Welcome to the Berkeley BiCYCLE Club2014-04-14 18:05:27
Masters 35+ 3/4
The excitement started well before ever getting to the race, as I was merging onto a nearly empty I-580. A sedan sailed by to my left when it’s passenger tired exploded with the sound and subtlety of being hit by a bullet, which for Oakland isn’t completely unreasonable. Tire and fender shrapnel spewed all over as the driver crossed two lanes in front me to get to the right shoulder. Sadly for him all the neutral wheels were at the criterium, where, at least in my race, they weren’t needed.
The course was four right turns, one of them sweeping, in a corporate park. The circuit was wide and the pavement was exceptional. I hadn’t really tapered much, and my goal was to practice my bunch sprints, and maybe get a top 10. I believe the nomenclature is a “B” race. This was my first race with 3’s in the field.
Positioned near the middle to front of the pack for the first few laps, the pace could best be described as “surgy”, with some of the turns being taken “fondo-style”, with despicably poor lines inappropriate to the form and function of a crit. The first prime bell rang and two folks near the front jumped early leaving a gap four or five riders in front of for me. No one else contested as the pace picked up approaching the line, at which point the pace dropped again, a lot. This irritated me. Instead of hitting the brakes I kept my momentum and went around everyone and made a gap. Since no-one came with me, I set my pace with a heart rate at 175bpm, something I could keep for the next 20min of the race, going faster than the group had been going until now. I daydreamed about the field possibly forgetting about me if I got two turns out of sight. The second time I came by the start-finish a woman said, “he’s gone.”, which was some motivation to keep the pace where it was. At some point they rang a bell that I didn’t hear, since I ended up winning a prime.
After a few laps of soloing, the group caught me and I sat back in. I hadn’t been going anaerobic, but could still use some rest before the final sprint. Each time I started to float to the tail end of the group I found it surprisingly easy to get back to the front during a slowing in the surge-ridden pace. Since plenty of folks didn’t keep momentum through the turns and left gaps, I could smoothly get back into line without contesting a wheel, which I hadn’t anticipated in a 3/4 crit.
On the last lap I got myself a little too far ahead as I moved up, meaning I got to the front of the group with two turns to go. The guy behind me said, “lead it out Berkeley”, which would have been fine if he had at least offered to buy me a beer. I responded with a “sure thing boss”, and kept the pace exactly the same. Through the second-to-last turn a two guys finally came around me and cut in front of me, which was perfect for getting on their wheel. Half-way down the stretch the lead guy gave up, pulled right and pointed left. The rider in front of me went hard left and I went with him. However, I don’t think he had accelerated quite fast enough to do that move. I retrospect, I kinda feel a bit bad following his line, since someone’s arm or shoulder lodged in my BikeReg logo region. This didn’t destabilize me at all, but it could have been bad news for the guy behind me and I would have felt bad if he had gone down.
I was second wheel with about 150m and a turn to go when then this huge train of a dozen guys came barreling up on my right. I came around the wheel I was following through the turn on the outside and tried to make up ground on those folks with more momentum and a better line. I sprinted strong, for me, through the finish and made up one or two places on the last 100m straight — most importantly not going backwards — and finishing 11th. With hindsight I should have come around sooner and sprinted for longer. After the race I just felt “alright”, and the bottle of wine price was a nice surprise, the but USAC rankings this morning brightened my day even more. You see, unbeknownst to me, that was “The Cat 3 Train” that came rolling by: with the top 9 spots in the race all going to Cat 3 riders. In the end I was the second Cat 4! Next time I have to be sure to board the correct train.
For Road and MTB Racers
By now you should have been racing or doing hard club rides every weekend for a month or two and the super-fitness that can come only from regular extreme efforts should be coming on. If you want to win races this year, dedicate the week to preparing for each weekend’s races, and to maintaining as much strength and base as you can without compromising the races.
Your races or club rides will now provide most of your training intensity. Do a maximum of two days in seven or three in ten of intensity above endurance, not counting short sprints or a Tune Up interval. This means that if you race twice on the weekend, there should be no intensity or intervals whatsoever during the week.
If you race hard on the weekend, there’s really no need to do any other intensity above endurance except perhaps for sprints. Remember that the upper limit of the endurance zone is at 80% of your own personal maximum heart rate, and that 220 minus age predicts the average maximum heart rate for any given age but that individuals are typically between 15 beats and above and 15 beats below that average, making the average useless for setting up training zones.
