by Michael Hast
Praise the LORD and congratulations to Gary and Michael for placing on the podium at the 2017 Arizona State Time Trail (TT) Championship. Congratulations also to our competitors Kevin, Greg and Scott.
We got up early Sunday morning driving to Arizona City. I decided to ride in the 40+ Merckx category because I don't have a TT bike. I also thought to myself, it would be good training for the upcoming Bike the Bluff Cat 3 Road Race Championship, staying in the aero position as long as I could. Gary started in the Cat 4 category.
My goal was to keep my threshold power as steady as I could. I have never raced with a power meter before and knew that it would be challenging to keep that power up. Right before the race I remember that I hadn't calibrated my power meter and in the rush of heading to the start line, the calibration failed. Well, I should have done this at warmup. Once I started, my Garmin showed nothing for power. I thought to myself, well, the power meter battery must have died, even though I just replaced it 2 weeks ago. Ok, heart rate it is. I started out hard, my heart rate went into race zone and I started to wonder if I am pushing it too hard. I caught the rider who started 30 seconds ahead of me in my category fairly soon. That gave me even more reason to speculate if I am hitting it too hard. After passing the rider, boom, power data was showing again.
Calibrated or not, I was glad it was back and now I focused on my threshold power. It was very hard to stay at that number, the bumpy road, the perceived head wind, the fatigue. I was very glad to see the turn around point. I passed a few riders on the way to the turn around, but after that no more passing. That made it much harder going back, even though there was no head nor tail wind. I saw Brandon and Jesse who raced in the Merckx Under 40 category in the far distance, but never made any gain on them. It is alway nice to have a target ahead of you. I tried to stay as aero as possible on my road bike, continuing to focus on my power data. After 1:02:26 I crossed the finish line, winning the Merckx 40+ category.
#togodbetheglory #howihammer #christiancyclingtucson #christiancycling #timetrails #arizonastatechampionship
by Michael Hast
We raced in various categories in the Campus Criterium on Saturday and then on Sunday in the Oracle Road Race at the Santa Catalina Omnium. Congratulations to Steven Terry for placing 3rd in the Omnium in the Cat 4/5 35+. It was a strong field where Philip Brown from Aggress won.
Men Cat 3/4
The Campus Criterium course was clockwise around the mall at the UfA with a sweeping corner on the west side and a hairpin corner on the east side (at Campbell). Every time we accelerated out of both of those corners which took a toll on the field. My strategy was to make it hard for the first 10 minutes of the race to shake up the field. On the 4th lap there was a crash on the hairpin turn because the first rider went into the turn with too much speed. We all went around him, I took the lead and a prime was announced. I was able to lead the pack around the course and won the prime, a box of R Bars. I was also able to win the second prime, a pair of tires from the Bicycle Tire Club. My plan wasn't to win the primes, but to find someone in the field to work with for a possible break. But nobody in the field thought it was a good idea. I eventually faded from all those accelerations and was passed through to the end of the field. I stayed there until the end of the race. But the accelerations kept on going.
The Campus Criterium was already a tough race with all those accelerations, but the Oracle Road Race with over 4000 ft. of climbing on a 54 mile course was even more challenging. The climbers among the racers were definitely favored to win in the road race. My plan was to stay with the field until the final climb. And I should have listened to my plan. On the first climb 2 riders broke away and stayed away. After the turnaround in Oracle we headed into a headwind and nobody wanted to work to chase down the 2 riders. I attacked and wanted to bridge to those riders to potentially work with them and get a head start on the second climb. I caught the first rider Peter, but he wasn't able to stay with me on the downhill. After that I worked hard to catch the first rider, but never able to. The field caught me right after the turnaround at the bottom of the climb. Now the final climb was upon us. I stayed near the end of the field of 20 riders to protect myself from any cross or head winds. It worked out pretty well, but when the attacks started to happen my legs did not respond as I wanted them to. There was a decisive attack heading into the outskirts of the town of Oracle which I was unable to respond to. The winners of the race had about a 30 second lead on me when crossing the finish line. I placed 9th and was pretty happy with my first Cat 3/4 road race.