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GMSR 2021

Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:41 pm
by jraguin
More soon, but I was 5th today in Stage 2 (50+ Masters). I also got 3rd in the intermediate Sprint which means some bonus seconds I think!

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:35 am
by jraguin
Stage 1 Friday: 5.7 mile Time Trial. You can't use aero bars, but disc wheels and aero helmets allowed (I don't have any discs). Goes uphill for 2.2 miles, then flat and downhill for the next 3 miles, then a downhill "dip" and a painful kicker uphill to the line. I was going based on power and started solid. I was doing about 10 watts higher than I planned but kept going and hit the top of the uphill at that level. Felt good. Kept the power up on the flats although was losing a bit on the downhill parts. Hit the dip and came out and then saw the 500m to go sign. My legs were screaming at me. I dug deep and got to 200m and then gave it what I had left to the line.

My average power was great but I knew my time was slower than other years/what I had expected. There was a head wind so maybe that was the reason. However, it turned out to be not the case. 22nd of 43 in the 50+ Masters category. Not what I wanted (I hoped for top 15). What happened? I am still wondering. I used an old TT helmet and maybe it isn't very aero on me? Maybe the bike was the wrong bike (more of a crit bike) than for an uphill TT? Maybe my position wasn't very aero today? Maybe the wind was particularly gusty when I rode? Don't know.

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 7:48 am
by jraguin
Stage 2 Saturday: 74 mile circuit road race. Not flat as nothing is flat in VT. There is a serious climb once a lap. However, it is mostly a big ring climb. Also there are 4 sprint points including at the finish. Going north, we have a solid head wind, so people try things, but realize it isn't working. We hit the first sprint point and the sprinters were really going for it. I followed wheels, didn't sprint, and was probably 8th. We turn around south and head into the climb. The guy who is leading day 1 (Fred Thomas) decides to push the pace. We are flying. It is starting to hurt. I don't want to get gapped so I make sure to move up to the top 10 wheels. We get over the top and about 12 of us have a bit of a gap. A few guys are yelling to push it but most of us aren't doing anything on the screaming fast descent so the rest of the pack catches up.

We head around to the finish of the 1st lap and I start thinking "Well, getting top 10 on GC may not be possible now, so how do I get my name on the board? Maybe I can get some sprint points!" So, I start following wheels as the pace picks up into the sprint point. I launch my sprint behind Shattuck and get 3rd. YESS!!! I am on the board with sprint points! I settle back in. Nothing much happens the entire north bound direction because of the headwind. Right near the northern most point, a guy goes off the front. He gets a pretty good gap, but the peloton wakes up, and a few miles later we catch him as we are on the climb. This time, no one wants to push the pace. We pretty much tempo it up until the last 500m where a bunch of guys go for the KOM points (I don't) and then we are all together after the descent.

I feel good so I decide I am probably going to go for the sprint finish. Note I say "probably". Not a good mindset if you want to win. I just wanted to see how sketchy it becomes. With about 2K to go it became a sketchy with an almost bike tangle, some yelling, etc. A few guys clearly back off and we get to 1K to go and I am in a decent position. I get swarmed a bit but with 500m to go I see a gap on the right and sprint into it up on someone's wheel. I go around him to the left and stay aero but never stand up sprint. I get 5th! Super psyched. (In hindsight, I wish I had fully committed and stood up and sprinted!).

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:25 am
by jraguin
Stage 3 Sunday: 64 mile "Queen" Stage. Hilly race going up two big climbs, Middlebury Gap (around halfway) and then App Gap (the finish). That doesn't include "Baby app gap" which is on the way to App Gap let alone Granville and a few other short climbs. Hilly is the word. You would think that it would be all about the hills, but pretty soon after the neutral, people started lighting up the race. People trying to form a break, shutting down the break, etc. I was just following wheels but at times it was pretty hard.