To develop a high level of aerobic fitness (which is what you need to win road or MTB races), you need to ride a lot of miles at a steadily pushing pace. No fancy-doodle hill-sprints, VO2-max intervals or one-leg exercises are going to do it.
The truth is not sexy, but the truth is what you’ll get from a good coach. Your coach will also teach you to ride with your team-mates and against the other teams. When you get into a speed-duel with a team-mate on a training ride, you are not only ruining your own chances for the following weekend, but the chances of others on your team ride. Don’t do it!
Monday: So, assuming that you raced or rode hard Saturday and/or Sunday, Monday is a restful day. If you’ve been lifting, go to the gym and do a light workout. Hit all the major muscle groups but don’t do enough to get tired or sore. If you haven’t been lifting, this is not the time of year to start. If you haven’t been lifting, go for an easy spin or a walk or a swim. Just do a good warm-up followed by a cool down with nothing in between. This should get you loosened up and recovered from the weekend more than would a day off.
Tuesday is Focus day. Warm up thoroughly and then ask yourself if you are recovered from the weekend. If you feel good and your heart rate is rising as easily as ever, do some exercises that help you correct any weakness in your riding. If not, do a recovery ride (45-60 minutes at 59-70% of maximum heart rate).
If you are energetic, Tuesdays might be dedicated to sprinting, endurance-pace hill climbing, descending, cornering, riding single-track, riding the TT bike, practicing dismounts and run-ups or anything else that has held you back in your races. You might even play “ease-out” or bumping games with your buddies.
Whatever you do, warm up thoroughly and be sure to obey the rules about how many hard days to include in a week. Short sprints of 30 seconds or less do not count as hard days in this scheme. Make the full ride at least an hour and up to the length of your longest race. Call Ron (925-337-1219), Meredith (415-516-0409), or Scott (925-933-7306 for suggestions for things to do on focus day.
Wednesday is Endurance and Power day. Warm up by spinning at endurance pace (70-80% of max) for about twenty minutes, and then ride endurance heart rate for at least an hour and up to the length in time of your longest race. Switch back and forth every five minutes between a gear you can spin 60 rpm and one you can spin 90 rpm on the flats. Pick these gears at the beginning of the ride and continue to use them even when you go up hill. You may end up shifting to 53×15 half way up a steep hill. So be it. When you are 10-20 minutes from home, switch to a spinning gear and roll home.
Thursday and Friday: If you are racing or going on a club ride on Saturday, Thursday is a rest day and Friday is a Tune-Up. If you are racing on Sunday but not on Saturday, do a short, spinning endurance-zone ride on Thursday, take Friday easy and do a Tune Up on Saturday.
The rest day you should take entirely off or spin on a trainer for up to half an hour.
The Tune Up day is generally a total of about an hour riding: Warm up, do one or two intervals near LT or a few jumps, cool down and go home. The Tune Up ride is most effective if done 18 hours or less before your start time. If you are short on base riding and looking to peak later in the year, extend the Tune Up to 90-120 minutes.
When you race, race to win. Do no unnecessary work, but be ready to give your all when the hammer drops. Do a good warm-up before every race. A good warm-up takes at least 45 minutes. An hour is better. Roll easy and let your heart rate come up naturally rather than forcing yourself to warm up hard. When you are loose and feeling good, do a couple of one- or two-minute intervals near LT with a few minutes rest in between.
For a detailed warm up routine, send your maximum and LT heart rates to ScottSaifer@Wenzelcoaching.com. After a race, always, always, always, always go for a ride of at least 20 minutes in total noodle or endurance zones. If you are still energetic and not racing the next day, practice whatever seemed to be your weakness in the race: climbing, cornering, sprinting…
For Racers Coming Off a Cross Season
Starting at the middle of this month, you can follow the plan above for Road or MTB racers. The first two weeks of this month are the same as the final two weeks of last month. If you can’t find that email, write me.
We also offer complete bike fits, threshold testing, 40-Point Ride Along Road Tests, MTB skills training, sprinting or cornering instruction, tactical support, observed training, nutritional consultation and consultation on your training or racing. For more information about Wenzel Coaching programs or services, call Ron (925-337-1219), Meredith (415-516-0409), or Scott (925-933-730, write to info@Wenzelcoaching.com or check out www.WenzelCoaching.com. Happy riding.
2014-03-30 16:08:43 RACE REPORTS Read more... 0 comments
2014-03-29 15:55:25 RACE REPORTS Read more... 0 comments