Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday Night World Championships, some Common Sense and FIRE!

Last week, in an effort to make the Tuesday night race a bit more safe, a few of the grizzled veterans decided to take the reigns and show anyone what a “real” race would feel like at the P,1,2 level. The result was exactly what I was hoping for….. fast and smooth with the rotation and the front being patrolled by the experienced and able. I did notice that at about the 12-13 minute mark we managed to eject about 15-20 riders who immediately rolled back in during the next lap. That’s the beauty of the training race, you get do-overs in the middle of the race. If it doesn’t work out, then you still race instead of being done early and having to watch. The only “rule” is that the lapped riders use common sense and stay off the front and just cruise in the back. The race is over for you so just sit back and watch the fireworks. By and large that happened and I thank those riders that respected the etiquette.

Phil Gronniger won the Source Endurance Prime and scored a groovy SE Tech-T.

I managed to spend some time off the front with Phil late in the race making a run for it. The move was a wee early and we got caught with 2 ½ laps to go.

On a more “reality/ gut/ ego check note:” Anyone who was dropped in the first 15 minutes should seriously consider racing in the ‘B’ race next week. The learning curve for racing is much improved when winning is actually a possibility. The amount of knowledge it takes to read a race, react, and then win a race is tremendous when compared to a relatively simple, “sit in and sprint” strategy. The reality of the Tuesday night races is this: Shadd has only lost a field sprint 4 times in 3 years. Those aren't good odds. If you got lapped, then you shouldn't be sprinting to begin with and if you are on the lead lap then your chances are 1.33 in 2009 that you'll win. New and creative ways should be sought to try for the bragging rights of a Tuesday nighter. Bike Shack got it right a couple of weeks ago but sprinting off of Shadd is probably not a strategy that will work out well most of the time. Concerning training races: it's better to win because you should than to win because someone else made a mistake.

On to some numbers: These are taken from Shadd Smith’s SRM power meter so if you’re wondering what it takes to win a Tuesday night criterium….

Average Speed for the first 16 minutes: 28.3mph.
Normalized power for the first 16 minutes: 347W.

Normalized power the final 10 minutes: 342W
Average speed the final 10 minutes: 27.8mph.

Average Speed during the final lap: 30.5 mph.
Max Speed during the sprint: 37.2mph.
Average power output for the final lap while sitting in until the sprint: 550 W.
Elapsed time of the final lap: 00:01.23.
Amount of time spent above 600W in the final lap: 39s.

Kilojoule/ hour equivalent when extrapolated from the 40min race: 1068kj/ hr.

So there you have it, “winning numbers” from a Tuesday night criterium. I’ve been taking Shadd’s SRM data from his self rated, “hard” races and combed through them to find what it takes to have the opportunity to win races at the P,1,2 level. We’ve worked on focusing on those workload targets and pushing him to constantly improve. Shadd manages to get better and better as he gets more and more specific training in his legs.

Fire Hill CT. OKC

I spent April 18th in OKC racing the Fire Hill Criterium. Really cool race, uphill, swervy downhill, couple of corners and some good prize $. Steve Tilford was there and wrote a very accurate description of the race. I managed a second place which was probably about the best it was going to get that day. It’s always good to score a result early in the season just to settle the nerves and give yourself some confidence.

It seemed like I was always coasting or really hitting the gas. Indeed that is exactly what was happening as I managed to spend over 24 ½ minutes pedaling at >400W, which could explain why I wasn’t feeling so hot the next couple of days.

ToStL. Spring!! Oops, it skipped the Midwest.

The last few weeks have been very tough for anyone trying train and race and even really do anything outside North of the Mason- Dixon Line. Cold, Rain, Wind, Warm, Sun, Snow, and more Wind have all been in the weather forecast. Typically, we’ll get 2-3 of the above mentioned conditions, sometimes 3. This weekend was actually hot and windy! Strange how we haven’t even had two days consecutive of mid 70s and all of a sudden you’re grabbing the cooler and filling it up with ice on the way to the races.

Mercy cycling made the trip through MissourA across I-70 to race the Tour of Saint Louis (ToStL). It’s a low key event put on by Mike Weiss and Big Shark cycling. Strange thing is that the “low key” brought some high- powered motors to come have a shot at being the King of the ToStL.

