Monday, August 08, 2011

The Tour of the Catskills -- Stage Race

Three days of premier racing in the great Catskill Mountains, NY are now history for 2011 and so Py's first time experience for this one. Time to wrap it up.


-- work in progress -- gear thoughts -- preparations --


As Py's blog readers know, he happened to be riding and training a full week in the Adirondacks including a pre ride of the Catskills stage 1 with a friend. The timing was pure lucky as this previous summer vacation week of cycling in the Dacks was planned way before he even though about doing this race -- it just happened to be as perfect as it was. He had the great chance to ride with his friends, pull them along, go hard on climbs or pull long in a TT like effort. Thanks to all of them!

As usual, new races and such big ones never leave you or Py thoughtless before what to do best. Tuning and selecting equipment, gearing, finding the ideal aero and weight balance. In particular the TT time would count in big for the GC. Getting the most out of his Planet X time machine would be a key:


Also for the road machine, weight minimizing, EC90SLs, including his older lighter helmet. But also including thoughts about feedzone support and necessary water/food supplies, breakfast and lunch/dinner for the stay went around in his minds. Nutrition and recovery.

Friday -- first race day -- Stage 1:

Loading the gear. Travel to Hunter, NY. Funny, just a few miles before the Catskill exit meeting Paul and Carol on the road. Signing in on the way at Hunter Mountain for the TT and checking in at the Fairlawn Inn -- just a block from the TT start, great!


He took also his cooler along (fits right into this open spot in this picture) with food supplies like orange juice, milk, yogurt, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, muesli, tomatoes, his bread (sure!!), cheese and a little left over turkey. Lunch now. Checking out the TT start and taking a few snap shots.


Back at the Inn attempting to pin or saw on the numbers on this super stretchy TT skin suit while NOT wearing it -- kind of an failure -- super. Time is running short to the womens or Carols TT start -- jumping into this suit with one ugly attached number and hurrying to the start -- just missed her to take the picture. Sorry about that Carol. Hanging out there and finding some gracious help by a random person to put his numbers one. Big thanks!!

Putting back this big camera and finally getting ready for his ride of the truth. He felt in good and strong condition, even not having done much TTing at all this season. But put a little extra thoughts into optimizing the bike setup and taking full advantage of his latest toy, a power tap.

Having collected enough data from intense training rides and races he had a pretty good idea of what power he should be able to sustain -- but you never know the exact race day's performance until the day of truth comes. In numbers he had a to day best baseline of 260 Watts @ full 30min -- measured, not extrapolated or such. Per "theory" he should be able to put in a good 280 Watts.

Rolling up to the start tent waiting to be called to line up -- riders go every 30 seconds. Exact on time, 3-2-1-go!
Flat to slightly downhill the way out with a minor incline before the turn around point. He accelerated smoothly and ramped up to speeds just little beyond 47km/h and stabilized his 30 second average power readings around 260 Watts. While staying focused and in a good aerodynamic tuck head forward his pray in sight.... Keeping an eye fixed on this number, not let go below 250 Watt at any time in particular on the down hills, big gears and go. Passing a random non TT rider, avoiding any bad spots, hugging this white line from right until the turn around point came into sight -- pretty much perfect timing and smooth turn around plus fly out again, a sip of water and back up to full speed ahead on this minor incline, felt the need to ramp this up with extra power -- readings going up to 380 Watts, felt alright -- passing one, then one more rider kind of stalling up hill... and smoothly settling back to 250..260 Watts maintaining a good pace. Hunter village should come into sight soon again -- counting down km -- little under 10km one way! The coarse will zig zag into town with an short uphill finish at the mountain base. Little traffic encounter at the right turn, but working out OK. Would have been great to have these minor two town roads closed down in some way. Pushing it up with all left to the finish line. Done. Hanging out for the results.

In numbers 258 Watts average. 1:15 down on the best time in my field Cat 4B, place 15.

With this strong showing he was really happy and looking forward to two more great days of racing!

