Saturday, November 1, 2014

Race Report: Schoolyard CX by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

Going into Schoolyard CX this past Saturday I wasn't quite sure what to expect. While I've driven by the Alexander Dawson campus on highway 287 thousands of times, I'd never stepped foot on the campus. I also wasn't sure what to expect from my body. I'd just returned home Friday night after 3 days riding in Fruita with Jon -- it was a great time but my legs were sore and tired.

For those of you familiar with the metrics used in Training Peaks, my Training Stress Balance (TSB) was -15.9. To quote... "If your TSB is a numerical value and it is 'positive' number, then this would mean you would have a good chance of riding well on during those 'positive' days, and would suggest that you are both fit and fresh. While if your TSB was a 'negative' number, then you it would mean that you are most likely tired from a high training load."  And this was supposed to be a recovery week... umm, no but dang I had a good time riding in Fruita. I've had a lower TSB score eight days this year but I'd only raced once with a TSB less than -15.9, the Koppenburg on May 5th and it didn't go well -- DNF. I decided to give it a go, heck, I'd already pre-registered, and if nothing else, there's no training like racing.

As I previewed the course I was guardedly optimistic - I thought it suited me well. It had a good mix of tight corners, fast flow sections, bumpy descents, two punchy climbs and a couple sections for recovery. The temperature was a bit cooler than I expected and I was comfortable in the long sleeve skinsuit. I continued to spin around until call-ups to try to stay warm and loose. It was a small to medium sized group of 37 riders in the 35/3s. I started from the center of the third row and I didn't get the start I wanted. I cleanly clicked into my pedal but I wasn't able to make my way through traffic to the top 5 like I wanted. I need to do some start drills and get my mojo back. I was around 15th going into the first choke point, an off-camber section. I took an aggressive line trying to gain positions and ended up going over the bars and landing on my head. I'm still not sure what happened. I got up and by the time and quit seeing stars I realized I wasn't injured and my bike was fine.

Ohh well, my shot at a good result was gone and it's not even a minute into the race. By this point I was behind people previewing the course - ohhh yay, I get to navigate around people I'm not even racing against. My attitude was actually fairly positive all things considered and I mentally reminded myself I could still have a ton of fun and get in a great workout. 

As I settled in the race I felt surprisingly good. I was picking my spots and steadily moving forward - catch a guy, make a clean pass, repeat... I felt like I was managing my 'book of matches' well -- burning matches to make passes but making sure I didn't go too deep so I could hold the position before moving to the next wheel. By the time I heard the bell at 1 lap to go I had no idea where I was in the field but I'd just passed two racers I respect. How many riders had I passed? Just past the pit there was a set of three tight 180 degree corners. Coming out of the last one I tried to make a pass. Looking at the results it would have put me roughly up into 10th place. I took the corner a little hot and my front wheel washed out in the loose dirt. I went down on my right side and while it was a super minor incident, by the time I got up and cleared my chain I'd lost ~7 spots back to 18th. The guys I was ahead of were long gone. I gained back only one spot by the finish line and ended up 17th. 10th would have been a solid result for me, especially considering the first lap crash. My motivation and morale are still high, my training is paying dividends and I'm going to continue plugging away.

The good:
Solid racing (and fun!) in the middle of the race
Power and HR data -- my highest normalized power (NP) and average power in a CX race, however my avg HR was10 bpm below last two races
Racing with Greg and seeing Andy before his race

The bad:
Mediocre start followed up by going over the bars in the first minute of the race
Last lap spill
(*** SPOILER ALERT ***) Not making it over to see Greg on the podium
Not getting to stick around and watch Andy's race

I'm looking forward to racing next Saturday at Siena Lake in Broomfield.  

Thanks for reading!  Kirk

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