Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wards Ferry Road Race

Zachary Hilton
Wards Ferry Road Race
Category 35+ 4's
Sonora, CA 
Place: 7
Field: 11
Teammates: Morris Delgado
Weather:  46 cloudy, cold, some sun, but not warm
Start Time: 08:25:00
Total Time: 02:39:00
Power: 224 W avg, 738 W max, 228 W NP  
Average Speed: 16.9 MPH, Top Speed 40.2 MPH
Average HR: 156 Max HR: 183
Elevation Ascent: 4,843


Training Peaks Data

I'm riding a 2015 Specialized S-Works Tarmac with Ultegra 6800 53/39 11 speed group set with an 11/32 for this race.  Lot's of climbing in a short amount of time.  I have a pair for Race Rim carbon tubular 32's for this race.  They are light and stiff enough for some 40 mph plus racing and poor roads. I follow Hammer Nutrition's Steve Born on many pre-race strategies.  This race started early and its a 2.5 hour drive. I started the morning off with coffee and bagel for the drive, and then a hammer gel during the warm-up.  I packed two more Hammer gels, a Hammer Bar Raisin, and one Race Cap Supreme to eat at the two hour mark with my bar.  The Hammer Gels were used at the start, 00:47:00 and at 01:30:00.  I carried two bottles of Hammer Heed.  My stomach 48 hours prior was on the fritz.  I lost my hunger drive for almost 24 hours, and was a bit nauseated after eating some fresh veggies.  I was also feeling the fatigue of the big volume of racing and training that I have been doing since last September when I started racing again.  I'm in the need of a "season transition" break after this race. The healthy balance of family, work, training, recovery, and racing starts to take a toll on me with no break.  Sometimes you need to just hop on the bike for the love of it and the beautiful bike region I live in.

My goals for this race are to stay upfront and dictate the lines we take on the descents.  The roads are bumpy in sections and after the hairpin right turn its a narrow road with twisting descents.  If you are in the back you will need to chase back on, and it's hard to keep an eye on the road and the riders.  You can pass slower and timid racers on the descent.  There is a Velo Promo feed zone and they supply water bottles each lap.  I've never done this race before or ridden the roads. At least we do 4 laps on the same course!

I got a 20 minutes warm up on the rollers and felt good.  It was drizzling now and the clouds were moving fast.  You could see some sun, but starting at 46 degrees was cold!  Only 11 guys in the field.  Alex Poloziouk of Wells Fargo Racing is on an upgrade path right now, and won Snelling Road Race this year.  Race was delayed by a tree down in the middle of the course.  Center line enforced on course and the roads are closed on Algerine-Wards Ferry Rd.  We started off neutral until we get to Old Wards Ferry Rd (where the feedzone is) and no moto will be riding with us.  The race starts and we are all in a single line.  Roads are bumpy on Wards Ferry Rd.  I found that the climbing section on this part of the course was tougher because it doesn't look that steep and someone was always pushing it hard on the climbing sections.  The first downhill we reached a few went with no brakes and I found myself chasing back on.  It was tough to find a good line when you are following the guy in front of you.  From then on I stayed in the front 4.  I was OK with taking turns up front in order to have a smoother ride and not chase off the back.  We hit the first climb with a steady average 7% grade for .8 miles.  I am sitting right behind Don from Revs Road and he's putting the pressure on for the entire climb.  No attacks from the group.  Then there is another fast descent followed by a short climb before we make a right hairpin turn onto Algerine-Wards Ferry Rd.  This was the best part of this race!  It's 2.5 miles of descending with twisting roads.  Mostly good pavement, but there was debris on the course.  The road is narrow but can allow for passing if needed.  The first time through I led us.  I kept the pace high but safe.  I didn't really take any chances.  I'm sure the last racer in our group felt like they were chasing though.  There is only one sharp left turn that you can see coming up, and it's full of soot from the rains.  We reach another shorter climb for .5 miles average 6% grade followed by a right turn on Lime Kiln Rd.  We are all back together and some are feeling the effects of the ups and downs of this course.  I'm still sitting up front and taking my turn up front.   My heart rate isn't getting as high as I'd like but my stomach is feeling good.  I'm about 10 beats per minute off where I'd like to be.  My legs are feeling good however, but I can feel the cardio isn't where it needs to be for 4 laps of this. We make a slight right onto Murphy Rd and this is the final road to the uphill finish.  It's well marked for us.  This part has some really short but punchy climbs.  We all get through together and make a right turn onto Old Wards Ferry Rd where the Velo Promo feedzone is located.  I still had 1.5 bottles left.  I didn't take a feed.  (I should be drinking more though,a nd I'llpay for that later!)  We make a right and then back on the course for 3 more laps.   Don and myself decided to make the group react and chase by creating a gap as we went through the descents on Wards Ferry.  Then we hit the climbs hard.  I was first in the Algerine-Wards Ferry Rd descent again and Don came sweeping around me.  He pushed it for us down the 2nd time.  After we climbed out Alex P from Wells Fargo came around and picked the pace up on Lime Kiln and on Murphy Rd.  I followed his wheel and conserved what I could.  He's a big draft.  As we climbed up through the finish we were down to 7 guys.  I ate a Hammer Bar, and should have grabbed a bottle as we passed through the feedzone to start lap 3.  It wasn't even on my mind though!!!  This was the hardest lap for me.  Alex P hit the first descent hard followed by a huge acceleration up the climb that was making me hurt.  I kept my head down and as aero as possible.  I was only looking at Don's wheel and we were all over the road.  Alex was attacking us.  I took a quick look behind because it was quiet and there was only 4 of us!  What What!!  That really just happened.  I'm not even sure how long that took, but I was stoked to be in this selection with these guys.  I personally was hurting and needed that descent to come quickly to recover.  On the flat and climb prior to the hairpin turn Alex pushed it again and the 4th guy was fading back.  Now it was 3 of us.  I tried to get in front of Alex to slow him down but couldn't get enough power to do that.  Slowly I was fading back also.  The top of that climb could not come quick enough.  If they make it to the descent on Algerine-Wards Ferry Rd before me I'll never catch them alone.  The 4th guy behind me gets a second wind and comes around me as I'm literally crawling on the bike!  There's nothing I can do. I reached the hairpin turn alone and went as hard as I could.  I saw them as they climbed out of the descent but they were 3 and I was 1 cooked racer.  I needed more fluid and I needed to eat more...but as you know once you blow up it's hard to come back from it.  I stayed as aero as possible through the final lap but never saw them again.  My teammate Morris Delgado caught me on lap 4 and he was looking strong.   A few more caught me as I arrived to the finish.

