Santa Catalina Omnium

The UofA crit course was pretty fun, long and fast save one very tight, very technical corner.  Early in the day, when it was cold, the paint in the crosswalk there was super slick, 7 separate crashes in race #1!  

I went out to try some different ways of breaking away to see if one would stick.  I’m just trying to learn and develop some skill and instinct really.  So if I don’t crash and I learn to be a better racer, it’s all good!

Nobody got away in my race, myself included.  After reviewing the race I now know how I could’ve won.  Whoever was first into that tricky corner, which is the last corner on the race, was first to the finish line.  I should have slammed past everybody on the front half of the race on the last lap and just buried it on the back half.  If they all followed my wheel, no matter, because once you’re approaching that corner, there’s no passing and so much speed is scrubbed in that turn, that whoever is there first has a huge jump.

As it turned out, I was 7th overall and 4th in my group.  I made my hardest move in the 2nd to last lap and it didn’t stick, so I just chased down people that were in the omnium competition on the last lap.  I let one slip away, I didn’t realize he was up there.  

It was nice having Rich Horn there cheering me on!  I’m looking forward to racing with some teammates tomorrow in Oracle.  If I win the race I win the omnium.  But, twice up that cat2 climb is a tall task.  Should be fun.  

Rubber side down and GO!

Here’s the footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrN6lKZXAkM

-Philip

 

A quick recap of yesterday’s events to start your Monday.
 
Gene, Rich S, and I were in the masters 4/5 35+ race. For the omnium I was in 2nd place, behind by 7 points. So, if I won the road race, no matter what happened, I won the omnium, too.
 
The course was 2 laps, down the hill a back up.  The day was windy and started pretty cold, even a small patch of ice on the road!  
 
Down the hill was without event but our group was pretty large.  Going down hill that fast with gusty cross winds in cold weather in a cat 4/5 and collegiate b/c kids is unsettling!  But, we made it.
 
First shot up the hill was punchy.  This is my first attempt at matching anything in a road race in almost 3 years and I was in trouble near the top. I decided to ease off and catch back on down the hill.  
 
As soon as I did, I saw the cattle guard, marking the top.  There’s still climbing after that but it’s more my style.  I could see them but couldn’t catch back on.  They started attacking each other and were soon out of sight.
 
I wasn’t sure, but I thought there were 2 guys in that group that were in my race.  I sat up and waited for a big strong dude that got dropped before me and we worked together through town, picked up a college kid on the way down.
 
I kept thinking how pissed I’d be for sitting up there if it cost me the race.  But, even on the long downhill we couldn’t see that lead group.  We just weren’t closing in.  The headwind made it tough and they were obviously working together.
 
So, about half way down I stopped taking normal pulls and just went full gas for 2 minutes.  Then, I saw the group … way ahead still.  I redoubled my efforts and at the bottom of the hill we were just 25 yards behind.  We caught them easily then.
 
I joined the pace line, there were about 10 total, including the two I brought down the hill. As I examined the two masters riders in the group I saw they were NOT in my race. All I needed to do to win was sit in and not crash. 
 
That’s what I did.  Back up the hill, the two older guys worked over all of the kids.  I just rode tempo up the hill and dropped everybody but the one kid I brought down the hill.  Turned out he had a chance to win his race so I worked for him, well tried too.  On the downhill section coming into town he lost my wheel … I was going 53 in a 25, not sure what happened there.  Anyhow, he won his race too. 
 
It was great riding with Gene and Rich and seeing Rick out there, too.  
 
Enjoy your week.
 
-Philip
 

Merry Crit-Mas 12/17/16

This was criterium number three for me and since I crashed out in number two, I was a little nervous.  The field was pretty big compared to the other races on the day … 38 racers I believe.  The weather was windy and cold. 

