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The Race Reports Thread 2010



  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    Probably protectionsim to give us none climbing Taffs a chance :lol:
  • Dess1eDess1e Posts: 239
    Pross wrote:
    Probably protectionsim to give us none climbing Taffs a chance :lol:

    Even PTWCC didn't get in. Accomodation rules and FCFS apply I believe.
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    HQ is only about quarter of a mile from my house so if anyone wants to rent some accommodation :lol:
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    jibberjim wrote:
    but I was just not expecting the welsh guys to be so poor climbers!

    unfortunately, there's more to being a good climber than just being welsh... ;)
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Dess1e wrote:
    Toks wrote:
    Great report as always Jim, well done to you, Maryka and the Wheelers. I hope the Dulwich guys who went down recover quickly. A storming stage win by Dynamo's showing the locals how we do things down South :wink: (I see nobody on Veloriders was prepared to give the LD massive their props), ..That David Povall's a sandbagger. :oops: I'm sure he's been a 1st cat before :wink:

    To be fair Toks, the thread on VR was discussing the VR team, who did win 2 stages with a local rider Besides VR as you know is pretty much tounge in cheek..
    Yep I know Des it's all forum banter, I think :wink:
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    softlad wrote:
    jibberjim wrote:
    but I was just not expecting the welsh guys to be so poor climbers!

    unfortunately, there's more to being a good climber than just being welsh... ;)

    Yes, but it's a good starting point (unless you are over 14 stone) :lol:
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    jibberjim wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Are you doing the Ras de Cymru?

    Doesn't look like we made it in :( Which is a real shame!

    Okay, scratch that, we're in apparently! So I'll be back in Wales for some more experience on how not to race.

    Or maybe I'll suddenly get it and get some results!
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • LJARLJAR Posts: 128
    2nd Race!

    Aim: try to establish a gap and time trial to win an intermediate sprint (£10 after all!)

    EPIC FAIL. I almost got blown out the back after the thigh burn set in :lol:

    In the final sprint someone went down in front of me and, though I stayed upright, I ran over the poor sod's arm.

    Any tips for staying on wheels? I just can't seem to keep in the slipstream reliably and I waste way too much energy.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    jibberjim wrote:
    jibberjim wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Are you doing the Ras de Cymru?

    Doesn't look like we made it in :( Which is a real shame!

    Okay, scratch that, we're in apparently! So I'll be back in Wales for some more experience on how not to race.

    Or maybe I'll suddenly get it and get some results!
    It's a absolutley brilliantly run event i did it in 2008 & 2009. Keep us updated with reports. Good Luck Jim.
    PS. If the organisers keep things the same, stage 2 hilly stage, would be a great one for yo Jim. 20-30 miles in there's a 'box hill' type climb that will blow the race apart. Stay near the front and good things will happen, I'm sure :D
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    LJAR wrote:
    Any tips for staying on wheels? I just can't seem to keep in the slipstream reliably and I waste way too much energy.

    Relax, relax, relax (don't tense up shoulder, hands, neck. )

    Concentrate and anticipate: look ahead frequently because you may be using excess amounts of energy when things ahead may actually be slowing down

    Be wary on climbs - peeps getting out the saddle may result in a touch of wheels

    Take extra care when your front wheel overlap some one's back wheel. If they switch on you you'll go down

    Race lots and lots. There's no truer statement than 'Practice makes perfect!
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    North Road CC
    3/4th Race
    Hog Hill (Redbridge Cycle Centre)
    60mins + 3 laps

    OK so how do two non-climbers, non sprinter types from Addiscombe CC ensure they get a decent result at the infamous Hog Hill? Hmm…well I said to Kieran I’ll try and animate things and go with as many attacks as possible and you just sit on chasers and get away when our group gets pulled back. Kieran, unassuming as ever, smiled and said he hoped we’d have a good workout; perhaps he didn’t have a lot of faith in my tactics.

    North Road CC had the largest contingent of all the racers so I thought I better keep an eye on them. I sat on the front for the first two laps just to size things up and remained in the top three for at least the first 6-8 laps. Two London Phoenix riders and a guy from Chelmer CC seemed pretty lively members of the bunch so I marked all their moves. I then slowly and perhaps naively began burning my moderately size box of matches: an attack on the climb here, an attack on the decent there, a surge into the headwind, and numerous jumps out of the hairpin. Ok you get the picture!

