November 17, 2008

BASP #3 - Night 'Cross Comes Calling...

Tom and Alec Simpson throw a pretty good party for the Super Prestige, but Saturday night was a new ceiling! Their crew and the folks at Roaring Mouse put together a fun new twist on 'cross....Night Racing. I've done some night races, they are fun because everything is more surreal, feels so much BIGGER. This was no exception. Rolling out to pre-ride one wondered if there would be enough light thrown on the course. The bumps were there. The short, crisp climbs. Rocks and dust - all the CX mainstays.
Would the darkness mask an errant bump and take me out? Strangely the visibility on the course was akin to a daylight race, I think because the haze of race level intensity is the same so a lack of light isn't really a distraction. I'd certainly say that the crowds helped....a super shout out to Liza and her crew - you were sooooo loud every lap!! It was inspiring to come up that hill and hear the cheers...thanks! Anyway - the race...

I haven't raced an Elite A CX race since 2002 or 2003. With a call up for the top 20 I was a little nervous about the start, the all important start. So I lined up way early, shot the breeze with some other guys and slotted into the 2nd row right behind Josh Snead and his flashing red bar ends (well, at least i'll know how far ahead he is - eg if I can see those lights I'm probably ok!). Off the line and up to speed - not too hard, but enough to take a wide line into the first turn/curb - hot onto single track and i'm in 4th. A couple of hard chargers, including Buckethead, slip past in the corners before the barriers, but I'm feeling pretty good and trying to recover a bit as we head into lap two. Held my own through the lap, but bobbled the barriers and got passed by one other guy, drat. Kept it up the next couple of laps, started to get some recovery and felt pretty good - time to go looking for places. 20 minutes done - wow, 40 to go...pace yourself, but go! A little hot into the slippery transition onto the homestretch pavement and, down! Not super fast...but don't those always hurt more!? I got up quickly but my shoulder and thumb hurt. Back on the bike - out of sorts and in pain. I rode the next lap or so in a daze, lost some positions and kept hearing the internal voice saying - 'you're hurt, probably should stop" - but I didn't want too..i wanted to do this race, wanted to finish in the top 15 darn it. The next few laps were painful. It actually hurt less to grab the bars hard on the bumpy stuff...for awhile anyway. Aaron Kereluk passed me and we played chase for the next 3 or 4 laps. He was faster in the technical stuff, but I had him cold on pure power. Honestly, without the injury I never would have seen Aaron - I was just faster, and Aarons fast! That felt pretty good. Unfortunately the pain kept getting worse and I spent two of our three laps braking almost exclusively with my front brake/left hand. Managed to scare myself a few times, but didn't crash. I dropped out at 36 minutes. 36 hours later I am hopeful that my thumb will be ok for districts and I think I can run with the top 5 in 35A's, we'll see.

Ok - now the fun part....the power data! I'll post the screen shot in a few minutes. I've taken some grief for putting a power tap on my cx bike. Extra weight, unreliable, blah blah blah - I'm just curious what it looks like. About like you'd expect - tons of spikes in the 600-700 range alternating with 0 watts on the barriers, downhills, turns, etc. i averaged 79rpm for the race - which is actually a good cadence for that course - slightly larger gear saves the legs a bit. i didn't have heart rate, but i'm guessing it was high!
Race Time: 36minutes
Watts: 323W
Watts normalized: 346W
Details - the race started with a 1238W punch - that averaged out to ~750W for the first 10s and 550W for the first minute. The first 20 minutes Normalized out to 356W, which if we use the Coggan formula would put my LT Power at ~340 (95% of 20min value) - which is quite a bit higher than I expected. I really wanted to get the full hour of data, but that slippery pavement didn't feel I should. I can't wait to see the next one...

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