Posts Tagged ‘Garmin


Mineral Wells Crit 2012

Honestly, there isn’t much to report here. Several years ago, when the Team Points Race out at Mineral Wells had just begun, I ended up riding over 2-3 days in constant, constant, constant rain, almost 9 inches of rain, and I ended up with all sorts of rusty bike parts, a cold, and exhaustion that lasted over a week. I was just young enough to enjoy it, and I did have two or three or four good teammates who made it fun. We won a lot of money, and had a great time relating the experience. Heck, it may be in this blog somewhere.

But this time, well, it rained all the way down to Mineral Wells, I had the dog with me, the course was flooded, it was dangerous in places, and to cap it all off, as I was racing, I was gaining about 8-12lbs in water down in the ‘socks’ I had decided to wear. It totally threw off my balance, it messed up my cadence, like riding with filled galoshes, and with one lap to go I actually pulled myself out of the race.

I keep swearing to myself that I’ll never be so dumb as to race in the rain again, especially now that I’m older, heavier, and my insurance is in question. But I did start, and I was hoping maybe I could get some upgrade points. Instead I just threw away my money. Oh, and they canceled the TT I was going to do later in the day. I went home soaked, though home was about to become a temporary, fast-ending, thing.


2011 Glen Rose Paluxy Pedal Bike Rally Review

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s been month since I last wrote. Honestly, though, I haven’t had much to say or think that was worth putting up. I had a once-a-year-or-so ocular migraine at the Goatneck that left my strong eye (left) seeing double, while my weak eye (right) lost focus. The eyesight issues alone left me a little shaken, even though I had done everything right in the 48 hours leading up to that point, about an hour and 15 minutes in to the rally, and when I got to Glen Rose, I pulled out and asked Amy to come get me. To add a cherry on my sh*t sandwich, I got a ticket in Keene on my way home, a town which ranks in the Top 10 in Texas for Speed Traps.

So, I basically shut it down. The Secret Drink Mix bought me about 7 weeks in a summer that I thought would leave desiccated cyclist corpses strewn all over the state, but after DNF’ing in “The World Rally Championships of North Texas”, I called it a season. I rode some in Washington State (See October’s Texas Racing Post for an article about that), but really didn’t do much in between then, and maybe 2 weeks ago, when I decided to, yet again, start training for the next season, and see if I could reach a new high in volume and Threshold Power. I tested myself in August and September, and was shocked to find that my threshold had dropped from 305w/20m to barely 267w/20m, and my weight had jumped from 152 to 157, with periods above 160. OH. MY. GOD. Let me tell you, folks, turning 40 is like dialing back a switch in your metabolism. The whiskers on your beard get grey, then stiffer, the skin starts to sag, the crow’s feet grow, shrinking the eyes, and the weight, no matter what you do, gets easier to keep and harder to lose. I thought for the longest time that it wasn’t going to be a problem, but when your summer inventory of bike shorts start to protrude with a baby belly, it’s embarrassing!

This week was the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hoshannah, so I took advantage of the JCC being closed (and the CCD by default), and rode outside just about every day that we had available. Amy’s home now (selectively unemployed), so I went in to Saturday’s Paluxy Pedal bike rally feeling like I would be lucky to just hang on to the lead group, and I was resigned to a mostly tempo ride. But somewhere, maybe Thursday night, things started to look up, and I began to feel like this weekend might be special.

We drove down on Friday night, staying in Cleburne, roughly half an hour away from Glen Rose. All of the hotels in Glen Rose were booked in advance for the Paluxy Pedal, which ranks as probably one of the top 3 rallies of the year in most North Texans’ minds. We awoke to temps in the low 50’s, zero wind, and about 1000 registered riders, all lined up for the 8:30 start.  A TON of our friends were there, including neighbors Lila & Emmett, Michael & Brandy, and about half a dozen or more clients, past and present. Everyone remarked about what a great day was shaping up, and whether we were going to go 45, 60, or 80 miles. I assumed I would do the 80, and Amy agreed to do the 45.

