Sunday, January 28, 2007

Race Report: Wake County Speedway 01/27

Today was my first race of the 2007 season and my 4th race overall. The Class C race (Cat 4s and 5s) was 40 minutes long and was comprised of about 45 riders. The course is a 1/4 mile oval speedway which, depending on your perspective, makes for either a very boring or a very exciting race. It's the kind of course that has the words "field sprint" written all over it.

(I'm the 2nd row guy in blue in the photo)

I'm not much of a sprinter and haven't done ANY L6 work to speak of yet this year so my goals for this race were simply to (a) improve my pack handling skills, (b) work to stay near the front with minimal effort, and (c) keep the rubber side down.

I wish there were lots of juicy blow-by-blow details or anecdotal observations I could make but there's not much to say about the race itself other than that it was typified by unsteady effort. It was basically the opposite of a time trial: lots and lots of L6 efforts followed by L1 recovery. The attached graph shows what I mean. Next week I'd like to focus on being more steady and less panicky when bridging distance to the rider in front of me. If I do, I think I can take better advantage of my aerobic power (my strong suit, IMO) and save my anaerobic matches until the last few minutes.

Here's a comparison of a typical tempo ride and the race.

Tempo Ride 01/28/07

Speedway Race 01/27/07

Notice how from a wattage bin perspective, these two rides are almost completely opposite. The first ride is a steady effort using aerobic endurance. The race was a series of anaerobic efforts followed by recovery (rinse, repeat). What these graphs show is that my current winter training does not closely model what I'm doing in a typical criterium race. That is by design because my training plan calls for a periodized approach to training wherein I'll start working on anaerobic ability later in the year. Still, it does reiterate why my legs felt dead even though the average watts were only as high as the typical tempo ride.

Anyway, about the race... I thought I did a decent job of staying near the front but with a few laps to go I somehow found myself on the inside behind a few guys who slowed down. It took me a while to work myself wide and when I finally did, all that was left was the hope of gaining a bit of ground in those last couple of frantic laps. I made up some spots but ended up finishing 11th as a couple of guys who were smarter about timing their sprint sneaked in by me right at the end. Next week, I'll to try to stay more toward the outside (but still in the slipstream) as the laps count down and try to go balls to the wall for the last 4-5 minutes and just see what happens.

It was really cool to meet other guys from my racing team and from the online forums I frequent. Perhaps we'll be able to work together in a future race. This one was all about survival.
Here are the stats for the race:

Duration: 40:24
Ave Power: 259 watts
Norm Power: 288 watts
Max Power: 1095 watts
Ave Speed: 24.8 mph
Max Speed: 32 mph
Time not pedaling: 13%


Blogger Duc Tang said...

awesome. i'm actually in the picture. I'm in the carolina blue jersey with the silver helmet on the left side of the picture. i got dropped like nobody's business. i started a blog on my training and racing like you did, I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions you have for training. Cause you seem to have gone a long way since 05. I've been riding since 05 also, but I get dropped regularly from the Performance ride out here in Carrboro.

February 18, 2007 7:20 PM  

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