Race Reports – March 2014

CRCA A Race; ; March 29th, Mihael 

Chris, Paul and myself line up.  Chris’s goal is to finish as many laps as possible, Paul too want’s to finish maybe have the legs to make a move or two, and mine is get a top 5 in the filed sprint.  First lap is fast, Chris gets popped after 1 lap, I’m hurting and focus on just finishing the race.  After a large break gets away the pace slows the last couple of laps, and I start feeling normal, not sure if I have the legs to sprint but position myself and mange to win the sprint.  Two other guys slipped away, one I saw in the results for 12, so I got 14th.  I was happy as most of the race I felt like quitting.  It’s good to remind myself during those times that I’m still in the race and a result is possible.  I was disappointed to see the for the 2nd week in a row CRCA did not post full results, especially as they have in the past and just about every promoter now post full results, even AVD.  For me, 1,2,3 races are mostly about improving my USA Cycling Rankings, as finishing in the money is very unlikely. Also, if results are not posted, the overall ranking has less value.  Done bitching about CRCA.4-3-2014 11-55-23 AM

CRCA A Race; Points Race; March 22nd, Mihael

Kuria, Paul and myself lined up with very low expectations. Top 3 score points each lap, with top 5 getting points the final lap.  I tried a couple of times to get in the mix, but could not get any points.  Last lap Kuria gets in a move that gets caught right before the line.  I get 6th or so in the final sprint probably netting me a top 10 (results are not out yet) and Kuria hangs on in front of most of the filed finished 12th or so.  We were all content with our effort.


NYC Spring Series, 3/4 Race; March 23rd, Mihael

Just me flying the HL colors. Rick was in 45+ race, and Kuria was at the Bethel race. I was confident in my chances to win the field sprint as my form is improving.  That confidence was dwindling as I felt like crap throughout the race.   The field was large and we passed many fields throughout the race including the 1,2,3.  The break from the 1,2,3 was the only group we did not pass, so clearly the pace was fast.  Too fast perhaps for a break and a golden opportunity for a win. I was well positioned going into the sprint on Sam Torres’s wheel, when he jumped I was able to hold his wheel for a short while, but he pulled away.  I did hang on for 2nd. Perhaps if I had fresher legs.  I was on the tail end of 250 miles in 6 days, and I never seem to get enough sleep when racing both days on weekends.  Rick won the field sprint in the 45+ for 3rd place.  We were both pleased with our efforts.

No one cares about the Ides of March; March 17, Paul Coluccio

Pre Race    I’d been monitoring the weather for this Sunday morning since last week. Could it be true that I chose to, once again, sign up for a race that would occur during the coldest part of the week? Two Saturdays in a row with temps in the 50’s, two Sundays in a row with temps in the 30’s. I lay out my clothes Saturday night,  a pile of things that included a pair of heavy tights and a pair of midweight tights. Set the alarm for 4:20, but I woke up at 4:10. Temp:35. Forecast? Temps to nosedive with the sunrise. Huh? I put on the heavy tights and threw lobster mitts into the bag along with winter shoes. Master Tip: Better to take stuff and not need it than need stuff and not take it.
 I got to the park and did a “warm up” lap-went back to the car and added a headband to the balaclava I was wearing, then took off my gloves and glove liners and put on the lobster mitts. Master Tip-The purpose of a  winter “warm up” lap includes more figuring out if you are properly dressed than actually “warming up”. Also, I took note of the wind situation-not much doing on the hill, tail wind just after, then becoming increasingly cross towards the Grecian Temple, then all kinds of gusting in the last 200m. The 3/4 field featured about 40 participants.
Race:   Ahh the joys of the 3/4 field. After their success last week in instigating a winning break, Foundation seemed intent on doing the same this week. They also seemed to be in cahoots with Setanta. Why? Maybe because their kit looks so similar they figure they may as well work together. It seems as if their plan was simple-attack just after the hill. This can work pretty well to shatter the field if conditions are right, but today conditions did not support such a tactic. So, to my recollection, Foundation attacked 3 times after the hill, which on this day amounted to attacking with a tailwind going downhill. Ahh the joys of the 3/4 field. While the speed of such a maneuver seems impressive, the effect is not. It’s the kind of thing people used to do 20 years ago before power meters confirmed what successful cyclists had already known: the best time to attack is when the situation is most demanding energy wise.  So, after each attack the field chased and regrouped. Master Tip: Attack uphill or into the head/cross winds.
With 3 laps to go there was a sustained, dangerous attack that included about a dozen riders. Unlike the previous attempts, the pressure was kept on after the hill and halfway along the back stretch to where the winds began to pick up. I worked like mad to bridge up and almost made it, and resigned myself to having missed the winning move.  But, luckily, I and the rest of the field were saved as the break hit the headier winds towards the Grecian Temple and slowed down.
The rest of the race was a formality for me. Hang on until the end, then try to sneak away sometime after the Temple. I was in no mood to get involved in a hectic sprint that had no organized lead outs, cross winds, and chaos. So, as everybody began eyeing each other, I attacked near the skating rink. Yes, it was too early, and I faded after 30 seconds. If that weren’t pathetic enough, getting dropped by the field as they rode 5 abreast certainly was.
Post Race:  Despite that humbling feeling I had after my laughable imitation of Fabian Cancellara, I was satisfied with the day’s events. I had completed my second race which matched my entire total from my injury plagued last season. I had not gotten dropped, and this week’s race (according to my data) inflicted 25% more training stress than last week’s race. Progress had been made.
As I was doing my “cool down” lap, I wondered what had become of Rick Spear and the other fields. As I spun along, I saw one break following the lead moto and then another. It seems as the other fields disintegrated. Eventually I saw Rick, he was working with three other riders, and by my estimation they had 2 laps to go. It looked like absolute misery. Maybe I had made a good choice, I picked the one field that stayed together. That’s more than I can say for Julius Caesar.
and Rick’s experince in the 45+ race

