Joe Matava Crit

My neighbor Brian Cole convinced me to do Masters C/D in the annual Joe Matava crit in Burien. His wife was kind enough to watch my daughter along with his while we raced. We got down there to see the finish of the 4/5s, and Craig, one of my teammates, was already off – commenting how fast it was. Bad news. 😉 The course is along a minor hill, but it wears on you quickly. The start is a downhill, then a sweeping turn and then back up a hill, and then back around to the downhill. No real technical corners, just fast and a hill.

I lasted about 20 minutes or so into it… I followed Brian on the start, but he had problems clipping in, thus I was already on the back. I took the first corner (which is done at speed) a little cautiously at first, which of course meant I was off the back yo-yo-ing. Ugh… power sprint up the hill to catch up, and repeat a few times. The C/Ds also kept up the pace. After a few laps, I and a number of others were getting gapped. I managed to keep finding someone to give me a bit of recovery, but then I was staring at the back of the main pack moving downhill… ugh. Went as fast as I could, and started taking corner 1 pretty quickly, but I couldn’t catch up. Two laps later, pulled.

Good news for Brian though… he stuck with the main bunch, and managed to sprint for second! Good work.

I remembered reading Dessa’s blog from last year… stay in the front, conserve momentum. Yup, pretty much… burned far too much on the corner. Next time!

Boston Harbor Circuit Race

After my craptastic performance on Saturday in the Capitol Crit, I was thinking of doing the 9 AM 4/5 Boston Harbor Circuit Race on Father’s Day. However, my daughter really wanted to come see me race, which meant the Masters C (no D this time!) at 1:10 PM. Oof… OK, time to get the legs ripped off again. We packed up the wagon, and I headed down with the fam.

It was a distinctly different crowd at Boston Harbor than at the Crit. Only Craig returned, and he raced Ds along with 3 other Wines. In the Cs, we had 4 initially, and all of us are Cat 4 Cs, in comparison to yesterday – Harry, Eric, and Michael are 3s. From eyeballing the WSBA numbers, most were in the 600 – 800 range, which meant most of the people there were also 4s. Let’s see how this goes. After some good luck from the family, I was off with the field.

One of the more senior guys on our team, Byron, told me the night before that Boston Harbor was like a short, fast Mason. I was hoping this meant it was rolly hills. Kinda. Turns out it’s also very narrow with only one small section where the shoulder can be used to ride – which would be this fast down-and-up on the south end of the course right after the hairpin turn. The up is kinda steep, but then leads into the last 1000m of the course, the first ~700m of it being a false flat. The result is that it was pretty impossible to move around in the race, as the 43 of us rode 4 abreast in the main pack. There was some moving around at the corners and on the occasional attack, but for the most part things stayed fairly static.

On the final lap, as predicted everyone was jockeying for position on that final corner, thinking that whomever could get their first would have prime position on the descent and quick ascent, and then whomever the first 10 people who made it to the false flat would be in contention. The rest of us would be boxed out. This is pretty much what happened, and while there was some jockeying, it wasn’t terribly effective from what I can see as everyone was trying to hone in on the position that the guys in the top 10 were in – unsuccessfully. A few people blew up on the uphill (which was full sprint) and the false flat. I was towards the rear, so I conceded the sprint (although did sprint it out with a Fresca guy who was near me when I came over the line… not sure who got that one!).

All in all, a good race, fairly mellow actually. Few sections of ~15MPH, when some folks at the front clearly didn’t want to work anymore but nobody right behind them did either. Few minor attacks, but nothing stuck. Good headwind on the southbound east side, so that helped reign things in nicely.

Capitol Crit

Today I headed down to Olympia for the Capitol Crit – a fairly technical criterium at the base of the Washington State Capitol Building. I was feeling sluggish, so I slept in and went to the Masters C/D race instead of the early morning 4/5 race. Same time, but my experience at Volunteer Park told me that it’d be more manageable – 100 people filled the 4/5s, but Masters C/D was 69.

Well, number of people was about the same – 44 in 4/5, 42 in C/D. OK. However, as it turns out, C/Ds went with the “thin the pack” strategy. The course runs clockwise. The right side straightaway is uphill. The left side is technical and narrow, so even though it’s downhill, the pack yo-yos nastily. About 10 or so people in front were keeping the pace fast (Harry, who finished, saw that he averaged over 24 MPH the entire 40 minutes!), which meant that each lap through the narrow technical section, whomever was in the back was just getting pushed back and then having to go anaerobic to catch up on the uphill. Nasty.

I got yanked I think after 15 minutes; I need to look at my stats. Turns out only 15 people finished… brutal race. For the 4/5s, 26 finished. Still rough, but not nearly as bad. I was talking with Scott Jensen, from L’Ecole, who raced both 4/5s and C/Ds. He finished 12th in 4/5s, and early in C/Ds. That should help explain the difference in speed. 😉

Capitol Crit CDs

Mutual of Enumclaw Omnium – Road Ride

Enumclaw Omnium RR Although I wasn’t planning on it, earlier this week I decided to ride in the Mutual of Enumclaw Omnium road race. An omnium is a multi-event race, similar to a normal stage race. However, rather than scoring the winner of the GC – general classification, e.g. overall winner – based on overall shortest time, the omnium is scored on points. Points are awarded for each event; in this case, a time trial, criterium, and a road race. I ended up registering late (online only), and by that time Cat 4/5 was full. Thus, I ended up registering and racing Masters C/D. Masters C/D is similar to Cat 4/5, with the difference being Masters is 35+ (35 as of Dec. 31, 2007, so I just made it!). Also, Masters is typically previous Cat N-1… so Masters C/D is really more like older Cat 3/4, mostly Cat 3. Oh, and they’re all still pretty much in shape. Needless to say, I knew going in I was going to get my legs ripped off.

While the race bible said that the course would be a loop around Mud Mountain and then another loop north of Enumclaw, on the day of the race it ended up that the race would instead be 3 laps around Mud Mountain, similar to previous years. Mud Mountain is a about a 650 foot climb over 2 miles. There’s a short steep section, followed by a flat, followed by a medium not-so-steep section and a longer flat, followed by a long slog uphill. Then, it’s a fast, fast downhill on Route 410 back into Enumclaw.

Today, the hill kicked my ass. I was able to do OK on the first two parts of the hill, but I wasn’t able to keep the pace of the main group on the third hill and started falling behind. At the top of the hill, I regrouped with another teammate and two others and we tried to chase back on. While we made great time, we were still 200 yards away from a chase group a bit ahead of us and probably 400+ yards away from the main peleton. I had been thinking of just bailing after the first lap, but I missed the turn to the finish and ended up going onto the second lap. I let the group I was working with get ahead, as I was out of gas right before the hill. Well, some food, water, and active recovery, and it was back up Mud Mountain again. I did OK, a little slower than the first time through, but a much better heartrate. I made the summit solo, and had an enjoyable time bombing downhill. Only downside was that it had started to rain a bit, so it was getting cold and rainy. But hey, it was still nice and downhill.

I did make the right turn (literally) to the finish, and ended my day at two laps, about 1:40 into the ride. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t keep with the pack on the first hill and get some downhill peleton practice, but overall I was reasonably pleased with the two laps I had under me. I definitely need to work on my climbing though!

For your enjoyment, my HR chart from my Polar:

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