Omloop Crit – New Braunfels Day 1

The day dawned cold (near freezing), but the air was very calm as I woke up, made sure I got a great breakfast in (at least 800kcals this time), and then made my way over to the crit course at the state park. The loop itself is probably one of the best in the state, with lots of sweeping lefts, rights, and a lot of little climbs that were really no more than about 20 seconds or so. But the finish was on a fast, twisting slight descent, and the road itself was only about 15′ wide. There were also about 80 riders in my group of Cat 3’s.

My client, Cindy, started with the 4’s, who were gapped about 30 seconds after the start of the women’s open group, but by the end of the first lap, the four’s had merged with the Open, and the scrum was on. Cindy finished 7th, after a couple of bowling balls rolled some strikes and spares in the peloton, leaving her behind a crash that she then had to blow through some rocket fuel to get back up to the pack. Still, I was pretty proud of her.

By the time my event came around in late, late morning, the temperature had risen to the low 60’s, eliminating the need for arm warmers. Teammate Andy Kutach warmed up with me, and we lined up together at the start. For the next 45 minutes,we both took solid pulls, and he took a flyer early on to win a prime, before coming back to the pack.

It was a good race. Not great, but really good. I took some solid pulls, took a flyer myself, and we generally kept the speed at almost 26mph for 45 minutes. The rollers definitely helped separate some of the faster and slower riders, and I developed a plan for the final kilometers, to try and get a high placing. Sadly, inside the 1k mark, there were some really, really sketchy moves, and at about 500m, there was the heart-wrenching sound of grinding metal on pavement, accompanied with general confusion and the sound of sacks being dropped as a crash occurred right off my right shoulder. I missed the crash, but was boxed in pretty hard on the wrong side of the shoulder that I wanted, and by the time a gap opened up for me to punch through and shoot for the finish line, it was already over. A tall kid from Pro Bikes won the race, Kutach took 5th, and I finished behind him and to the right, in 11th. Not completely what I wanted, but still solid enough to merit an internal ‘attaboy’.

This course once again showed why I use the methodology I use for pre-season, early season, and race preparation. Here is the breakdown for the race wattage values, by zone, as well as a recovery lap. I can’t seem to parcel it out, so I’ll probably do some cutting and editing, but the critical thing to look at is the time spent in Anaerobic Capacity, as opposed to the time spent in Vo2max. We’ve done some Vo2max training, but after this past week, those days are over. My Texas clients will be getting a steady diet of threshold and AC workouts.

Power Distribution
From To Duration
Active recovery 1408.41
Endurance 352
Tempo 233
Threshold 271
VO2max 238
Anaerobic capacity 770

Time for this is in seconds, but the point I’m trying to make here is that for short races, like crits, and even in a lot of road races, you spend a ton of time in Anaerobic Capacity, Zone 6, levels. You also spend a lot of time in Zone 1 and 2. But Tempo, Threshold, and Vo2 are about equal, and they’re lower in overall volume. So, you train where you race. Interestingly, I’d love to see how a mountain bike race looks from a wattage perspective. I suspect, especially in Texas, that this would be similar. Pedal, pedal, pedal, coast, coast, coast, pedal, coast, etc. If you’re going to race out West, then yeah, perhaps revisiting some Vo2max intervals in the 4-6 minute range, where hills bite in to you, is appropriate, or even threshold, where you end up climbing a bunch of long passes. But in Texas, honestly, it’s how many attacks and counter-attacks you can throw. We haven’t hit them just yet at the Cycling Center (we’ve been doing some really hard, intense, high Vo2-to-AC intervals in the 90-second range), but don’t worry, they’ll be forthcoming really, really soon.

On some side notes, it was a gorgeous day, I felt like I was in control of my destiny most of the time (never felt winded, but after a breakaway that lasted maybe 2 minutes, I didn’t try again), and it was great to have a teammate out there. And we did ride together, and we did communicate. And there were other riders out there, like Jack Marsh from Rockwall, and Scott Simmons from Moritz, that you felt good around, and spoke to before, during, and afterward.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a truly hilly course, and I’m looking forward to testing my legs out there. MMP20 was a 254, with a 293Pnorm. I’m oh so close to that Pnorm in the 300’s, which is where I want it to be for Ft. Davis… But I have to put some miles in in February if I’m going to be adequately prepared for April.

Eat well, train hard, train for the events, and recover appropriately (I took a 3 hour nap this afternoon – haven’t done that in weeks), and control what you can control. I ate a good dinner, and now, I’m off to bed again, to gamble on the roulette wheel once again.

Thanks for reading!


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