Today was fun! I did a recon of the course the day before and came home worried. Racing with the elites on a 1.3km loop with a 20m climb each loop didn’t seem like a task I was up to. Those doubts nearly became a reality after just three laps. I was hanging off the back and a gap appeared in front of me. I say my race end there and then but somehow I managed to catch back on at the top of the climb and nestle back into the group. Once that scare was over I still found if difficult for a couple more laps but by lap six it seemed to settle. No incidents to report though a couple of times some very experienced cyclists dive bombed my line into a corner. I wonder do they do this on purpose or is it a genuine mistake on their part?
Finished the race strong – I felt more comfortable as the race progressed and crossed the line in 25th of 39 finishers (59 starters).
When I analysed the data I was surprised to see that the first five laps weren’t the fastest. It appears that my struggle in those laps wasn’t to do with the speed – just that I wasn’t warmed up. For GPs I’m afraid to war up too hard for fear of becoming tired. From this race I can see that I was feeling stronger as the race progressed so hopefully I can put that worry aside in the future and do a proper warm up.
Race number 4 of the season… mixed feelings. My pre-race goals were not to be humiliated. I suppose I reached those goals. The race was on a 2.2km circuit with a steep 400m hill every lap. I worried about that hill during the week… the images above show that the hill wasn’t my weak point, it was a downhill cobbled section that proved to be my Achilles heel. I could not for the life of me find the line (or the balls) to take that 90 degree turn at speed. The two Uppsala guys in the picture above took 10m out of me every single time we did that section of the course. I’d catch them on the hill and lead the entire way up and then they’d do the same thing again on the next cobbled section… I’m jumping ahead of myself though. The images above are of a distant chasing group. There was another main group up the road. I lost them on the first lap; the first gap grew out of the cobbles, then I couldn’t catch back on the hill. From there it just stretched out for with every lap.
Of the 40 starters only 16 finished – I was 18th if they count back the DNFs – which I think they will do for the league table. I’m not entirely happy with my performance but now that a few hours have passed I’m not disgusted either. If I make the same gains next year as I did this year then I think I’m there or thereabouts in the money. Keep working, keep enjoying the racing and keep improving.
Tonight was my third race of the season – Arlanda Test Track. It is without a doubt my favourite race of the year. A traffic free motorcycle circuit with wonderful turns and great surface. If only half of the bunch were able to ride their bikes!
I got to the start area late so was forced to start near the back. The race started easy and I attempted to make my way up towards the front but was hindered by what must have been nervous cyclists… they were all over the place for a lap or two and the only safe line was to stay back. After there was an enormous surge on lap three that strung the bunch out in single file I decided that the back was no longer a good place to be. Too many riders were leaving gaps that I had to jump past and bridge. For the next few laps I made my way closer to the front… probably 20-30 riders back. It was then fairly uneventful and followed the same pattern on every lap: Wind down the back curvy section. Sprint out of the last corner on to the home straight and battle for position all the way down. Take the left into the chicane and repeat. Two of the laps had surges that strung us out in single file for the duration of the lap… nobody got away though.
Coming into the last corner I wasn’t too badly placed. The wind up to the sprint started and I didn’t lose places like I usually do. We got closer and closer to the finish and I thought I might tactually do ok. Then Magnus flew by me with about 200m to go… then everyone else came past me! 1 point for me. But enormously good fun!
Race number one of the year – a cold and hilly Kinnekulleloppet.
First race of the year is always shadowed with doubt but this being my first time doing such a hilly race that cloud of doubt was thicker than usual.
* Did I do enough during the winter?
* Can I make it over that hill?
* How cold is 2 Celsius when you are racing hard?
To ease some of the doubts we took a drive around the course upon arrival…
Doubts were replaced my mild panic. my three questions above changed to:
* Why am I here?
* Really! Why am I here?
* Why did I buy a new bike?
The hill looked brutal and the remainder of the course didn’t look too easy either.
Back home we mostly ate, talked a bit and I tried my best to look calm. Had a nice sleep and the alarm clock woke us to a nice welcoming 2 degrees.
Ate breakfast, got dressed and then up to the start area – easy so for, though things were getting real very fast and it was no time before we all stood at the start line… ready for the off.