My goals going into the race were as follows:

  1.  Have fun – Stay Upright
  2. Discover weaknesses I have
  3. Learn tactics
  4. Gain Experience
  5. Win

Yup, winning was pretty low on the list.  In fact, I had a very tough week of V02 max work and over-unders (intervals where the rest is at 95% of FTP), a trip to the gym for weight lifting and a whole lot of bad sleep. Also, I’m working on losing weight and lost 6 pounds the week of the race.  That’s great for the future racing, but lose 6 pounds in a week and you’re weak and tired.

My pre-race ritual was better executed than last race.  I remembered my gloves (left them in the car last time), and turned on my every-important GoPro!  My warm-up routine seems to work well for me, so if nothing else, I think that’s pretty dialed in.

At the whistle there was some dude who just took off, but he was given zero leash.  Two turns in, on the back stretch (directly into the wind), and the whole field was stretched out single file. I found myself on the back as I didn’t line up early enough for a good spot (lesson learned).  So I had to move up to the front 3rd of the field into the headwind, burning some matches.  What also got burned off with the match were my nerves. Once I was racing, I was calm.

About five minutes into the race, Team Tolero decided to toughen up the race and they shelled a large portion of the field. Thankfully, racers that were lapped got pulled in this race, unlike last time.  During this time with Tolero working hard to soften the race I realized that I suck at corners.  Watching the GoPro footage I realize that I scrub off too much speed heading into the corners.  I got gapped every single corner for the whole race, but especially when there was a high pace. I burned a lot of matches regaining contact coming out of corners.

The first prime lap was interesting as the field slowed down and they let one dude take off solo and win it.  Here I made my second big mistake … I chased him down, dragging everybody with me.  I had planned on attacking after the prime, but had I read the race better I would’ve known it was a bad time. 

The second prime was more like I anticipated, but I messed this one up, too.  There were aggressive moves and the top riders all took off.  I let them go and reeled them back in. (I was fully confident that nobody in that field could ride away from me, so I could burn fewer matches by not matching their explosive attacks, knowing they’d blow up, and then have juice to counter attack when I caught them.) On the back half of the course they sat up and looked at each other, which is when I should have attacked.  I don’t know why I didn’t attack there, doh!  Big mistake number 3 … which is perfect, I came to make mistakes and learn from them.

The rest of the race unfolded like the other crits I’ve done.  I did a good job allowing others to close gaps, just following 2nd or 3rd wheel.  Then, second to last lap there was a move, I followed it.  Once that dude seemed vulnerable I attacked him but not hard enough to shell the guy at the second wheel.  This time I didn’t get cute, I played my card which is putting out power and that last lap was the fastest of the day, 27.2 mph.   I figured that if he could hang on my wheel and roll me at the finish, he deserved to win.  That’s exactly what happened.  I hate finishing second or third usually, but am perfectly happy with how things shook out. 

It was very cool having Doug and Liz Perry and Tim there cheering me on. 

Here’s the gopro footage (edited) of the race:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJQA1yn6vzI

 

 

–Philip Brown

 

USAC Nat’l Hill Climb

Aggressors:

This inaugural event was my only significant objective for 2016 so I did set up and try to follow a training regimen to prepare for it.  Since the race was to be 20km up Pikes Peak with a start line at 9,380 ft and a finish line at 14,110 ft I included altitude acclimation as an integral part of my preparation.  I researched several training blogs and concluded that about one month at altitude was the optimum acclimation period.  If one cannot do that, little or no time at altitude is the next best approach.  Most of my training effort was put in between 4 weeks and 1 week before the event.  I took 2 days off shortly before the event and did a wake-up ride with a few pushes the afternoon before the event.

Weather for this event was forecast to be lousy until the afternoon before at which time the forecast changed to clear and sunny.  In the end, it was clear, sunny, calm and cold for the race.

