced the pace. I felt better than usual, pulls felt eerily near effortless, and sitting in was great recovery. Looking over the data HR was high, power was very good (average of 228w and normalized 268w), but my legs felt sublime.

Coming into the last lap, we knew there had to to be some cat and mouse games. After the 'hill' everyone sat up. Who was going to pull? No one wants to pull, but if no one pulls we get caught. Eventually Nate Sheetz, possibly the worst sprinter and definitely the biggest engine in the group took it up. I grabbed his wheel. At 600m to go Nate ramped up, I stayed steady but let a wheel or so open up between us. At 550m I started getting that itch... should I go? not yet....500m not yet... 450m better go before someone else does. I jumped, used the gap to slingshot, and kept the pedal down. Look under my arm, someone there but not right there, keep on driving. At 200m: still there but not close enough to get a draft. Stay out of the saddle the whole way, I can see out of the edge of my eye someone inching up my left... kick it up a notch, starts to fall back again. I hit the line first by about a bike length. Raise the arms.... oh crap tilting.... grab them before I crash.

Then I roll into the back of the P1234, HR at 180bpm. Energized from a sprint win. Get a couple congrats and we are off. A half lap later I haven't settled I feel unsafe in the group. It is pouring rain. I was only supposed to do one race today... follow the schedule and keep everyone safe.

Some screenshots of WKO+ for the race today
Bridge to the group of 4, sit in for a bit and then pick up the pace to get to AustinBikes duo in the lead, no smoothing

Full period of time off the front of main group, 15 second smoothing

Full finale, accelerations by nate and then my jump and hold. Power for sprint was 618w for 30 seconds. Complete with a power drop, no smoothing

Entire race, you can also see the point at which I went off the front ~ halfway through. 30 second smoothing