Twice I've done this road race and twice I've been dropped. Both times it was on the long hill that precedes the left-turn to the feed zone - one year on the last lap, another on the very first. So my goals going into this year's race were modest - stay with the pack so that I could provide support to our GC guys and help them get into breaks. I had no intention of being in a break myself, not even a pretend-break designed to set someone else up. Fear of this course had me on my heels, and I was in vigilant match conservation mode from the outset. The power and times you see here are for the pack (which I was able to stay with), not any breaks.
A couple things worth noting:
- Hotter than you think: The temperatures were in the low 90s for most of the day, but that's at some weatherstation on a pole at an elementary school. It's hotter on the road, with the sun reflecting off the asphalt all day. The iBike records the temps at 102 degrees for this ride.
- The long hill climbs 148 feet in .8 miles, for an average slope of 4%. But the steepest pitch is over 15%. Mormon Hill in Bethesda, by comparison, climbs 200' in about the same distance for a 5.5% average pitch with 14% spikes. They're comparable. I've done little training on Mormon Hill this year but spent a ton of time out there last year. So while my legs weren't exactly primed for the effort, my head was. It helped.
- The Breaks vs the Pack: The pack raced the first 3 laps of the race in 48:30 and the second half in 49:00. The breaks got away in the second half and gapped the field by 1:16 and :48. This means that the pack slowed down a hair in the second half, while the breaks picked up the pace a fraction. (It's not surprising that most of these guys doing negative splits in the RR to stay away did well in the TT on Sunday also.)
The iBike software does something cool for circuit races like this. It looks at the elevation and distance and is able to automatically identify the laps, which it breaks out in the bottom left. Clicking on any of them gives you all the data (Power, NP, Time, TSS, etc) for any of the laps individually. Here's how each lap compares:
Lap # Time / Power / NP
1 15:57 / 196 W / 292 W
2 16:43 / 180 W / 285 W
3 15:49 / 198 W / 291 W
4 15:53 / 212 W / 289 W
5 17:10 / 180 W / 266 W
6 17:06 / 206 W / 283 W
Curiously, there are no consistent power spikes lap to lap. The long hill was between 350 - 400 watts without fail. The sharp climb just after the smelly barn was harder at about 450 watts each time, but was less than a minute long. But after a few laps in 102 degrees, I guess 450 felt more like 600. I got pretty worn down out there.