    With fifteen minutes to go a slightly smaller but ever watchful bunch still remained. We’d managed to shake off a few lightweights from North Road CC and I was now kinda tired. I tapped one of the London Phoenix riders on the back and hinted that we should unshackle ourselves from the rest; a lap before the preem myself, him and his club buddy dug deep and secured ourselves sometime in the freedom zone; I was pipped into 2nd on the preem and 2 ½ laps later ‘breakaway-blockers-r-us’ arrived on mass. Hmm!...A short recovery and then with three to go I gave it the 53/19 treatment on the climb and winced as I almost popped my calf muscle. Yes…I finally had a gap, surely this was the one. No chance! Welcome to - head wind, searing quad pain and a bunch of blokes who hadn’t paid a tenner just to make me look good.

    The penultimate kick up the climb bought me 15metres and to my right Kieran showed up right on cue. With the din of the bell still within earshot I shouted, “Go Kieran Go” as he negotiated the short sweeping left-hand bend after the finish line alone; crouched down in pursuit mode he quickly disappeared down the decent. The bunch inevitably accelerated up to my back wheel and I parked myself a few places from the front.

    The strong Chelmer CC guy who had mistakenly sprinted for the finish with 3 laps to go (Doh!) stepped on the gas and the gap towards Kieran looked in serious jeopardy. As we hit the headwind section after the hairpin I rolled to the front and faked a little jump out of the saddle. I then switched to Saturday club run pace which bought Kieran a few more metres. It seemed like the circuit was now twice the distance and the effort had take its toll – I heard a rider shout “oh no” as his legs finally shut up shop. Upfront Kieran was now literally creeping up the climb to the finish. Seeing his chance, one of the Phoenix riders turbo-charged his way out of our depleted bunch. I jumped and held him briefly as sprightly looking Cevelo’s, Specializeds, Treks and Giants swarmed past me. I managed one more pitiful revolution of the pedals before the legs finally ceased, but all the pain was assuaged by the fact a gold, black and white Jersey met the chequered flag first.
  • gattocattivogattocattivo Posts: 500
    Great work and great report
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Hog Hill Summer Seris 24.06.2010

    I'm not sure what's going on at Palace these days (there were 4 crashes on Tuesday and a lady was hospitalized with a broken collar bone the week before ...How refreshing it was then to race last night with 50 blokes and nobody put their front wheel where it wasn't supposed to go and nobody banked their bike over at 45 degrees whilst pedaling around the hairpin. :D OK so tonight was 'circuit race' number 5 for me. I'm not sure about the rest of you racers but it normally takes about five races for me to get those good sensations. Yeah you know that James Brown feeling. 8) You're more in tune with the what's going on - no unnecessary digs are require to close gaps, you read the race well and notice who will pull you across gaps, who's a bit of a plodder, worth staying away from and ultimately feel a bit fitter too.

    My first glance at the computer and 30 minutes had already gone by :shock: I won't lie to you this this 'sweet spot group' thing is great but I kinda feel like I'm cheating a bit or haven't truly raced unless I spend some time off the front in a 3rd cat race. Mmm... now most digs inevitably take place on the climb but things were a little crowded for my first attempt so I waited till after the descent and when we rounded the hairpin. The oldest sprinter in town Rapha's Dominic Gabolini suddenly stole my thunder and I just ended semi sprinting up the climb into 3rd position. A couple of laps later I was off on my lonesome for real and my 40 metre gap was closed down so quickly I almost had to ask myself what exactly I'd psyched myself up for.

    A 45 year old cardiovascular system takes some coaxing to return to normal functioning so I spent a lap doing a knackered old canine impression; and then without a hint of irony a Junior rider from Southend Wheelers, wearing number in the 40's showed me how to do effortless kangeroo maneovres for the next few laps but without the ugly huffing and puffing reovery bit

    Whatever!..and a few laps later I kicked out on the climb which resulted in me spending a lap off the front. Those tentative links with other riders which lead to breakaways were not to be. Like a bad marketing plan neither myself the Dulwich guy, the London Pheonix dude, the Chelmer CC guy, the Dynamo or the eventual race winner were able to combine our efforts and break free. Back in the bunch my tongue at least remained in my mouth and a few good sensations remained. Whatelse can you do? sometimes you have to be happy with your averageness. My preparation for the sprint wasn't the best and I really need to stop telling myself that I can't sprint because it means I can't sprint. I hit the bottom of the climb in close to 20th position (nice one :roll: ) and only remember one person going past me and I finished 14th. Next week I'll try and prepare a little better for the gallop and we'll see :twisted: The Merckx Files
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Prologue ITT

    Changed from the hilly prologue, to a longer but supposedly flat TT going out on the A48, as I'm at the heavier end of the spectrum this was probably good for me, not so good for the team with my lightweight climbing team.

