Tour de Rock -Week 10. Climbing Stage. Madeira ITU Work Championship Course

22.7 miles, 1:26:08 time, 5th place B Group

This was a long tough stage. 1:26:08. 4 huge climbs. I struggled from the beginning to stay in the pack. However, I found a rhythm in the climbing. I was out of my saddle but feeling okay. Scott and Mike didn’t fool around tonight. They took off and never looked back. They took all the KOM points 1-2. Bill took 3rd. I fell behind those 3 and behind Alvin and Amy. Alvin was slipping in his trainer on the climbs, so he couldn’t attack and catch the front 3. It took me a while and few surges to shake off Allison. As Amy fell off the pack in the front, I clawed my way back to Amy and we worked together great for awhile on the flat between the climbs. At the next climb, I dropped her and I found Alvin’s wheel. He pulled me up the 2nd climb. He later took off. The 3rd climb was horrendous. As seen above, 1.75 miles, 15% average. That means there were higher and lower grades, upto 20%! Killer. Scott and Mike finished 1-2. Then Bill, Alvin, Me and Amy. Then, Trevor, and Allison. On the last climb, Trevor was pushing hard to catch Amy, but she held him off. Tough long ride. I had a fitful sleep afterwards and missed a swim workout in the morning. Oh well. We have one last week of Tour de Rock!

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Bill’s Preview

Since there’s only two weeks left, we have but one climbing stage left in play.  However, I tried to make it worthy.  The course we’ll use is the Madeira ITU World Championship course, and the profile is shown below (never again will we diss ITU athletes – imagine running a blisteringly fast 10k after this).  Instead of longer, shallower climbs, this course’s action is mostly going to be shorter, punchy-type climbs.  The details of the climbs and the KOM data follows:

Climb #
Category
KOM Point (mile marker)
Climb Length (mi.)
Avg Grade
1
2
3.60
3.60
3.50%
2
3
10.00
0.75
9.20%
3
1
13.50
1.25
15.00%
4
2
20.00
1.25
8.00%

Bear in mind that these are average grades, and include some of the flatter run up to the meat of the climb.  That means the meat of each of the last three climbs will be steeper than the average shown (in some spots, substantially steeper). The toughest grade is just a bit over 20%.

All in all, I hope this will provide a good blow-out to this year’s climbing activities, and prove to be a memorable day.  Happy trails!

Bill’s B Group Thursday Report

Once again, team tactics………….  not only was it about strength, power, endurance & heart tonight; it was also about team tactics.  The “B” riders rode hard tonight, but it was far from straightforward.  Riding for the Pusherstonight were Mike Webb, Scott Trevor & Allison; the Gunners were Bill, Alvin, Joe & Amy.  The major issue in tonight’s race was not so much time or placings, but KOM points.  Bill had an opportunity to take enough points to overcome Tyler’s lead, so long as he won most of the KOMs.  Would he be able to do so? 

As has happened before, the “B” group report might be a bit skimpier than other night’s reports, since I was occupied for much of the night and not watching as many things as I might.  If details are omitted or altered, my apologies. 

The race started off fast, and it only took a mile or so for the team tactics to show up.  Mike & Scott took turns attacking on the first climb, forcing Bill to respond to each.  The first couple of attacks dropped Trevor and Allison.  The next to go were Joe & Amy.  Finally, an attack at about Mile 3 shed Alvin as well, leaving Scott, Mike & Bill alone in the front group.  Scott did the lion’s share of work on the first climb, pushing the pace relentlessly.  At the top of the first KOM, he was able to make a surge for the line and make it stick.  Bill went for second place, but was pipped at the line by Mike.  As they went over the top, Scott and Mike linked up and attacked again, and were able to gap Bill, who was unable to respond.  They were able to open a gap of about 100 feet fairly quickly, and the gap only expanded as they went down the first descent. 

