Naval Academy Criterium

Monday, March 1, 2010

The morning began later than usual for a cycling weekend with the opportunity to sleep in until 7:30AM, just 2.5 hours before the start of the first race. We grabbed some fruit and a bagel on our way out the door and headed north for an hour toward Annapolis, about 60 miles away. One the many surprises of the morning was that it had dusted the area with about a 1/4" of snow overnight which didn't stick or accumulate but was on the windshields when we loaded up.

There's still LOTS and LOTS of snow in Northern VA.

With Justin C. not present for the weekend the directions to the race were absent, so we turned to my trusty BlackBerry and Google Maps for the best way to get there.

Reid and Justin M., Justin was convinced that his Gazetteer would come in useful (which it didn't).

We were in a little bit of a rush with the Men's D race beginning at 10AM and a late departure, leave it to the BlackBerry to take us the most round-about way to Annapolis including a detour through DT Washington D.C. which in hind sight was kind of cool for folks not from the area to see the Washington Monument and some of D.C.

The Washington Monument from a far.

To compound with our tardiness for the morning, many overpasses and runoff from the previous days had lead to treacherous conditions on Rt. 50 East and caused tons of accidents, one forcing everyone off the highway and onto Rt. 3. Luckily Ben W. who is the ACC race official is a member of VT cycling and was in the same traffic as us, so we weren't too concerned about the 10AM race starting without us being there.

After some persuasion at the gate with armed guards that we actually were who we said we were and were there to race we were allowed on base/campus. The Naval Academy is situated right on the water which combined with awesome weather made for a really enjoyable day.

I considered going to the Naval Academy when I was younger, I wonder what it'd be like

The down side to being right on the water is the ridiculous headwind on the back stretch of the course that allowed two riders to go up the field in my race.

My race was scheduled to begin at 10:45 but was delayed a bit because of all the accidents. I pinned my numbers and hopped on a trainer to warm-up. I'm still working on figuring the appropriate warm-up for me but with an extra jacket and facing the sun I had no problem getting warm before the start of my race. The course was a short .75 mile loop that circled the cemetery on base and consisted of three main sections: a very technical 180-degree turn in the first 1/3 right before the finish line, 1/3 of the race was within a few feet of the water with a terrible headwind, and the remaining 1/3 of the course was an uphill climb before a quick descent into the 180-degree turn again.

I began the race with pretty terrible positioning quickly finding myself the last rider of the group and not wanting to get dropped on the first lap I quickly got to work pushing forward towards the front 1/3 of the peloton. After 2 laps or so I had wrestled my way to an acceptable position for the time and did my very best to stay there. The course was quick and suited to my style with the technical 180-degree turn which seemed to give several riders in my group trouble; with a couple cyclist crashing in the first few laps. Everyone seemed to settle in with a few Navy riders up front and the pace was manageable and I was feeling good, even with my cold. Eventually a Navy rider wound up going up the road and his teammates sat on the front blocking giving him a considerable time gap. Andy my teammate in the race decided that he'd had enough and followed another N.C. State riders attack but quickly found that he couldn't hold it and blew up on the uphill falling through the group and off the back. The N.C. State rider would go on to fall on the next descent in the 180-degree turn and ruin any lead he had gained from his attack. The rest of the race I did my best to keep myself calm and hang on, which I managed to do coming into the last turn 10th and giving it everything I had I was unable to gain any position but didn't lose any ground either, securing my best finish to date, 10th of 25.

Men's Collegiate C Results

It seems like every week something goes wrong capturing data during my race, last week my Power file for my Prologue some how became corrupted, this week my PowerTap head unit fell asleep at the start line waiting for the refs and I didn't notice until the second to last lap that it was off. I managed to get Garmin data for the race which has the power file but forgot to turn it off and it ran for another 2-hours after my race.

Garmin 310 XT data from the race

Power Data recorded by the 310 XT, shame my head unit for my PowerTap fell asleep at the start

After getting out of my kit I spent the rest the day trying to get photo's to make an action sequence for a Gizmodo Photo Contest which I had wanted to enter. It was also a great opportunity to use my Gorilla Pod which up until now has only been used to support my camera horizontally:

Joby pod in action



Photos from the rest of races

I managed to get the shot I wanted with Ben W. coming up and over a hill and spent some time Sunday evening and Monday creating the photo. Unfortunately the contest needed all photos by Sunday evening which I missed the first time I read, so I wound up with a really cool shot anyways.

Update: My photo was considered in the contest even though I submitted it late, the link to the article is here and my particular picture in the gallery here

The final product

Another very cool outcome of the weekend was another Velonews article about the weekends races, but this time a photo was used for the weekend was MINE!!!

Photo is pretty mediocre but it's cool that it got used!

More from Sunday's Individual Time Trial (ITT) and the week leading up to Maryland to come.

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