Cyclocross is a Go!
Allo allo! Lot's going on to blog about, you can follow along on this blog - you will know it is time to turn the page when you hear R2D2 beep like this: "do do-do do do...ba-baaaah". Let's begin..
The OA Victoria Chapter has been busy, we organized Learn to Race Cyclocross clinics the last 8 Saturday mornings (and we're grateful for all our guest instructors: Craig Richey, Tom Skinner, Geoff Pendrel, Drew MacKenzie, Jon Taylor and 2009 Canadian National Cyclocross Champ Alison Sydor!), and our members have been showing up at the Cross on the Rock race series and putting on a good show! More on that below. We also organized what we called the Mini 'Cross Comps, short competitions focusing on specific 'cross skills. The events were the Sand Pit Invitational, Whirly Whirl World Championships and the Short Track Sprint Showdown. Unfortunately we never got around to the Shoulder & Run Hill Climb Hustle. No one seemed very eager for that one. ;)
Congratulations to Emile DeRosnay as well, who won 2 Bronze Medals at the Canadian National Track Championships in the Points Race and Madison - he had a banner season, and we're looking forward to seeing him tear it up next year! Hopefully we have a track here..
We've also got links to all things cyclocross-related in Victoria, including the results from the Mini 'Cross Comps, click here!
The general lack of racing had resulted in an insane amount of very specific training for me! My summer (basically starting in June) was focused on 300w. My overall goal was to train myself to be able to ride the Sidney TT at 300w. (Figure a sub-25min time with that.) It was over-ambitious...my max wattage was in the 270w range (and my 1hr LT around 255w), but i figured go big or go home!
I devised a training program that essentially had me spending a lot of time at my target wattage, the basic theory is adapting my body to that kind of effort/intensity. And you know what: it was working!
Now, my max wattage for the TT come the end of Aug was 288w (~25:30 time) - it's not 300w, but it's a SIGNIFICANT jump over my previous wattage. The way it was increasing, i might have gotten quite a bit closer to my goal in another month or two.. So, pretty happy with that. 300w and more will be mine in 2010!
Now that it's 'cross season, and i've got the most solid TT base i've ever had, i'm now focused on what CX demands, and my main training has been the lovely Over/Under intervals. For this, my 'Under' wattage is my 1hr LT threshold: ~260w. My 'Over' is 350w. These things are pretty tough, and go something like this:
The entire effort is 8mins, alternating at O/U efforts. Normally something like: 2mins U, 1min O, 2min U, 1min O, 2min U. The goal is to be able to go hard, then return to a steady pace, and then hard again, and repeat this and be able to recover at threshold. Rest between efforts is 5mins.
I've been making them harder, my goal is to spend more time at 350w, so there's an extra O in there. My 'easy' repeat looks like: 2minU, 1minO, 2minU, 1minO, 1minU, 1minO. I call it 'easy' because you ease into it, there are big recovery sections, and the last O is at the end. It's always easier to go hard when the end is in sight!
I do these at the Observatory, and i find it takes me exactly 8mins doing these to get to the top. Funny that. ;)
The 'tougher' ones start off more intense, and have shorter O's off the start, so something like 1O/1U/1O/2U/1O/2U. So i'm much closer to the 'red zone' the entire effort. I don't know if this is *actually* any harder, by my HR might suggest this is the case: it's several BPM lower on the 'easier' effort.
All these efforts average out to ~300w and 8mins, plus each one include 3mins@350w. (Note that my stats show i can hold 350w for around 5mins max.) Today, i did four - i was hoping for five, but figured that was pretty good, considering i'd taken the last week off. Going into the ride, my legs felt like crap, and my EM wattage (220-240w) was feeling like a bit of a challenge, but when i got to the hill, the legs and lungs kicked in, and i actually felt pretty good!
My rest week was literally that! Raced last Sunday, no bike Mon, Tue, did the Wed night practice race in spurts, mainly following speedy peeps to check out their lines in technical sections, then cutting out the longer straights/hills, and catching back on. Thu & Fri were entirely off-bike too, then on Sat i put in some good efforts at the clinic.
Here's the general #'s from my four efforts. I mixed up the timing on my first one:
#1: 1O/1U/1O/1U/1O/3U (kind of went hard for the last 30sec)
Watts: 302 HR: 180
Watts: 300 HR: 178
Watts: 297 HR: 178
#4: 2U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O (easier)
Watts: 298 HR: 175
The last time i did these (Tue, Oct 13th) the wattage was something like: 303, 297, 290 & 293. The first two were 'middle' difficulty: 1U/1O/2U/1O/1U/1O, and the last two were progressively 'easier', the final being the 'standard'. No HR data on those. They felt like big efforts tho, but i'd been going hard for several weeks without any real breaks. I think the week off helped. Happy with the improvements tho!
So, summary from today: 32mins averaging 300w, and 12mins of it at 350w. That's a pretty solid workout, and should help me move up in the racing.. I'm feeling quite good right now (normally would be burnt out by now!) and i'm thinking that i'll just keep getting stronger until the end of the season.
The rest of my ride was basically 40mins EM ride to the Observatory, the intervals, and 40+mins back, rode the waterfront home. Full stats for the day:
Duration: 2:14:10 (2:29:07)
Work: 1568 kJ
TSS: 188.5 (intensity factor 0.921)
Norm Power: 240
Distance: 60.35 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 770 196 watts
Cadence: 26 118 88 rpm
Speed: 3.7 57.6 27.2 kph
I've also gotten Training Peaks WKO+ which is fantastic for this stuff...i'm such a numbers geek. =)
The rest of the week is looking something like:
* Mon - rest
* Tue - likely more O/U, 4x, maybe 5x if holding up at the end of #4.