Now, I need to sidetrack a bit. Amy’s been dealing with chronic back pain ever since November of 2008, and we’ve been through a LOT of ups and downs since then – basically, her ability to ride with any power has been destroyed, and it was not until maybe August of this year that she was able to string together anything close to 25 miles at 14-16 mph on flattish terrain. I’ll write about that ordeal some time later, but the good news is that August saw a breakthrough, and in September, things got even better, so her decision to put 3 hours on a bike with a few stops, was something that really lifted MY spirits, as much as hers. So she rode with friends, and I rode with the leaders, also friends, and we took off to the thunderous roar of the HAND CANNON that marks the start of this rally every year.

Paluxy Pedal "Hand Cannon"!

Immediately, once we rolled out of town, I began to look around to see who was who and what was what. There were about 20 of us, including veteran Michael Gacki, his fiance Shelby, Todd Lafleur, and several of the regular rally riders. However, it’s the presence of Camillo Borondy and Scott Simmons, both of whom are locals to Glen Rose, and both of whom are SERIOUS Cat 2 competitors, that left me feeling like I might be in for a tough day. Scott most recently won a State Championship, and in a brief conversation at the beginning of the ride, mentioned that he had gone FROM THE GUN at that race…. and then proceeded to do the exact same thing in this ride!

For a solid hour, we rode the rolling terrain of what should be called the North Hill Country, popping a few riders here and there, and letting some guys get maybe 10-15 seconds ahead, then reeling them in. The tempo was plenty hot, and we held around 23mph, climbing about 700 feet in total terrain. Michael, my Pirate teammate, came around and took some good pulls, and there were some people that did little but sit in (I’m talking to you, Mr. Cyclo-Core), but it was clear from the beginning that Scott was in a league of his own. He took longer, stronger pulls, his attacks were nothing severe, but were longer and just fast and hard enough that it was easy to lose contact, and he would return to the pack with no sign of fatigue. But the best part was that we never quite lost sight of him. For 90 minutes, give or take, there was a pack of about 12-15 riders, with two or three leaders, yet at the hill on the back side of Fossil Rim Game Preserve, about 28.7 miles in, that the lead peloton completely and utterly blew up.

This hill is about .8 miles long, averaging just 4.2%, but it’s the fact that it’s midway through the rally, and has a false-flat area of 2-3% sandwiched between a 6% segment and an 8-9% segment, capped by a false plateau, that just ripped the legs off of most everyone. Scott literally danced over it, as did Todd LaFleur, and I was eclipsed by some dude in a BrewMasters jersey, but that guy promptly throttled back at the top, and over the next two minutes, I caught up with Todd, and we closed in on Scott, until we came to the base of “The Wall.”

Michael Gacki earns his patch for climbing "The Wall!"

“The Wall” is a rather short climb that has grown in infamy ever since this rally began nine years ago, and conquering “The Wall” usually earns you a patch, distributed by the local Boy Scout Troop, at the top. The patch is complete with “19%” stitched on the base. It’s maybe a 1/4 mile long, has poor sight-lines and a railing on the side, thus adding to the mystique. Overall, the thing really isn’t THAT BAD, averaging maybe 12%, and it’s nothing compared to the final climb up to the observatory at Ft. Davis, but it’s still kind of tough. Scott practically danced up the wall, making it look easy, finishing in what must have been about a minute and 40 seconds. Todd was next, at about 1:55, and I came in a hair over 2 minutes. But if you’ve read any reports of my experiences at “The Wall” before, you know that it’s not THE WALL that counts, but it’s the next half mile to 1.5 miles that makes the split complete. Once again, I reeled in Todd, and the two of us pacelined it to try and catch Scott, who held back just enough that we were able to make a strong threesome, all the way out to about mile 50.

The conversation those next 15 miles, from the regroup to the last pitstop and turn off for the extra miles of the ’80’, were all about bikes, bike parts, family, Todd’s wife’s recovery from a serious accident, his own fears and fatigue, training, deciding whether to do those extra miles and deal with the chipseal, and the perpetual, renewing hope of success in the new year. This part of the rally is probably my favorite. The roads are rolling, the farms have a more dense set of trees and shrubs, and there are a few homesteads and churches dotted throughout. It’s really pastoral, and the climbs are in the 1-3% range, each lasting maybe a minute or so.  Todd was out of fluids at mile 50, so Scott and I just ghost-pedaled until he was able to fill up, when, lo & behold… we got caught by 5 stragglers that we thought we would not be seeing again until the pizza party at the finish line!