    Not much to say about an ITT, especially one of 5.2miles you hammer it, then you hammer it some more, trying to go hard the whole time, it wasn't completely flat but nothing of any serious gradient.

    So here's the stats:
    Duration:  	11:25
    Norm Power:	382
    Distance:  	8.378 km
    Elev Gain:    75 m
    Elev Loss:    95 m
    				Min	 Max	 Avg
    Power:      0		973	 377 	 watts
    Heart Rate: 120	 177	 172 	 bpm
    Cadence:    32	  147	 104 	 rpm
    Speed:      23.2	61.6	44.0 	kph

    Good enough for equal 20th overall, which is a little surprising, but I think says more about the number of skinny climber types in the race not so suited to the tester focused course.
    41 seconds down though, but between 10th and 60th there are only 30seconds or so, nothing with the mountains still to come.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Stage 2

    Described as a hilly road race, but it was really pretty flat, just one 2 minute power climb on each of 6 laps, which was immediately followed up by a long crosswind descent and then an even longer tailwind gradual descent on a main road. Half the course was on a very narrow road that had recently been chip+sealed and had a fair bit of loose gravel. Finish was off the course, on a completely flat bit of road, but into a head /crosswind.

    Started off fast, even the long (12km and 21 minutes) neutralized section although that was more stop and start. The riding was pretty sketchy in the 100 rider field, lots of people forcing themselves into gaps and it was a real effort to hold position, I was doing a pretty bad job of this, especially on the narrow gravel where I just wasn't aggressive enough and ended up drifting back every time.

    First time up the hill - 550m at 8.5%, 2 minutes but coming after a sprint out of a roundabout and a previous fast section, making it really one for the punchy rider, or the pure skinny whippet. I went wide passed a few people to get a good position and climbed it not comfortably but nearer the front of the bunch than the back, and feeling "okay" with it. I knew I wouldn't be challenging for a Hill Prime, but felt I shouldn't get dropped.

    It was very stressful in the bunch, aggressive riding, and I often wouldn't fight for a position and find myself near the back, before coming back to the front with some waste of energy. This was probably the most stressful race I've done, considering how non-selective the course was I had to use a lot of energy staying in it, a surprising amount considering I did very little in the race.

    One time I fell off the front, following the current yellow jersey (who has yellow shorts, yellow bike, yellow toe covers as well as the race provided jersey, a little strange, must have some confidence though!) but nothing was really happening, and I wasn't interested in working, soon I was back in the bunch.

    Two guys got away, I completely missed it, indeed I didn't know anyone was away until we got some time gaps. Which was a bit bad, no teams were chasing though, a little surprising (with me our highest placed GC guy in 20th place, I don't think we really had anything to do!)

    I'd given up even fighting for a good position at the base of the climb, I was sure the bunch would stay together, so I just climbed where I was, a right decision as I never got gapped even really and saved some effort.

    Coming into the final turn, I'd taken it easy up the climb, but also let things wonder mentally on the last descent down the main road and was near the back, even getting gapped on the turn off the circuit, I sprinted back on - my highest 20second power of the day and actually found myself going further forward through the bunch all the time, as I tried to get away from a lot of poor riding again to some safety and the front seemed safer than the back! Not sure why, a safe bunch finish is in everyones interest compared to the broken skin and bikes of an accident, but it seems everyone is still sprinting for 37th place in day 2 of a stage race.

    There was the inevitable crash behind me, but I had a pretty good run to the finish, only to find a rider out of the saddle weaving all over the road, a good 5kph less than our speed which forced me to back off - more aggressive riders went by him, I took more care, only passing him near the line, somewhere in the top 15-20 at a guess.

    Maryka unfortunately lost over 15minutes, unfortunately being dropped early, courses with power climbs are always a problem when you're female, let alone 52kg, and the large and unfriendly bunch on narrow roads made it difficult to improve that with positioning. She rode a lot of the race with others in various groupings, and still finished above a fair few including a few riders that the bunch lapped. She does appear to be still leading the womens competition ;-)

    Results aren't in yet, but probably not a lot of change from the day before, most people were in the bunch, 20 or 30 at most not, and just the 2 away. Two big stages tomorrow with a very tough TTT (especially for me trying to hold the others up a some long and steep hills) and then a very hill stage with a hill finish.

