Sunday, February 22, 2015

Brazos Valley Races, Detailed

     Several requests have been made for additional details of the races in Bryan/College Station.  I'm not sure exactly, since the GPS address was Bryan but the EMS was College Station (not that it makes any real difference).
     The 5k Time Trial course is more or less straight, just a few curves, no turn-around.  It runs north.  The wind was pretty stout, like flags standing straight out, and while forecast-ed to be out of the south-west, was more like west.  Thus just a fraction caught the left shoulder from behind, with a lot of side-action.  I was happy not to have a full disc rear wheel.
     I had breakfast at 6 a.m., then changed into my bike shorts and spent twenty minutes on the exercise bike before driving to the start, about a half-hour away.  Normally, my warm-up consists of a half-hour riding the 10k course, then some sprints to get the lactic acid moving (this has now been proven to be incorrect, but I still do it).  This morning my road work consisted of several out-and-backs about a mile.
     There isn't much to say about a time trial: you start, get into your tuck, and pedal like hell until the finish.  With my lack of real training this early in the season, my rpm's were a bit light (average 85 and should have been 90), but the heart-rate jumped to 148 or so (89% of maximum) and stayed there the whole way.  My one and only practice a few weeks ago indicated a need for at least 75 seconds improvement.  I knocked 70 seconds off, averaging 22.6 mph.  In comparison, I was 21 seconds slower than last year on the same course.
     We had about a half-hour or so before the start of the 10k.  The early morning moisture lessened, and occasionally the sun threatened to show itself, although it never did. This course is more or less square, although the side going into the wind (at the start) is about a mile long, but the side with the wind at our back is shorter.  I started against the wind and went for rpm as opposed to a heavy gear, at least until nicely settled in.  Once I made the right turn, I geared down, reduced rpm a few, but sped up.  I lost a few seconds being late shifting when the road sloped a bit, but other than that my shifting was right on.  Another turn put the wind at my back and I gave it a few more gears and pushed up to 30 mph.  All to soon, another right turn and the wind on my right shoulder.  I felt good coming across the finish line.  My main competition, Tom Cole, didn't come, so I felt confident of being faster than those in my age group.  It will be a few days before I find out if I were faster than the younger guys.
     We had about an hour before the 20k road race, so I changed wheels from the time trial bike to my road bike, and visited with the guys, did a little warming up on the trainer.  They had the time trial award ceremony, then said the race would start in ten minutes.  I quickly changed from my skin suit to the A&M kit and got ready to race.  What I didn't do was fill my racing Camelbak.  No time!  I shoved the bottle into my back pocket (having removed the bottle cages, since I didn't need them).
     Due to the lack of participants, the whole group was divided into just two: younger and older.  I'm not sure what the age break was, probably 60.  The young folks had about a three minute start on us, and we only caught two of them.  We started fairly slow, against the wind, and I tucked in behind the biggest guy I could find.  Even so, the pace picked up and when we made the first turn, Dean jumped ahead to get us moving.  The next turn was more of an S type affair, but with the wind at our back for thirty yards I jumped out and took the lead.  They let me have it for a half mile or so, then I dropped back.  When we finally had the wind at our back and a slight downhill, we topped 30 mph.  All too soon came another right turn and the wind into our right shoulder.
     This is a two lap race, and we did it all again, except Dean didn't jump and neither did I.  It was a fast pace, and the first real race move came just after the start of the down-wind section.  Jaime let a gap happen, and the guy behind me (Gary) jumped, and I got on his wheel and we closed the gap, leaving Jaime and Dean.  Dean bided his time until he could sweep Jaime and not let him draft.  We made the last turn and had a mile and a half to the finish.  I stayed tucked behind Gary but with about 400 yards to go, they all sped up, leaving me.
     I would have liked to have finished with the group, but since all but one were younger than me, I still garnered a silver medal.  I'm going over my computer data to see if that gives me a clue.  It tells me I had an extra ten heart-beats before going into the red-zone; it doesn't tell me how to utilize it.
     We had a late check-out, and were showered and on the road home by 2 p.m.

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