The start is a great road, no turns to speak of, a lovely fast downhill. Having not been in a group for seven months I was a little tense in my arms – my handling was a bit skittish for a while but before long I was into the grove and enjoying the riding. While constantly rolling, there was really nothing very difficult on the first 26km of the lap; It was great to be riding in a bunch again. I played very little part in the race except for doing some blocking with Robert and Magnus for Martin’s multiple attempts at getting away. About 20km into the lap a strong break seemed to form up the road which Magnus jumped up to – once again Robert and I were up front slowing things down a little trying to allow the break to get a better gap. That was about the entirety of my team involvement… then comes the hill… then it’s pretty much all about survival for me. The first steep kick I felt very good. Had you asked me there and then I would have said I was not much over threshold … happy, comfortable, confident even. Then the next kick up came and I was not feeling so good… I had to dig deep to hold on but managed to do so. The third, final and steepest kick came and I had to do a big surge to stay on … unfortunately that surge was the last of my gunpowder as they started to drift away I had nothing more to give and as a result, by the time I came to the top I was about 20-30m behind the group. I Didn’t panic, worked well with Olof Ivarsson (Upsala CK) and we caught back on before the bottom of the hill.
Lap two was uneventful. The group took it very easy most of the way and I focused on staying at zero watts as often as possible. For me, it was all about saving myself for the second time up the hill.
I wasn’t positioned so well at the start but held the group for the first section – quite easily too. This time I struggled on the second kick and ultimately lost the group just before the end of the second section. I burnt too many matches, spent way too many time above 400w earlier on and had nothing left for the second half of the climb. There gap started to grow and grow as Henrik Karström (Åhus CK) held a steady but firm pace up the remainder of the climb.
Unfortunately, the gap was so big that we didn’t catch the bunch by the time we hit the bottom of the hill…There was Henrik Karström (Åhus CK), Fredrik Nilsson (Oskarshamns CK) with I working well togethe. We swept up quite a few riders along the way, in the end we were a pretty good group:
Fredrik Nilsson – Oskarshamns CK
Olof Ivarsson – Upsala CK
Dante Fjordefalk – #STHLMESS Corelli CK
Robin Niller – Stockholm CK
Karl Börjesson – Ryska Posten SK
Niklas Westlund – CK Wänershof
Calle Johansson – Hjo VK
Mjorten Knutseck – ¤STHLMESS Corelli CK
Per Johansson – Norbergs CK
Henrik Karström – Åhus CK
And me – HRT
After chasing hard we finally could see the group and just as we approached the final climb we were pretty much back on. Then we turned the corner up the hill and BOOM! It all breaks apart again and my matches long since burnt. I dug as deep as I could but this time would be my slowest up the hill and I had almost no kick left in the end.
First race done. I know where I am now and think I know what needs to be done. The season continues.
Two crashes on two races. The last race of the season was this weekend and I had reservations about racing it. The night before the race my hip injury was still bleeding and my fear of falling was very high. TO compound that my confidence in my fitness was also very low. My numbers on Trainingpeaks reflect this feeling – to put it mildly: I’m not fit.
Sunday morning I got dressed, packed my bag and stood in my bedroom. Stood there thinking “fuck it. I’m not going to do this.”. I very nearly called it quits there and then. Somehow I made it into the car, got to the start area and collected my number. I did a quick warmup with Johan B and actually felt ok… not good, not bad – just ok. I had my first glimmer of optimism of the day.
Got to the start, the gun went and off we went. Slow… nobody wanted to start so I did it. I felt that I was taking it easy but examining my data I saw that I averaged 300w for the start – I was burning matches already!
Then after a few minutes, Magnus got out of the saddle and unleashed a pretty strong attack. Then we took the sharp right hander up the hill Vällingevägen and Magnus and Dan unleashed hell. I lost contact at the top and knew I’d get back on during the downhill. I nearly did and then comes another attack on on the exit of the corner. I was toast.
There was a big let-up in the group and I seemed to hang 15m from the back for what seemed like eternity; it was probably two minutes. My legs were burning, I could taste my breakfast for the second time of the day and I was almost ready to call it a day there and then… until three riders caught me and told me to jump on. I did and we caught the group pretty easily. I was back on but still feeling pretty bad.
All was pretty easy until we turned off Ladviksvägen back on to Vällingevägen. This series of attacks would set the format for the race. Hill – attack, sharp left hand bend at top speed, attack up the next hill, sharp left hand bend and why not attack up that hill too. I survived that series of attacks and didn’t think I was going to survive it for lap two or three.
The second lap was easier but the attacks were more fierce when they did come. Luckily my legs had come good and I was beginning to enjoy the race at this stage.
