Saturday, August 26, 2006

Masters Worlds Road Race

First of all thanks to EVERYONE who sent encouraging this point I am just trying to move on and concentrate on the future. Although little reminders about the theft (like the Austrian Police report I got last night) keep cropping up. road race. A little anti climactic after the TT....mentally anyway. We had almost 180 riders in my category from all over the world! Pretty cool. I got there early and had a decent start position. I wanted to be able to get near the front without working too hard for the first climb. We went out hard and the legs felt good. Weather was and mostly sunny. The first half lap was chaotic as expected. It lined out on the first climb and stayed pretty fast. My goal was to wait...then try to cover moves on the second lap. After the 2nd climb on the course, things seemed ready to go , so I started covering attacks...I know, a little early, but it felt right. I would get in a group of 3 or 4, then we would get hauled back, then the italians would counter...I would recover and go a gain. This happened a few times taking us over to the TT course area with more open roads. Finally after a move I was in came back, I was spent and watched yet another italian counter.....and that move stuck. Just lauck really as to which one got off....too bad it was not one with me. The move hung at 10-15 seconds for a while, then went out. At this point we needed to sit, hope it comes back, then go with the counter....or if it doesn't come back, try to get a split or chase on the last lap.

We had 4 americans in the race and we had a loose least it was my idea to either get in a move, or help chase or keep things together in the finale for the faster sprinters. Belive me I had NO ointention of getting mixed up in a 180 rider bunch sprint on narrow roads with these guys. So as plan waqs all (top10?) or nothing for me.

The 2nd lap was pretty uneventful...the speed was moderately fast, but the break of 6 (?) got out to about 2 minutes. On the first climb on the 3rd and final lap I started to dig. I went hard on the climb....a little later I countered another american who had been up the road a bit...but the well organized italians were keeping everything in check. With about 12 miles to go it was time to get to work. Nothing was getting clear, so I figured I could use my energy to try to help the other guys. I went to the front and just gave it everything I had for almost 5 miles. One other rider helped...I have no idea where he was from, but he was strong. I came off the front just as we turned on to narrow roads about 6 miles to go. I was shuffled pretty far back in the group, but wanted to get to the front again....It took a while, but I did get one more good did about 5km out. I hit the front at 30...held it for a bit, then as my speed started dropping I pulled over for least no more at the front. At 3k to go things got really dicey. Pushing and shoving to get in position for the sprint. A couple of turns on hte run-in were just insane....guys riding off the road.....but it was easy to hang on. I came across nice and safe, in 84th place.

A geat experience to be sure and a very exciting race. I'll chalk it up to a learning experience this year.....great course, strong field.....and I felt like I was able to at least make a little bit of impact on the race.....but I know for sure I did not have the ability to win...even if I had made the move (which we brought back to 23 seconds)......ok, out for now


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Master's Worlds Time Trial

Woke up wednesday morning to a perfectly sunny sky and the news that my TT bike and road wheels had been STOLEN along with about 6 other bikes and 10 pairs of wheels from the garage where our group's gear is being stored.

My Specialized TT bike with my Dura Ace SRM - GONE
My Spinergy Stealth PBO road wheels - GONE

I sat in a state of dazed bewilderment for quite a heart sinking. Why today? The day of my most important event...couldn't they have waited till tomorrow at least?

I had a hard time eating much breakfast...just enough calories to get by...then I had to start thinking about HOW I was going to ride my TT at 2:20 this afternoon....not IF, but HOW and WITH WHAT. Dave who had broken his collar bone on sunday offered up his Felt TT rig and it fit pretty well. I got the saddle setback right, saddle height close, drop close, but the reach was a bit long and un-adjustable....but hey, not bad for the last minute...I´ll roll with it.

I tried to put everything else out of my mind....concentrate on getting used to the bike, and getting the legs prepared....Physically I felt GREAT. I could tell the legs were turning over and felt strong....mentally could I hold it together? I spun the 5 miles out to the TT start and back in the morning trying to get dialed in. I was using my 9 speed disc (my TT wheels and road frame were spared). with Dave's 10 speed shifters on friction. It was working ok.

