Saturday, April 24, 2010

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

The DeRonde Portland is a bike ride based on the Tour of Flanders in Belgium. It's a road race that covers 17 cobbled hills which are really steep. Well, the organizer of the CrossCrusade in PDX thought it would be a treat to replicate the fun in the West Hills of Portland. They started the DeRonde a few years ago. Initially only a few people join and last year it swelled at 500 riders. Even OPB did a video segment on the news.

It's about 40 some miles and approximately 7500 feet of climbing. The two steepest hills are streets called Brynnwood and College. Byrnnwood tops off at a grade of 31%. I had a moment of lost concentration on that one and lost my momentum. There was no getting back on the bike and continuing to ride with that type of grade. I made it up College - photo below (I'm in the center).

We had a great turnout from Portland Velo. A few of the guys finished in the top 10 finishers (not that it was a race). It was great to have a friendly ride with folks you race with and enjoy the city. We stopped at a couple lemonade stands and a beer stop along the way. We're very blessed to have opportunities like this in Portland. Yes, we're spoiled.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Piece of Cake

Wow, I've neglected my blog something terrible. I'll use the excuse that I've been training in the pain cave and there hasn't been much to report. My approach to road racing has been much different this year. Last year I started early with the Banana Belts and didn't miss any opportunity to race. This year, I've been taking an more casual approach in order not to burn out for cross season. I've been working on endurance and really haven't done any hard intervals yet. Looks like I'm getting stronger for the longer efforts. My 20 minute power is up to 330W. I was at 300W this time last year, so that's a good sign of improvement.

However, all training and no racing makes Paul a boring boy. So, it was time to put the legs to the test. I was going to race Piece of Cake (POC) rain or shine. Well, there wasn't any shining that day. It was windy and cloudy when I showed up to the race. The morning PV boys had the new tent setup, so there was a good place to stay dry.

Of course, it started pouring rain 5 minutes before the start gun. Everyone was cold and wet and the officials got eager beaver and started the race a few minutes early. We were riding for about 5 minutes really hard to warm-up, but then the officials car stopped us. We waited in the cold rain for about 3 minutes to wait for a couple guys that missed the early start. Yikes!

We started cranking away again and the pace was fast since it was cold. My team-mate got in a 2 man break right off the beginning of the 1st lap (he pulled off 2nd place for the race). About 15 minutes later I saw the guy I marked jump off the front so I put out a big effort to catch his wheel. We did a serious TT effort for quite a while. We caught the 3rd chase group and became a group of 4. I wasn't working too much since I had my team-mate in the lead break. My error of the day was doing too big of a pull to close the gap on the 2nd chase group. My legs were toast and I lost the groups wheel. I was in "no-mans land". I sat up and went back to the pack.

On the 4th lap, 5 miles prior to the finish they closed the road. There was a bad wreck in the womens field. We were all stopped and had to wait for 5 minutes. They kept track on the time splits of the breaks. There was about 10 of us left in the pack. The hard wind and rain did the damage. We were all cramped up and decided to soft pedal in since we were racing for 8th place.

It was a good hard race to start the year. I was happy with my efforts. Took 11th place.

Rolling in at the finish - I'm on the left.