    Power stats including Neutralized.
    Duration:  	2:29:19
    TSS:       	223.9 (intensity factor 0.948)
    Norm Power:	304
    VI:        	1.33
    Distance:  	99.8 km
    Elev Gain:    	1023 m
    						Min	Max	Avg
    Power:       	0	  1098	229 	watts
    Heart Rate:  	85	 178	 147 	 bpm
    Cadence:     	35	 146	 98 	  rpm
    Speed:       	3.9	74.2	40.1 	kph

    The 2 minute hill was the only real standout effort, peaking the 2nd time up at 510watts for 1:53, but the 5th time up I only had to do 394 for 2:12 as everyone relaxed. Last climb was a bit more, but still a pretty relaxed day all told, where I probably wasted a lot more energy than I needed too. I'm sure I could've stayed in the bunch with a good 15% less watts with a little more sense.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Nice one Jim, good write up mate!
  • LJARLJAR Posts: 128
    Dunton Go race.

    Number 3 for me, I was just trying to get in the front third and work out how to stay there. Unfortunately I ended up being left out on the front and wasted too much energy pulling others along.

    Got dropped for the first time :(

    I didn't feel good at the start, so maybe I should listen to my body a bit more (shut up legs!:))

    Still had fun though!
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    LJAR wrote:
    Number 3 for me, I was just trying to get in the front third and work out how to stay there. Unfortunately I ended up being left out on the front and wasted too much energy pulling others along.

    :) Remember, if you're on the front, and you don't want to be there, SLOW DOWN, there's no obligation to work just 'cos you're on the front, it's not a team trial!
    LJAR wrote:
    Still had fun though!

    Good! That's the important bit.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Good report, well done Jim and Maryka. :D Any links to results or GC?
  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    Looks like they are updating it daily here,

    Tough race for me so far! But no pressure as I'm the only woman. :(:D

    Hopefully today will be a bit better as it's got some more sustained climbing in the road race. TTT to come first though.
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    maryka wrote:
    Looks like they are updating it daily here,

    Tough race for me so far! But no pressure as I'm the only woman. :(:D

    Hopefully today will be a bit better as it's got some more sustained climbing in the road race. TTT to come first though.

    I noticed that on the first days results. What happened to the Welsh Women's team that was on the start list? I know one of them got concussed in the crash at the Nationals but I'm surprised they couldn't fill her space :?

    I'll keep an eye out for you both tomorrow and Sunday. A bit hilly tomorrow, the first climb starts of fairly steep but flattens into a long steadish climb (I've got a sentimental attachment to it as it was the first climb I ever went up on a club run!), the second is just a long steady drag and the final one is a short steep effort similar to yesterday's. Sundays stage is probably a bit hillier than it sounds (described as flat with a mountain finish), there's a few lumps and bumps with some short but steep 'tumps' over the canal and a couple of other short climbs before the big one to the finish. The road out to Brecon is also very narrow in places for such a large bunch - keep near the front!
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Stage 3 TTT

    The average weight of the 3 other members of my team is 56kg, I'm over 76kg, the TTT course has two big long hills in it, this was never going to be an easy ride for me. Up the first hill I did okay, managed to hold on okay, 6 minutes at 353 watts, so perhaps even we held back a little too much. On the flatter part we rotated pretty well and kept up a reasonable pace I thought, but again I suffered by having the tiny guys in front of me, the draft is not the best!

    Caught out very unfortunately at the turnaround, a car stopped on the roundabout before us and then slowly went round with us screaming in annoyance, lost maybe 10 seconds, and this then brought us to the longer uphill strong headwind section. Even with the strong headwind I had to scream a lot to the guys to ease up, and lost the wheel often - I was actually riding reasonably well for me in terms of watts, but it wasn't enough for the team, Having 20kg's more just left me struggling. The hill finally ended and the sprint down the hill started.
    Disappointing time in the end, 29:55 and only good enough for 14th place team, we should've been able to do better, but I just wasn't strong enough, my power file barely shows when I was on the front vs being on a wheel. My power really does show I couldn't've done a whole lot more though.

