|Tour of California, Stage 7 at Mt. Baldy|
Hanging out at the cabin, I had a chance to catch up on the Tour of California replays, and developed some notes on cycling races in the mountains. It's really about figuring out the right time to push based on your abilities and the weaknesses of the field, interpreting breakaways as temporary or permanent, and the belief in one's abilities at a particular moment.
The breakaway rider has to remember that if they put time on a chase pack, most of the time the differential will start to shrink (unless it's a short sprint at the end of the race). Failure will be imminent if the breakaway rider doesn't make a decisive break and stay out of sight of the chasers for as long as possible. Once caught, the chase pack has the confidence to pass and put you away said rider. Essentially, breakaways that get caught rarely pull away again and win races.
Similarly if the shoe is on the other foot and a rider observes a breakaway in process, then it is in their best interest to make it as hard as possible on them to loose visuals. The longer the breakaway rider has to redline, the more likely it is to make their pace setting a mistake. In 2013, this was essentially what I did against Ruperto. By the time we had redlined for 2 miles into Chantry, he was spent and couldn't hold on for the next duel down the toll road.
The bottom line is confidence matched with the the ability to decipher between discomfort and destructive pain is the key to maximize your chances of winning a duel. If you know the true total time you can spend redlining, have an acute awareness of your counterparts, and maintain the confidence that you can hang tough, then you can pick the best time and place to mount a breakaway or counter one. It won't be a surprise this year on Cal Street when a bearded man starts dropping 16 miles in the 5-7 minute range because it is his ideal terrain and the hardest time for a competitor to challenge him.
Easy and short recovery run with Katie to the north of Shortcut Saddle.
2.3 mi, 600ft, :30
Temescal conversational with Elan. I unfortunately slid into a rock shin first on Sunday's run over Pine Mountain and I felt it on the downhill starting to flare up. Luckily it wasn't bad enough to keep me from running uphill, but it was irritated on the long-ish downhill.
10mi, 2000ft, 1:31
Off to save the shin from any prolonged aggravation.
I opted for an easy road run in my Fresh Foam Zante and found the shin to be agreeable enough to be mobile but not enough to be silent.
7.2mi, 200ft, :53
There must have been a dozen or more people running the first 30 miles of the AC course. I opted to sleep in a bit and get underway with Peter, Michael, Katie, and Dave with the intent of running section by section at a sustainable pace. Normally I'd like to really test the legs and see what they can handle, but I want to eventually run the race at a sustainable pace all the way to Altadena. I started off with a 1:40 due to a slow crawl up Acorn. I waited a bit and then ran the next segment to Vincent in a casually reassuring 38. Then I waited at Vincent for the rest of the crew for awhile and then finally decided to head up Baden-Powell at an easy pace. Perhaps it was too long of a break in the cold, or maybe I was a little dejected by the initial 1:40, but I ended up hiking the majority of the climb up BP. We stopped at the top and sent a key down to Katie with another runner before continuing on. I didn't feel good on the Dawson climb, and jogged in to Islip with a stop at Little Jimmy, so the time was nothing remotely close to race pace. The bop over to Eagle's Roost was casual as well. I basically found out that I need to keep working on my climbing at altitude to get where I want to be again, but at least I felt like I could run for many more miles all day.
31 miles, 8,400ft, 6:00
Dave and I shuttled cars while Katie started an hour early on the 30 miles between Eagle's Roost and Shortcut. We did a similar casual run, but at a bit more efficient pace then the day before. Usually I would talk and direct turns for the first part of the section, and run a bit faster on the last mile or two. My moving times of 1:27, :42, :58, :37, and :66 were easier than expected, and ideally what I would want to run and feel like in a race: controlled, conversation pace, and ready to suddenly move quickly whenever necessary.
30 miles, 4,900ft, 4:56
30 miles, 4,900ft, 4:56
Total: 80.9mi, 16,300ft, 13:55
Overall, a restful and productive week while maintaining a basic level of volume. The legs felt OK on Monday, and I capitalized on the rest to feel light and free this morning (Tuesday). This upcoming week is going to be long intervals that should knock me out cold initially, but hopefully lead to better times in late June and July on AC training runs. UTMB is still the goal, but I will continue to use occasionally use AC point to point runs a check up runs to measure my fitness, since it's been the ruler for the past few years.