Tag Archives: Matt Turner

Sometimes you just need a Giant carrot

First things first.  You’ll notice the sponsor section over to the right – on the main page.  I’m trying to line up some sponsors for the blog and I’m glad to say that Quarq is the first on board.  Obviously, I’m looking for sponsors who have products I use and believe in.  Quarq falls in the category.  Thanks Jim and Mieke!

Now for the ride. I sent a text message to John James early in the day.  We had been getting together to do some riding and Thursday evening was supposed to be the next opportunity.  He responded with “I’m riding easy.”  I was hoping he would say that.  A hard ride on Tuesday and Wednesday had me tired.

When I showed up I found that Bob Rentz was there.  Now things were getting to be like old times.  Mike and Art had ridden the night before so a reunion wouldn’t be complete.  Matt – Turner, that is – was there as was Anthony and Rob.  The only guy along for the ride that I hadn’t ridden with before was James Barker, the regional sales representative for Giant.

We rolled out and indeed it was a nice leisurely ride for the most part.  For the first hour we averaged 161 watts.  The only excitement during that hour was nearly having the whole group taken out by a family with a bassett hound in the middle of the road.

We came around a curve and there they were.  The poor dog didn’t even move.  I did my best to keep from taking down both Matt and myself when my wheel got caught between his wheel and deraileur.

The only other dog issue came when a little wiener dog came flying out in the road to eat me up.  I had been lulled to a false sense of safety because most of the homes in that area had hidden fencing.  So, as I saw the little runt heading across the grass toward us, I figured he would stop.  No.  He kept coming.  My fear wasn’t that he would bite me.  I was afraid he would get that pointed nose stuck in my spokes!

Then it was time to climb Altamont.  I started up behind Matt and James.  This would be James’ first attempt up the climb.  I was curious to see how he would do.

Matt eased up some and then Anthony came to join us.  Before long it was just James, Anthony, and myself.  At the halfway point, Anthony backed off and I was left to hang onto James’ wheel.

He didn’t look in trouble at all.  He was just holding a steady cadence.  I started getting into difficulty.  This was not supposed to be a night for an effort.  With about a third to go, I eased up just slightly and just focused on my own pace.

I figured the one thing I had going for me was that James had not climbed this road before.  He had never encountered “The Wall.”  I decided to recover a bit and see where he was in front of me when we were both on that stretch.

When I entered the straight, I could see him about halfway up.  I dropped my gear about three rings and stood on it to see if I could at least come up close behind him.  As I reached the halfway point, I looked up to see him in trouble.  Ah! There was a chance!

I started huffing and puffing to get around him and passed him in the last 30 to 50 meters.  I rolled across the KOM line in 12 minutes and 12 seconds – just 7 seconds off of my personal best.  My Quarq CinQo was telling me I had put out an average of 304 watts for the 12 minute climb.  Mr. Barker was a very good carrot!

I figure he came across no more that 15 seconds later.  So, his first ever attempt of Altamont was around 12 minutes and 30 seconds.  I guarantee that his second time would be better.  Matt put in a 13:12 effort – a personal best for the big man.

Of course, we still had to go down.  Anthony took off to claim that prize.  Matt and I took off after him.  Sure enough, James was right on our tail.

Matt had his best climb ever up the mountain, but when he is along on a ride I figure the downhill portion belongs to him.  He and Anthony were tearing it up and I was just along for the ride.  I’m still a little fearful after my broken finger incident so I was not taking some of the turns as hot as they.  I slowed James down a bit.

As we came off the mountain it was Matt in front with Anthony, myself, and James finishing up the train.  I tried to get some momentum to come out of the draft, but the two guys in front were just too strong to get around.

The best part?  I feel great!  This weekend is the State Criterium Championships and I’ll be joining my teammates to see how we can do.  I’ll admit that this is not my favorite style of racing, but maybe if I just do it some more I’ll get used to it.

All I know is that we have some awesome bikes to ride on out there.  Thanks, James!

It was like an evening time one day classic

Last night I managed to get out on a group ride. Wednesday was a short spin for me, but that was the first time back on the bike since Sunday afternoon. It has been even longer since I had ridden in a group.