    Hopefully it didn't take too much out of me for the afternoons road stage.
    Duration:  	29:55
    TSS:       	57.1 (intensity factor 1.071)
    Norm Power:	343
    VI:        	1.03
    Distance:  	21.529 km
    Elev Gain:    217 m
    				  Min	Max	Avg
    Power:     	0	 1042	333 	watts
    Heart Rate:	94	168	 162 	bpm
    Cadence:   	36	136	 104 	rpm
    Speed:     	12	67.8	43.3 	kph

    The 1000 watt effort was in getting to the front down the final hill, so my weight could be a little more of an advantage!
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Stage 4 Defynog Mountain

    A 3 lap circuit, hadn't had time to check out the circuit, but had trusted bikeroutetoaster which said it was a long climb at 6%, sounded good, just the sort of thing we were looking for when we came to Wales after the very Surrey-like power climb the day before.

    Friendly fellow riders then mentioned that it was actually 18% and rather steep, I trusted them, and quickly changed to the 11x28, and boy am I glad that I did, as it certainly was an 18% hill.

    A break went very early, and got a good gap, mostly I think because we were on the dual carriageway and it was impossible for anyone to move up to get to the front to actually start a chase, before the sprint it was just caught enough by the team interested in the points competition before immediately pinging out again as no-one else took up the pace when they went straight after. A couple of people including a strong teammate tried to bridge, but it was a tall order particularly once on the headwind false flat before the climb.

    Up the climb I started reasonably well positioned and actually managed to crest just at the back of the first group after the break, who'd swapped a couple of people with the strongest climbers in the bunch for the heaviest people in the break. I had two teammates in a small group of 12 or so, including the yellow jersey, and I really started chasing across the top and on to the downhill. Even managing to descend surprisingly well as I'm not a great descender, particularly on roads I don't know and when I'm made to lead, but I was doing turns down the mountain. Onto the flat the speed kept up through most of the tailwind, only about 6 of us working, with 1 guy actively blocking (which turned out rather odd post race when I discovered he had no-one in the break, so why I don't know). After awhile though the yellow jersey switched to also blocking, I think when he realised some groups behind were beginning to get close, as he also had a teammate in the break and was only working to keep us away from people behind.

    With the chasers depleted, and the blocking happening, we soon started soft pedalling particularly once we started going up hill and I also gave up. Here started lots of surges and I was getting annoyed holding a position at the front and ended up spending 10 minutes sitting on the front tapping out a 250watt tempo simply to avoid the surges. The pace was slow, slower than the average club run, and the group soon swelled back to most of the race.

    A couple of attacks, and a brief flurry of activity before the town at the base of the climb before it settled down again as the heavier people were happy at the front. I was still there though and decided to attack early on the false flat and climb the hill all out at my own max pace, rather than trying to have the pace dictated to me. I was easily let go, and started climbing, eight and half minutes later I was at the top of the climb, having pretty much climbed it close to my max (364watts NP for 8.5 minutes). Unfortunately having got a good lead on the false flat headwind section, by the hill just about the entire group had gone past me, and I crested the mountain with a good 50 people ahead of me. A complete fail, and I was chasing down the mountain again, this time from the back of a bunch, rather than after anyone. I got back to the lead climbing group as we turned onto the main road, having passed a lot of folk, but it was kind of pointless really as they all chased on too no problem.

    The race sat up again until the base of the mountain, and again I was nearer the back than the front over it - no excuse about attacking this time, I just wasn't feeling so fresh, 3 1/2 minutes at 402 watts is all I could muster, mind you the motivation wasn't there knowing I could chase back on.

    Everyone got together again, and then on the run into home there were a few attacks, the pace stayed high, I held a position near the front but nothing more and up the uphill finish the tailwind made it pretty easy and I just made sure no gaps opened up ahead of me whilst sharing the view expressed by another that I had no idea there was so much prestige over a very minor place on stage four of the Ras as others took rather a lot of risks in the sprint. Fortunately no crashes and again I was in the top 20 of the bunch, but 9 were away and gained 5 minutes on everyone.

    Annoying stage, again a short 3minute power climb - I set a new 3 minute power record the first time up it - made irrelevant by the long, long descent after. So far all the races could've been in Surrey, which isn't what I was expecting.