The format was a staged mass start in waves.  My scoring group comprised about a dozen riders (MM70+) and left the line at 0703.  The first mile or so was deceptively flat and all of us enjoyed a bit of respite before the grind.  The grade then ramped up to about 10% and was relentless with very little easing.  Our peloton quickly fractured and soon Durward Higgins and I were alone off the front.  I have previously raced against Durward last October at the Huntsman World Senior Games where he beat me in 4 of 4 events.  Halfway up he bumped the pace 1 km/hr which I could not match, although I felt that I was performing well, and slowly but surely rode away from me.  I continued to be functional to the summit and was actually able to increase my own pace slightly the last 3 km.  I am admittedly a bit disappointed with my 2nd place finish, yet I feel that I performed about as well as I could, free of strategic or tactical errors, and without any equipment issues during the race.  Durward is simply stronger than I.  After summiting,  I took some time to enjoy the views, which I reckon were 50+ miles in any direction; truly grand. 

Given that this was a US National event,  my feelings about how the event was run are ambivalent.  The choice of venue was a profoundly wonderful challenge and would test the mettle of virtually any rider.  However, the extreme altitude should favor those who are already living at altitude.  Yet, having said that, it did not turn out that way for my group; 3 of the top 5 are living at low altitude.  Of course, for other groups it may well have been different.  Surprisingly, there were mistakes in posting of results;  I was initially not even listed in the results, and I know that other riders also had issues.  Fortunately, I had a “receipt” which I had obtained at the finish line listing my exact finish time and my finish position among those who had finished in my group; a neat feature, I thought.  Perhaps the most frustrating issue was the limited timing window; cutoff shortly after 0900 with riders starting between 0630 and a bit after 0730.  The road was opened to the public at 0900 and a steady stream of cars was nearing the summit by 0915, intimidating a couple of the racers in my group into giving up and turning around to avoid the press of vehicles in close proximity.  The Pikes Peak hgwy is city owned and I speculate USAC was simply unable to negotiate a reasonable closure window with the city.  As usual it was likely about the money.

pikes2016

Rick E.

—–
I finished mid pack this weekend in my Men’s 40+ category. Gus, Kelly, and I showed up with plenty of time we thought. However after a long wait at the toll gate Gus and Kelly had to hurry to make their event. 
I thought I had plenty of time but needed to use the bathroom. A half hour later I headed out for my 2 miles of warm up. At 9000+ft I was dizzy just standing there. I had about 30 guys in my group. 
First thing I noticed was they all had compact cranks and a 11-32 on the back. Second thing was these were some hard looking dudes. 
As the race started I felt good. However within 2.5 miles I got dropped when the group surged. Ive never felt anything like it. My muscles didn’t hurt, no burn at all but I just couldn’t go any faster. 
I had to just mantain my pace and ride my race. Maybe a mile or two later there were people already on the side of the road. One of them a very fit young guy throwing up.
Ok this race is very different from any thing I ever done.
The great thing was I was starting to feel stronger every mile and was passing one competitor after another till the finish of the race. 
I believe my fitness was good but I just wasn’t quite acclimated properly. The winner beat me by 13 minutes. That’s a long time for a 12.5 mile race. My finishing time was 1 hour 28 minutes. The pro winners time was 1 hr 10 minutes. 
I’ll let the other teammates tell their stories. I will say this, anyone who finished this event is a champion in my books. Rick is my Hero at this event and I really look forward to hearing his story. 
I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to keep training, lent me equipment or just their ear when I needed it. 
I have to really thank Kelly O’Connor’s family for hosting us in their wonderful cabin in the woods.
 
Tim

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  • Mission

    Aggress is a Tucson-based statewide / regional cycling team formed in January, 2004.
    As a developmental team for both road and mountain bike racing, Aggress continues to actively – yet carefully – recruit according to a philosophy that emphasizes teamwork in both training and racing tactics.
    Our focus is to race as a team, utilizing team tactics to get our man the win. We ride in support of our designated racer, with each member in turn supported in the key event(s) of his choosing.
    We are aggressive when we race, but we behave in a courteous and sportsmanlike manner at all times. We also have team training rides that we utilize throughout the season.