They continued to work hard together while Bill settled into a pace behind them.  Since they were able to share pulls, they were able to keep their pace higher than Bill on the flat following the first KOM.  Bill made a decision to slow down so that Alvin could catch up, which proved fateful.  While he slowed, Scott and Mike worked hard to get as big a gap as possible, and were able to open the gap up to as much as 1/2 mile.  Alvin finally caught Bill right at the bottom of KOM #2, but never quite got inside of 40 feet.  As they went up this climb, Alvin said his rear tire was slipping and he could not hold any pace, so Bill accelerated and dropped Alvin almost immediately.  This slippage resulted in Alvin climbing slowly, and eventually getting caught by Joe & Amy at the bottom of the descent from that hill.  However, he was able to drop them later on. 

However, by the time the riders reached KOM #2, the die was cast.  Scott and Mike kept most of their advantage on KOM #2, with Mike going over first.  Bill was able to close the gap somewhat on the descent from KOM #2, but it was still 1/4 mile behind when he reached the bottom of KOM #3.  On the way up this climb, Bill was able to cut the lead down to about 600 feet, but that was as close as he got.  Mike went over the top of this climb first, with Scott behind, and by virtue of going over first were able to expand the gap out to about 1/4 mile by the time all three riders hit the flat below.  Scott had a brief mechanical with his trainer on this flat, which caused him to stop for a bit and drop off Mike’s wheel.  However, Bill told him how to address the issue and he was back on the bike again within seconds.  Behind the front riders, the other riders were holding station, with Joe and Amy being the only pair close enough to do any drafting. 

The gaps remained mostly constant as the riders came to KOM #4, with Scott able to slowly reel in Mike.  Once again, Bill was able to eat into their lead slightly on the climb, but not enough to make any difference.  Mike went over this climb first as well, followed by Scott, then Bill about a minute later. 

At the finish, the times (before time bonuses) were: Scott 1:18:07; Mike1:18:08; Bill 1:19:38; Alvin 1:24:45; Joe 1:26:07; Amy 1:27:16; Trevor 1:28:55and Allison 1:34:13.  In terms of overall time, the Gunners were about a minute faster than the Pushers, giving them about a 17 minute team victory for the stage.  In the overall standings at the end of Week 10, the Gunners lead the Pushers by over 3 1/2 hours, 179:11 to 182:53. 

In the individual standings, the leaderboard at the end of Week 10 is as follows: 

Name
Total Time
Gap
Ben
12:16:23
0:00:00
Jeff
12:35:11
0:18:48
Tyler
12:35:41
0:19:18
Peter
12:45:13
0:28:50
Bryan
13:05:49
0:49:26
Bill
13:19:14
1:02:51
Jason
13:29:50
1:13:27
Jonathan
13:31:20
1:14:57
Alvin
14:00:14
1:43:51
Mike Webb
14:06:47
1:50:24
Kirk
14:54:57
2:38:34
Hank
14:58:22
2:41:59
Scott
15:01:10
2:44:47
Allison
15:06:50
2:50:27
Tony
15:12:37
2:56:14
Gregg
15:14:58
2:58:35
Joe
15:20:02
3:03:39
Trevor
15:23:17
3:06:54
Bob
15:37:54
3:21:31
Eugene
15:41:53
3:25:30
Philip
15:45:17
3:28:54
Luis
15:46:08
3:29:45
Amy
15:54:46
3:38:23
Deanna
16:29:01
4:12:38
Allen
16:29:17
4:12:54
Mike Wade
16:35:14
4:18:51
Lynda
16:40:20
4:23:57
Lindsay
16:43:15
4:26:52
Danny
17:03:43
4:47:20

The KOM competition is done, with Tyler emerging victorious, over Bill in 2nd place and Ben in 3rd.  The final standings on that competition are as follows: 

Tyler
111
Bill
96
Ben
86
Jeff
83
Mike Webb
55
Hank
42
Kirk
41
Danny
40
Gregg
38
Alvin
33
Lindsay
31
Bryan
30
Scott
28
Peter
24
Allen
21
Bob
13
TJ
10
Deanna
9
Philip
4
Eugene
3
GT
2
Luis
1

In the sprint competition, with one stage remaining, the standings are as follows: 

