Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two-Race Weekend

Two races in one weekend - I haven't attempted that before, but I thought I'd give it a go. Originally I signed up for these races separately, not realizing they were on the same weekend. But I was off to San Fernando for their GP and then to Glendale for a criterium. Both are pretty close by usual standards (less than 40 miles).

Saturday, Race #1 - I got there early, expecting the usual 4-square course, etc. But this course ran through downtown San Fernando, starting in front of an old bank, and making its way around downtown in a P-shaped circuit. Something new for me. Anyway, I've noticed that the Cat 5 field of late is slightly less "amped" than earlier in the year - I think a lot of guys have moved up already, and the remaining competitors are not quite as intense.

The race was not too tough really - I worked to stay at the front for the whole race, and stayed generally up in the top 5 for 90% of the time. But I didn't feel that great Saturday. I had a really slow week on the bike, opting to ride to work a couple of times, and didn't have any real interval workouts. I have really been trying to get home earlier this week, as Jack is now eating actual food (a big step!). I would rather be at home than out on the bike when we feed him. All this translated into some stale legs for much of the race. Still, I was able to stick up front for the whole race.

The last lap, I was about 4th or 5th wheel and saw that one of my teammates was sitting second wheel on the final stretch before the finish straight. I knew he was having a good day, so I put myself in domestique mode and went to the front and nailed it down the whole straight. I think I got the field pretty lined out, and I came into the final hairpin in 1st place. My teammate was second, and did a lot less work than I did getting there. I burned a lot of matches getting to that hairpin, and I didn't have much left for the sprint. I managed 12th, while my teammate landed 3rd. I'm sure he would have done well w/out my help, but I believe he was set up nicely by the work I did. I would have definitely been in the top 10 (maybe top 5 or 7) w/out that little stunt, but it felt good to try something different. I'm still annoyed that I don't have good top-end speed, but given that I've cut short (or outright missed) just about every workout since February I can't be too upset about that. Next year I am going to have a much more specific plan.

Sunday, Race #2 - 9:30am, convenient start time and a straight 40 minute shot to Glendale were looking good. I left the house at 7:45 as planned, drove about 2 blocks thinking about the fact that it's my first Father's Day and Jack was at home w/ his little smile...without me. So I turned around and went home. I just couldn't manage to get comfortable w/ making racing a priority on this day. There's only one first Father's Day, and I'm glad I made the decisions I did today.

I could have done well today, as my legs felt great, and the course was the usual easy square. But there will be more opportunities.

3 more races to go until Cat 4 upgrade.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday is No-Race Day

Sunday is usually race day, but not this week. I was scheduled to race in Dana Point, at what would have been a great course for me. At least I think it would have been good - I am not completely sure what a good course is for me or what my "identity" is as a racer. That's a subject for a future post.

Because Dana Point is 100 miles away, Jack is not sleeping well and we had a bunch of workers at the house on Saturday, it was a scratch for the racing this weekend. I figured this was a low probability race, so it's not too disappointing. I had a chance to head to Piru for the Sunday time trials, but I opted to sleep in and hang out w/ the family for the morning. That seemed like a better alternative.

I have a big weekend coming up in 2 weeks - back to back races on Saturday and Sunday. I've never done that, so it will be interesting to see how things go. I'm anxious to get back to it and have a decent placing after the pedal fiasco last week.

Because of the workers' early arrival, I did a 40 mile/4500ft loop solo. I always imagine these solo rides are better training than a group - no drafting, no waiting for slower people, just 2 1/2 hours of riding w/ no stops. It felt good, although I rode the last big climb w/out the new insoles in my shoes. They are built to counteract my pronation, which is great and will be more efficient eventually, but I only have a couple of days riding in them. I could feel that my knee was a bit tweaky after the first climb, so I took the insoles out to avoid inflaming anything important. I suppose this week I'll do hard rides w/out them, and recovery or short rides w/ them. Given that I have probably 10,000 miles in my current setup, I should introduce change slowly. Incidentally, they were fit by a great "physio" (as they're called in in the pro ranks) who works with many ProTour riders and Rock Racing. So I imagine they should be of good quality.