    Turned out to be a relatively easy stage, Just the 3 hard sections up the mountain really, stats including neutralised below. Still after the TTT in the morning, it was still quite a big day overall.
    Duration:  	2:25:41
    TSS:       	198.9 (intensity factor 0.905)
    Norm Power:	290
    Distance:  	93.308 km
    Elev Gain:    1155 m
    					Min	Max	Avg
    Power:       	0	 1183	232 	watts
    Heart Rate:  	90	 175	145 	bpm
    Cadence:     	31	 146	98 	rpm
    Speed:       	10	79.3	38.5 	kph
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Stage 5

    Finally we got a stage with long sustained climbs, just two of them, followed by a long flat 30km to the finish. First off though 16km of neutralised section over a recently chip and sealed road, and that's where my day started going wrong.

    5.5km into it, I front wheel puncture, at least it was front so I kept the powertap (I'm rather sad about my stats) and I thought, ooh maybe I'll get a Zipp! but no, just an Aksium race with Michelin Pro Race 2 tyres so nothing bad, but no improvement on what I had :) 4 minutes at 320watts to chase back on, the race still neutralised so not much of a panic.

    The first climb started really quickly into the stage, less than 5 minutes after the start it started going up hill, with a 2 minute effort, a brief respite and then there was a solid 4km at 5% climb. Between the 2 minute climb and the long one, I'd let myself drift to the back, and then just followed wheels up the hill, there seemed to be plenty of people ahead of me, so I wasn't really paying attention, especially as I was still having to put out 350watts so I was working, however as I neared the last km it became clear that actually there were some big gaps ahead of me, and all of a sudden I was having to pass people and close gaps into the wind up the hill.

    So I crested off the group. Mostly I think because of stupidity at the start of the hill, thinking it would've stayed more together. Lots of folk were off the back though, and it wasn't too much trouble to drive down the descent with a few people working. And by the time we hit the bottom we were comfortably back on. The climb was 9 minutes at 360watts, the descent was 9 mninutes at 290, so not a giant effort and I was still feeling good, just needed a little more sense on the second hill.

    Unfortunately sense deserted me and as the bunch hit a short sharp section at the base there was a big concertina and I lost concentration on my front wheel and as a rider stood to climb shoving his bike backwards to caught me I let my frontwheel into it... and down I went, crash was slow, a small cut on the knee and my already sore hand from a crash with a cat a couple of weeks back was sore again. Put the chain back on and got going, and was picked up by the neutral service car to be paced up the hill with another rider who had collided with me.

    Was working very hard behind the car, and as I changed up on a steep part, my chain came off changing up, I'd clearly bent my mech hanger a lot in the crash, changing was still crisp, but I'd lost my 11 and 12 and had a couple of extra ones up above the 28... Another 40seconds lost here and that was the end of any hope of catching the bunch.

    I rode alone up the hill, and then started taking it easy, just riding tempo, not long before the descent to the final flat bit, a large group of 16 or so riders arrived and I joined them. With a local to lead us through the descent we did pretty well, but onto the windy flat part, it was clear few people were interested in working at all. I was a litlte surprised not to see Maryka in this group, but unfortunately I later learnt she hit a dog on a descent whilst with them which whilst leaving her unharmed, had dropped her from this group...

    Me and another rider did most turns with the occasional one from a couple of others. One crazy guy decided to repeatedly attack us, which did nothing other than encourage those people who weren't working to join in, which was nice for me, but I'm not sure what he was getting out of it, as I'm pretty sure I would've closed him down solo let alone with the few of us working.

    Getting onto the final dual carriageway we saw the lights of a group ahead and all of a sudden 8 more guys got all excited and started working and we had a good tempo going through for awhile, of course the road was so long and straight the group we could see were minutes ahead so not really worth chasing. It was nice to have the help though.

    The final climb would've probably been good for me if I was at the finish, and I had no interest in attacking every, for me riding with the laughing group is time to just roll in together. A couple of others had different ideas including a guy who'd sat in for the entire time I was with the group, I just shook my head and led the group across - it still split behind, but at least I didn't need to sprint to somehow get some validation out of being 9 minutes down on the stage.

    The crash ended the teams chance in the team competition, we'd've been up to 4th had I managed a bunch finish, so I felt pretty bad and annoyed at the end of the stage, so this night I went for 3 pints after the race, rather than the 2 I'd normally been having.