Ben
76
Bill
49.5
Joe
31
Jeff
28.5
Tyler
27
Allen
26
Kirk
24
Philip
24
Alvin
17
Trevor
15
Gregg
12
Eugene
8
Danny
7
Michel
6
GT
5
Lindsay
5
Luis
4
Mike Webb
4
Jaime
3
Michael B.
3
Mike Wade
3
Peter
3
Hank
1

The final stage will be next week, and it will be a sprint stage. The stage profile will be released this weekend. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

 —

Monday Group

Tonight was probably the biggest climbing challenge of the series, and the riders acquitted themselves wonderfully.  Riding for the Gunners were Danny, Lindsay & Lynda; pushing the pedals for the Pushers were Allen, Mike Wade & Deanna. 

The group started off together, but Mike & Lynda got dropped early on.  However, they managed to make it back on during the climb up KOM #1.  Allen got the idea that the KOM point was at Mile 3 instead of Mile 3.6, and went much too soon with a surge to be first.  He blew up for a bit after that, and Danny & Lindsay (working together) were able to ride away from him, as was Deanna.  Further back, Mike and Lynda teamed up, and were keeping their pace high and staying close to Allen. 

Near the top of the first climb Danny, who had been sitting on Lindsay’s wheel most of the way up, put in a surge and dropped her, taking first place points. He opened a gap of about 200 feet at the top over Lindsay, while Deanna was another few hundred feet back.  She was looking like she was going to drop Allen completely, but then he was able to catch her, then eventually pass her.  She didn’t know it at the time, but she had a mechanical right near the top of that climb, with her skewer coming loose and allowing her rear wheel to rub on her rear brake.  Not knowing this, she soldiered on, but the problem gradually grew worse, and really made itself felt on the 2nd KOM.   

Danny was able to pad his advantage down the descent from KOM #1 and held it on the flat run-in to KOM #2, while Lindsay was able to put some time into Allen and Deanna (who were working together) over that same stretch.  Allen and Deanna only had a few hundred feet on Mike and Lynda. 

On the 2nd KOM, Lynda was able to hold Mike’s wheel most of the way up, but he put in a surge near the top and was able to gap her.  However, Deanna was really struggling now, and was dropped by Allen, then Lynda was able to pass and drop her.  Lindsay was slowly losing ground to Danny, who was working well, but gaining on Allen.  Over the top of KOM #2, it was Danny first, then Lindsay, then Allen. 

There was a steep descent from KOM #2 which only opened the gaps a bit further before the big climb, KOM #3. By this time, there was no drafting in play – all riders were on their own and working hard.  Danny was first over this climb, followed again by Lindsay & Allen.  As she crested this climb, Deanna had her bike checked out and discovered her mechanical, but was many minutes behind by this time.  Once the mechanical issue was handled, she recovered her form and her confidence. 

From this point forth, all riders held station, riding for time.  At the line, the results were: Danny 1:29:20; Lindsay 1:33:39; Allen 1:37:27; Mike 1:39:55; Lynda 1:43:37 and Deanna 1:49:25.  Average time for the Gunners was1:35:32, while average for the Pushers was 1:42:16. 

Tomorrow is the “C” group, and it will be their turn to tackle this stage!

C Group

OK – the “C” riders attacked this stage and left a mark!  Riding for the Pushers were Hank, Gregg, Bob & Eugene; representing the Gunners were Kirk, Philip, Luis & Lisa. 

At the start, most of the riders went off as a group, ‘ceptin’ Lisa, who fell off the back.  They stayed together only for a short while, and Gregg attacked at Mile 1.5, going off the front on the first climb.  He got away easily, with almost no chase, as the other riders formed into a group behind him.  At about Mile 3, the group pace was a bit much for Luis & Eugene, who came off and formed a group of their own.  At the top of KOM #1, Gregg was over the top first.  Behind him, Kirk put in a strong move near the top, taking second place ahead of Philip. 

