Monthly Archives: April 2011

Happy Ravens TT – Week One

I knew I was in trouble when I started to warm up on the trainer an hour before my start time.

I felt weak. I did not feel strong. I was coughing.

I came down with a severe cold. I went into work Monday only because a large project was kicking off and I went home as soon as I could. I miss work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I went in Friday, but I was told that I was too sick and to go home. I ignored this and worked a full day. Now I was warming up for a 12 mile TT.

But the weather was good. A bit cool in the early morning, but the sky was clear and sun was out. It’s warming rays felt very nice.

I decided that what was to be, would be. I would ride and race and give it my all, but if my results were not up to my hopes, so be it. Last year, at the first Ravens TT, I finished in 39:37. Even considering how I felt, I hoped to take 10% off of that – four minutes.

As my start time approached, I headed toward the registration table to check in, and then off to the starting line. Racing was to begin at 10:00 and my start time was 10:12, but the promoter was late in starting and I waited over 10 minutes for my start. Not to worry, I was in the sun and warm.

Five, Four, Three, Two, One – GO!

The Last Hill and Descent to the Finishing Line

The Last Hill and Descent to the Finishing Line

I was off. The route is flat for 100 yards and then hits a short and steep hill that makes your heart rate rise quickly. Then a short lessening of the incline before it steepens again to the summit. Last year, I intentionally took it easy on this hill, but this year I hit it a bit harder. My average wattage output was 300, which is good for me at the start of a race.

The First Hill

The First Hill

Summiting the hill, you descend down toward the valley floor and make a slight right hand turn towards rolling hills and the turn-around point. The route is on quite, farm roads and if you can force your eyes off of the pavement in front of you, there are green vistas with Alpacas to enjoy (Sorry, I did not stop for photos).

Ravens Elevation Graph

Ravens Elevation Graph

When your heart rate is high, and hill, even a small roller, is hard. Based upon some advice from a dear friend (Thanks Martha!), I shifted down and got out of the aero bars to spin over the hills. This allowed me to crest the roller with momentum and keep my speed up.

The turn around is always tricky. The best case is keeping your speed up but not riding into the ditch. I was successful at not riding into the ditch, and my speed was six miles per hour.

Because the few riders who started in front of me were faster than I, I had no “rabbits” to chase. I had to mentally focus on my effort in order not to ease up. However, after the turn around, this changed. Even with one minute intervals between racers, I began to catch racers. Seeing someone in front of you gives you extra incentive to work harder. A comparison of average power output between the outbound and inbound legs reveals a slight increase on the second, inbound leg – 221 watts vs 225 watts. I slowly caught and pass a few racers and was only passed once, at the ten mile mark.

The course ends with the same hill you start will, but this side is less steep. And, as you know you are essentially done, you can pull out all of the stops and hit it hard. I did. As I climbed the final hill, I reached my maximum heart rate for the day and my maximum speed during the descent to the finishing line.

The Last Hill and Descent to the Finishing Line

The Last Hill and Descent to the Finishing Line

Time: 35:36.65 – Official Time
Average Speed: 19.69 MPH
Average Power: 228 Watts (Peddling)
Maximum Speed: 40.34 MPH
Maximum Power: 704 Watts

Deschutes River Valley Time Trial Festival – Stage Three

Bakeoven Road.

Today’s TT is 23 miles up Bakeoven Road and then 23 miles back down. It is not easy.

The route starts with three miles of steep climbing before reaching the plateau, but the climbing is not done. You stairstep up for 15 miles before the incline increases again up to the summit. After the turn around, you face a headwind all of the way down broken up by a half dozen short climbs. The TT is not fun.

Perhaps I was intimidated by it, perhaps it was the sore throat that I woke up with. I thought I had an hour before my start time and was just getting ready to go for a short warm up ride when a knock came to my door. It was Martha who told me that my start time was not an hour away, it was now!

I jumped on my bike and raced off to the starting line. I was afraid that I had missed my start, but as I pulled up, my 30 second rabbit was just staging. I was on time, but just barely.

Because of my error, I had no time to warm up. So, I decided to use the short steep climb as my warm up. Last year, Kenneth told me that the racing begins at the top of the steep climb and not to work hard on the climb. Remembering this, I followed his advice. In doing so, I was passed the four people who started behind me. This did cause me some grief, but I knew deep down that they were stronger climbers than I.

For the next fifteen miles, faster folks would catch and pass me, while I would catch and pass slower folks. As the incline steepened near the summit, I finally came upon my wife. As I slowly passed her, I expressed my dislike for this hill. She agreed.

My ride plan for this section was to ride hard, but not above my max. Last year, I worked as hard as I could and used up too much energy. I bonked at the end of the race. I did not want to do this again this year. So, I sucked down some gel and held my effort steady.

Near the top, I was passed by a racer in a sleeveless jersey. However, unlike others, he did not pull away from me. I could pace him as the climb ended. Near the summit, there are two short flats/descents that I hit hard. In doing so, I passed Mr. Sleeveless and put some distance between the two of us. Just before the turn around, I saw Carly coming toward me. I decided to try to catch. At the turn around, I was cheered on by Rob Miles who assured me that it was all now down hill (even thought I knew it wasn’t).

Stage Three - Bakeoven Road

As soon as I reversed my direction, the wind hit me. It was not the strongest Bakeoven headwind I have faced, but it was certainly sizable.

I was now descending the steep section near the summit and I let out all of the stops. I peddled until I was spun out and then tucked into an aero position. My speed increased to above 35 miles per hour. I could see Carly in the distance and she looked just as fast as I me. But I was slowly gaining on her.