This was just an unofficial ride with some friends. Eight of us headed off toward the base of Paris Mountain and over near Travelers Rest. We would turn around out there and then head up Paris and then back home.

John James was out of the blocks fast. Matt Tebbetts, Matt Turner, and I were hanging on. Before long, we were away from the other riders.

Understand, this is not a No Man Left Behind kind of ride. It varies in purpose. Sometimes in the past it has been a conserve and then see if each member of the group can get his personal best up Paris. At other times it is simply a hammerfest to see how many riders are left at the end.

This ride was one of the later. Turns out John was working to keep his average power for the ride over 250 watts. Several times I looked down and saw numbers of 300 to 400. On one section where John and I were pulling up the road together I saw sustained wattage of over 500.

The four of us went looping through some roads between Furman and TR. On the way back, we turned onto the Swamp Rabbit trail and did some rough riding in honor of the classic going on over in Belgium. That was a lot of fun.

As we flew along the road we had John, Matt Tebbetts, and I in POA Cycling kits. Matt Turner was the odd man out with Les Amis colors. John slid back to me once and said, “I feel like we are away off the front in some one day classic.” If so, Mr. Turner was in trouble. Actually, he was riding very well and had put a hurting on me during a couple of pulls.

As we neared the base of Paris for the climb up, we saw Mike, Art, and Blair going toward Altamont on the Frontage Road. By the time we got there, they had already turned up for the climb. Too soon it was going to be our time to follow them.

I knew there would be no personal best for me tonight. My hope was that I could just make it to the top without the other riders creating to big of a gap on me. As soon as we turned up I knew that was going to be tough.

Before long it was just a line of red going up the climb as Tebbetts, John, and I got around Mike and Blair. Art was no where to be seen. I didn’t expect that we would catch him before the top.

Tebbetts kept talking about how he would see us at the top. I was jokingly accusing him of sandbagging. I know he wasn’t. The issue is that he just can’t stand not being with the leading group. He was going to work to stay there regardless of how he felt.

John and I were starting to get put into trouble as Matt just kept tapping out a steady cadence. Then John eased up a little to recover some energy. Then he moved to the front and created a gap between the other two of us.

When we got to the wall, I was behind the other two guys. I could see both guys ahead of me. John was going to get to the top first. Matt had a pretty good gap on me as well. Perhaps if he slowed I could catch him before the top.

I shifted to a slightly harder gear and slogged along after them. Matt beat me to the top, but I had gained on him enough to cross the line close to his rear wheel. Still, it was a bad night with a time of 13 minutes.

After waiting for Turner to join us at the top, we started down the other side. Now the group was larger with Mike, Blair, and Art joining us for the ride down. Blair and John took to lead. The rest of us followed.

Blair then went way off the front. I could tell that most of the riders decided that we were not going to allow him to make it to the bottom first. Turner moved up and started pulling us through the rolling sections. By the time we reached the downhill portion, he had brought us even with Blair.

There were several attacks before the final turns, but then it was just Blair on the front with me right on his wheel. I sat there and let his draft suck me down the road. No need to work here. It was just a matter of waiting for the right moment to go around him.

We made a right turn and then started into the final left sweeping turn. I slipped out of his draft and put the hammer down. My bike went by him with ease. It is amazing what the draft can do for you. I came through the final right turn onto the straight with lots of speed.

I’m sure I was hitting close to 50 mph at that point. My WKO+ says I registered 71.8 mph as my max speed. Obviously, the satellites got mixed up on that one! Looking back at my Garmin I see that it registered a top speed of 50.18.  Hmmm, I wonder what makes the big discrepancy?

There was one little sprint to close out the night. Once again I got in Blair’s draft and nipped him at the line. Then John came flying pass me saying as he passed, “I’m not trying to be a pill, I’m just trying to keep my power average high for the ride.” I took a breath and jumped on his wheel.

We finished together and had amazingly similar power averages. He uses a Powertap and I use a Quarq CinQo coupled with the Garmin 705. He is about 5 pounds lighter than I am, but was putting out more at some points. Had we switched power systems, I believe the results would have been the same.

That was a big effort. It was easily harder than any Donaldson Center ride I have been on this year. Come to think of it, that was probably the most effort I have put out in an hour and a half for a long, long time. You know what? It was a blast!