Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mt Diablo Hill Climb TT

Zachary Hilton
Placing: 7
Field: 14
Walnut Creek, CA 
Teammates:  None
Weather:  70 degrees avg. Sunny and temps rising, windy at start
Start Time:  9:23 am
Total Time: 00:31:08
Power: 255 W avg, 683 W max, 260 W NP
Average Speed: 11.8 MPH, Top Speed 28.6 MPH 
Average HR: 184 Max HR: 188
Elevation Ascent: 1,673 ft

Training Peaks Data

This is one of my favorite events.  It's you vs. the clock and Mt Diablo!  Mt Diablo is where I first got challenged into cycling, and eventually learn how to be a racer.  It's a mid year marker for me.  I had a good week of training leading up to the race including a massage.  I woke up early and had my standard breakfast.  Katie and Avery were coming to join me, and we were heading to a family birthday party in Berkeley after.  My goal was to go sub 30.  Many factors affect a time trial.  The right weather, food, rest, and amount of training volume leading up to race.  I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride Race Rim wheels now.  I chose the 32mm Carbon Tubulars for this race.  It's a climbing time trial

I got a long 45 minute warm up on the trainer while Avery helped me with my Hammer feeds :)  My #SJBCRaceTeam Voler speed suit was the uniform for the day.  I carried one small bottle of Hammer Heed with me.  The start line is about a mile from where we warm up and register.  I chose not to carry a bottle last year.  I drank some on the way and had half a bottle for the climb.  We are all 30 seconds apart and start on a ramp at the Northgate Rd Pay Station.  I'm lined up and ready to go behind my 30 second guy.  He tries to take off and pops his chain off.  You have to get your gearing right before the ramp!  It took the guys 15 seconds to help him go.  I was up with just 15 seconds to clip in both pedals and go.  I managed it, but that certainly didn't help the heart rate  from the get go.  It was windy from the right and front for the first 1.5 miles or so.  I should have been paying attention to my Garmin power output in this situation to make sure I don't over compensate for the wind.  Settling in and not going out hard, is sometimes hard to do.  The wind seemed to slow everyone down. It was my 2nd fastest time through this section.  After that I began to really start crushing at my times.  I wasn't looking at power because I was trying the virtual partner on the Garmin :)  I was essentially chasing myself down.  I PR'ed through every section till the end.  I was standing up on the bike for the steep sections and digging deep.  My heart rate was able to get up to threshold and stay there with no cramping, and loss of power.  Perfect!

I was so close to getting sub 30.   That's what I needed to get on the podium.  I was 1 minute away from 3rd place!  If I was faster in the beginning, I would have made it.  The competition was tough, but it was nice to know that most everyone wasn't any faster than last year.

I set a new FTP (Functional Threshold Power) of 260 Watts.  Thats a huge accomplishment for me this point in the season.  That was my peak FTP at the end of last season!  Training is paying off!

My next challenge is the Death Ride Tour of California Alps in July 13!  126 miles over 15,000 ft of climbing in one day, and my next race is The California Firefighter's Olympics Cycling Stage Race July 22, 23, 24th.

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

Happy Father's Day to Me

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pescadero Coastal Classic RR

Zachary Hilton
Placing: 31
Field: 52
Pescadero, CA 
Teammates:  Tom Stanis, Jeff Rogers, Giles Douglas, Manny Managbanag, Mike Scaglione
Weather:  61 degrees avg. Sunny after start, foggy during warm up and temps rising
Start Time:  9:50 am
Total Time: 2:24:00
Power: 187 W avg, 762 W max, 216 W NP
Average Speed: 19.31 MPH, Top Speed 41.36 MPH 
Average HR: 170 Max HR: 190
Elevation Ascent: 4,042 ft

Training Peaks Data

Pescadero Coastal Classic RR is another challenging road race in the NCNCA Disctrict.  Not only do you have some hills to power through while trying to stay in the top 10, you also need to be able to descend and have power for the flats.  If you are in the top 10 on this course, you can set the tempo.  If you happen to be in the middle or off the back, well you are working extra hard.  This time of the year my brain says be up front, but my legs just aren't there yet.  I'm riding my 2009 Specialized Tarmac with the new Ultegra 6800 11 speed group set.  I ride Race Rim wheels now.  I chose the 32mm Carbon Tubulars for this race.  My goals were to help out my teammates however I could.  Set some PR's on the power climbs.  Descend faster and more confident.  Experiment with the nutrition in a warmer race to avoid cramping and burn out.  Be there to see a teammate get on the podium!  Accomplished all of them!!!!

My morning started off the same with Trader Joe's Multi-Grain, cocoa, honey, almonds, blackberries, blueberries, and peanut butter.   I also pack up a bagel and cream cheese.  Peet's coffee goes in the french press.  I start playing my iTunes playlist for the races while I am packing up the car.  Kiss my wife Katie goodbye and look at Avery on the baby monitor.  They are both all curled up on a Saturday morning, and it's always hard to say goodbye!  They are both really supportive of me however and I appreciate that.  Avery's pink monkey always comes along for the ride.  This tradition started last summer while I was racing in the Cascade Classic Bend, OR.