Back to the room, relax, try to eat a little more, then back out to the TT start. We had a tent and some trainers out there for the whole group to use...a good set up and I was able to get a decent warm-up in. I was as ready to go as I could be....relatively relaxed.

Off the start ramp I knew something was wrong. The bike just would not stay in a gear. It kept wanting to shift to a harder gear, unless I held the lever...even then it was difficult to maintain a gear. This caused me to have to extend my arms futher than normal and I think it helped cause a bit of a diaphragm cramp about 2/3 into the course. No matter, I did the best I could and hammered away. It was a headwind out ...up the hill, turn around , then a cross tail/ tailwind home. My 30 second man was fast and I held him steady but could not reel him in until close to the end. I rode hard, battling the cramp...but had good speed. I kept my concentration, but it was tough with the hand position I needed to keep. I crossed with a time of 26:02 for the 20KM course. I think I did the best effort I could have given the circumstances. My situation did not affect me mentally or physically too was only the uncontrollables that negatively affected my time....the less than perfect set up and gear problems.

I didn't catch my placing as I crossed....all in german!....but I knew I was not top 3. Went and watched the finish board until the end of my category....I figured I was top 10 but not sure where. As it turnes out I was 5th! Just 32 seconds off the WIN! and ONLY 11 seconds out of 3rd!!! If it is possible to be happy and upset at the same time, that would describe my emotion: happy that I was able to pull off 5th with the circumstances, but extremely upset knowing that I WOULD HAVE BEEN TOP 3 FOR SURE....AND....I REALLY THINK I WOULD HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THE WIN.

Was my bike with my perfect TT position worth 32 seconds?? I will never know.

The awards ceremony was another mix of emotions. Seeing the top 3 on the podium in my category was devestating....but knowing that I have the ability to get there is a little consolation.

Mike Olheiser from our group put in a blazing time to win the 30-39 age it was great to see him get the jersey in teh presentation.

Today I took an easy spin around the road course and am trying to relax for the road race tomorrow. Yesterday was the event I had been waiting for and evything else seems a bit anti-climactic.....but when the gun goes off tomorrow.....I will forget everything and RACE.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

masters worlds part 2

not much to post today....lots of rain. Rode the TT course yesterday and today in preparation for tomorrows big event....

I race at 2:25 pm.....I can`t wait! Over 100 riders in my class. I hope I can pull off a good ride!

I swung by the awards ceremony inthe sqaure last night. It is HUGE...100s of spectators. I WANT TO GET ON THAT PODIUM TOMORROW NIGHT !

OK now to relax, visualize...prepare.


Monday, August 21, 2006

masters worlds part1

hello from Austria!

This has been quite a trip already. I flew into Munich overnight friday...arriving saturday morning....then a nice 2.5 hour drive into the alps. After a nice ride on the awesome TT course it was time to catch up on sleep.

Sunday I did a masters world cup road race on the course where the world champs road race will be next friday. The course is sooooo cool. Lots of twisting beautiful roads. A couple of climbs , but nothing too long. We had about 100 riders in my age group. We did 3 laps of a 23 mile circuit. The weather was cool and cloudy....

The first lap was extremely scary. I knew I should be at the front, but was too scared to move up...these guys have no problem pushing you off the road. Then it started to rain....not just rain...but I was scared AND I couldn´t see anything. The second time up the first climb I started to come around....but not soon enough as the movewent over the top of the climb, just as I was gettting my confidence. Now, after 35 miles of racing I was able to stay in good position...and wait for a chance to attack. My goals for the race were 1) don`t fall down, 2) learn the course and 3 get in a few good attacking or covering moves efforts. On the last 15kms of the 2nd lap I put in a couple of attcks and got nowhere...but I was coming around. On the third lap I rode the front on the downhill...then put in a buch of good attacks....even getting clear for a km or 2....and then covering some moves as well...of course this was all behind the break that was never coming back. As we hit the last 5 km in the hard rain and narrow roads, I sat up , went to the back and coasted in for 77th place....mission accomplished.

There were several other americans in the from our group, unfortunately went down on the first lap and broke his collarbone....

Now it is all about the TT on wednesday...the event I came here for. The course is 20km, mostly flat through a valley, with a nice little hill just before the turnaround. It is a course I can do well on.....but will it be good enough?