Monday, August 25, 2014

University Road Race

Zachary Hilton
Santa Cruz, CA 
Place: 9
Field:  11
Teammates: Tom Stanis, Jeff Rogers, and Giles Douglas 
Weather:  71 degrees avg. sunny and getting warmer
Start Time:  10:51 am
Total Time: 01:38:00 
Power: 181 W avg, 665 W max, 233 W NP  
Average Speed: 17.83 MPH, Top Speed 40.01 MPH 
Average HR: 171 Max HR: 193
Elevation Ascent: 3,766 ft

University RR has come around this year in a build period for me.  I am starting to feel the pains of all that riding this morning also.  My legs are feeling achy.  I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride a 53/39 11/28 for most races.  I am also racing with my Race Rim 46 Carbon Tubulars.  My goals were to improve my course lap time, improve my time on the climb,  and help out my teammates.   I arrived early and warmed up on the trainer for around 45 minutes.  The last time I did this race was in 2011.  It was my 2nd cat 5 race.  The course is easy to get used to once you go around it once.    It's one of my favorite courses!  This is a great course for me to get ready for Fremont Peak HC and Mt Diablo Challenge.

We started at the line with 11 and 4 SJBC riders.  I carried 2 bottles, one with water and the other Hammer Nutrition.  There is a neutral water provided by the race promoter Velo Promo.  The race starts off on a hill, and I was feeling good.   I stayed up front and wanted to be there until I get dropped.  I knew going into this race I wasn't fresh enough to last the 12 laps.  I am content with that.  I'm just not there yet, and I am building towards that in 2015.  Yes....I am already thinking of 2015 :)  Thats why I write so much, so I don't make the same mistakes!  Once you reach the top of the climb its a right turn towards the descent.  You can take this section of the race with no brakes.  There is an awesome sweeping right turn before you go straight down to the bottom of the course.     Lap 1 was uneventful and seemed like SJBC would be able to control the race.  Pen Velo wasn't doing much.  I felt good on the climb in Lap 1 and Lap 2.  On the descent of lap 2 the 45+4's passed us up.  After lap 3 started a Jon Meals from Team Oakland started to accelerate and I stayed on his wheel.  Once he started to quit I came around him and counter attacked to the top of the hill and then put in a huge acceleration towards the descent.  At this point I just felt great and knew my teammates would either sit up and block if no one chased or grab a wheel.  My goal was to lead this whole lap and try to separate myself if I could or leave my opponents hurting.  Half way down the descent I could see the 45's ahead.  I wasn't going to let them slow me down.  I came around them as we were at the bottom of the descent, and I never looked behind me.  In my mind I thought maybe my chasing group would sit up because we were coming to a hard right corner and the groups were colliding, and that could be another chance to separate myself on the climb.  I could hear guys behind me, but I was still not going to look until I made it to the top.  I lead the group to the top and one complete lap!!!  That was huge for me, and a confidence builder.   Jeff Rogers came around me and the group chased.  We were 9 now, and I could see the pain on some faces from that lap.  Jeff and Tom came by and lead us down the descent.  I stayed up front and tried to recover from that last lap.  I started to loose contact with the group right before we got neutralized by the Cat 3's.  After we made it to the top of that climb I was done.  I finished racing the rest of the course at a steady tempo.  As I came into the finish I was told that SJBC got 2nd and 3rd place on the podium.  Whohoo!

Recovering from 6-9 minute hard climbing efforts is an area that I need to work on to compete in this type of race, and also for many of the races in our district.  This is my last road race for the season.  The final 2 races are going to be Hill Climbs.  Fremont Peak and Diablo Challenge.  It's been a long season for me, and racing all different types of races.  I still feel like I'm trying to find my way in this competitive racing district, but writing these reports has been huge for me to not make the same mistakes.  I'm learning a lot!

My next race is Fremont Peak HC Sept 7th.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Patterson Pass RR

Zachary Hilton
Tracy, CA 
Place: 16
Field:  24
Teammates: Tom Stanis, Jeff Rogers, and Giles Douglas 
Weather:  65 degrees avg. sunny and getting warmer, heavy humid air, windy as usual (not as bad as past or I'm just used to it now)
Start Time:  8:35 am
Total Time: 02:20:00 
Power: 179 W avg, 636 W max, 218 W NP  
Average Speed: 18.96 MPH, Top Speed 45.60 MPH 
Average HR: 165 Max HR: 190
Elevation Ascent: 4,469 ft

Patterson Pass RR has come around this year in a build period for me.  I came off a great July with the Death Ride, and the California Firefighters Stage Race last week.   I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride a 53/39 11/28 for most races.  I am also racing with my Race Rim 46 Carbon Tubulars.  My goals were to improve my time climbing Patterson Pass, improve my lap time on the course, and help out my teammates wherever that might be.

