Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Allez, Lies, and Sandbagging

The new junior team bikes were built up last week by teammate Billy Innes and they are sweet.  All twelve teammates will be racing on the new bikes, as well as this junior team director.  We’re switching to the Specialized aluminum Allez mostly because in the past two seasons the juniors have broken eight carbon frames.  But, we also like the way that they race!

I raced on my new Allez at the 27th annual Snelling Road Race last Saturday.  There is a particularly rough section of the course which Strava appropriately calls “Equipment nightmare” and the roads put my new ride to the test.  The Specialized Allez passed with flying colors.  I entered the masters 35+ 1/2/3 race because the 45’s had sold out and there was the opportunity to race with my teammates, which is always fun.  Winds at Snelling were epic!  About 16 miles from the finish a large group scooted off the front and I went with it.  At first it was too large to stay away but then eventual winner Nick Thiebold (Safeway) pressed for another break, was joined by me and four others, and we were gone.  I did less than my fair share because the odds did not favor us, especially with teammates Bubba Melcher, Don Langley, Chris Lyman, Craig Roemer, and Billy Innes still in the pack.  I also did less than my fair share because I’m not as fit as these young riders.  I have arthritis in my right hip and its causing me daily pain.  Most that hear of my aging woes wonder how I can soar off the front of a 100 rider field.  I’m not lying, the pain in my hip is real.  Some days are good, some days are not so good.  I finished 4th.

Craig ended up attacking out of the pack on the last lap and almost caught our lead group.  He took 8th.  Chris ended up in 11th. 

Finally, as the former Nor Cal “upgrade coordinator” I’m sensitive to riders desire to upgrade, as compared to the relatively high turnover on our sport.  And, yes, there is a correlation as many riders upgrade to fulfill a goal or to escape “dangerous races” (without looking in the mirror at their own skills).  I’m bringing up this point because Strava helped me to see the big differences in speeds between categories at Snelling.  Yes, these are road races and tactics will always trump average speeds, but these were 12 mile loops that offered some interesting data.  Bottom line – Category 3’s need to be very careful before they jump into a 1/2/Pro category!
Snelling 2012 Lap times/ MPH
Masters 45 4/5
Masters 45 1/2/3
Masters 35 1/2/3
Category 3
Category 1/2/Pro
Lap 1
32:28- 22.1mph
29:40- 24.2mph
29:24- 24.4mph
30:04- 24.0mph
26:55- 26.6mph
Lap 2
34:02- 21.2mph
31:07- 23.2mph
29:06- 24.8mph
33:45- 21.3mph
28:10- 25.5mph
Lap 3
34:38- 20.9mph
32:58- 21.8mph
28:48- 25.0mph
33:54- 21.2mph
28:21- 25.4mph
Lap 4
36:45- 19.6mph
35:13- 20.4mph
28:43- 25.0mph
35:15- 20.4mph
29:17- 24.6mph
Lap 5

28:41- 25.0mph
36:36- 19.7mph
29:18- 24.6mph
Lap 6

31:21- 23.0mph
source - www.Strava.com

My advice?  Stay in your category until your competitors beg you to upgrade!  So what if you are called a “sandbagger”, you’re getting experience (and results!) that you may not see for some time when you upgrade.  Good luck!  Larry Nolan


Jack_Maddux said...

That pro 1/2 race was insane.

mulvihill said...

out of curiosity, which E3 did you copy data from? I didn't think it was a particularly fast race, but when I sent mine to strava the "Snelling Road Race Lap" segment had the following times.

30:01 @ 23.5 mph
29:12 @ 24.1 mph
28:59 @ 24.3 mph
29:44 @ 23.7 mph
31:42 @ 22.2 mph

MKopp said...

I agree, the E3 numbers in the table seem low. I get about the same numbers as Mulvihill for my version of the E3 race when I upload to Strava.

29:58 @ 23.5mph
29:10 @ 24.2mph
29:25 @ 24.0mph
29:24 @ 24.0mph
31:46 @ 22.2mph

And looking at the whole race on my power file it was 23.5mph ave for the whole race.

I agree with your comment about not focusing on upgrading, but, mostly because I'm a 44 year old man racing in the E3 and am having enough trouble being competitive, much less thinking about upgrading.