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Thursday, April 27, 2006

gonna get dirty

a-yup, it's time to throw down some knobbly action. This weekend is some race called Firestone ... which makes me think of either exploding tires or a couple of unshaven cavemen clacking rocks together to roast up some squirrel.

did cavemen eat squirrel?

... i would have.

Anyway, unfortunado i'll be missing out on one of the favorites to go dirty ~ The Madera Stage Race. mmmm ... them's good eatins. That was one of my favorite races of last year when it was just me and Three-Fitty goin' gonzo against all the creamy geezers of NorCal. That was a damn good time.

This year, it looks like da'PAB and Lothar are going to have to go clubbing on their own. Sorry boys, really wish I could be there which'ya. But, the trails are calling and it's been ... well, never ~ since I actually went into a mtb race with any intentions other than goofin' off on a weekend there wasn't a roadie-scum event taking place.

But, this year is different for me. I'm loving the feel of dirt and am lookin' forward to cross season more than is probably healthy. At some point I'm going to have to start looking to try and get myself a couple of cross bikes, but just no time at this time for that dilly-dallyin'. I tell you, though ~ what I do have more than enough time for is ... riding the tracks and grinnin' dirty toothed with my woman as we trounce about the mountains of the SC.

Dig it.


Jed said: said...

I hate to say it but....

The men's expert 35-39 category is gonna be gettin' some CRAZY competition soon with hernandez steppin' it up!

Velo Bella said...

I'm giving up a flat road race for this.

Oh, and a time trial...yay!

VeloRainDog said...

OV: any words of advice on Madera?

Jed said: said...

That madera RR is pretty gnar though bean. But this year cindy and jane are in bisbee, so that's good...the field might not shatter like last year.

X Bunny said...

you're such a roadie

Velo Bella said...

I can handle the gnar.

Can't handle the hills. Unless they are unpaved.

Jed said: said...

yeah, you climb like a banshee when it's dirt.

Wassup with that?

X Bunny said...

at copper the roads were mostly dirt

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

VDog, i can't remember if you're a geezer yet, or still runnin' young and beautiful. But, if you do the 35+4/5 ... that's a bigger field and probably be more fun. If you go straight up 4's, much more tactical.

My recommendations would be to sit in as best you can for that crit. As little energy expended as possible is the best strategy. If you can luck out and find yourself in a sweet spot for the sprint, take a placing. If you've got to do a job for your Ovest boys, then ... do it. But, dunno how many of your fellers go that far south for 'da racin'.

After the crit ~ it's all about recovery for the TT. Ride around (or on trainer) super-easy for at least 20 minutes with no effort whatsoever. Just spin out the bad juju from the legs. Breathe deep and relax. Then, sit someplace and stretch for a bit ... finishing it off by propping your legs up against a wall or your car and letting the blood drain out all soothy-smoothie like.

Then, eat and drink. You'll need to have a fairly solid meal in you 3 hours before your TT. Nothing huge, but something substantial.

Warmup for the TT should be on a trainer and focused. Your body won't want to kick up the effort levels from the morning fatigue and you'll have this idea nagging in your noggin' that you're already warm from the morning crit. bash them thoughts.

I suggest doing a progression of interval-warmups, starting 30-40 minutes before your TT start.
1) spin easy for 5 -10 minutes to get the juices flowing - get off and stretch for a couple minutes at some point. it really helps.

2) progress in effort with 30 sec, 1 min, 1 min, 2 min, 2 mine, 1 min, 1 min, 30 sec intervals on the trainer. rest can be 1 - 3 minutes between each.

by the final 3 intervals, you should be at, or above race pace and really sweating.

3) do your warmup in different shorts/jersey than you'll race the TT. after your warmup, towel down and splash some cool water over your face, hair, chest and legs. feel refreshed. then, switch into your race kit and hop on your TT bike.

oh, your TT bike should be already set up at least an hour before your TT start. Set it up, ride it a couple times, then leave it the fuk alone. do your warm up on your road bike so you can just hop off of it and right on your TT rig. you do have a tt rig, yeah?

ok, if not - borrow one. ok, if not - then you be damn sure you put those aero bars on about an hour after the crit and WAAAYY before the TT. do it.

don't have tt bars? then, we have to talk.