Stage Three - Descending Bakeover Road

Stage Three - Descending Bakeover Road

The first short uphill came and I decided to use my momentum. I shifted into a small gear and spun up the hill. This allowed me to crest the hill with some speed which I could quickly increase as the road began to drop. This is how I caught and passed Carly.

For the next fifteen miles, I slowly caught and passed folks. No one caught me.

I was now at the top of the last steep descent, and unlike last year when there was no wind, I was alone and I had to pedal to keep my speed up. I zoomed around the hairpins turn and dropped down into Maupin. I even sprinted for the finishing line.

Time: 2:49:10 (2:52:13 – Official time)
Distance: 45.89
Average Heart Rate: 136 bpm
Average Power: 199 watts (peddling)

Deschutes River Valley Time Trial Festival – Stage Two

An Eight Mile Uphill Time Trial that gains 1,900 feet of elevation. There is no flat. There is no downhill. There is only up.

The stage started at 3:00 pm, and the wind we enjoyed this morning had increased. There would be a strong cross wind for the majority of today’s ride.

And there was. I started into a head wind, which became a tailwind at the hairpin turn and finally a cross wind after a short quart mile. Right from the start, I brought my heart rate up to 175 bpm, and let it drop down to well above 150 bpm and kept it there for the entire ride.

I was please with my ride; I took four minutes off of last year’s time.

Distance: 8.19
Time: 45:34
Average Heart Rate: 155 bpm
Average Power: 251 – 253 pedaling

Stage Two

Stage Two

Deschutes River Valley Time Trial Festival – Stage One

This is the second year that I have raced the DRVTT. Last year, I was racing just six months since I broke my leg, and my results reflected it. My time was only better than one other person is my age group, and like me, he was having health issues.

This year, I have been training for this race and it would appear that my training has paid off. In the first two of three stages, my times have been 10% faster than last year. Conditions have been similar – gray sky with wind, but this year I have been training.

Stage one is a 26 mile loop with over 1000 feet of climb. The start is at the fool of the bridge over the Deschutes River and climbs up through the small town of Maupin to Juniper Flats. Last year I took it easy (heart rate 135 bpm) on this climb and was passed by many people. This year was different. Right out of the gate I let my heart rate climb up to 150 bpm and let it stay there. Yes, I was passed, but not by many and I did catch some of the slower riders who started before me. My average up the hill was just over 10 mph.

Once I reached the plateau, there was wind. Some say not as bad as last year, but none the less, the wind made it interesting. It was head wind, making riding difficult. But, I picked up my speed to over 20 mph and reached 28 mph on the slight descent toward the plateau rim. My heart rate dropped, but not much. It was just below 150 bpm.

The descent into Tygh Valley was difficult. The wind was blowing and my LeMond wanted to shimmy. The wind would catch the front wheel and cause a harmonic oscillation that I controlled by placing my knees against the top tube. I gently dragged the rear brake at times to keep my speed not much above 30 mph and kept a light grip on the handle bars. One of the faster riders caught me but did not pull away from me. He had tri-spoke wheels which the wind pushed around a lot.

Once I reached the valley floor, I had to fight the head wind again. It was hard. My speed dropped to 17 mph and my heart rate climbed back up 150 bpm. I could see riders in front of me, but I was not gaining on them.

Soon, I made the right hand turn toward Shearers Bridge putting the wind behind me. Now I could gain and pass folks. Near the end of this section, I finally caught and passed Joanne. She was having a very good ride. It took me nearly 16 miles to make up the seven minute head start she had over me.

The descent into the Deschutes River Valley was fast, but even here I was passed by a fast rider who was peddling down the hill while I coasted saving energy. He was being chased by Kenneth Philbrick who passed me just as we entered the valley.

The section along the Deschutes River back to Maupin was very painful. It was straight into a head wind which kept my speed down between 13 and 21 miles per hour with an average of 17 mph. I was so glad to see the finishing line come up. It had been a very hard ride!

Distance: 26.28
Time: 1:27:10
Average Speed: 18.15 mph
Average Power: 216 pedaling

My time is over 10 minutes faster than last year, so I am please with my effort.

Stage One

Stage One

Tualatin Tuesday

I joined Del’s fast boys for another rip out your lungs ride.  My lungs were ripped out and I and still searching for them.

I did manage to hang on for the first 9 miles but it did take maximum effort.  Then, as we started the first serious hill I was gapped.  I started to chase and I did manage to keep the lead pack in view, but I could not close and finnaly droped off.  Shortly thereafter, I broke a rear, non-drive side spoke and limped in the last 11 miles. 

While we had only thin cloud cover, it got cold near the end of the ride.  I worn an undershirt, a short sleeve Jersey and arm warmers.  This proved to be a bit less than what I really should have worn.

Vernonia – Astoria – Vernonia

Vernonia - Astoria - Vernonia

Vernonia - Astoria - Vernonia

My friend Kevin “Dessert Coyote” Van Dyke scheduled a long ride. The weather forecast was for rain. I was not disappointed. What was unexpected was the sun in Astoria and the hail in the Coast Range.

Astoria Column

Astoria Column

I rode my Redmond Conquest Pro Ti rain bike, a nice solid ride. Joining Kevin and myself was Luke who was the strongest one of us. I Hare to work hard to stay on his wheel. I had a good training ride and I had a chance to work on my mental toughness with some of the weather I had to ride in.