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March 14, 2010


Missed Opportunity

by hammonjj

This weekend marked the first weekend of real racing in Colorado.  The University of Colorado hosted their annual crit weekend along Research Park in Boulder.  The course is known for being fast and relatively flat.  My race?  All I can say is that I missed an opportunity.

SM4 went at 1:40, which meant that I showed up a little over an hour early so I could register, this race tends to fill quickly, and walk the course looking for any defects in the road surface that might cause a problem.  In a continuing trend of not making the same mistakes twice, I made sure to bring spare front and rear wheels.

The gun went off and from the start you you could tell that CSU was going to be controlling the race; I think there were seven of them in the group of forty or so.  They didn’t let ANYTHING go and I mean anything.  The farthest I saw a break was maybe ten seconds and even that was quickly brought back.  I managed to sit in for most of the race at the back, avoiding a fairly major crash in the first third of the race.  The pace was pretty solid, but my legs felt pretty good and I hung on without much of a problem.

My missed opportunity came at the end.  For anyone that doesn’t know, I qualify myself as a sprinter.  My peak power output is 1274 and my 5 sec power is around 1230, so I should just hang back and wait for the field sprint at the end, but I wasn’t so patient.

Instead of just hanging back, I panicked at two-to-go because I didn’t think I was going to be able to get to the front once CSU decided they were going to lead out there man, so I decided to try and follow another guy’s move.  This was a bad decision because I don’t have the endurance or the anaerobic power to hang with someone making such a bold move at the end of a crit and I know it.  I just ended up dragging the peloton behind me for a lap and a half, setting up everyone for a nice field sprint.  I guess you live and learn.

Things to work on:

1) Moving up and keeping position.  I tend to lose a lot of spots quickly and am not *really* comfortable moving up though the pelaton.  I normally just move up on the outside, wasting energy.

2) Staying calm in the final laps of the race.  I’ve got a sprint that should be able to take me to the podium, but I need to be patient enough to use it.

All-in-all it was a good race and I learned a lot along the way.  I just need to continue working on the mental side of things and I think that everything will fall in place.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Charlie
    Mar 18 2010

    James – What is peak power and 5 sec power output refer to and how do you measure it?

    • Mar 18 2010

      Power is measured in watts by a fancy hub in my rear wheel called a Powertap, there are several different power meters on the market. Essentially it’s a standard hub with a bunch of fancy strain gauges that measure inflection in the material used in the gauge. Once inflection is measured against a material with a known deflection rate, it’s a simple equation to equate that to power, in this case watts.

      Peak Power refers to the maximum amount of power that I can put out for an instant. Five second, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, is what I can maintain for five seconds.


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