Saturday, May 31, 2008
With no road racing in MN this weekend, Jordan and I headed down to stay with Gordy and Diane in Madison, WI for a pair of races. Saturday was the WI State TT. The course, in Kansasville (SE of Madison), is a 20K loop around an old airstrip. The pavement is in very good condition, and the WNW wind was viewed as favorable, with a tailwind on the finish leg, which is a deceptive false flat. The only downside was a lot of traffic on the start leg. I got buzzed by a minivan, and it was easy to get caught up in traffic on a couple of the corners.
Jordan won the Junior Male 13-14 division. His time of 28:13 over the 12.04mi course gave him an average speed of 25.6mph. In fact, he finished 3rd overall out of 32 20K participants. Both people that beat him were in the Junior Male 17-18 category. Very nice Jordo!
Junior Male Age 13-14 Podium:
1. Jordan Cullen - 28:13
2. Pete Davis - 33:16
3. Lionel Rocheleau - 36:07
I checked after the race with the person tabulating the results, and it may be that all of the 20K times are a minute fast. Taking that into account, Jordan's time of 29:13 gives him an average speed of 24.73mph. Extrapolating that average speed out to a full 20K = 12.43mi, his time would have been 30:09. Very nice.
I started 1 minute ahead of fastman Lance Niles. My goal was to stay away, but he was just too fast for me. He caught me at the halfway point, and went on to take another minute out of me. Being passed bummed me out at first, but my Garmin was telling me I was on an decent ride, so I toughed it out.
My time of 54:12 was good enough for 3rd in the Masters 40-44, with the winner riding a 51:47, and 2nd riding a 52:41. Lance rode a 52:20, which put him 4th in the Cat 1/2's. Dang they've got a lot of fast guys in WI. Our hosts rode well too. Gordy rode a 53:30 to win the Masters 50-55, and Diane rode the 20K in 30:47, also for the win.
Extrapolating my average speed out to a full 40K would give me a time of 55:34. The fastest time of the day was about 51:30, which extrapolates out to a 52:48. So basically, to compare to a standard 40K, add about 1min20sec to the faster times.
Since the course was 2 laps, I recorded splits on my Garmin (The start and finish were not in the same spot, so the 2nd lap is a little longer). I slowed a little on the 2nd lap, but my ave HR was higher. My ave cadence and HR are exactly where I like to see them.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Most peoples opinions about categories center around the specific category in which they normally compete. The current 14 ROY categories have been selected based on rider feedback, and what can reasonably be taken on by promoters. Combining smaller fields is a fact of life, when there are this many categories, but no one wants their category combined with another. I commend the promoters that can accommodate everyone.
Whenever fields need to be combined, the obvious choice seems to be combine like abilities. However, there is no perfect solution, since combining the fields will likely change the dynamics of the race compared to how it might play out if the fields were separate.
How do we strike a balance? There doesn't seem to be a simple answer. The old A/B/C format is easier on promoters, but less attractive to racers. I believe the success of cycling, as small as the sport is, is based on the fact that there is a category system in place to allow riders to develop. I remember 10 years ago, when there were not many opportunities for women to race by themselves, and there were only a handful that raced. Slowly, the opportunities have increased, and women's racing in MN is now very healthy. I can tell you that Jordan would not have gotten involved in cycling if the A/B/C system was in place.
Keep in mind that not all racers are created equal. Some riders can train relatively little and upgrade quickly, where others may train a lot, and improve very little. This is exacerbated by the fact that the style of racing changes as you move up the ranks. Strong, up and coming Cat 4's enjoy racing with the Cat 3's. Career Cat 4's, not so much.
My point is 14 fields seems a little excessive, but 3 definitely seems too few. The latest trend in MN is for the officials to score just about everyone anyway, so I think combining "similar ability" small fields is reasonable to make promoters lives easier.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Lakewood Road Race course was an awesome venue, and the Cloquet crit is an excellent circuit, despite the cold wet weather.
