Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What I Learned from the Dragon's Challenge

I've had a couple of days to think about Dragon's Challenge and how things went. Here's what I think learned last weekend:

  • My fitness is pretty good right now. Clearly the combination of long rides with significant tempo work, the Wednesday night team ride, and a rest week last week was really helpful this weekend. I felt that handing the surges in the road race and criterium was surprisingly easy. I was able to move around the pack at will which was really cool.

  • In watching the video footage that my wife took of the criterium, I noticed that the guy who won the race was very active--but it's not something I noticed during the race itself. I need to pay attention not just to what I am doing but also to what other individual riders are doing. Had I attempted a breakaway earlier in the race, it's pretty clear that this guy would have bridged up to me and we likely could have held off the field. I still might have come in 2nd, but it would have been fun to work a break like that.

  • Even though I haven't been specifically targeting 1-5 minute intervals in my workouts, I believe I'm improving in those areas. In my solo flyers at the end of the Saturday and Monday races, respectively, I basically set career best average wattage numbers in the 1-minute to 4-minute range. Even though these intense efforts came at the end of the races, I was still able to achieve personal-best wattages. I'm sure with even more focused work on this after Mitchell is over I can continue to improve.

  • If I want to get good at time trialing I am going to have to spend time on the time trial bike. I believe my FTP is one of my strong suits as a cyclist and yet I "only" finished 6th in the TT. Granted, after a conversation with my coach I made it a point to leave energy in the tank for Monday's criterium but averaging 285 watts on the TT bike is probably just as hard for me as averaging 310 watts on the road bike. It's a substantial difference. Time trialing has not been a focus this spring and it showed. After Mt Mitchell I need to sit down and decide what my goals are for the latter portion of 2007 and potentially include TT work in those goals so that I can bring my TT bike FTP up to a level that more closely matches what I can do on a road bike.

  • Winning and/or finishing near the top is extremely rewarding and makes the blood, sweat, tears, and previous failures all worth it.

Here's a photo from early in the criterium that I thought was particularly well-shot (kudos to the photographer). I'm at the front but taking it easy. The guy in the orange-and-black kit won the criterium. The guy in the orange-and-yellow helmet took second in the road race.


Blogger Brian said...

Hi there,

I hope I am not pestering you on your blog, but I was wondering if you happened to have taught programming at a BYU summer computer camp way back in the 80s? If so, my brother Eric and I were camp participants there for two summers. In fact, both of us still listen to Mannheim Steamroller and Alan Parsons because of you! ;-) Eric has gone on to become a computer programmer. Me, I'm wrapping up my Phd and about to become a professor of philosophy.

If memory serves, I used to make you debate ideas instead of doing my programming assignments, so I suppose I wound up right on career track, although there's nothing like graduate school to make one a humble thinker and make one more interested in listening than arguing!


Brian J.
brianearljohnson [@]

June 11, 2007 12:52 PM  
Blogger Bucky Bunson said...

Yep, that's me. Congratulations on the PhD!

I have a deep philosophical question for you... Do you ride a bike?

June 12, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger Brian said...


A deep philosophical question? Thank goodness it's one that I can answer! No, I don't ride a bike.

Anyway, let me apologize for intruding on your bicycle blog. Through a random coincidence, I ran into your other blog and noted that I recognized your name. I had been discussing the same sorts of issues that you raised there because I had been discussing them with a good friend who has a background similar to yours. So, when I did some google searches on the subject last fall, it led to a hit at your other site. On a lark recently, I got the idea to drop you a line, but since your other blog didn't appear active, I figured I'd drop a comment on the active bicycle blog and see if I had bumped into the person I remembered.

I will confess to being curious about where your considerations have led you since that blog, but it is not my intent to invade your space (and I hope I have not done so by posting here).

Take care and best wishes,

Brian J.

June 17, 2007 8:40 PM  

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