Camillo and three or four others joined in, and we used the last 10 miles to roll in pretty quickly. There were a few attacks, but nothing stuck. Then, with no more than five miles to go, Scott, who had been really praiseworthy and just, well, nice, whispered as he passed in the paceline – “At the bottom of the next hill, we go, okay?” I nodded in agreement, knowing that this would be the final act of a REALLY fun, REALLY successful rally. Unfortunately, as I approached the hill, I was the leader of the rotation, and got stuck there, unable to mask my own efforts or intentions. I waited until my speed began to bleed off, ever so slightly, and then PUNCHED IT, throwing out 620w/20sec, but it was Scott who once again danced away, gapping me over the course of the entire hill by about 30 seconds, and then holding us off all the way to the finish. My own effort on the climb totaled 1:10 at 412w, so his must have been in the 450-470w range. It was a thing of beauty to behold, and whereas in the past I would have been bitter about it, muttering under my breath about my own inabilities, in this case, I just watched in wonder and enjoyed the spectacle of seeing someone just a few years younger, who had once been a contemporary Cat 3, combine his passion, his talent, and an empirical sense of developed skill, pedal away from me by at least 1.5 mph. I soloed all the way to about a mile from the highway crossing, but was caught by three others, including Camillo, and we all declared a neutral finish in the final half mile. Holding the hand of a contemporary named Chris, who wore a Wake Forest Cycling jersey, I was gifted a 2nd place finish, and we all rode up to Scott, already off his bike and leaning against it, happily munching on a slice of pizza.

It took another hour for my wife to roll in, but it was time well spent, sitting on the steps of the school, eating slices of pizza, drinking water and juice, and catching up with friends as they rolled in and dismounted. The day continued its’ perfect weather, but the best feeling I got all day was the elation emitted from the smile on Amy’s face as she made her final turn, which I saw clear as crystal from a hundred feet away. I was in mid-conversation with the Phillippi’s when she rolled in, and they’ll attest to my own glee at seeing the joy on my wife’s face as she completed her first 45 mile ride in roughly a full year.

The Paluxy Pedal is one of those rallies that is a complete Can’t Miss. It has the advantage of climate, seasonal colors, fantastic organization and support, and terrain. The group at the front is always lively, and everyone returns with a complete sense of accomplishment that the hot summer rallies just can’t duplicate. Next year is their 10th anniversary, and I fully intend to return and ride with the front-runners yet again, only this time, I hope I’m not as shocked by my own success.

*** One quick note: There was a group of riders from Keene, TX, all wearing some neat jerseys, and really enjoying themselves. Guys, I do hope that you continue riding, but I would REALLY like to ask that you convince your police department and City Council to get TXDOT to put up larger signs on Hwy 67 announcing the change in speed limits from 65 to 50. I think the town’s reputation as a speed trap is valid, and I wouldn’t want your town to suffer from a boycott because Officer “F” was so intent on playing Sharks and Minnows with our Insurance Policies. In fact, driving AT the speed limit this weekend, reconfirmed my opinion that the many semi’s and fifth wheels hauling gas, oil, and water for the sand fracking process, are MUCH more dangerous and worthy of your speed sensors, than two cyclists returning from a rally in Cleburne who were, in fact, DECELERATING when they realized simultaneously that the speed limit had abruptly dropped, and also that they’d been tagged at the apex of the hill. Ask Officer “F” if his city coffers are that low, ask him if he sleeps well at night in his selective enforcement (out-of-towners over locals), and ask him if he’s ever been to one of the rallies just south of his town, and seen the love and joy these events bring to their communities, as well as the funds raised and commerce generated. Then ask him what’s best for the city. I hope he gets it.


