Tag Archives: Tony Warmuth

Hello, Max Heart Rate

Today was Tyler Crotts’ last official Hour of Power ride before he heads off to Brevard College for the year.  I don’t think it will be his last Hour of Power for the year though.  I’m sure he’ll be coming back so his elders can help keep him humble.

I was still feeling the effects of Thursday night’s ride.  It was a tough one, and I didn’t sleep that well Thursday or Friday night.  I knew the alarm was about to go off before it rang.  After an inner battle, I finally rolled out so I could be there to kick Tyler’s you-know-what.

The first order of business was to pump up my tires that had been switched a bit.  I had taken my tires from my race wheel set and moved them to my training wheel set.  My regular riders were starting to show threads.  It seemed like a good idea to get some more out of the race tires while getting my race wheels all prepped with new rubber for the SC Road Race Championships.

Wouldn’t you know it… the tube exploded at 100 psi.  I didn’t have time to change the flat.  I just threw my front SL on the bike and headed for the shop.

Pulling up I found a good crowd ready to roll out!  There were several levels of riders represented.  Of course, the ones I noticed first were the number of Greenville Spinners Bicycle Race Team members.  Randy was bringing some reinforcements!

Hmmmm, John James was the only other POA guy there.  It would be just the two of us.  Oh boy, and there was Jeff Cash.  Tony was there as well, but he was riding his cross bike.  The sprints could be interesting today.  I’m sure Tyler would be gunning for one himself.

The first test came at the pee-tree sprint on Meece Bridge Road (click to see the infamous tree).  The Spinners started the train.  Looking ahead, I saw Jeff, Randy, and one other rider breaking away.  John was sitting holding a steady pace and letting them move.  I decided to bridge up so I could recover a bit before fighting it out.

I caught them and moved onto Jeff’s wheel.  He was the one I was watching out for.  The plan was to match his acceleration until we crested the small rise about 300 meters or so from the finish.  Then I would attack from third wheel.

It never happened.  John came flying around and Jeff jumped on his wheel.  I held my pace to let those two guys go for it.  I figured my chances were pretty good with John.  I might as well save myself for the next battle.

It came sooner than I thought it would!  Before I knew it we were pulling onto Grove Meadow Road.  This is the “pace-line road.”  It is a long stretch without stop signs.  We typically end up getting in a single line pace-line and move along at around 22 – 24 mph.

I got on the front first.  I figured I would get my pain out of the way early so I could recover before turning up the quarry road.  It worked like a charm.  As we turned onto Keller Road, I was about 10th and sat in for the next couple of minutes before we hit the bottom of the climb.

John started them up with a nice steady pace.  I stayed in my 53 and just launched a do-or-die attack from behind.  Looking back was not an option.  However, I know now that John picked up a “false” pace as though he was coming after me and others sat on his wheel.  It bought me some more time.

My goal was to stay in this attack mode until I reached the false flat.  I didn’t make it.  I had to shift down and recover about 50 meters from my target.  Later I noticed that my computer had me pegging 197 bpm at that point!

Once I did make it over the hump, I hazarded a glance behind and didn’t see anyone.  I was now moving at around 16 mph and trying to recover a bit.  Then I looked back again to see a lone rider coming up behind me.  It was Jeff.  He was just coming around this corner – this picture is from the vantage point about where I was.

No way was I going to give it up after suffering so much!  I grabbed some more gear and tried to stay over 20 mph. Thankfully, it worked and my go-for-broke attack paid off… but I’d say two matches went up in smoke at once with that one!

It took me until the State Park entrance sprint before I was recovered enough to give it another go.  Right away I messed up because I got separated from John’s lead out because I got caught behind some slower riders.  Things worked out though because the break came to a halt due to a car stopped in the middle of the road.

Seems that these folks stopped to talk to some people standing on the shoulder of the road.  As we came up on them and began to make our way around the stopped vehicle, we noticed that the people on the shoulder of the road were attempting to coax a pot-bellied pig to move out of the ditch.

The pig out of the way, we started ratcheting things up again.  I got on Jeff’s wheel as he was following Tyler.  Web Fitton and Randy Hutchison were also in the mix at that point.  However, as we hit the bottom of the climb… it was Tyler, Jeff, and me.