Returning to the Inn, shower, quick recovery snack bananas, strawberries, milk... and taking out the camera for a little coverage of the Pro1/2 race at the start tent:


Saturday -- Stage 2:

The Devil awaits... this stage was pretty much strait forward and "easy". The field stayed together all the way and was easy going -- possibly afraid of what there was to come at mile 55! At Feedzone 2 Py received two bottles of water from Paul (THANKS Paul!!) in a simple plastic shopping bag due to the lack of finding a proper musette bag last minute -- so he had to struggle a few moments hands free organizing bottles, stowing one still tangled up in this bag in a rear jersey pocket for now. Yikes, a gap as the field moved on, but no big deal catching up after a few turns -- good -- one more rider took the chance to tailgate Py back on -- obvious similar troubles. While moving easy on this big road Rte 32 Py took one more chance to untangle this bottle and plastic bag and put it into the bottle holder properly. Just all set up in time for the devil ;-) Py moved a bit up to the front part of the pack while approaching the Devils Kitchen and switched into climbing mode and gears -- C11 Compact + 12-27 did just fine. On the way up he kept passing riders. Some even walking... Towards the KOM a huge gap behind Py and just a hand full of riders ahead in sight. Py spotted a escape group of 3 riders and a few stragglers of other fields, tried to catch up, but on his own this did not worked out. A little drizzle started and turned into steady rain on the last 5 miles -- actually feeling pretty good. Three or four riders came up on him and they pushed to the finish, two got dropped off again.

Py finishing 12th on stage 2, GC 16.

Pre race scenes...

Pro1/2 and other finishes:


Congratulations to this outstanding young rider Nick in the CAT4B group taking the best climbers jersey!

Sunday -- Stage 3: "brutal, hot, mechanicals+flat, but finished"

Back home. That drive back was annoying and stressful, worse than racing -- traffic jam on 87, moved over to the Taconic via 84, moving OK but all the way but congested crowds.... and terrible weather on Western LI, ugly but not wet out here -- Py got sweaty unloading all the stuff...

Ah well, there was also a race stage 3 today, almost forgot.... was kind of brutal, two major climbs with countless steeps and rollers in between -- this totally broke the race up, even longer story to be written. Hang on.

Starting out neutral, fine. From mile 3 Py was some where mid/front half of the field as a small break took off, it took him some time to get out and in front of the pack w/o crossing the yellow line plus bad rough road there.... Py tried, got about 1/2 way up to the break as an incline started and he felt not comfortable that early to waist such energy and dropped back into the field. That was pretty much wise as the break fall apart and he thinks except one rider all got back rolled in. A long fast downhill on big road 23....

then nice rolling roads but many steeps and kickers leading to the major big climb -- a good one. On the way up there a few steeps splintered the field quite a bit up into pieces and he be leaves he managed to get back into the 2nd or 3rd small chase group -- may be 10..20 riders up ahead, not exactly sure that time. If you can not look up all the time and around turns and over rollers Py loosed quickly a precise judgement about his position.


At mile 30: Feedzone!! Py got his bottle from Paul, all set. Moving nicely in a good small group with about 1 minute down on a small break away. Big thanks to Paul for the water support + info about the gap -- 1 minute down!! Shortly after that stowing away that bottle he dropped/jammed his chain on the next incline and needed to get off the bike to fix it. OK, not a so big deal... chasing back on -- almost there -- ping ping ping, what's that?!??! then Pffffffff -- jikes. A broken spoke (snapped in parts almost in the middle -- Sapim issue?? he heard some rumors.) on the rear wheel plus he thinks a related flat. However, the wheel car was right there and that swap worked pro like, they got his wheel ready as he just had his dead one off --- big thumbs up!!! However, his great break group was gone. He tried hard to chase... but to far away, did not worked out. But a few riders of the next small bunch got to Py. Great. They, mostly Py... kept chasing together with one rider from Danbury Audi and stayed together until the finish, they dropped all the others attempting to tag on ;-) With about 15 miles to go a road looking so familiar came up on them -- Airport Road. You know it, good. No? It's just one more feature to get some riders off there bike for no obvious reason -- but the grade... Py new it and he knew he cleared it a year ago with that gearing he unfortunately had now on with his spare -- 11-25. And so he did this time again. Then just keep it moving, a endless set of rollers and a set of great downhills -- pushing it to the finish together with Lorenzo from Team Danbury-Audi.

Hard, hot, but great race -- a real race -- no kiddin around circles.

Or simply put: survival and minimizing time loss today.

Coming in still on 21st position, keeping GC 16.


Felt really good been done with it all....

However -- a really exceptional race ''a the real deal race" and great long race weekend. Also big big thanks to all the great organization, support and volunteer people -- just every one and thing was outstanding!


Py's plain race report and photo links here:

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