Day 1:

After meeting up with good friend Rob Kelly, we made our way to first criterium where we were greeted by Windy and Hot and Windy weather. Jason Knight’s SRM claimed 99F just before the race began.

The wide open conditions and weather made perfect conditions for a Cyclocross start and what a start we had. 27 mph in the gutter in a criterium? Huh? Seriously? Okay, here we go! 15 minutes later Joe Schmalz is in a 5 man move and rolling up the road with Bill Marshall having established himself in a secondary move. Not bad for only having 3 guys in the race. It would definitely have been nice to have a full compliment of team mates for the races. I was being shadowed by some guys who apparently read Steve Tilford’s blog and thought I was some sort of superman. Little do they know…..

Joe and Co. lapped the field with 15 minutes + 5 laps to go and the field then reabsorbed the secondary move. Time for some sort of lead out.

In the end, there were only about 15 guys sprinting although we left Joe in the wind without any help too early to really make a push for the win. Joe scored a 3rd place.

Race over. We decided that without any Time Trial equipment and the Windy, Hot, Windy conditions, it would be best spent to simply not head to the TT and save it for tomorrow.


Carondolet Park Circuit Race. This one took the Tuesday Night World’s course and combined it with the traditional park criterium to make a fun circuit race. Weather again was Hot and Windy with chance of a pollen storm. I’ve never seen pollen accumulate on my tires ever in my life until this race. Strange how something different happens every time you race.

Mercy decided that the best way to handle the conditions today would be to go on the offensive early and often. Straight from the gun Mercy had a keen eye on everything. I managed to slip into a move of 3, swelling to 5 that would manage to ride with a 15-20 second advantage for about 15 minutes before being reabsorbed by an angered field.

The following 4 moves all proved to be serious and Mercy managed to cover every one up until Butthead, Zach Reed and Jeff Schrotelin (sp?) ran away with the race. Everyone was either gassed or out of position and thus Mercy completely got caught out with the move; and without enough guys or horsepower to reel it back, we were basically left with no choice but to scrap for the next paying spots.

3 to go and a crowd prime of $110 is called, which instantly got all my attention. At this point 1-3 are up the road and $110 is more than 3rd place prize money. I was basically prepared to bet the farm on the prime. This late in the race, everyone is tired and only about 10 guys are racing, marking each other and effectively neutralizing each other. I found the guy I thought could unknowingly take me to the line and just like I thought he did it perfectly. Unfortunately, I left him and went onto a different wheel, only to have it flail and fade. Never leave change your bet and have the confidence to stay with your first decision.

Meanwhile, Joe makes his way into a secondary move and pulls out a 6th place today. I spent too much energy on the prime and never really recovered afterwards. Game, set, match. One spot for the team and a hell of a weekend of results for Mercy.

Photos courtesy of STL Biking Photos.

Monday, April 20, 2009


One of the most important days in every spring is the first day you can wear shorts.... comfortably. Not that, "it's cold but I really want it to be warm so I'll still wear shorts in a vain effort to believe that spring is upon us." I'm hoping today is the day. The FIRST day in shorts. It's been a while and I've got some things to say about some races and I'll do that later. But first:

Why do you see Ugg Boots and winter coats but running shorts? Huh? Winter boots and shorts?

New "foster dog" that Alyson is caring for. It's really just a ploy to get me to adopt the dog. I'm growing a liking to him.

HyVee meat department. I think this is awesome! Strange but people got upset about this. One angered person was Vegan. I don't get it... People are "okay" with ground bovine flesh out for all to view, but the moment you have some fun with it, it's gross? Whatever.

Finally! I saw this at the store. It's an AXE Detailer. Look closely and you can see that it's actually just a Luffa only in Man-stlye... seriously. Is that possible? A Man-Luffa? Basically, let's take a Luffa (pictured to the right, in pink), make it black (manly color) and add a spare monster truck tire looking thing to it (to make it more manly), and put a manly blood red scrubber on it and BAM! Manly right?! You be the judge. I just think it's silly. Oh and it's $3.50 compared to the pink thing ($0.99). Why would you need to look tuff in the shower?