* Wed - practice VCX race
* Thu - rest
* Fri - rest or 1hr EM if feeling peppy
* Sat - Race! Heading up to Errington for the Single Speed Championships!
* Sun - World Vegan Day!! Got a bunch of events lined up in the city, see The Victoria Vegan for more. =)
Cross on the Rock
We're super-lucky to have Normon and Wendy organizing this series for us, and it's probably one of the best CX race events in the world! Super-fun, a huge variety of courses, and amazing atmosphere. Why, at the last event, they had vegan Tofurkey Beer Brat sausages for us to celebrate Crosstoberfest! It was fantastic, site page here, four more events coming up, with the final three around Victoria!
My racing has been going quite well, although i was hoping for better results... Still, i'm certainly vastly improved from previous years. I still suffer from the same track specificity - i can go freaking hard/fast for 2-3 laps, but then i explode catastrophically. So, i've been pacing myself a bit better. I get a good start position, roll with the bunch for the first lap, and then settle into a manageable pace. I got my lap splits from the last race, and i was amazed at how consistent i was:
Lap 1: 8:44
Lap 2: 17:43 (so 8:59)
Lap 3: 26:57 (so 9:14)
Lap 4: 36:08 (so 9:11)
Lap 5: 45:01 (so 8:53)
It was a course that suited me fairly well, with three main sections: climbing & descending, twisty forest paths and twisty field. The climbing was miserable as usual, around lap 3 i found myself in a small group with two other riders ("red" & "green"). On the climb, they would peel away. Buh-bye!
Luckily, the decent was fairly long, and a bit technical. I was able to fly, but these two guys weren't moving quite as fast, so i'd recover and catch them at the end, and we'd muddle through the forest and field together, and then they'd be off on the climb again. Final lap, they seemed to get even more of a gap on me on the climb - how demoralizing! I pushed it uphill tho! Descended like a demon, mastered the one slippy corner, and hit the woods full tilt - Green was just ahead, and Red was significantly further ahead..
I latched onto Green, waiting for a moment to strike and pass.. There wasn't much opportunity in this section, tight twisty trails with lots of roots, rocks and loose soil if you strayed off the beaten path..
There was a big log across the trail near the end of the wooded section, and while many riders in Intermediate were getting off their bikes to run over (and then up a slight incline) i was riding the log without issue. Green hopped off, and ran up the trail. I rode the log, and got on his heels...this would be the time.. As he was remounting in the corner, i took it wide, and snuck past - yes!! He made an effort to get by on the following short downhill, but i kept him at bay..my sprinter legs and keirin experience lended themselves to this.
Next was red, who was barely in sight.. We cleared the woods and up the short climb into the field, and there was Red over 20m ahead powering away in the straight-away... I went into chase mode and kept the pace up. I could still feel Green on my wheel. This was the section that was working well for me however -- i found i was able to recover in there while following Red & Green in the preceding laps... So i rode hard and smooth, and i was reeling Red in. Green was keeping close, but i could tell he was working hard - every tight corner he'd fall back, but would sprint back up. He was doing more work than me.
There were a few final twists, the barriers, and then what would likely be a foot-sprint finish to the line..the line was just past the barriers, no point in trying to remount!
By the time we hit the barriers, i had caught Red!! I was hurting tho, and Green was right there behind me. (He'd tried to pass at one point, but it was easy to block in that section.) We hit the barriers, and Red made it through without issue, as did i and Green. We sprinted for the finish, Red had it - no chance to get by. Green was so close i could feel his front wheel on my hells - i pushed and kept my lead, and finished ahead - woohoo!! The battle for 7th thru 9th was completed...
It was pretty awesome, that's the closest i've been to actual 'racing' in an event -- usually we're all split up much more..which is pretty amazing, considering that there are about 30 people in the category, and only 2 were lapped.
I finished about 1.5mins down from Roland, my main nemesis in the series. ;)
I've been doing well to reel him in. The first race, at Beban Park, was a tough one. Lots of straight-aways, and hardly any technical or recovery sections. About the only place i could recover was the Whirly Whirl! It was brutal. Rollie finished ~3mins ahead there. I finished 10th.
The second race was at Bowen Park, and had a very long road section, lot of short, sharp climbs, not so twisty, and a huge sand-pit that you went through TWICE! There was also a HUGE staircase, but for some reason i actually moved pretty fast up it (after watching the following races, where many were barely moving up it!) I had my first ever technical in a CX race - a flat on my front! It happened about 4mins away from the pit, so i rode gingerly and managed to stay upright. It was right at the final lap, and as i was changing my wheel, four riders went by. I managed to catch three of them right away, but the 4th stayed away. I finished 12th there. I figure if it weren't for the flat, i would have been about 2.5mins behind Roland..
At Providence, i finished 8th, and only 1.5mins down - yip! The times are shrinking.... In the series, i'm sitting in 6th overall in Intermediate. Quite a gap between me and 5th, so not sure if i'll be moving up much more...i'll continue to giver tho. ;)
Alright, that's enough of an update! I'm planning to post here regularly on my training and racing, so keep an eye out.
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