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AVDT Race Report: Red Kite #6 Criterium, Elite 3/4

09/10/2013, 12:30pm PDT
By William Ho

2nd of 58

AVDT Race Report: Red Kite #6 Criterium, Elite 3/4
Date: August 31, 2013
 
Result: 2nd of 58
Team: William H. Chris L. (3rd), Keith M., Robert O., Allen B., Amin T., 
 
I always wanted to race the Red Kite series but never had the chance until today. It has been a while since the E3 team has produced result on the podium, so I registered for two races, and hopefully pull in a result. The race course is held in Pleasanton on Franklin Dr. and Johnson Dr. The course is a basic flat four-corner criterium in an industrial park setting.

FORM/FITNESS
The team (AVDT) has just completed a racing/training block over the past few weeks which included Marin Century, Dunnigan Road Race, and San Ardo Road Race. From a training perspective, I was still recovering from my crash at San Rafael and haven’t been able to do push hard during interval training due to contusions on my back muscles. With the end of the race season drawing near, I started the season with some goals in mind and knew today would be the opportune day to push for a strong finish. I was to be free from back discomfort today. With some changes to my family’s schedule, a training day was cut for the past two weeks, so I was on a taper; hence, rested for this race. 

RACE PLANS
The team strategy was to get into a breakaway and not allow any breakaway to go without team representation. The preference was for the race to stay together and take the field sprint. Chris and I negotiated that he will lead me out because: (a) I was only a couple of points away to my Category 2 upgrade, (b) Chris was the protected rider our next race (Giro di San Francisco on Labor Day, two days later) and I was assigned to be his final lead-out man. 

THE RACE
I went deep at the whistle. Pace was very high. High enough that I could not hold wheels in the fourth position, nor the fifth, nor sixth, etc. That’s what I deserve for lining up early at the start and following the juniors who got the front row call-up for their junior roll-out. With the temperatures in the upper 80s, I did not warm up vigorously and spike 160bpm as normal. Instead, I did a paltry warm-up to 140bpm or so because I was cautious of overheating. [My pre-race routine was solid today after heeding to D.S. Shin’s recommendation to work on my pre-race routine.]

The pace of the race was high for the first third of the race. [Contrast this to the E2/3 race report below] It is either I am lacking high-end power or this is indeed one of the fastest starts this season. Teammates, Amin and Keith, noted this too. I kept looking down at my computer to see how much time there is left in the race and saw only 8 minutes tick by. I look again at 18 minutes in, and then I knew it was hard. I judge how difficult a race is by how often I look down to see when this will be over.

Midrace all of the attacks up front keep the pace high, and I see the effects this has on the field. The race resembles the bumpy section of Snelling RR, where the group single files and gaps are opening up. Instead of a long straightaway, this march sustains for several laps. The pack splits and folks are struggling to close gaps and trying to make the split. I see the boys (AVDT) making sure the pack doesn’t allow the group of 8-10 riders ride off. I do sense panic in the field, but the front group is just riding hard and is only 3-5 seconds up the road. As riders push forward to close gaps I see many get collected by the 2-3 wide pack. I hold back the reins conserving energy to make a bridge move, but thankfully I didn’t need to as the race come back together. More left in the tank for the field sprint to come.

The ending was very odd as racers seemed disinterested to race. The winds were getting high and no one was comfortable riding close together in the crosswinds, so there was no difficulty finding my lead-out, Chris. I was somewhat amused at the end of the race that I was speaking in full phrases at 1km to go. Apparently I seemed to have saved a lot for the finale. Unfortunately, as Chris prepares to take the last turn to the finish, a guy sneaks up the road unanswered by the guy Chris was following. After exiting the final turn I proclaimed, "I'll get him Chris!” Unfortunately, I pass him after the finish line. Chris holds off the rush and finishes next. Suffolk-Sunpower takes 2nd & 3rd for the day.
 
The E4 riders (Amin, Keith, and Allen) did a great job for this being their 2nd race of the day. Keith was well positioned on the last lap top 10. The fitness of these guys didn’t display tired legs. This helped me ride with confidence as Chris and I were looking for a pack finish. It is a huge contribution to know that we have guys that can ride hard to bring back a break. Well done!

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AVDT Race Report: Red Kite #6 Criterium, Elite 2/3
Date: August 31, 2013
 
Result: 23rd of 41
Team: None 

TEAM TACTIC
1.    Get into a break for practice at the 30 minute mark
2.    Don’t hurt yourself by forcing a result before the Giro di SF

SUMMARY
Afterwards, following the E3/4 race, I rode the E2/3 race without much drama. Smooth, consistently fast. Granted this race is longer at 60 minutes vs. 45 minutes, the normalized power was 20 W less. Three fast sections and two slower ride-the-hoods sections. I wanted to attack when things were fast. =) [There’s probably a corollary about avoiding this when the speeds are too high.] Winds picked up and once I went into the wind, I questioned my ability, and hid myself. At the end, I felt great at 2 to go for a field sprint, but questioned the lack of carbohydrate in my brain, so rode it in for a mid-pack finish. It was all about position at the end, and I didn't want to deal with it.

OBSERVATIONS:
1.    In a race with newer faces, I focused on following my familiar wheel for safety sake at 3 to go. Until #2 below.
2.    Chica Sexy put together a leadout train at 2-to-go (4 riders) and sought that train as an alternative after losing my strongman’s wheel. I had a mix-up with a rider at the back of the Chica Sexy train by almost crashing him out. Bad riding on my part and a huge dent to my confidence.
3.    Chica Sexy went early at 1-to-go. Sierra Nevada train (3 riders) didn’t like them and they ramped up their train to crush the other train. Sierra Nevada rider wins it. Interesting race from the back seat.

REPORT CARD:
1.    Failed to execute breakaway
2.    Need Improvements
a.    Need to make friends/allies
b.    Understand that bridging a break takes more energy than other methods. Need to find another way.
c.    Need larger gas tank. All was spent on the earlier race. 

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I would like to thank the Alto Velo membership for supporting the Alto Velo Development Team program.

Thanks for reading,

William Ho
Alto Velo Development Team, Elite 3
Suffolk-SunPower Racing

Tag(s): Race Reports