The TT = a very, very good TT for the folks who know the art of the time trial. Resist the urge to blast out of the gates. The tailwind will most likely rocket you on that opening leg, resist the urge to go fast. Just spin your legs and feel like you're gliding. The Madera TT doesn't start until you make that first turn and then the real time gaps occur after you make the final turn.

It's only a 10 miler ... but, most (read that as 99%) of riders who don't specialize in TT-work CANNOT hold a maximum effort for that distance/time. People think they can, but if they were to look at a power reading of their TT ... the last half would look like a 3% decent.

Start easier than you think you should. Then, after 3-5 minutes, start working towards your maximal TT effort. Trust me.

The RR ~ as I recall, all the action in the 35+4/5 race last year happened on the final lap. There was a small break that nipped off before the rough patch. Be on the lookout for that if you've got the legs and gumption. Be sure to use a spoked rear wheel. I would be using a relatively aero front wheel and then a 28 or 32 spoked rear to cushion the ride. It's pretty damn bumpy on that road. Bigger tires are an option, but as long as you use new'ish tread, you'll be fine.

New tires are the best flat protection in my book.

Be sure to drink and eat a bunch in that road race because it takes a damn bit of energy to pound through those cobbles and up the finishing hills. Remember, the GC is on points, not, it doesn't matter if you win by 2 minutes or 2 cms.

lemme know if you've any thoughts/questions.

Velo Bella said...


VeloRainDog said...

OV: Thanks for all the tips. I'm racin' the 4s. No TT bike, but I'm borrowing some aero bars. I've also decided to race the TT w/ my PowerTap for pacing. And assuming I've got the form, I'll have a couple of guys to work for me (or me for them if I don't have it).

Olaf Vanderhoot said...


be sure to resist the urge to pop even 10 watts above your threshold in the TT. If you hit your average from the get go, you'll have a MUCH faster TT (and it will feel much easier ...wierd).

Since the 4 field will be smaller, you'll need to be a bit more aware during the crit and RR. Remember, race to your strengths.

Anonymous said...

VRD -- OV knows of what he speaks. A few additional thoughts:

For eats, Madera SUCKS. But between the crit course and 99 there's a Subway, which is going to be about as good as it gets for post crit / pre TT dining. Don't waste time looking for something better, because that's the pinacle of what Madera has to offer.

TT: It's sorta triangle shaped and the first two legs are slightly downhill and the first leg will likely have a tailwind. Meaning that the last leg is going to be slightly uphill and into the wind. So for pacing with the PT I'd suggest being a bit under threshold for the out legs, knowing that you are going to make up time in the 12-14 minutes it takes to get back. Me, I've got a 280W FT (one hour), so I'd do the out at 265 - 270, knowing that I'd be chasing 310ish on the way back.

That race is such a hoot. Bumming I'm missing it this year (again). You get to race like a rock star for the weekend, even in the 4's.


nosajpalnud said...

awesome advice

why are some of the fields based on time and some on points (at least it looks that way in the results)?

correlation to upgrade rules?

how's the crit course?

Anonymous said...

crit course = 4 corners, very wide roads, good pavement. if it's not exactly square it's darn close. There's a set of train tracks between turns 3 and 4 that add a little excitement, but other than that, it should be pretty hard to crash out.

Re upgrades, FYI, if your race is for points, then the SR itself doesn't count for points, rather just the crit and the RR (no points for the TT). Ask me how I know...

(4th in the 4s overall in '04 -- hey that's a lot of 4s -- with only 3 points from a 4th place crit result to show for the weekend... hey, that's another 4)



nosajpalnud said...

thx for the info anon

i'm pretty sure GC does count for 3s & hihger and just curious as to why they use points vs. time in the M123s

that said - I'm just trying to survive now with the big boy "geezers", have some fun(i mean pain), learn some more tactics and not get dropped on the damn hilly RRs, so not really concerned about da upgrade

OV - did not mean to hijack -good luck on the dirt....mtb races rock and this thread is makin' me want to do one again - the Kona lighty has cobwebs

Anonymous said...

From the NCNCA site:

In addition to the guidelines above:

* To qualify for GC upgrade points a stage race must be run on time with no more than 1 time trial stage ( not counting a prologue).