Aggression vs Assertion

Wharton climbing Mt. Locke Stage 1 Ft. Davis Stage Race

Well, it’s over. My A#1 priority race is come and gone, and I can’t be more discouraged. My results were awful. My watts in crucial areas were down significantly. I raced with severe, bald passion and aggression, for naught, and I mean naught. The only good thing to come out of the races was a good time trial, and a resolve to never embarrass myself or my teammates like that again.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t help myself! In the 16 mile uphill, I launched an attack that only one rider was able to match. He held on in the hills. I got caught and finished 3:30 behind him. Today, I soloed off the front, got 1-2 minutes up in a crucial part of the course, but got caught, swallowed, and eventually spit out the back on the one freaking hill that I knew was going to be troublesome.

I was ready. I was prepared. I trained within my limitations for time and intensity, and got nothing, absolutely nothing for it. My teammates helped, they were great, and I just feel like I let them down, as well as myself. So, so frustrating.

I don’t know if I want to continue doing this. The frustration factor is high, the cost is high, and the results are far too fleeting. The intrinsic reward for knowing I ‘did my best’ is now permanently shadowed by the lack of extrinsic results. I’ve never felt so compelled to cheat or bribe my way to a win, though the shame of that would be worse than the crappy results I’ve been earning this calendar year. Last year, I was SO hopeful! This year, just supreme frustration. I pretty much hate racing right now.


Denton Crit, March 7, 2010

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Sigh – Another race, another finish just outside the money or points. Led from the start, avoided trouble, had a great teammate who tried to lead me out, but we ended up going too wide and let a bunch of other riders slip through and finish ahead. Oh well, still fun, but I’m getting tired of the so-so finishes, especially after I work so hard. But then again, perhaps it’s me that’s the dummy.


A couple of new head units for ANT+ Sport Power Meters

Have a look at some of the cool new head units for ANT+ Sport transmitting power meters! Now your Quarq data can be recorded in 3 or 4 more ways, and options are ALWAYS good!

Garmin's new 500 for cyclists

Garmin's new 500 for cyclists

But the real winner, is THIS ONE! The “Joule” from Saris.

Joule comes in two sizes and feature lists

Joule comes in two sizes and feature lists

And this video from Robbie Ventura covers all of the features and details. The one thing missing? GPS. But honestly, I think I can live without it.

So, you’ve got the Joule, the 500, Garmin’s 705, the, uh, ‘other’ power meter, and of course, SRM and Power-tap proprietary heads. We MIGHT, just MIGHT see Ergomo head units resurrected in some form late this year or early next year, but for now, I intend to keep my 705 until I can purchase a Joule. The 2.0 looks awesome, and it has on-screen TSS, IF, and PNorm. Now, if someone could just get me PNorm for an interval or lap, I’d be ecstatic. Just one of my idiosyncracies.

I’ll have reviews of these puppies when they become available.


Cleburne and TMS RR Reviews, April 2009 – BREAKTHROUGH!

A solo attack on Lap 2 of 10

A solo attack on Lap 2 of 10

Things seem to be really turning around, and there are a lot of reasons behind it, but mostly, it has to do with the fact that for the first time I’ve seen all year, the Mirage 3’s rode as a TEAM, and we now have the numbers, and talent, to make successful weekends like this one happen more regularly.

It started out on Saturday with a windy, wet, sort of cold day for so late in the year, and things didn’t go off well when I heard that my star female athlete had gone down in a turn, and broken her collarbone. This really, really, really stinks, and it saddens me for a lot of reasons, mainly that this was a crash that she was not responsible for, and that she was on her way to a strong spring campaign. Heal quickly, Cindy, and know that this setback is only temporary. You will rise like a Phoenix and soar again soon!

I drove out to the course with Ben Sewell, a clubmate and long-time friend, and we arrived in time to warm up, look at the course a bit, and talk with people who had ridden it already. The course was STILL slick in places, though it hadn’t rained for several hours. The hairpin turn was the worst, with milky water right at the beginning of the turn, and again later at the exit of the turn. Ben’s wife also fell at this location, and injured her thumb, so we knew we were going to have to be extra cautious.

Several Mirage teammates showed up for this, and there were over 75 starters as the 3’s rolled out. Our strategy was simple – to communicate, and attempt to send people off the front in 1’s and 2’s, in an effort to get a breakaway set up. Then the others would either block, or counter-attack as soon as the breaks were reeled in. There were some more specifics, but we agreed to try and play defense in the first half, and really try to activate the race in the second half. It was just a one-hour event, but the turns and hills, along with the threat of rain, were going to make it challenging.

