Speeding at Somerset =)

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

I was amped for this race. By far my favorite event, road or TT or MTB, of the year. Freifelder was amped for Sandy Hook, he wanted to win that one, and I wanted Somerset… I’ve done well here, took 2nd to Gisler in 2007, set the course record in 2008, and I was really excited to see how I’d do in 2010.

The Pros: The legs did not feel great, no FOOM FOOM at all, and I was forced to really grit it out. In 2008, I felt eerily strong, just constantly accelerating, abundant energy, just RIPPED the course. Yesterday, I kept searching for those previous speeds, just wanted the victory BAD and suffered like a dog, always trying to stay on top of the gear, always looking for more, hit that finish line truly cross-eyed. On the TT bike, I try to stay super-focused. Stay aero, stay low, don’t move your butt around on the seat. Remain motionless on that bike. If you need to itch a spot on your face, do it after the race. If you need to blow your nose, don’t use your hands. If you’re not on your best day, doing 100 small things correctly can go a long way…

In the end, I was able to get 12 seconds on Freifelder, so it was especially satisfying to dig through black pain and make it happen.

I prayed to the Rain Gods to please stay away, and they pretty much did. It was drizzling lightly as I warmed up, and I was almost more nervous about the weather than the required effort… A few of the final riders got wet, very sorry to see that happen…

Lotsa fast times out there, course records being set all over the place… Off the top of my head (results not yet posted), Mark Pohndorff put in a crushing time in the 35+, like a 21:28 or something? FAST!!!!! Whoa… VERY impressive… Also, Troy Kimball ripped the 45+ on his new Giant Trinity, similar time, looking very good out there…

The Cons: The crash from Cape May was more problematic than I anticipated. My left knee is tender. On the bike, actually, it feels fine, but anything else, even walking, and there’re twinges, pains. Blah. So out there, I made sure to REALLY churn a high cadence.

However, I did still run a 12-21 cassette. In years past, I’ve run the 25, and with a higher cadence I’ve really spun up those climbs FAST, 98+ rpms. Yesterday, hitting that first climb off the first right hand, and I was bogged down in the 21 at 88 rpms, and I knew this was gonna be a labored day.

I spun madly on the flats, saving the knee, did what I could on the climbs, and even with a higher-than-usual cadence on the flats, I averaged 102 rpms. High for me this year. In 2008, even with higher rpms on the climbs, I averaged 97 rpms. In 2007, damn, I averaged 105 rpms for the day, a touch too spinny…

Also, I had to come out of the bars more often than in the past. Chalk it up to rust, not yet 100% back to where I was with the bike-handling. But there were several sections of the course where in year’s past I stay confidently in the bars and here I was on the bullhorns, clawing the breaks, not 100% confident.

The three-pronged climb near the end is key, and my data is very telling. This year, I did it in 90 seconds, 91 rpms, 20.1 mph. In 2008, I did it in 1:18, 96 rpms, 20.6 mph. In 2007, I did it in 1:15, 98 rpms, 20.9 mph. This year, I missed the course record by 7 seconds and it appears I left big time on this climb. I was forced out of the saddle — gasp — twice. In year’s previous, I’ve been able to smoothly rip up it seated, powering the gear all the way… Yesterday, I REALLY felt bogged down. It’s interesting in 2007 I hit that the climb a full 15 seconds faster — just shows that time trialing is truly about being steady, not just emptying it on the hardest parts of the course…

In 2010, I’ve been prepping for longer, steadier efforts… My Vo2 Max power in my power files is vastly down, even in race and Nyack Ride files — I just don’t pack that pop right now. But in this year’s Somerset file, I was able to see higher speeds on the steady terrain. My 10-minute max was 29.2 mph this year, up from 29.0 in 2008 and 28.2 in 2007, and this is what I was hoping for… So I lost time on the uphills but gained some on the straights. In the end, I was slower in 2008, so now it gives me something to gun for in 2011!!!

The Somerset Circuit TT is an amazing event, truly a class act. There were more riders out than ever and it appeared to be a smashing success. Somerset Circuit actually is potentially a SEVERELY dangerous course, but the marshals did a superb job of guiding traffic and keeping everything clear. So much could go wrong out there, and from what I recall there’s never been any serious situations. Brian and Joe and others from Somerset Wheelmen again did a wonderfully incredible job of running the year’s most intricate TT — I hope it continues to grow and grow and help keep making the NJ TT Cup a terrific series.

Upcoming for me: the CRCA Power Points Race, then the Jersey Shore TT, a Rockleigh Criterium, then Killington Stage Race, then the NJ State Time Trial Championships…

Rock and roll, everyone…

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Sunday, May 9th, 2010 | | |