Welcome to my fourth RacenLog. It's been an exciting month to race, with many new events and experiences now under my belt. I hope that this RacenLog will encourage you to give racing a try and to join the Rapid Wheelmen Race Team.
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5 Mile Hill Climb (July 14, 2007)
RTRs: Joel Bierling (48 climb –3rd)
The 5 Mile Hill Climb (http://www.5milehillclimb.org) is a charity event for cancer research. All proceeds go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The event boils down to how many times you can make it up and down the hill over a two-hour period. There are two ways to sponsor riders, either with a flat pledge or per climb.
Seeing that I love cycling up and down hills and cancer research is probably one of the best ways you can spend your time and money, the event seemed like a perfect match for me.
5 Mile Hill Stats:
130 vertical feet
Distance-0.3 miles (1584 ft)
Grade-8.2% average grade
Time-1 min. sprint or 2 minutes on average per trip
I didn't know much about the event before I went, so I based my goal on the record posted on the web site of 95 climbs. I quickly discovered that 95 was unattainable by mortals in a two-hour period. Apparently in previous years the event lasted for four hours instead of two. I also discovered that the 0.3 miles quoted in the stats is only for going up the hill, not round trip. My apologies to those who based their pledge on 95 climbs. In any case, I did 48 climbs, which was pretty much on pace to make my goal of 95+ if I had been allowed to keep going for another couple hours. I also discovered that counting with an oxygen deprived brain is pretty hard. There was no official counter, so the riders were responsible for counting. I was pretty sure I did 50 climbs, my wife Sara and her mother counted 49, but the guy who did the most climbs and who I know lapped me at least once thought he did 49. 48 it was.
I have to admit that the morning was pretty miserable. It started out with a light rain, very windy, and 65 degrees. Hey, its all for a good cause right? Well, unfortunately it got worse, graduating to heavy driving rain at times and probably dropping 5 degrees. Oh well. I was already cold and wet, and it was still for a good cause. The worst thing about the weather wasn't that participants got wet but the probability that the attendance suffered. But in the end, I was happy I was able to participate.
Thank you to everyone who participated, sponsored, or volunteered at the event. See you next year!
Grattan (July 18/25, August 1/8/15, 2007)
RTRs (July 18): Joel Bierling (A's 9th)
Lesson #1: When your chase group begins to catch the break, don't assume the break is caught. Immediately bridge to the break in case the break decides they're not really caught. Lesson #2: A break or chase with more than 10 riders is almost certainly doomed to fail.
I immediately got into the break this week since I rode off the front right at the start of the race. Unfortunately, too many riders bridged up, leading to a break that was completely unorganized with too many unwilling or unable to work. That led to a break from the break which unfortunately I missed. The chase group, of which I was now a part, continued to be ineffectual and was unable to re-catch the break and eventually folded back into the peloton. The peloton now started gaining ground on the break and caught them, but as I've seen before, the peloton immediately slowed down and let the break go! Once more I missed the new break. At this point the peloton was going very slow, so I rode off the front again and was shortly joined by only 6 other riders this time. Perfect. We were able to stay in front of the peloton with the trimmed down and focused chase group and were able to soak up the remaining points on the points laps. A hot and extremely tiring, but ultimately satisfying race.
RTRs (July 25): Joel Bierling (A's Pack fodder)
Shortened due to lightning, which was good because I didn't want to get wet and I was pack fodder anyway. 20 laps was plenty.
RTRs (August 1): Joel Bierling (A's 12th), Nick Christensen (B's 23rd), Mark Bailey (B's 1st)
This week I played “Guess the Break.” Unfortunately, I kept guessing wrong. So with a couple laps to go, I broke from the group and had a couple other racers come out and help. Good deal. That was enough to get me a few points and grab 12th for the night.
Good job Mark!
RTRs (August 8): Joel Bierling (A's Pack fodder), Mark Bailey (B's 1st)
Fast, fast, fast. This was the fastest A race this year, and I heard that some of the laps may have been completed in record time. No wonder I was having trouble making and staying in breaks! Every three laps were for points and the only way I was going to get any was to get away from the group, so I did try one solo break about half way into a lap. Unfortunately, I got passed by the sprinting peloton 100ft from the line almost as if I had been standing still. Oh well.
Good job Mark! Again!
RTRs (August 15): Joel Bierling (A's 14th), Mark Bailey (B's 3rd), Nick Christensen (B's 18th)
Fast, fast, faster. The speed keeps going up. I was able to get into an early six-person break and score some points coming across 4th on the first points lap, but the high speed meant that in the long term the break was doomed.
Mark continues to impress. Good job!
Rapid Wheelmen Time Trails (July 30, August 6/13, 2007)
RTRs (July 30): Joel Bierling (36:19)
RTRs (August 6): Joel Bierling (34:33)
I finally felt good on a Monday evening again. It's funny how you can tell sometimes that you've “got the power.” I did have the wind at my back as I rode from my house to the start, so maybe it was all mental. But I finally got into the 34's again. Yay!
RTRs (August 13): Joel Bierling (34:59)
I just squeaked under 35 minutes. That was good enough for me and since everyone faster than me either stayed home or did a team time trial, it was the fastest solo time of the night too.
Ada Criterium (August 4, 2007)
RTRs: Joel Bierling (Cat 5 – 3rd, prime), Mark Bailey (Cat 4 – 17th, Junior – 6th)
I finally did it and placed in my first USCF race of the year. After being rejected for a category upgrade this spring I was waiting for some sort of result before trying to upgrade to Cat 4 again. I'm happy to say that my second upgrade request was granted, so my next race (probably Rockford) will be as a Cat 4.
The race this year was on a new course due to some pot holes on the old one and was in the opposite direction. I actually preferred the new one since it added a short but steeper uphill section and a little chicane. I hope they keep it for next year even if they fix the potholes.
How it unfolded. The race started out at a decent pace and kept getting faster. This was a little unfortunate since many beginner riders got dropped, then lapped and so had to exit the race. I think there really needs to be a “Cat 6” race or faster/easier upgrades to Cat 4. The problem is that if you are a person who only races a couple times a year it doesn't really make any sense to buy a yearly license for $60+ when you can buy a daily one for $10. But the problem is that you're forced to ride Cat 5 even if you're a super-fast racer who just wants to occasionally race on the cheap. I also heard that the Cat 5 race was even faster than the Cat 4 one. There has to be a better way. Maybe Cat 4/5 licenses should cost $20 instead of $60.
Anyway, unlike at the Tour de Gaslight I wanted to really contest the primes, and for the single prime that was offered I took off on the small uphill, almost caught the pace car (I wanted that draft!) and crossed the line in first. That was a nice $20! After that, I stayed 2–4th wheel again until about 3 laps to go when I decided I needed to try dropping some of the guys who would invariably beat me in the sprint, and I again took off on the small uphill. That broke the group up to 4 riders, two of whom did beat me on the final sprint. 3rd was good enough for me, though!