It almost worked.

Immediately when the gun went off, Jason Butler was forced to chase down a solo breakaway, but by mid-lap they’d been caught, and another rider went off the front. He got maybe 20-30 seconds up on us – no one wanted to really chase since the rain had actually started and the course was slicker ‘n snot – but when we got to lap 2, we saw him on his feet, spinning his wheels right after the hairpin turn… He’d fallen hard, and was making sure his bike was in working condition. I don’t know if he finished or not.

Over the course of the hour, the Mirage group communicated well, and I launched 2 or 3 solo or paired attacks, to try and break up the pack or string it out. It sort of worked. We did drop a good number of riders, but towards the end, right after I’d been reeled in on the last lap, instead of counter-punching, the pack sat up, including my teammates. As a result, the last 500m was pretty crowded and sketchy, and while we did get some Top 10 finishes, and a few primes, we didn’t get a Top 3 like I’d thought or wanted. Still, it was a great effort, and I was proud of the group for communicating and pushing the pace, and for the attacks.

There was more to come on Sunday.

The second day of racing was held at the Texas Motor Speedway, a venue that was MUCH closer, and is infamous for its’ never-ending wind. Ben and Katie picked me up, and we drove out for a morning start. When I got there, there were several more Mirage cyclists, including some guys I’ve been riding with for about 14 years now, and I was REALLY excited about our prospects.

We warmed up in 2’s and 3’s, but about 20 minutes before the start, we gathered together in a group in a remote part of the parking lot, and made a plan. Chase was going to be the ‘sit in’ guy, I was good for an early break attempt, and Jason would also try to go early as well. The theme of counter-attack was prevalent, and there were two or three guys who said they weren’t going to be able to contribute, but that they’d block if someone got away. I think we had about 7 riders in a pack of almost 75 starters.

We went off for our 10 laps, about 5 minutes after the 1/2 field went out, and it was immediately apparent that there was a LOT of wind. The wind out there is persistent, but it’s the squirrelly way that it deflects off of the actual Speedway itself that makes for such a challenge. For instance, the Start/Finish was on an East-West line, but it seemed like the winds were coming from Due West, right down our throats. I quickly ended up calling this 1k section, the “Dragon’s Breath”, as it was fierce and consistent, and you had to use a lot of power to simply cut through it. However, once on the inside track of the course, right under the stadium, the wind still beat on us, all the way around until we reached the outside loop, and started our descent. THEN the speed would pick up, and you finally got a tailwind on the southernmost part of the 5 miles.

Action was hot pretty early. On the first lap, about halfway through, I found myself covering a break of two PACC riders who slipped away and got a 10 second lead. I didn’t do much work, and we were caught close to the end of the first lap. Right after that, three Mirage cyclists, Andy Kutach, Jason Butler, and I think Sean,  took off from the front, and actually had a gap going for about a full lap. They stayed out, about 20 seconds ahead, with one PACC rider. Jordan and I were at roughly positions 7-10, not doing any work, and just forcing other teams, like McKinney Velo, to bring the riders back. This happened at just the right moment out on the course, right as we were transitioning for the fast, long, shallow descent in the crosswind. I saw that the pack had settled down, I saw a complete lane open up, and I shot off the left hand side as absolutely fast as I could. The three Mirage riders saw this and went in to coast mode, and within a minute, I had a full 20 seconds on the field.

1 solo lap off the front - about to be joined by a Sun & Ski rider.

1 solo lap off the front - about to be joined by a Sun & Ski rider.

I raced as hard as I could for a complete lap, and when I reached the same point where I’d made my break the previous lap, I chanced a look over my shoulder. The pack was at least 30 seconds back, but a young Sun & Ski rider named Cody was attempting to bridge to me. I had to make a decision. Let him join me so we could ride together and push harder, or continue to try to go it alone for another 7 laps. It was a no-brainer. I slightly eased up, and when Cody caught me, we looked back, and I said to him, “I think this can work!” His reply was, “Yeah, I feel strong. Let’s go!” Within seconds, we were taking strong, steady, even pulls together, and the official’s moto began calling out our splits.