On the descent off KOM #1, Hank tried a move on the rest of the chase group, and almost got away.  Kirk & Philip worked together, and were just about able to bring him back by the bottom of the hill.  Once they hit the bottom, Kirk and Philip started to chase after Gregg on the (relatively) flat before KOM #2.  They were able to narrow the gap down to as little as a few hundred feet at the bottom of KOM #2, but that was as close as they got.  During this time, Hank just sat on their wheels and let them chase.  Also during this time, Bob put in some strong work and was able to catch back on with these three riders at about Mile 8. 

On KOM #2, Hank was able to gradually draw out a lead of about 30 feet on Kirk, then put in a surge to pull away and break the connection.  In the process of chasing Hank, Kirk dropped Philip and Bob.  Over the top of KOM #2, it was Gregg first, then Hank, then Kirk. 

There was a steep descent down from KOM #2, and Gregg took it easy down this descent while Hank wound it out.  As a result, Hank was able to link up with Gregg near the start of KOM #3, and the two of them worked together for a bit.  However, about 1/4 of the way up KOM #3, Hank was able to ride away from a weakening Gregg.  Kirk pressed hard and tried to catch back up with Gregg, but wasn’t able to get closer than about 200 feet when Gregg dug deep and found enough strength to hold (and expand) the gap to the top.  At the top of KOM #3, Hank went over with a big gap on Gregg, who was a few hundred feet in front of Kirk.  Behind them, Bob was able to drop Philip at Mile 12.5, and tried to close the gap to Kirk, but it held stable while Philip fell back.  

Gregg appeared weakened after KOM #3, but was able to hold onto a shrinking lead on the (more or less) flat run-up to KOM #4.  Kirk got within a few hundred feet again, but once again, Gregg found the strength to speed up and hold him off. Behind them, the partnership between Eugene and Luis went south after many miles, with Eugene dropping Luis on the run-up to KOM #4.  All the other riders held station for the final climb. 

Up KOM #4, Hank was able to expand his lead over Gregg.  Gregg once again showed signs of weakness and Kirk got within 150 feet, but no closer.  Over the top, Hank had a lead of about 1/2 mile, followed by Gregg, who was about 500 feet in front of Kirk. 

The final downhill run to the finish only served to expand the gaps among the riders who finished with times as follows (before time bonuses): Hank 1:20:06; Gregg 1:22:55; Kirk 1:23:16; Bob 1:25:45; Philip 1:27:55; Eugene 1:30:39; Luis 1:31:25 and Lisa 1:43:26. 

The overall total for the Pushers was 5:38:55, about 27 minutes faster than the Gunner’s total of 6:05:57.  Tomorrow night the “A” riders get to see how fast they can handle this course. Should be exciting!

Wednesday – A Group

Team tactics………….  not only was it about strength, power, endurance & heart tonight; it was also about team tactics.  The “A” riders crushed it tonight, but it was far from straightforward.  Riding for the Pushers tonight were Tyler, Jonathan, Jason and Tony; the Gunners were Ben, Jeff, Peter & Bryan.  The major issue in tonight’s race was not so much time or placings, but KOM points.  Tyler held a sizeable lead in that competition, and was looking to put it away before Bill races tomorrow night. 

As usual, the riders started off in a huge surge.  TJ got dropped within 30 seconds, while all the other riders maintained over 300 watts for more than the first mile.  After that initial blast, things settled down for a bit, until Tyler tried a couple of big surges starting at Mile 2.  His first victim was Bryan who missed the move.  He tried hard to get back, and got within 40 feet of the lead group, but another surge doomed his effort.  Shortly thereafter, Jason got popped off as well, another victim of a vicious Tyler surge.   

As the climb continued toward the first KOM at Mile 3.6, the pace was too much for Jonathan, who succumbed at about Mile 2.  As the climb continued at a frantic pace, Jason dropped back and hooked up with Tony at about Mile 3.5. 

At the top of the first KOM, Tyler led out the charge, but was passed with about 500 feet to go by Jeff, who held his advantage to the KOM point, and Peter who nipped Tyler at the line.  Ben also made a late surge, and both Tyler and Ben believed Ben had pipped Tyler at the KOM point, but the race official called it in favor of Tyler at that time.  A review of the power files after the stage revealed that Tyler had indeed gotten to the KOM point in front of Ben, but only by about a meter, and was awarded third place points.  Data on this is available, if anyone wants to see it. 

