Eggnog & Chunks December Crit

Okay – considering that I had not raced a true crit in about 6 months (June?), I decided to enter this because I was feeling fairly strong after some good performances in some rallies in the past few months. I also wanted to use the opportunity to race against some seriously good local cyclists, and finally, to test the Power-Tap against itself, via the Garmin. Apparently, there’s a lot of averaging going on in the Garmin, but the good news is that the Power-Tap is now recording in 1-second intervals.

I’ll go through the race first, then go over the PM comparisons. Needless to say, there’s probably a lot to cover.

I have to preface the event start with what turned out to be a really weird morning. We went to the Bikemart Christmas Party on Saturday evening, got some sleep, and then I got up real early, about 6:30, to go and pick up a Power-Tap wheel from a client who was running the 1/2 marathon at WRL. Now, American Airlines Center is about 2 miles from my house, but I decided to drive down about half way, and then take the Katy Trail, because I didn’t know how bulky the wheel would be, and if I were riding, it’d be risky. I also didn’t know if they’d shut the trail down. I got the wheel, but getting back to the house turned out to be an exercise in incredible frustration. EVERY. SINGLE. F’ING. TURN that I tried to take to get home was blocked, and the cops COULD HAVE CARED LESS. This was the ONE TIME, I wish I’d had my bike, because it would’ve been a 1000% more convenient. I finally got home about 8:30, after driving on to the Expressway, then taking my exit and driving back on a side street.

Ugh. I’d wanted to get back to sleep for a bit, but that wasn’t going to happen, and now I was going to be late if I didn’t get my bike in the car and haul out to Denton.

So, I put the head units on the bike, tested everything, and then threw the bike in the car and drove 45 miles North to Denton, and the race location. The event was .6 miles per lap, and the goal was 50 laps, or 30 miles, whichever came first. I got out of the car and braved essentially 25kt winds from the South, to go pick up my number. The course was really gentle. Flat as a pancake, run around a football stadium, with two 90 degree corners and a gentle sweeper. I’d describe it like a u-bar lock.

I warmed up, said a few hello’s, though no one really responded too much (that was weird, but thank you Troy!), and right around 11, we started the race.

I have a tendency to pop off and attack too early, and since I was among some of the giants of the N. Texas Peloton, I decided to just sit in and try to hold a position mid-pack, for at least 20 minutes. Well, that’s almost exactly what happened. I sat in, covered a few breaks, stayed low to the wind, and generally tried to figure out how the course would play, but right at roughly 20 minutes, I launched a semi-attack to try and take a prime, failed on that (3rd), and sort of ended up launching the winning break of Brett Crosby and Collin Davis, though they were all playing games on the tailwind side of the course. The winds were gusting and stronger on the far side of the course, and were amplified by the buffeting off of the stadium itself, so breaking away or trying to catch a break was really, really, really difficult. Heart rate was stuck in the 180’s and 190’s for the entire event, and even as I tried to catch a break or merge in to one, and then, finally, to just stay on the lead lap (Brett and Collin lapped the field, and another four may have as well), it sort of became an exercise in futility. I then made it my goal to last 60 minutes, and finally, to try and finish without getting pulled. I made the 60, made it to within 3 lapsof the finish before my right calf unexpectedly seized up in a cramp. I cried out, and waved the guys following me through, and then gingerly step-pedaled at a crawl (into the wind nonetheless – I was NOT going to fall over or get off that bike), until the damned part came back to sort of normal. But I was out of any running or Top 10. I rode the next three laps by myself, still pushing, but aware of the calf and the chances of a re-cramp. I came across, exhausted, but happy to have not been pulled.

Later, I learned that I finished freakin’ 12th! 12th? WOW! COOL! You know, if you think about what MIGHT HAVE BEEN…. maybe, just maybe, I would have finished in the Top 10. I mean, there were some animals in there. Wow. And it’s December. Against mostly 1’s and 2’s…. Man, that’s COOL!

Now, I know exactly what caused that cramp, so I know exactly what I need to do to fix that. Ride more and stay more hydrated. Let’s keep on keepin’ on with the intervals, and try to stay off the sodas. Sodas and beer. Sodas and beer and shakes. Oh my. Gotta work on that nutrition side of things. A lot.

Now, let’s play with the numbers….

The Ptap data was recorded on both the Garmin as well as the Ptap head unit, and I still have an Ergomo hooked up to this bike, so I used it as well. I will say that in the whole race, there was NO WAY I could look at the power data coming out of the ergometers. It was too tight, too windy, and I was working too hard. Give me a road race where I can have a look, and I’ll be smarter.

Here are the MMP60’s, 20’s, 5’s, and 1’s for the three meters.

MMP        Ptap/Ptap          Ptap/Garmin       Ergomo

60              264w                  259w                      244w

20              275w                  269w                      253w

5                308w                  296w                      277w

1                 422w                  405w                      375w

5sec          793w                   774w                       764w

BTW – all of the MMP’s in all three files actually looked to be in approximately the same position. So that’s a good sign.

So – what the heck does all of this mean?

Well, for one thing, I’m still convinced that the stinkin’ Ergomo still reads low. K factor was at 198, so if we assume that each K equals 2.5 to 3.5w, then to get it about 2% above the Ptap, I need to raise it, oh, 8 to 9 points. Geez’m crow. Will this ever end? Must. Keep. Reminding self. Ergomo will be gone soon. Ergomo will be gone soon. BUT, it gets worse…. The Garmin is getting the exact same data as the Ptap head unit, yet it’s figuring things wayyyyy differently. Oh boy. Can o’ worms here. I guess the next thing would be to figure out how the Cinqo runs with this, and compare the Cinqo to the Ptap.

If only we could get a more customizable screen on the 705. Hey, that’s what the Qranium is for, right? Oh well.

All in all, it was a good day. I matched some Pr’s in the 20-60mmp range, I finished a race with some strong riders, I did some animating, and generally I grabbed some good data on an easy course that had surprisingly tough conditions.

One more thing – It was pretty neat to watch the three best-represented teams, Metro Volkswagen and Matrix, and a little of TxTough, play the chess game. Not having any teammates, I was left to my own efforts to bridge and recover. I never had the speed or strength to get away, though, and that’s definitely something I need to work on. I was also a bit timid. Gotta work on that as well.  The teams, though, were pretty good at blocking and making other riders work for it. I know I certainly did, and if I hadn’t cramped, I think I would’ve cracked the Top 10, which would have been the icing on the cake.

I better go. I need to drum up some workouts for clients, and get them back on track. I won’t race again until January 17th, and I will be among 3’s only, I’m certain, so that will be a more true indicator of performance among peers.

Well, for one


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