Jordan did offer one suggestion (wink, wink). Timed GC for juniors instead of an omnium.
Jordan was well marked by the 2 Michigan juniors
The juniors got lucky, and the rain let up for their race in the Cloquet Critierium. All the juniors were racing together again, but this time, they also finished together. I figured this would be good for Jordan, since he could key off the older juniors for the finishing sprint, and wouldn't get stuck on the front. Jordan did take shelter during most of the race, but the 2 Michigan younger juniors stayed glued to his wheel most of the race.
I was on pins and needles for the last couple laps. Jordan had excellent position up near the front, as the pace amped up at the bell. When they came into the finishing straight, I was surprised to see it was Jordan and Kohli duking it out for the win, ahead of the older juniors. Jordan gave it his best effort, and finished another close 2nd.
To say Jordan was disappointed this weekend is an understatement. However, he also grew a lot as a racer. He said he was much more proud of his 2nd places at Duluth, than any of this solo first place efforts. It helped him learn that the strongest rider doesn't always win, and race tactics play a big role when riders are relatively equally matched. I am extremely proud of how he responded to the challenge, and accepted the final result.
It races much more like a circuit race, on a large 4 corner loop, with a small elevation change each lap. Race leader Charlie Jacobs and myself rode vigilantly at the front to protect our positions on GC, and there were very few attacks. On one of the primes, Pmax and Haas got a small gap, but were reeled in soon after.
Nothing real exciting, until 3 to go, when Hollywood did a soft attack off the front. No one chased, and his gap grew slightly. On the penultimate lap, still no chase, but his gap was still small enough to close quickly. We got the bell, and still, we stayed together. Heading down the hill to the finish, it was pretty clear Hollywood had the race won, and we were all just interested in going through the final turn upright.
I went through the corner 3rd wheel and opened up my sprint. I came around Alpasa and Binkowski, and looked back to see if Goblirsh was coming. I didn't see him, but Haas was coming up the left side fast. I dug back in, and was able to hold him off and win the field sprint, just behind Hollywood. Hollywood won a nice Bontrager Wheelset for his effort. Party on!
The time bonuses ended up having no effect on top 5 on GC:
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The pace amped up as we approached the finish, but it was pretty clear that we were going to have to all duke it out on the climb. I made sure I was towards the front, with room to get through if necessary. Frank Lowry was the first to jump, then yesterday's winner, Brian Haas leaped away. Brian got a solid gap and held it too the line. I made my move at 200m to go, and was able to take 2nd, with GC leader Charlie Jacobs right behind.
The front group was also able to pull enough of a gap, that they split the finish time to the next group including Dobbertin, who held 2nd on GC. I needed 10 seconds to move up to 2nd, and I got 28 between the 2nd place bonus, and the time split. Jacobs still has a comfortable 45sec lead. Teammate Goblirsh is still 4th on GC, but is now just 5 seconds behind Dobbertin.
Jordan won't just let me take a normal pic anymore. He may regret it some day.
The juniors raced in the afternoon today on the rolling Lakewoods Road Race course. The younger juniors had to do 2 12.5mi laps, with a 1/2 mile long climb at the finish of each lap. The older juniors had to do 3 laps. Most of the juniors made it around the 1st lap together, until the base of the finish climb. Jordan dialed up the tempo on the climb, and splintered the field. At the crest of the climb, all that was left was Jordan, his rival from Michigan, Darrell Kohli, and 3 older juniors.
The 5 worked together for most of the 2nd lap, until they turned toward the finish climb. The 3 older juniors sat up a bit, to let Jordan and Darrell duke it out. A lot of cat and mouse, with neither rider wanting to take the lead. At the base of the climb, Jordan was stuck on the front, and rode a soft tempo. With 200m to go, Darrell made his move, and Jordan responded easily. It came down to the wire, with Darrell winning by a wheel.