Then things got dicey – and it had nothing to do with a pig.  Jeff and I had momentum taking us right onto Tyler’s wheel.  I could see Jeff was getting ready to move on Tyler, but I realized I could get the jump on him by pinning him behind Tyler while I moved up the right side.

I made my move, but Tyler must have been aware of Jeff because he moved to the right.  That brought Jeff over to me and for a moment the three of us were bar-to-bar with me tight-rope-riding the white line.  Thankfully, none of us touched and Jeff and I drag raced for the line.

After that, John played spoiler for Art and took Oak Leaf.  On Nature Trail Jeff finished strong by holding off John.  We all rolled into the shop pretty tired, but with lots of stories to tell.

It was such a beautiful day, I decided to put in some extra miles and did an easy spin down Chick Springs to Main Street.  From there I did a couple laps of Cleveland Park and then went home.  A very profitable 45 mile morning.

Speaking of beautiful…  If you get a chance, click on the links I’ve placed in the post.  They are Google Street Views of some of the points on our ride.  Of course, these were taken in the winter, but if you play around with the views, you can get a good idea of the terrain and scenery that we get to enjoy around here.

That race left a bad taste in my mouth

It is Friday morning and I feel like death warmed over.  Last night was the second POA Cycling Summer Series race held at the Municipal Stadium.  It was the same tough course as last time and I’m pretty wiped out.

The POA Cycling Summer Series course

The POA Cycling Summer Series course

Racing in the first event of the night put me with cat 4 and cat 5 racers for around 35 minutes of looping around this old stadium.  I ended up doing 31 laps of the half mile track.  Let me point out that it is a pretty tough course.

You can see where the start finish is.  However, what you can’t tell is that it is at the top of a climb.  You take a left after the finish on somewhat of a flat.  The problem is that it is a short distance before you dive down and then turn left again.  Of course, everyone accelerates out of the turn and by the time you hit the next turn you are going up again.  The next section is short again and before you know it you are making the turn onto the finish stretch.  By the time you reach that point, the climb is a humdinger.

Basically, there is never any chance to recover.  It is hammer out of the corner, hammer out of the corner, hang onto the field, hammer out of the corner, and then suffer up the climb.  Repeat about every minute until you are done.  It is recipe for pain.

Suffering past the start finish

Suffering past the start finish

How did my race go?  Well, I met one objective.  I started on the front.

I managed to stay there for about 15 minutes as well.  Peter Mathern was up there as was his teammate Tony Warmuth.  Peter was off the front much of that period.  The temptation was to go with him and attempt a breakaway.  Peter does things like that.

However, I knew I didn’t have the endurance at this point to make something like that stick.  The problem was I was still doing a lot of work as at multiple points I was the one leading the group chasing down Peter.  This would not last.

My heart rate was over 180 by this point.  As a matter for fact, I was red lining it for 33 minutes of the 33 minute 48 second race!  I made myself back off and drop into the field in an attempt to recover.  The problem is, this course does not allow you to do that.  You have to be near the front or you must work to get to the front or get spit out the back.

So, for the first half of the race I stayed in the top five.  My hope was that I could recover and then in the last 10 minutes of the race make a move with someone like Peter to gap from the field and get a good finish.  Unfortunately, when the five to go call came I was about 20th.

The pace picked up and it was even harder to work my way up to the front.  I made it into the top 15 riders but could tell things were stretching out slightly as we made the turns and accelerations.  About this time my body started sending me signals that it was unhappy.

The snap was gone.  If it came down to a sprint I was going to have to really call on my will to make anything happen.  Like a snap of the fingers I went from feeling like I could go in a break to feeling like I couldn’t hang on.

Still, I determined I was not going to quit.  With two laps to go I was still in contact with the riders in front of me.  Then coming out of lap three I had something happen that has never happened to me in a race.  I threw up.  Thankfully, only a bit ended up in my mouth and the only thing I knew to do was to swallow it back down and keep going.

The bad news is that it caused me to lift just enough to get gapped going through turn four.  I had to stand and give it all I had to make contact with the group ahead.  By the time we reached the start/finish for the final lap I was back on but dangling precariously.

As we went through turn two one rider blew up and went rocketing off the back.  That caused me to take a look behind me.  There was no one there but that one rider.  Forgive me, but I realized that I wouldn’t lose any more places, so I halfheartedly entered turn four and began the final climb to the start finish.  Who knows, maybe someone else (other than myself) would blow up.