45+ race in Prospect was a fun race. Much harder than I expected.

I was shivering at the start of the race, and one of the guys turned to me to tell me that unkind words had been printed about me on the NYVelocity comments section. Whatever.   Blasted up the first hill, which was a good thing, as I was now warmer. Pack of course caught me.  Next lap, a group blasted up the hill, and I went with them. All of a sudden, I realized it was THE group. Anddrew McGee, Pascal, Scott (series leader) and a teammate, Jerry, an Axis guy (Paul?), and me. We were gone. Scott is riding strong.  Of course, Jerry yells at me, the Axis guy yells at me, Scott’s teammate yells at me (Andrew and Scott were nice to me). I take my pulls, despite that. I am suffering. 8 laps to go, and just having been hammered by the wind, I say to myself, hey, I am a sprinter, we have 25 miles to go, what am I doing? So, I sit up on the hill and wait for the pack. I just didn’t come to work for that long. (Reality is that without a teammate, it is hard for me to stick a break — I need to skip pulls — can’t maintain 300+ watts for that long).  Of course, there is no pack. 6 guys come up to me as I crest the hill. Kurt G., another Axis guy, Andrew’s teammate Matt (Andrew about Matt: “my teammate is very strong”), a Sheepshead guy, and two anon guys. Great, I could have stayed in the lead group and had to suffer this much, and maybe had a chance to do some damage. But, I am not sitting up again. I put my head down and count down the laps. And, I seem to suffer less than some of the guys. We drop Kurt’s teammate. 4 laps left, and the 123 field drops off three Masters (interesting). They now are part of our pack (it’s Prospect). Next time up the hill, Matt accelerates. I accelerate. All of a sudden, we are 5, including Kurt, one of the anons, Matt, me and one of the erstwhile drag-ups by the 123’s. 1 to go Matt attacks into the wind. I look at Kurt, and at the other two. I am not dragging him back (I don’t know if I can/could). Kurt makes one last effort, and he disappears. 3 of us left. We don’t catch Matt even though he is just a jump or so in front of us up the hill. Final stretch, I play it cool and beat these guys (gosh, I had better). Turns out Andy quit (had to go home after 8 laps), Matt got the 6th and final place. 7th — first out of the money — and in a small group all race long. 40 miles worth. Ugh.

Ah, it was a better training session than I had bargained for, and I won the “field sprint.” Oh yes, no field. Go figure.


Branch Brook; March 16th, by Mihael
Since I was working in Newark last week I raced Branchbrook 45+ on Saturday.  Pretty big field and definitely much more competitive then most 3 races I do.  Maybe 55+ will be easier then 3 races.  I crashed pretty hard last Tuesday on my way to work. I hit a large piece of asphalt that dislodged itself from one of many potholes this winter created. It was 6:15 am and pitch black out, no street lights, and my Night Rider only provided a few feet of light. Bottom line I was going to fast (~20mph) for those conditions. 20140317_100726 I was well padded due to the sub zero temp, but I still took a good beating. Once the race started I felt stale and sore, I was over dressed, but did my thing, which is sit in and sprint.  Nothing got away, after the last corner with 1k or so to go, Bill Eliston (cat 1) strung it out with Schmalz on his wheel, I was a couple of riders back. Perfect for me, but I was too slow and could not grab a wheel once the sprint started.  Finished a respectable 7th.  Full Resutls:  Click Here

Grants Tomb; March 8th, Mihael

1979152_10203462931433089_1449036894_ophoto by Anthony Benavides

I signed up for two races a while back to take advantage of the discount and try to help the motivation.  First race is the 3/4, I red lined it a few times but overall felt good just sitting in the back.  Last lap I was well positioned behind the Six Cycle train, 6th or so, then I got smooched, wobbled and lost my positioning.  I was to far back had a decent sprint and took 9th, one out of the money.  Six Cycle took 1st & 2nd. The 40+ race started 3 minutes later, not enough time for me to recover and had to drop out after 2 laps. I think 3 minutes longer would have been enough for me to can catch my breath.