Jordan was disappointed at first, but then realized how great it is to have such a tight competition. It still comes down to Monday's Criterium. Whoever wins the Crit, wins the omnium for the stage race.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Jordan dominated the Younger Juniors at the Wrenshall TT, winning by almost 2 minutes over a Michigan rider, Darrell Kohli.
In today's South Range Road Race, it came down to a 2-up sprint between the same 2, with Darrell beating Jordan by a wheel. Since the juniors are scored as a points omnium, and not on time, Darrell and Jordan are now tied. Juniors Under 14 GC
Jordan is up for the challenge, and will be bringing his A game to the next 2 stages.
Unfortunately, the Leaders Jersey weighed heavy on my shoulders in today's South Range Road Race. I rode comfortably for the first 2 laps, but then I got soft legs the last time up the long grinding climb, and popped. There was nothing I could do but watch the gap open. As a consolation, I was able work with Chad Christenson, Matt Muyers, and Todd Kinart to limit the damage. Chad was my biggest ally, and we both drilled it to keep it close. Even with most of the 9 riders up front working hard to pull as much time out of us as possible, we were able to keep the damage to just over a minute. I dropped to 3rd place, 50 secs behind Jacobs, with Dobbertin taking over 2nd spot. Current M35+ Open GC Standings
Thankfully, Charlie Jacobs will be wearing the jersey tomorrow. Have fun with that Chuck. I plan to be a different rider at Lakewoods, with my normal colors on.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Jimmer (Courtesy of Skinnyski.com)
Jimmer and Carla (Courtesy of Skinnyski.com)
We're so used to TT'ing in the wind lately, you'd think a calm night at the Dog would result in some scorching times. Not really the case. The fact that it was a Nature Valley Grand Prix qualifier drew a lot of fast riders who don't frequent the Dog. I don't remember the last time there were 14 riders under 15 minutes.
That said, those that frequent the dog, generally felt it was not a fast night. Doug Swanson won the night in a rare sub-14 time of 13:58. Ian Stanford was 2nd, 20 seconds back, and Aric Hareland was 3rd, 33 seconds back.
I won the Masters 35+ in 14:55, nearly the identical time I rode Sunday in much windier conditions. The effort hurt way more than either of my previous 2 efforts, but the time didn't show it. Kind of the way it goes at the Dog.
Parker and Jacobs opted for the Open Category, seeking qualifier points for their teams. Parker tied me with a 14:55, and Jacobs was just 1 second back. It's amazing how close the 3 of us have been in all the TT's this spring.
Jordan improved his PR from this past Sunday by 1 second to 16:19. He seemed a little disappointed, but he'll learn that gains don't always come in leaps and bounds.
Carla and I rode the Tandem again, and rode a couple seconds slower than 2 weeks ago, posting a 16:24, putting us 2nd behind Townsend/Berde again. That means Jordan beat us, which was inevitable. It is way fun making the Dog a family event. Maren, you're next.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Jet Cycling in California hooked us up with all the info we needed for booking our trip for 2008 Junior Nationals. The entire event is promoted in conjunction with Disneyland, with discount lodging and park tickets booked through gettravel.com The best deal is for the Host Hotel, the Anaheim Hilton. $119/night compared to $259/night normally.
Everything kicks off on Tuesday evening, August 5th, with all the juniors participating in a bike parade down Main Street at Disneyland. Each night the awards ceremony takes place at Downtown Disney. Working Disney into the equation was perfect for us to turn it into a summer vacation. All 4 of us are going now. We even scored 4 frequent flyer tickets on Northwest.
The Schedule for Juniors 13-14:
Wednesday - Time Trial - 12K
Thursday - Criterium around Angels Stadium - 30 minutes
Friday - Road Race - 22 miles (5 laps of a hilly circuit)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Casper avoided collision with a warming down cyclist, to win the Charity TT at Black Dog. His time of 14:38 was good for a 3 second beat of teammate Koeneman. With many fast guys noticeable absent, I was able to grab 3rd spot overall, and 1st M35+, in 14:53. I just edged out Charlie Jacobs (by 1 second), who probably had me, but misjudged the finish, and sat up a little early. Binkowski rounded out the top 5 in an impressive time of 15:09. Pretty fast times for all, given the moderate NNW wind.
