08
May
10

2010 Cedar Hills Rally – 2:31 100k!

Head for the Hills of Cedar Hill!

The 2010 Cedar Hills Rally brought a whole host of surprises, and it began with the weather. After a long spring of rain and even snow, we North Texans had begun to enjoy a true spring, with multiple days of good weather, mild-to-warm temps, and breezes finally coming in from the South. Sure, there had been some storms that came in from the South and due West, but at least the Blue Northers were gone. However, on Saturday morning, we woke up to, get this, temps in the high 50’s, and a gusty wind blowing mostly out of the NorthEast, but really just sort of all over about three different directions on the compass. About 2000 people showed up to get their fill of the rolling hills just south of Dallas, and the course did NOT disappoint.

Several top riders from local clubs attended, but it was the Colavita team that really became the major players. From the gun, Brian Reid jumped to the front and set a blistering pace, WITH THE TAIL WIND, for about 3 miles. David Arteaga, a rider who knows these roads like the back of his hand, and had his breakout moment in this rally two years ago, also rode up front, along with several other riders, including a tandem Joe’s Pros/Colavita team, Curtis Palmer from Colavita, another Colavita rider whose name I can’t remember, and a Williams rider, along with a long-time veteran of Texas rallies, Duane Neu. Again, the pace was blistering, and I was truly surprised that the tandem riders were actually really, really good at negotiating the turns, shifting, holding on to momentum, and basically doing their part in the pack. They pulled, they drafted, they rotated through pacelines, everything. I was impressed.

In the first hour alone, we averaged 28.3 miles per hour, and after staying at or near the front for a number of pulls, negotiating the twisty course and the accompanying county roads (medium quality-to-poor quality, so you had to keep your eyes open), I rolled back to see if I could find some of my teammates… and the pack ended at 10 bicycles! Now, I need to tell you – this is REALLY rare. Most of the time, packs don’t split up and breakaways don’t form until well in to the rally, but here, some time around the first 30-45 minutes, we had actually cracked the peloton. It wasn’t an excuse to slow down, but it did make things easier for the riders who were there, and it also made things safer, since we could negotiate the turns better, and regroup after road crossings, etc.

At about 31 miles, we finally left the cracks and chip-seal and began to traverse west-bound toward the eventual turn right and trip home. The wind was howling, but with the Colavita rider on the back of the tandem (a STRONG female cyclist) directing the paceline, we were able to hold things together quite a bit and quite well, losing very little time in the crosswinds and the climbs out and back to the finish line at Cedar Hill High School. Unfortunately, we did lose two of the 10 riders, one to a flat, the other to fatigue, but the rest of us were able to withstand the turn in to the headwind, and get within 8 miles of the finish line before Curtis unfortunately cracked on a long, ever-steeper hill, facing the headwind. This put us down to 7 bikes (8 riders). Duane rode incredibly well, and Brian and David actually came to a detente of respect after they traded barbs earlier in the ride when discussing who was working more.

The finish went basically uncontested, since we were passing hordes of cyclists from other routes who were finishing up their own rides of 25 and 40 miles. At the end, we looked down and noticed that, with the challenging terrain (3000′ of climbing) and the brutal, gusty wind, we still did almost 62 miles in 2 hours and 31 minutes, a new record for myself for sure, and one that everyone else said either was or was close to their overall PR. Stats for the ride (my own) went like this: 2200 Kilojoules of energy expended, Normalized Power for the ride of  279w, IF of .976, which makes me think that either my Threshold is low, or that I need to check calibration (the cold weather necessitated a manual calibration before the start, but the Joule 2.0’s menu system is, well, still vexing me at this time, and I didn’t want to mess with it). MMP60 Normalized was a 297, so I think I WILL raise my FTP to at least 297 from 287, and see what that does for me. Average speed for the ride was 23.3mph.

Overall, it was a fantastic ride, and again, I’m surprising myself as I come in to form, just in time to save the season. Rally riding is de facto racing for many of us, and with this finish, I am confident that I can hold my own among the elite riders of North Texas.

Post-Race notes:

  • My supplement strategy involved two items: Extreme Endurance pills (6) (http://xendurance.com/), which keep the blood alkaline for a longer period of time before lactic acid overwhelms the system. I was able to completely avoid cramps and sore legs, and I felt that especially on the hilly portions in the homeward leg, in the headwind, I was able to stomp on the pedals at a higher cadence and with more force, thus matching pulls or pulling through on the group with whom I was riding. I was able to do this over, and over, and over, and after the rally, as tired as I was, I was completely void of soreness. Even descending stairs was no problem.
  • The second strategy involves ingestion of 500ml of pure beetroot juice. A study showed that beetroot juice is filled with nitrites, and the supposition is that in the body, the nitrites are converted to Nitric Oxide, which acts as a vasodilator and a blood vessel repair apparatus or elasticity improver or something like that. I won’t divulge the after-effects of said fueling, but suffice it to say that per the effort, you end up with more stamina and more strength as a result of a better blood circulation system.

Photos will be posted as they become available, but this was one rally that this author will never forget, for its’ toughness, its’ speed, and the coordination of the group with whom I was riding. Chapeau, y’all! See you next weekend!

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