NYC Spring Series 3/4 race; March 9th, 

Paul, Rick, Chris and I lined up.  There was another rider in our colors but clearly not ready to work with us.  He looked me square in the eyes, than walked right past me. I guess he wanted to ride solo, so I’ll call him Han Solo until I find out who he is.  We did not have plan, just individual goals.  Paul was worried he might get popped on the hills, Chris wanted to finish as he got dropped at Grants Tomb the day before, Rick wanted to have a better sprint then last week, and I wanted to win the field sprint.  Race was pretty fast but I felt better then last week.  I think Grants Tomb help push the pain barrier.  I was hoping no break would stick, but 3 riders got away.  I was happy to see my friend Aaron Katin in move, but still hoped we would catch them.  Paul did not get popped and the last lap took a couple of digs to help bring the break back, but they were gone. Han Solo tried to bridge but came back quickly.  Chris got caught at the wrong end of a filed split, Rick took 7th in the field sprint for 10th and I managed to win the sprint for 4th place.  Overall good weekend of racing. Great to see the team out there, looking forward to the may races ahead this season.

Video of the 3/4 sprint (I thought I won as I passed 3 riders, they were from the 45+ race)  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1383230401916124



Long ass off season; February 2014, by Mihael

Motivation needs to be at max for me to ride indoors and during the off season it’s impossible for me to keep it up as it’s too easy to procrastinate.  Also, I have no will power at night and eat carbs with sugar until I pass out in front of a screen of some sort. I gained 10 or so lbs since September and fitness is on the low end as the season is about to start.  I was able to get in on a bike camp in the mountains of North  Carolina last minute and I tried to make the most it.

Bike Camp In North Carolina
me Highlandshouse

I drove down with John Landino, a cat 2 who organized a house for the 3rd year.  The terrain there is brutal and beautiful.  Although it got hit hard with snow the week before when we got there the roads were clear and forecast was seasonable.  The group in the house ranged from fit a fit cat 2 to large cat 4s/mountain bikers. First day everyone was nervous as we were to do a very hilly 65 mile loop.  The temperature varied greatly as we descended into South Carolina and then ascend back up.  The range in feet was about 3000 feet and every day we averaged about 6500 feet of climbing in 65 miles. Some took it easy or did a bit less, but most of us headed out together regrouped a couple of times then would roll into the house at different times as the last mountain (no matter which way you came) was about 3000 feet of ascending.nc elevation

The first day I was climbing this steep dirt road over some snow with tired legs and only 200 meters to the house, my rear tire spins out, my legs lock, I cramp and fall over in a ditch.  The 2nd day after I get back to the house I get uncontrollable shivers after my shower, I manage to warm up and recover enough to ride by morning. 3rd day, my left knee started to bother me. 4th day I felt pretty good. 5th day I was feeling sore and tired all over. Knots in my neck, shoulder, and legs were sore to the touch. 6th day I felt like I was getting used to this and was a bit bummed to go home. I did more than survive, my body did not fall apart and had a great time.  I did not feel like I was ready for race season a week away, but at least ready to race and not worry about getting dropped.

3-4-2014 9-33-12 AMphoto by Jeff Martz

After the rides we would all consume whatever we saw first,  and relive the ride.  We’d upload the rides to Strava, share a few pictures on Facebook we took that day, shower, make dinner then watch the Olympics. No one ever set an alarm clock, we rested a lot, and if we were tired from resting, we rested some more.  We got to know each other and all planned to do this again next year.

1st race of the season. NYC Spring Series, Cat 3/4

Rick and I at the start. HL team kit not in yet1st race, Rick and I  photo by Marco Quezada

Rick and I decided to race the 3/4 NYC spring series as snow looked possible at Bethel. Decent size field, 35 degrees did not feel bad, pace was fast, we caught the small masters field. 5 guys got away, I sprinted early, had a nice gap but faded and sat up finishing 5th in the sprint. Rick’s legs were empty in the sprint.

I’m forced to do some indoor training this week as just finishing Grant’s Tomb is my current goal.


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