Jordan improved his PR by another 16 seconds, winning the juniors in a time of 16:20, averaging 24.9mph. The hard work is really paying off Jordo!
I missed the W1/2/3 results, but I heard that Cam won. Click the results photos below to enlarge.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Timmer rocked the windy, rolling 25.24mi Rib Falls TT course in a new course record of 58:44, for his first win of the season. An impressive effort, given the nasty NW wind which resulted in gusty cross winds over the entire course. Lance Niles was 2nd, 19secs back, with Morgan Wiswall completing the podium 28 seconds back.
I finished 4th, 55 seconds back. That's almost the exact same gap Timmer took out of me at last week's Synergy TT. I'm definitely happy with that. Tristan Bentzler (aka Maximus) rounded out the top 5. I continue to focus on my Cadence in the TT's, and today I managed 90rpm, which is right where I try to stay.
Before the start of the TT, I was debating switching out Jordan's disc for his deep dish rear, but decided to let him ride the disc. I got blown all over the road, so I can't imagine how much Jordan got tossed around. I was riding center of the lane most of the time, and whenever I transitioned from a sheltered part of the course, the gusts would move me clear to the edge of the road. Pretty scary stuff.
Jordan persevered, and rode an impressive 1:12:19, which is almost 9 minutes faster than last year, which was a relatively calm day in comparison. Nicely done Jordan. He was mad at me because I didn't have him wear cycling gloves, which caused his sweaty hands to slip all over the aerobars in the wind gusts. Sorry buddy.
The wind aside, it was a nice sunny day. We headed home after the awards right into a nasty thunderstorm in Chippewa Falls. Glad we didn't end up riding in that.Stormy Drive Home
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Last track meet of the season. Man, that went by fast. Maren is so happy she switched from the 400m to the 1600m. She improved on last weeks time by over 8 seconds to finish in a meet PR of 6:20, taking 5th place. She once again demonstrated her strong finishing kick, catching and passing a girl in the finishing stretch who was a solid 50m ahead of her most of the race. I'm way proud.
She also ran the 4x400m relay, and their team dominated, winning by a healthy margin in 4:42. Very nice. Maren says she still hates the 400m, even when they win.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Whatever the reason, I owe the Andys an apology for my confrontational comments on the MCF message board and BTDC.
Bike racing is way too much fun for me to be taking it this seriously.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The rain actually held off, and we had dry racing all evening. With P-slim back in town, Jordan and I opted for Opus instead of TNT.
Jordan raced the Cat 5's. There were a couple of "unlicensed" ringers in the field, and they took off from the gun. One guy was able to bridge up to them for a few laps and gobbled up the 3rd place points, while Jordan was left chasing with the rest of the field. The guy came back, and the 3rd place points were up for grabs again. Jordan had a well timed sprint, and took it. Jordan tried setting up for the final sprint, but the guy who was with the leading 2 earlier jumped the group at the bottom of the hill, and took the final 3rd place points. Jordan scored 1 point, which placed him 4th overall. Nice job Jordo.
The Cat 1/2/3 race had a ton of loons including newly returned P-slim. Grandstay was there again in force, but GP and Flanders were noticeably absent. P-slim was able to take one of the first sprints. Nice! Shortly after that, Doug, Jens, and Carter got away, and that was that. No one to give a serious chase, and they were gone. I attacked several times just to keep the race lively, but Grandstay was in complete control. I have to say my legs lacked "snap", and I am due for some rest. Doug ended up taking most of the points on the night for another convincing win. Well done.
We capped off the night at Jimmy John's with Donimator and P-slim. Good times.