I just realized, this blog was intended to be a training & racing diary of my own progression through the 2016 season, but I haven’t posted anything personal about my current status.
Consider this a quick correction to that.
Our local Spring Series road races kicks off this coming weekend, with some positive and negative changes this year. The Series is now fully UCI sanctioned and counts toward upgrade points. Huge positive for my goal of upgrading from Cat 3 to Cat 2! However, this means I won’t be able to race up in the Cat 1/2 group for better leg-crushing training efforts.
2016 Season Goals
My major season goal is to upgrade from Cat 3 to Cat 2. My plan is to use the Spring Series as training through March and target the early season Washington races to win some crits and earn the UCI points needed. Although I won the overall in my local Cat 3 Crit series last year, it didn’t officially count for UCI points so I’m going into the 2016 season having to earn my way up from scratch.
Assuming I get the upgrade, I’ll join our Cat 1/2 team in the local series, including BC Provincial Championships in May and BC Superweek in July. This will be a proper test of my fitness and racing abilities. I’m not aiming for personal results, just to compete at the highest level locally.
Spring Series races are notoriously cold & wet. The level of competition is usually high but can be inconsistent depending on the conditions. Given my plan of racing Cat 3 in Washington, I’ll remain in the B group for Spring Series, acting as Road Captain and domestique while I build my fitness into April/May.
My current form looks good, coming off a huge boost in fitness from our team training camp in Tucson, AZ in early February. I’ve got a solid base of aerobic power endurance thanks to TrainerRoad’s High Volume Sweet Spot Base plan and my own self-directed periodized program (which I’ll have to lay out in detail eventually!).
I’ve been more consistent in 2016 compared to last year and my numbers are already reaching my peaks from mid-summer 2015. I still don’t have the supra-threshold endurance that I’d like, but I’m currently in a Short Power Build cycle and I should see my top end grow over the next few weeks.
The goal for the next few weeks is put in hard efforts at the front of the races, keeping the pace high over short, sharp climbs and be ready to leadout my teammates for any sprint finishes. I’ll be targeting anaerobic (30-sec to 2-min) and VO2max power (3 to 6-min) and recovery between efforts.
Race Simulation Team Training
Last week our A & B teams combined to run through some race-simulation drills, chasing and attacking each other in small groups. We saw the effectiveness of two very different strategies.
The first was a traditional attack-defend plan, with the defensive team (which I was part of) tasked to hold the attackers to within 15-seconds over the ~15min flat course, while the attackers’ team tried to disrupt our chase. I shot a video of the drill that shows our strategy and communication
We successfully caught the attackers within 500m from the finish line with nearly perfect coordination in the drill. Nothing too exciting, but solid execution.
The teams flipped and we were the attacking team. Our plan was to send dummy rushes up the road, force the defenders to chase, and reserve our heavy hitters – which I was one – for a late attack.
Things immediately went off-plan, as the defending team sent one of their riders up the road early, before the combined group even got up to speed. We were obviously confused, but eventually sent two of our dummy attackers up the road. However, by the rules of the drill if even one of the defenders was within 15-seconds of the two attackers, the defense won. So the solo defender could sit-in up ahead and the rest of his team back in the peloton didn’t need to do any work to chase.
The “defending” team had turned the tables on us, forcing us to chase and attack. In addition, they played a super effective man-defense, marking our obviously strong riders for any moves. I’d look back and just see the guy marking me with a big grin on his face, sitting snug on my wheel, and we couldn’t seem to do anything about it!
We couldn’t seem to organize to counter this tactic, and our plan fell to ribbons. We tried breaking away haphazardly in ones and twos but too little and too late. Again the defending team won the drill, but in very different manner. It showed us how tactics on the road are fluid and how we need to adapt.
The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that
After the drills, we smashed it around our usual 100km loop. I cracked after spending 30+ minutes at threshold and was dropped like a stone… While the Cat 1/2 guys raced off into the distance.
I finished the ride savouring a samosa and excited for next weekend’s racing!