The series of attacks on the winding back section of the course began earlier and seemed to last an eternity. No letting up between the three attacks.
Thankfully for lap three the gunpowder was low on Dan and Magnus’ legs and the attacks weren’t too hard – it was an easy enough lap until the end. Full speed approaching the finish I was positioned badly and really only made a half effort at sprint. Good race. Real racing. Attack! attack! attack!
Criterium in the City Center… not a race that highlights my strengths.
However I’m going to turn up and give it all I’ve got. 1800m course with one u-turn and four 90 degree turns – two of which are pretty technical.
Goals for tomorrow:
1/ Stay on the bike.
2/ Stay with the group.
3/ If I’m with the group after 30 minutes, make a move.
Simple. If that goes well I’ll train through to Wednesday and then rest up for the club champs.
I did a short and easy bike ride yesterday. 1:07 out in the hilly north of Stockholm. Took it very easy and managed an average of 31,5km/h. I’m taking that as a sign of good form.
24 hours and 46 minutes to start time.
It being my first update in quite some time means more than no writing:
Yep, no training either. I did a race on Tuesday with my limited fitness. That probably would have been ok had it been a ‘normal’ race. Unfortunately for me it was far from normal. Skeppsholmen GP: an 800m course with two sharp turns and sprints every lap. 600+ W -> 0w x 2 per lap. It was extraordinarily difficult and then…
Cycled home in a little pain and took the next day off. Did weights yesterday and found it surprisingly ok with the exception of squats – the right glute hurt a lot and today I feel a slight strain in my left knee, most likely because I was overcompensating with my left leg yesterday.
As if the weights were not enough, I then jumped on the bike last night. Just a 30 minute set of 0:30/0:15 at 320W/100W – it was actually quite ok and I’ll probably do that set more often.
Today I want to do something. Weekend I want to get out on the bike twice.
I’m still aiming for the club championships in September 18th.
Very, very hilly course. Technical trail and even off trail.
Some of the swims were very cold and rough; A 1400m crossing in 16 C water took 42 minutes because it was so rough.
Running was either straight up or straight down.
All that would have been ok if it were not for the fact that my legs locked up after 20 minutes. Running downhill it felt like I’d been hit in the upper quads with a baseball bat. Pain scale 8/10.
Running on the flat was not so bad. Running uphill was fine but there was always a mild bruise-like sensation of pain. Never experienced it or anything like it in my life.
Managed that pain for the entire race.
Crossed the line in 36 place in a time of 5:44
Getting more sore my the minute today.
I had not trained for a race like that. My longest run was 15km – once
I averaged less than one run a week for the past two years.
I hadn’t swam more than 30 minutes in god knows how long.
Considering all that – I rocked it.
But it was a stupid thing to do.
Stockholm cup race last night. I decided to give the A group a go for a change. I was told by a club member to give it a go “It’s the same speed as the B group” was his exact quote.
The B group crossed the line with an average speed of 39km/h last night.
The As did 43,1km/h. “It’s the same speed as the B group”? I think not.
Even though the speed was high, it was still easy to sit in to the group… I even got a little carried away and made a break after 17 minutes. I saw a rider rev up to launch and attack so I covered it. After a few seconds he flicked his elbow for me to come around; I did and he stopped working. A few seconds later I was back in the bunch. A few more seconds later another round of attacks started and I had to dig pretty deep to hold on. Good training. Also I got a new power record 1009W – the search for 1200W all of a sudden doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.
“Stay near the front” was my mantra all the way to the end of the race. When the sprint came I was positioned pretty well. I covered an attack with about 3km to go and believed I’d have nothing left for the final gallop… it seemed that nobody else did either. The now familiar scene of drifting backwards in the peloton didn’t happen. I held on and crossed the line in the first half of the group.
Happy with the race. Happy with my fitness.
I entered two of the four days of Stockholm 4 days.
Day one was Arlanda Testrrack Race.
Day three was Falkenloppet.
Feeling pretty good on and about the nike again and had a great time at the races. Both races totally exposed a not insignificant and difficult weakness to fix: I have no top end power.
My guess is that I need a 1 minute power of 600w or a sprint power of 1200w to do any damage at these races. How can that be done? That’s what I’m going to try to figure out during the coming weeks.
Today’s race I was in two breaks – first one could have been a good one but nobody worked,, second one I was well and truly outclasses. My work didn’t really count and only one of the other two members was willing to work. We stayed away for quite a while but were brought back in before the long, flat, fast home straight.