SEARCH V.V. Personal Training & Coaching Blog

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Podium #3: Bloomington Cycling Grand Prix - Third Place!

Podium Picture from Truesport.com
This was my third podium out of the four criteriums I raced this season!  I was especially happy to be third because I barely made it to the podium this time.  About half way through the race, I made a strong, all-out attack that stretched out the field and minimized attacks for the remainder of the race.  I tried to ride more aggressively to show that I can use other tactics other than just sitting in until the final lap.  The goal of the attack was to drop riders, scatter the teams and weaken the sprinters.  I did this because I noticed that the teams were "hogging" the front of the peloton to dictate the pace in favor of their sprinter.  My plan backfired when I realized that I went too hard and barely had enough energy for the final sprint.  I passed third place right before the finish line.  This was one of the hardest days on the bike thus far.  I was super happy to have third place, especially when it seemed like I wouldn't have been there at all!

THE COURSE:
Below is a map of the course.  The course ran counterclockwise and started/ finished about 3/4 of the way on Kirkwood Avenue.
I attached a Strava screenshot of the elevation profile from the course below.  The start/ finish was on a ~3.2% hill.  After making a left turn onto Indiana, half of the distance is a short downhill followed by a short 5% hill towards the next turn onto 7th street.  Using a tight line was important to safely execute the turn from 7th Street to Dunn.  Dunn was a little bit tricky.  Half of the road was on camber and the other half was off camber.  Last year, there were a lot of accidents caused by riders exiting too wide and being unable to adjust their line due to the off camber of the road.  Immediately turning onto 6th street was a hard headwind and a few potholes/ raised pavement that could easily cause a flat.  7th street to grant was very short, so there was very little opportunity to pass.  Kirkwood starts off very flat until passing Dunn.  The grade progressively reaches a peak elevation of about 5% after Dunn.
THE ATTACK:
I attacked right after the turn onto 7th street.  I attacked here for three reasons:

  1. This was where the peloton's overall speed would start to drop.
  2. The peloton would form less pacelines due to the tightness of the turns.
  3. I could pick the fastest line and use the whole road without worrying about hitting another rider.

From the previous laps, I kept a mental note about the average speed from 7th to Grant.  From the start of 7th street to the end of Grant, the peloton averaged about 23mph.  When I attacked, I averaged 28.4 mph from 7th street to the end of Grant.  Upon reaching Kirkwood, I turned around to see if anyone had matched my attack, but I was unfortunately solo and when a few riders closed the gap, no one wanted to keep the pressure on so we reintegrated back into the peloton.

Below is a Strava comparison of my average speed.  I placed markers at the start of my attack.  If you'd like to see the full graph from the race go to my Strava profile.
THE FINAL LAPS:
The final laps were pretty uneventful.  After I made a hard attack early in the race, the remainder of the race was pretty much steady state.  I unfortunately used up too much energy and stayed in the redline to sustain the elevated pace.  By the last lap, I was fifth wheel and my legs were still not ready for a final sprint, but that didn't matter since it was the final lap!  When we finally reached Kirkwood, the sprint started immediately and my legs still felt fried.  I ignored it and sprinted as hard as I could even though my legs felt numb and weak.  I passed fourth place on the flat before reaching Dunn, but had a moderate gap to third place.  Since I knew the elevation started to rise after Dunn, I made another kick which allowed me to pass third place!  The major thought that motivated me to keep sprinting was the panic that set in after realizing that I might not reach the podium!  It felt good to be third place!

Again, I'd like to thank my sponsors WeightVest.com, VelocityUSA.com and DeSotoSport.com!