    Stats including long neutralised again.
    Duration:   2:20:17
    Norm Power: 292
    Distance:   87.371 km
    Elev Gain:  1089 m
                Min  Max  Avg
    Power:        0 1039  255  watts
    Heart Rate: 104  169  146  bpm
    Cadence:     30  136   97  rpm
    Speed:        0 79.1  37.4  kph
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    Good reports Jim. Nice that you finally got the proper climbs you were looking for - looking forward to your report of the final stage. Your team mates were well up there on Saturday and Sunday. There's a few other climbs in the area they could have sent you up that may have been more to your taste such as the Tumble or Llangattock mountain (which is the one you had to go down after the final stage) or the draggy climb from Talgarth to Pengenfordd. Unfortunately a lot of the mountain roads are probably a bit too narrow to take the race up.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Ras de Cymru Stage 6

    Finally here's the stage 6 report, not much of a report as I essentially didn't race it properly.

    My mechanic - Maryka - sorted out mech hanger sufficient to be racing by bending it with a hefty spanner and managing to get me a full range of gears, I switched to my spare wheel as the tyre on the one that flatted on the tuesday I decided was untrustworthy even after I'd changed the tube.

    My wrist was feeling pretty sore, and the race today was on the worst roads of any, so it was getting very badly beaten about, as expected though the race was ridden pretty easy through the first half, there were some harder efforts during the sprints as the sprint competition was still up for grabs, but the two hills before the mountain were both ridden pretty easy (4 minutes at 340watts, 3 minutes at 370watts) but I was generally struggling, with my sore wrist making me nervous on the wet and slippery descents as I couldn't brake properly I found myself going backwards and at the back of the bunch much more than normal and often had to sprint.

    Indeed at some point in the middle of this easy paced ride I put in my highest 5second power of the entire 5 days of racing, simply to stay on the back. All very silly.

    Coming into the base of the mountain 5.8km at 5.5% average although this included a 500m descent in the middle, the uphill bits averaged over 6% I was right at the back, and had already mentally given up on the race. I didn't bother joining the sprint at the base of the mountain, so I was instantly out of the group and had less than a dozen people behind me.

    The weather had started out with blue skies and despite the strong winds I went with dark sunglasses, they're prescription and I do need them to see, so when the weather had turned nasty I was stuck unable to see too well. By the time we hit the mountain the rain was coming down pretty hard and the wind was mostly in our face. Going slowly now I was finally able to take the glasses off, which I did and put them in my jersey pocket, or so I thought.

    Not getting into a group was a big mistake, quickly the commissaires car passed me, however shortly after I passed it back and I began reeling in people, I was riding pretty hard, pushing but struggling against the wind, 38x28 was used way too soon, before we even got to the steepest part, which causes me real grief as soon as my cadence drops below 85, I start to struggle. I was at 80 for a lot of it.

    11minutes into the climb, I suddenly heard my glasses hit the ground, I obviously put them between my number and my jersey. Being unable to see well without them, and not wanting to have them run over by the following cars, or finding them after the race, I stopped to pick them up. 25 seconds it took me, and again the commissaires car passed me.

    Again I passed the commissaires car - it was actually nice when it was ahead as there's a draft. And I set off after the guys who'd all over taken me again on my break. At the top 21 minutes, 48th place on the stage, and over 20 people passed on the hill, almost all of it done solo into the wind. Had I bothered with the sprint at the beginning, or just been better positioned after the descents, maybe I'd've blown, but I expect the pack would've been worth a lot of time. Nowhere near the top spots though so all irrelevant I was just happy to climb it.

    Ignoring the 23seconds the 21 minute climb was done at an average of 343 watts, so not that far of my top power for the duration of of 348 (for a 10mile TT) so that was pretty pleasing Paced reasonable well, in fact the last 3 minutes were stronger than others, so maybe I went too conservative early.

    A fun stage, although not one I was every going to be competitive on in the weight I was carrying. Looking at calculations, in the geeky way that I am, I would've needed to have gone in on my racing weight of 73kg rather than 77kg and found another 20watts from somewhere to be climbing with the front guys - although drafting may have made that different. Still that's not an impossible goal, and I'm wondering if I'll be back next year to try again.

    Stats including neutralised again
    Duration:  	2:13:55
    Work:      	1882 kJ
    TSS:       	174.1 (intensity factor 0.883)
    Norm Power:	283
    VI:        	1.21
    Distance:  	78.983 km
    Elev Gain:    1218 m
    					Min	 Max	 Avg
    Power:       	0	  1116	234 	 watts
    Heart Rate:  	82	 166	 140 	 bpm
    Cadence:     	32	 116	 95 	  rpm
    Speed:       	0.2	 71	 35.4 	kph
    Jibbering Sports Stuff:
  • ProssPross Posts: 33,477
    It was a hard, hard day on what is a tough enough climb at the best of times so well done. My cadence on a 39 x 25 was down to about 40!
  • gattocattivogattocattivo Posts: 500
    My second time at the Dunton circuit:

    In my first race there (6 weeks ago) I made the mistake of being near the back of the bunch when the bell rang for the last lap. I fought hard to work my way through the pack, but the gaps weren't really there and I ended up 26th out of 46 (about 40 of whom were in the bunch sprint).