And don't let any of y'all fool ya that OV's got no skilz on the dirt. I've chased him through the wintry darkness of the western nevada foothills on a mtb. He's got skilz, even with a crummy headlight. Shoot, make him tell the story doing a mtb race on a cx rig....

nosajpalnud said...

anon - don't want to confuse ya before the race, but one other piece of info to note is that if you can get a proper set up with clip ons (which you likely will not with a road seat position....i.e. too stretched out) your FT power is likely to be slightly lower than in the road position.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

hijack-away, baby. that's what it's here for.

SGP (anon) is always gonna shoot you straight, so keep that action in mind. He's one of the Reno posse that i love big-time and a hell of a racer. I've led him out in sprint wins up there many a time. He's the real deal, just works too much as a lawclone and spends the rest of the time takin' care o' da kiddies n' snugglin'up wit' da wifey.

right on.

- - -

As for Madera points vs timing ... it's solely a matter of less work for the promotion staff. With stage races based on points, you only have to worry about your going a certain number deep in the scoring ... the rest of the finishers just get zero.

In timed stage races ~ waaay more work involved and you've got to try and not blow it with the watches, recordings, calculations.

points is mucho easier and i don't blame 'em one bit. that's a hard race weekend to promote.

- - -

As for upgrading ~ always remember that the points system is only part of how your USCF rep runs his/her upgrades. There is discretion involved. The most important thing to remember is that the rep wants you to be a safe and competitive racer in your next category. AND, he/she wants/deserves you to ask nicely, with respect, and communicating as much pertinent information as possible in your upgrade request.

Too many times i've heard stories of mtb pro-A demanding an upgrade to a 2 based on a couple cat5 road races and in the form of a curt, 'upgrade me because i'm hot shit' request letter.

not a good idea and not very respectful. I've written a few letters of recommendation for upgrades for people who didn't have enough official points. I've worked hard at studying the rider's ability, safety, and demeanor before writing my letters. A well-thought out, well-reasoned letter will often times do more good than a flood of points.

blah, blah, blah.


nosajpalnud said...

after the last two weekends of racing i was thinkin' more bout a downgrade :)

Nome Agusta said...

Expert? That's worse than the Angryman runnin Expert the last 2 years.

Anybody that can bunny hop a CX bike like OV should be runnin Semi-Slow fo show.

Velo Bella said...

You can't just jump into semi-pro

that has to be requested of the Springs and approved.

ginmtb said...

Suh-weet! Gettin' dirty is always a good thing. As is riding a mountain bike.

Dang*, wish I had some extra TWW gear laying around. Maybe I can find a last year's jersey in your size... would dat work?

Good luck and kick some bootay!

X Bunny said...

we're all heading south, you all are just starting farther south than us and we aren't getting far enough west to get out of the central valley...yuck...although santa maria isn't too yummy either....they have great barbecues on every corner that you'll see if you haven't experienced that before....and don't even look for soy

so you and vb have a great time getting dirty and we'll do the same staying clean

looking forward to the reports

but there probably won't be enough pictures at least at our end

stupid schedule is so tight i won't even be able to see pab & lothar's crit as i'll be over at the tt


Hick said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to splash water on my hair without getting my chamois wet?

Maybe I'm losted, again.


Hick said...

not a good idea and not very respectful. I've written a few letters of recommendation for upgrades for people who didn't have enough official points. I've worked hard at studying the rider's ability, safety, and demeanor before writing my letters. A well-thought out, well-reasoned letter will often times do more good than a flood of points.

blah, blah, blah.


Maybe you can get me that cat 1 upgrade!

or not. :)


Velojuice said...

lots of knowledge getting dropped

diskzero said...

Really good stuff here! Thanks OV.

diskzero said...

One more tire question...

I have these super burly Armadillos that survived Copperopolis just fine. Should I use them again or just use a decent racing tire (no funky light stuff)?


Olaf Vanderhoot said...

hmmm ... i don't think too many folks flatted out there last year. But, who knows how the roads will have held up after this spring.

i think i road michelin pro's out there last year, if that's any indication for you. but, even though i attack the rough stuff pretty hard, i try and ride as light on my bike as possible.

there weren't any pothole killers like Copper at the Madera of my memory ... but, hard to tell. I'd say you'd be fine going with a slightly lighter racing tire that you have confidence in.

the crit didn't really have anything too nasty to flat on and I didn't see any last year. but, there is cornering that you need confidence in your tires/wheels, so go with what you know&trust.

hope that helps.