I learned a lot in this race.  I should have been drinking and eating more on lap 2 especially.  For hard races like this I'll be using a Hammer Gel every 30 minutes, and a bottle per hour of HEED.  It was deceiving, and this always happens when I haven't raced a course prior.  (Thats one reason why these race reports are so important.)  Its 46 degrees out and you don't want to drink to much that you have to go pee, but we are racing at elevation with lots of hard efforts and climbing.  This course suites me well, and I'll be back next year.  Smarter and more prepared. hopefully with some more teammates.

Time to recover with Hammer Nutrition's Recoverite and get a good night sleep.  Don't forget to recover during your sleep and take some Hammer Whey to boost that HGH.  I've also added Hammer Nutrition's Chromate, and Super Antioxidant to the recovery mix.  Both have great recovery ingredients!  Time for a Pliny the Elder waiting for me at home.

Next race will be CCCX on April 10th and Sea Otter Classic on April 15th!

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Nature's Bakery!
Thanks to RaceRim!
Thanks to iRC Tire USA!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!






Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chico Stage Race #3 Time Trial

Zachary Hilton
Chico Stage Race #3 River Road Time Trial
Category 35+ 3/4's
Chico, CA 
Place: 29
Field: 36
Teammates: None
Weather:  59 cloudy, headwind, and some cross wind
Total Time: 00:27:43
Power: 223 W avg, 430 W max, 223 W NP  
Average Speed: 22.0 MPH, Top Speed 26.1 MPH
Average HR: 168 Max HR: 185
Elevation Ascent: 1,283


Training Peaks Data

I'm riding a 2015 Specialized S-Works Tarmac with Ultegra 6800 53/39 11 speed group set with an 11/28 for this race.  I have tried my best converting my Tarmac into an aero bike for this race.  I'm using a front Race Rim Tubular 46's and borrowed a teammates rear disk.  I follow Hammer Nutrition's Steve Born on many pre-race strategies.  

My goals for this race are to try and beat my time on an actual TT bike from last year.  I sold it last summer, and haven't purchased another one yet.  Teammate Peter Cathcart let me borrow his rear disk and bottle cages came off.  I can get into a pretty comfortable TT position for the 10 miles without the use of clip on aero bars.  I got a warm up in on the rollers where the Crit took place and headed down to the TT start.  Its the same course as 2015.  Typically some winds also. No rain for today or the weekend!

TT started off good. It would have been nice to get clipped in for the start but they were't doing that this year.  I got into position and only got up from it a few times from the road.  The course is very well marked and not many vehicles during my start time.  I was down 10 watts or so from being tired from the events.  I kept it steady and had a strong finish.

Chico Stage Race will be on my race calendar next year.  I've learned so much and have improved.  I keep getting stronger and will race smarter in the road race next year.  Congrats to my friend Robb Herrick of Revs Road for taking 2nd in the TT and that put him 3rd overall in the GC for Chico Stage Race.  With no teammates in the race with me, it's always nice to have friends!

Time to recover with Hammer Nutrition's Recoverite and stretch before the long car ride home.  Don't forget to recover during your sleep and take some Hammer Whey to boost that HGH.  I've also added Hammer Nutrition's Chromate, and Super Antioxidant to the recovery mix.  Both have great recovery ingredients!

Next race will be Ward's Ferry Road Race on March 12!

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Hammer Nutrition!
Thanks to Nature's Bakery!
Thanks to RaceRim!
Thanks to iRC Tire USA!
Thanks to SJBC Race Team!