    This time round I told myself to make sure I was well-positioned towards the end. Last time round there was a strong wind from east-to-west which meant you could attack on the 'hill' (more of a lump, to be honest) and then speed away down a slight descent with a tailwind on the backstraight. This time round was completely the opposite: a strong wind from west-to-east, which meant there was a tailwind for the home straight, but a hideous headwind after the climb.

    The headwind was so strong that no breaks stood a chance. It didn't stop people going, but no group ever got more than about 100 yards advantage and it inevitably came back together time after time on the backstraight. I just bided my time, no attacks this time round, and if I noticed I was getting too far back in the bunch I would work my way up towards the front on the tailwind section.

    When I guessed there were about ten minutes to go I decided it was time to get in place. I jumped up on the outside, even though it was into the headwind, and slotted in behind a couple of riders who were slightly clear at the front. I was still sitting there in third place as we passed the finish line and they rang the bell – excellent – I was exactly where I wanted to be.

    We had to pass a lapped rider on the climb and I moved up into second place. I stayed on his wheel in the headwind section and kept looking round to see if anyone was going to come past us: nobody did. As we reached the loop at the top and started to turn into a crosswind I came past into first place and started to wind up the pace. There was just over a kilometre to go.

    With about 800m to go two riders came flying past me – I got out of the saddle and gave it what I could to go after them. I slowly started to reel in the second of them, but with 500m to go a pack of riders came roaring past on my left. I couldn’t respond immediately as the rider I’d been chasing seemed to have blown and was going too slow, but I couldn’t come out to get past him. With 400m to go we were on the home straight, but the whole pack (of ten or fifteen riders) had come past me. By the time I’d accelerated up to top speed I was about ten bike lengths behind and couldn’t close the gap at all. Gah! I beat some people who were some distance back, but in terms of the bunch sprint I went from first to last in the space of about 30 seconds.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 748
    I was still sitting there in third place as we passed the finish line and they rang the bell – excellent – I was exactly where I wanted to be.
    Good so far....
    We had to pass a lapped rider on the climb and I moved up into second place. I stayed on his wheel in the headwind section and kept looking round to see if anyone was going to come past us: nobody did.
    Still good....
    As we reached the loop at the top and started to turn into a crosswind I came past into first place and started to wind up the pace. There was just over a kilometre to go.
    Oh no you were doing so well! :(

    Basically with a km to go, you've got to jump and jump hard and have the 1-2min power to hold it if you want to win (and hopefully the bunch lets you get a gap because they think you'll blow, and hopefully you don't blow). Otherwise with a km to go there's no way in hell you want to be on the front "winding it up" unless you're leading out a teammate. Think about it: you're spending 30% more effort to be there than the guys behind you, so no wonder they are able to come around so easily.

    Much better to stay 2nd or 3rd wheel then jump with a few hundred metres to go, or wait for someone else to jump and then jump on their wheel. If it's a tailwind finish, you can start your sprint early but even then starting from the front of the bunch nearly always fails unless you've got a really awesome jump. If it's a headwind you want to wait til the last possible second as so many will blow.

    Next time, pick a guy who you know is a good sprinter and who is in the front half-dozen riders with a lap or two to go (someone from the top 5 of this recent race in fact) and sit on his wheel as long as possible in the final lap. Try to go when he goes, or if you can't come around him stay on his wheel to cross the line. Then next time after that, you'll have an even better idea of what you can do to improve on that.

    Otherwise good work getting into the right position in the last few laps -- another few chances at this and you'll nail the final lap as well. Keep trying!
  • gattocattivogattocattivo Posts: 500
    Thanks, Maryka. It's a bit of a learning curve for me. The two races at Dunton are the only times I've contested a sprint finish (all my other road races have been at Hog Hill, and even on a good day I get dropped with 1 or 2 laps to go when the pace goes up, and anyway it finishes on a 1-in-8 climb so it's not exactly a bunch sprint).

    Last time round I made the mistake of leaving it too late. This time round I made the mistake of going too early. There's one more race there in a fortnight: if I do that one I might just get it right.
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