Going over the top of this first climb and down the first descent, Tyler fell off the back of the lead group, which now consisted of Ben, Jeff and Peter.  They rapidly pressed their advantage, and he fell as much as 650 feet back.  But a furious burst of power at the bottom of the descent and into the following flat (more than 500 watts), brought him back to the pack.  However, how much had he lost having to make that huge effort?  Behind the lead group, Jonathan came over the top by himself, followed by Bryan, who was followed by Tony and Jason working together at the back. 

Scenting blood in the water, Bryan was able to run down Jonathan on the flat following KOM #1, and caught him at about Mile 6.8.  While this was going on, at the front Tyler made another huge surge, and only Ben was able to follow.  Peter and Jeff rapidly fell about 200 feet back, and spent much of the next several miles trying to close that gap while Ben sat on Tyler’s wheel, letting him do all the work.  Both Peter & Jeff were working very hard, with Jeff really able to push the pace, closing the lead down to about 150 feet.  However, Ben’s tactic of making Tyler work hard for several miles on the flat after his huge effort to catch up on the prior descent would tell later on. 

As the riders hit KOM #2, Peter and Jeff were able to eliminate the gap to Tyler and Ben as the riders in front hit steeper pitches earlier, and slowed down.  A few hard surges by Peter, with an assist from Jeff, and both riders were back on.  However, this didn’t last long as Tyler surged again.  This time, Peter fatigued from the effort to catch on, was unable to match the pace and got dropped, leaving only Tyler, Ben and Jeff in the lead group.  So, the points for KOM #2 were to be settled between Tyler, Jeff and Ben.  Once again, Ben & Jeff let Tyler do much of the work on this climb, surging by him at the climb flattened off at the top, with Ben crossing first, then Jeff, then Tyler. 

As the other riders continued up KOM #2, Bryan was able to drop Jonathan, while Peter held station in front of them, and Jason & Tony continued to work together at the back. 

There was a flat bit after the KOM point, and Jeff and Ben found themselves about 50-60 feet in front of a tiring Tyler on this flat, and decided to make a break for it.  They got as far as 650 feet up, but on the very steep descent from KOM #2, Tyler once again put in a huge effort and was able to close in within 250 feet.  But, that was as close as he got.  Behind them, Jason dropped TJ on KOM #2, and went off in search of others to catch and pass. 

KOM #3, the Cat 1 climb, followed immediately after the descent from KOM #2. Jeff and Ben pressed their advantage, with Ben doing much of the pacemaking up this hill.  At first, Tyler hung tough, but eventually the prior efforts started to make themselves felt and gap started to grow, and was out over 600 feet again at the top.  Jeff was able to easily go around a co-operative Ben for the max points on this KOM.  However, the gap they had at the top meant that Ben & Jeff got to the steep descent substantially earlier than Tyler, and were able to use that to greatly expand their lead.  They were able to blow it out to about 0.6 mile, which stayed fairly steady throughout the flat section following KOM #3. 

On KOM #4, the first three riders held station, but this time Jeff did much of the work in front. Behind them, Jason caught and passed Jonathan on this climb, and got within a few hundred feet of Bryan, before Bryan put down the hammer and was able to pull away.  All the other riders held station. 

At the end, the finishing times (before time bonuses) were: Jeff 1:06:40; Ben1:06:40; Tyler 1:10;19; Peter 1:12:52; Bryan 1:14:49; Jason 1:15:44; Jonathan 1:16:49 and Tony 1:20:51.  Overall, the Gunners totalled 4:40:31 to the Pusher’s 5:03:38, a difference of about 23 minutes.  Jeff grabbed the most KOM points with 51; Ben got 28; Tyler took 17 and Peter got 9.  Tomorrownight is the final running of this course, with the “B” group.  Will Bill be be able to reap enough KOM points to overcome Tyler’s lead? There may be more team tactics on display tomorrow. 

The following week is our last stage, a sprint stage.  Arrangements for the post-season awards ceremony will be announced soon.  Stay tuned!

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