We get around to Middlebury gap and it is a solid pace but not super hard. 6 mile climb, gradual until the last 2 miles with 0.5 mi increments of 5.3%, 8.2%, 7.5%, and 11.3%. We pass the feed zone with 2.2 mi to go and I still feel good. I still feel good with 2K to the top, but right around 1200m to go I start really feeling it. We get through 1K to go (my heart rate was 178 of a max of 185 or so). We get through 500K to go (heart rate is 181-182) and the front 10 guys are pulling away from me. I keep pushing hoping they let up but I get over top and they probably have 50m on me (heart rate 183). I am totally gassed and I try to dig to pick up speed on the fast gradual descent. I see that 2 other guys got gapped just over the top and they start working together so I want to catch them. But the lead pack is pulling away from them and they are pulling away from me. Hope is disappearing and despair building. I look back. No one I can see. There goes the race. I keep pedaling. Finally, after ~3-4 miles solo, I hear a guy yell "Jump on!" Two guys go by and I have to do a full on sprint just to catch their wheel. We work together and after a little while I see we are gaining. The other two haven't caught the lead group but we are gaining on both. At the bottom of the descent we finally catch the two guys and the lead group almost at the same time. Whew. But I am definitely tired. Thankfully, the pace was slow and I have 15 miles to recover before Baby App Gap. There are a few attacks to form a break but I follow wheels and try to minimize my energy expenditure. Still it isn't exactly recovering. Oh, and a few more riders catch back on so we are bigger pack again (~30?).

We get to Baby App gap and the same lead pack that went over the top of Middlebury gap takes up the pace. I am trying to stay on them. Baby gap is a series of steps so I make the first two steps still holding on and we lose a lot of riders. But the third step I realize I am not going to make it. I average 360+ watts for a few minutes on one of the steps and know I can't keep doing this with App Gap still to come. I decide to back off and thankfully a number of other guys do too. So the front group rides away from us. I thought it was 6 guys but it turns out it was more like 10 guys (or maybe 4 went ahead of the other 6). I am in a group of 6 and the rest of the group are falling way behind us. We work together on Baby Gap, go the 2 miles flat/downhill to the bottom of App Gap. Everyone says "Good luck boys" at the start of App Gap as we all know we are in our own solo worlds from there. Almost 2.7 miles with 1200 feet of climbing. I get in my own zone. One guy (Ulandt Kim) goes ahead. I know he is a good climber and just try to keep him in sight. Another guy Rodrigo is just in front of me the whole climb. We pass one guy from the front group which is encouraging. We get to 400m to go and my family is there screaming and running beside me for a bit. I can't even acknowledge them as I am in serious hurt (HR at 178-179) and I can't turn the pedals any faster. I finish just behind Rodrigo. I thought I finished 8th which I was super happy with. Turns out to be 13th which I was not as happy with, but I definitely gave it my all. The riders in this race are just super good. All that energy expended over Middlebury chasing definitely had an affect on my finish climb.

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:44 am
by jraguin
Stage 4 Monday: Downtown Burlington VT criterium! This was a 0.6 mile loop with 6 corners (counter-clockwise: L, L, R, L, L, L). I had heard there are typically a lot of crashes. Thankfully, no crashes in my field today. 25 laps. First 8 laps were super hard. One of the teams decided to push the pace to drop riders. So it was full gas and I was just about at my limit (HR 178 only 6-8 laps in). Thankfully the pace settled down after we dropped a lot of guys who were eventually pulled from the field. Thankfully I did a warm-up!

There were some attacks but most were shut down. One guy pulled a great move with 7 (?) to go. Just when everyone had settled after an attack, he put a hard attack and no one wanted to chase. He got 15 seconds in 1 lap and then was 20 seconds up with 3 laps to go. Everyone seemed to think it was over and they were not catching him (which they did not).

I got in a great position of 5th with 2 laps to go right behind the Sprint leader (Hildebrand). YESS!!! But made a few mistakes on the final few turns and would let 1 guy or 2 guys by at each mistake. I was probably 12th around the final turn with only a 200 m uphill sprint. I passed 2 guys and got 10th. Still a great result for me and I am really happy.

The result moved me up to 11th in GC (from 14th). I didn't think that was possible, but the fast pace of the crit dropped some guys so they lost 4-5 minutes to me which moved me past a few guys. Pretty happy after the start I had in the TT.

A lot of fun, glad I did it, but that is likely it for me for Stage races. The two big stage races around here are on holiday weekends and it is just a big commitment. My family sacrificed a bunch of other things they would be doing for this. If there was one on a non-holiday weekend, maybe that would be different.

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 8:59 am
by KTeves
Nice work John! And nice race reports.

I can totally relate to your experience on stage 3. -Burning way too many matches trying to catch back on to the lead group after getting dropped on Middlebury Gap then suffering on App Gap.

It didn't help that I too was going for sprint points and they put the sprint just before the turn headed to Middlebury. But the race guide didn't say exactly where the sprint was located, so we ended-up winding-up the sprint for like two miles before we actually came upon it.

Re: GMSR 2021

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:47 am
by JeremyC
Great job, stage races are another animal. To finish strong in the Crit means you kept it all together. I had a few beers in your honor this weekend.