I got a good warm up on the trainer and legs felt good.  The wind died down during warm up and the sun was coming out.  There was a hot humid feeling in the air.  No need for any extra clothing. I met up with Jeff Rogers and Giles Douglas riding around before the start.  Field size was about normal for Patterson.  Pen Velo had four guys, and we had four.  We allowed them to be out in front at the start line.   I wanted to make sure we lined up up front because you can clog the road up fast with 3 wide, and a center line rule enforced.  Pen Velo immediately however formed a single file pace line until right before the feed zone.  Los Gatos Bike Club put in a good acceleration around the group and Pen Velo chased it down with Jeff Rogers in tow.  As we made our way through the feed zone it was nice to see Paul Morel SJBC there ready to take care of us with water and Hammer Nutrition bottles.  Then Ben Cannon went off the front and SJBC teammate Tom was up front and went with him.  The group didn't react at all.  Everyone thought we would catch them eventually, and it was just a test of the group.  They had around 10 seconds on us as we started the windy climbing of Patterson Pass Rd.  The only place to hide in that valley with the crosswinds is on the inside.  That wasn't on my mind at all.  I was thinking how can I slow this chase down for Tom.  I cam ego the front and set my own tempo.  Jeff was on my right, and no one came around us.  If you haven't climbed Patterson Pass Rd before its hard to explain....not a real steep climb, but add the fact that it looks huge because you can see the top the entire time and you go REALLY slow front he crosswind and then headwind.  I have never seen anyone attack and come out of the place line on this climb.  You just waste so my energy.  It's better to sit in and keep your head down.  Jeff and I did a great job slowing the chase!!!!!!!!  Some started to come around as we peaked and I was sitting 5th as we descended to Flynn road.  This is one of my favorite road race descents.  I am familiar with the roads and you don't need any brakes.  If you need to slow down, you just sit up and take some wind.  We regrouped at Flynn Rd and we could see Tom and Ben around 30 seconds ahead of us.  Moto ref was doing a great job letting us know the time gaps (which is unusual) and keeping an eye out for us.  Flynn hurt a bit, but Carrol Rd crossing over to Altamont Rd was the hardest to control the bike on the crosswinds while going really fast.   Jeff and myself were still doing a good job disrupting the pace, and finally on Altamont Pass Rd when we couldn't see Tom and Ben anymore some started to get really frustrated with the lack of work from the chasing peleton.   Finally Pen Velo came around Jeff R and initiated an attack trying to drop us.  It might have dropped a few, but most of us were still getting a free ride.  It was up to Pen Velo to do the work in the chase anyways.  They didn't have anyone in the break!  Racing 101.  The pace was intense and I stayed up front 4-5th wheel.  As we came around a corner we could spot two riders but couldn't really tell if it was Tom and Ben.  Giles road up next to me and thought it was them....I thought it was them.....and the chasers thought it was them.  This next part cracked me up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They freakin stopped chasing them down.  I don't know whether it was because they thought we would get them, or they ran out of gas.  I realized it wasn't them I think before the front guys did.  It was two women who got dropped from the Pro 1/2 race.  We all stayed together up Midway and back through the finish line.  While going through the feed zone I grabbed a Hammer bottle from Paul.  That was the tastes time I've gone on that first lap, and yes I was feeling the effects.  I eased off the group, and watched them ride away and blow up at the same time.  We were all scattered on Patterson Pass Rd climb now.  I could see that Tom and Ben still had a nice lead.  I settled in and rode my own pace up Patterson Pass Rd climb.  I was with a group of 4, and stayed tucked in behind them.  They got a 10 second gap on me during the descent, and I never saw them again.  I can't believe how much I was sweating at this point.  It felt like a faucet was on in my helmet.  I drank as much as I could and forced down some food.  I enjoyed the final stretch of Altamont Pass Rd!  Having the CHP open up intersections for us was awesome.  No one can get these achievements on Strava, unless you're racing.  :)  I came into the finish line in a sprint, and felt accomplished of my goals.

I wish I had more to give in lap 2, and that will come in time.  Looking back at 2011 when I raced this for the first time I completed a lap in 01:25:00 in 2014 I'm doing them in 01:04:00.  The slowest I ever climbed Patterson Pass Rd was 00:30:00 in 2011 and now I'm riding it in 00:21:02.  I am getting better in time and that's what drives me.

Congrats to my teammate Tom Stanis who ended up staying off the front the entire race pretty much.  He also crashed on Flynn Rd's left hand turn on the final lap, got back up and chased down Ben Cannon.  He rode with Ben till Midway, dropped him, and sprinted for the win with a 10 second gap!  It's been great watching and being apart of Tom's racing this year in the 35+4's.  Thanks for the placement credit also buddy!  I owe you a beer.

My next race is University RR August 17rd in Santa Cruz, CA.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Race Rim Wheels!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Voler!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!