I check in at registration and met up with some fellow racers.  Everyone was feeling good about today and ready to race.  Some hadn't raced since Berkeley Hills, and I could see the desire to get it started up again.  The SJBC Race Team for the 35+4's was back together now.  The camaraderie that we have built for this team has been infectious to the entire team.  We have worked hard together this year amongst our busy lives, and have always seem to come together at these races.  Just filling up the 35+4 races with 8-9 racers is such an improvement over last year where I felt like we had maybe 1-2.  Thanks to everyone who raced down in age categories also!  I got a shorter warm up on the trainer because I was chatting it up, but legs felt open.  I was a little tired this week from work.  It's been a month's process of cleaning out my locker at work, and moving to a new fire station up in the Oakland Hills/Berkeley border.  I was at the previous Fire Station for 12 years.  It was a tough transition, and exhausting just waiting for it to come around.  I am finally all moved into the new Fire Station.

I carried two small bottles of Hammer Heed with me.  One had Hammer Fizz for extra electrolytes, and was relying on Paul Morel who would be in the feed zone.  Thank you Paul!  Lined up in the front with 52 riders.  We were mixed in with Cat 5's also.  They were all an unknown, and I didn't know any of them. Temperatures were supposed to be in the high 60's once we reached the feed zone.  I pre-loaded while warming up with a bottle of Hammer Heed as well.  I wore my arm warmers, and a thin undershirt.  I carried a Hammer Bar, and 2 Hammer Peanut Butter Gels.

Neutral start from the high school until North St.  There is a sprint prime about 2.5 miles in.  As we approached the first climb on Stage Rd the pace began to pick up a bit.  As usual no one respected the center line rule.  I'll admit I cut corners too, but only when I could see around them.  If you're not taking advantage of this well all I have to say is nice guys finish last.  First climb done about 1o riders back and I'm feeling quickly warmed up.  The descent down Stage Rd was super fast.  I took of more than 30 seconds on previous times.  I felt in complete control and in the top 20.  We were all strung out at we approached the second Stage Rd climb.  We regrouped and the pace felt not as strong as the first climb.  I tried moving up to the front before the descent down to HWY 84 but couldn't make it.  I was sitting 20th in a long line coming up to HWY 84 turning right.  As I came around the group was coming back together and I was 75 meters of so off the back.  This is where in the past I would just pay attention to the guy in front of me....but no I was paying attention to the lead group and sure enough the guy leading my group was backing off.  I wasn't going to give up this early.  I dug DEEP to catch the group.  I brought up a couple guys and teammate Manny.  Luckily someone came around me and I locked onto his wheel and we caught the group.  Time to sit in for a while.  We dropped around 20 guys doing that move.  There were enough attacks on HWY 84 that no one ever caught back on with us.  Now all I had to do was make the front up Haskins Hill.  I grabbed a feed from Paul.  Quick hands Paul!  I thought I was going to miss that one.  You managed to feed 3 of us in a row.  Nice job!  I was sitting 10th going up Haskins Hill and by the 2K sign I was sweating too much.  I rolled down the arm warmers and wished I wasn't wearing them or the undershirt.  I was able to stay in my red zone until we reached the 1K.  I was starting to fade back and loose power.  At the 500 meter sign I think I was 45 seconds back.  I crested over the top and began the descent with a few others.  We put a chase down on the lead group, and got within 1 minute of them as we reached the Stage Rd climb.  We weren't able to catch them however.  We made a good effort to catch the group on HWY 84 but you know how the saying goes...out of sight out of mind.   It's all good.  I put in some good efforts for the way I felt today.  This race always pays dividends later, and I always learn something from the race.  I didn't feel my strongest, and haven't all week long.  This race is the start of a build week for me in preps for the NCNCA Hill Climb Championships at Mt Diablo Hill Climb TT on Northgate Rd in Diablo, CA.  I need to get a sub 30 to be in contention for the podium.   That's my goal.  It's going to be challenging but I am up for it!

Overall I am pleased with my performance on this course compared to last year.  I climbed faster in certain key areas, and almost had enough power to match the lead group.  Baby steps!  One thing that I am going to implement and not second guess myself is clothing to wear vs temperatures.  I knew better not to wear the thin undershirt and arm warmers with gloves.  If when you are warming up pre-race and the temperature is above 60 degrees and rising with sunshine coming......No extra clothing required.  Arm warmers are the exception because you can pull them down real fast, and when the time is right take them off.  I just overheat fast and then it's too late for me.  I drank 3 bottles in this race and that was the perfect amount.  I took a feed from Paul during the first lap.  My training since Wente RR has included 1, 5, 10, 20 minute power intervals on climbs.  These are really important in the first half of the race season.  Most of these courses contain 3-7 minute power climbs.  Haskins Hill being the longest so far at 1.5 miles and you need to climb it twice and keep the time around 7 min to get on the podium.  Each of the Stage Rd sections lasted under 5 minutes, but were also power climbs.  Next season I am going to begin mixing in these trainings earlier.

I am super stoked for my teammate Tom Stanis who took 2nd place in this race, and Jeff Rogers who took 6th.

My next race is NCNCA's District Hill Climb Championships on June 21.

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

Avery got her first medal today at Gymnastics! #howihammer star

Teaching Avery about race reports :)