Joined by Cody of Sun & Ski on Lap 3.

Joined by Cody of Sun & Ski on Lap 3.

Over the next 7 laps, we pushed, pedaled, and tried to stay aero as much as possible. Talking a little, looking for each other’s ‘chicken wing’ signals to come around, and trying to gauge our efforts in the wind, the terrain, and against the rest of the raceers. The moto kept coming up to us, at least once a lap, and his shouts across to us were filled with information that only pushed us harder.


“ONE TWELVE!”…………….

“ONE TWENTY ONE!”……………..




Cody and I off the front.

Cody and I off the front.

They were the sweetest words I’d heard in my road cycling career up to that point. Wow. I was guaranteed at least 2nd place. Cody pulled up to me and said, “I think if we just stay steady, we’ll be fine.”

I tried to strike a deal with him, citing my age, the fact that I’d never won a race before, and that I’d done most of the work, but he said, “Let’s just take it to the final turn.” I knew then, based on how I felt, in terms of my legs, lungs, and feet, that this was going to be long shot for the win. I told him it was his race then, that I knew his coach, that he’d be proud, and that I’d really enjoyed the work he’d done, that we couldn’t have done it without each other. We bumped fists, and then I said I was going to turn wide, so he could push on the right. It worked. I still tried to give it everything I had, but in the end, it amounted to little over Seven seconds at 500w, and he took me by a good three seconds. But the crowd absolutely loved it, and I remember hearing tons of cheers and shouts of encouragement every lap, and also at the end. I had done it. I had hit the podium, the first time since, well, gosh, I can’t remember.

Gotta hit that 'lap' button at the finish, now, don't forget!

Gotta hit that 'lap' button at the finish, now, don't forget!

I almost fell off my bike, and the announcer, who was AWESOME, came over to interview me. I don’t remember much, but I know I credited Cody for his efforts, thanked the crowd and promoters, and then went over to give Cody a big hug. His coach, Tim Redus, also got a hug, and Andy Hollinger, the race official, got one as well. He said the kindest thing to me. “SEE? Good things happen!”

Interview with the announcer, who was awesome the whole day.

Interview with the announcer, who was awesome the whole day.

He was sooo right.

To add to the awesomeness of the day, Jason Butler took 3rd, and Sean, another Mirage cyclist, took 10th, so we got 3 finishers in the Top 10. Cody, in his interview, credited my teammates for blocking throughout the race, and they confirmed that, saying that several other teams ended up arguing with themselves about who was going to try and chase down the break, wasting precious time, as Mirage just sat on the front and corked it, or ran down attempts to bridge. So, they were really fresh and invigorated for the finale. On top of that, roughly 1/3 of the peloton pulled out of the race, citing the pace and the wind.

I’m going to credit this strong finish to my teammates. This is what I had wanted for so, so very long, and there were many times, I’ll admit, when I thought it would never happen. But in one short weekend, with this group of riders, we ended up gelling, communicating, attempting things, taking risks, and pulling off a strong finish and showing for the club. Once a couple of years ago, a teammate told me, “You make me proud to wear this jersey.” As of Sunday, I say it to those who raced and helped with the strategy.

Gentlemen, you make me VERY proud to wear this jersey.

Cody and Richard Wharton on the last lap

Cody and Richard Wharton on the last lap

So now I see myself with about half the points I need for an upgrade. The races being held will be smaller, tighter affairs, but I’m not afraid to race, and I know that I can contribute to the success of others, just like they did for me. I’d still like to have the option to upgrade, but mostly, I’m just glad that I have some solid teammates with which to work and develop as amateurs in North Texas.

Chapeau Mirage!

Special thanks to Katie and Ben for driving me both days and relieving me of that worry, and to Andy for his counseling. For those not expecting hugs but getting them anyway, well, sorry, but I’m kind of an emotional guy, and I never hesitate to show my gratitude with a man-hug. It’s all good.

Cody and I pulling in to the wind.

Cody and I pulling in to the wind.


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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