I was close enough to say I finished with the main group.  Turns out I was 13th – which was better than I thought I did.  The large number of lapped riders made things very confusing.

Here are my numbers:  31 laps for 33:48 covering 13.6 miles, max power = 1094 with an average of 272 watts, heart rate = 189 max with an average of 185 bpm, and the average speed was over 24 mph.  My 20 minute peak maximal power was 285 watts.  That was very close to my highest ever 290 watts.

I will note that on my Garmin the average power read 336 watts.  When I saw that, I nearly freaked out!  That would have been awesome – though I was perplexed because with a number like that I should have been pulling the field around all by myself.  Getting the data into WKO+ cleaned it up and gave me a much more realistic number.  Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

My plan was to finish within the top 11 riders.  So, I didn’t make that goal.  However, I felt very good about making some progress with my fitness.  I did not feel nearly as bad as I did in the first POA race (I finished better in that one, but did not feel nearly as strong).  It helped to know that I was one of the last men standing with a group that completely busted the field apart.

The plan now is to start focusing some on drills that will help me be a better criterium racer.  What are those?  I’m assuming repeats.  The constant accelerations are what wear me down over time.  I need to learn how to build stamina in those situations.  I’ll crack the top ten yet!

Remember the joy of “just riding”

I have a confession to make.  My bike sat in the basement from Monday to this Saturday morning.  Actually, I didn’t even know where it was.  Was it in the basement or was it still in the back of the Suburban?

Thankfully the beautiful redhead was watching out for me and had moved the bike out of the truck to its spot downstairs.  I crawled out of bed with just enough time to wake up a bit and then go look at the Giant that was waiting for me in the darkness of the unfinished portion of basement.

It was unchanged.  I looked at it for a bit.  Did I really want to go out there?  Unlike a dog, the bike couldn’t wag its tail and act excited.  The desire to get back on that thing had to come from within me.  I’d like to say that at that moment the desire washed over me.  Nope.  What made me get on the bike was the realization that the guys were going to be waiting for me and I would soon be late.

My Saturday morning ride

My Saturday morning ride

It was the Sunshine Cycle Shop’s Hour of Power ride that I was leaving for.  Almost immediately after getting in the group I started to feel better.  Group riding isn’t just about how “I” feel – it is really like an organism.  Sometimes you can receive strength and encouragement from those around you.  Yes, on the flip side, it can also be a drain.  However, with these guys it is always good.

There is plenty of time for socializing as we ride easy during the “neutral” sections.  However, as we neared the first sprint of the day, John talked to Luis and me about the upcoming effort.  “Let’s do this like a race.  One of us go for it and the others cover any moves that come.”  Tony was nearby and I got the impression he figured something was up with those POA kits grouping together like that.

Sure enough he went uncharacteristically early.  Luis went with him.  “Oh good,” I thought.  “I don’t have to work on this one.”  John and I sat back to let Luis go man-on-man with Tony.  Just for good measure I did a short sprint to see how the legs would do.  Hmmmmm, not bad – at less than 100% I put out 1100+ watts.

Tony held off Luis at that point.  I determined he wasn’t going to get the next one.  That one would be the quarry road.  We made the left turn out of a pace line and then headed toward the base of the climb.  Bryant had taken the lead so he could get a head start up the climb.  I drafted off of him – he just never ceases to amaze me.

As the road kicked up, Web moved to the front and I sat on his wheel.  Earlier I told John I would try to stretch out the field and let him conserve for a final sprint at the top.  However, I had enough of a lead that as I went around a right hand bend that would obscure me from their view, I attacked in hopes that I could get a lead before they realized what happened.

Sure enough as I topped the false flat and made the left hand turn toward the uphill finish, I could not see anyone behind me.  I eased up to rest.  My heart rate was knocking on 180 bpm at this point and there was no need to make things worse.

I looked back again and here they came with Tony at the lead.  I picked up the pace just slightly.  There was a full on field sprint coming behind me!  I tried to time it so that I could go as slow as I could and still make it before the group.  As I was passing the finish, John came out of nowhere to take second.

The State Park finish was fun as usual.  Tony and I had another battle on that one.  It was one of the funnest of the day for me as it was neck and neck to the finish.  Mt. Mitchell hadn’t taken the kick out of my legs and I was able to barely hold Tony off.

Nature Trail has always been a climb I hate.  However, I’m finding that it is coming to me.  I started near the end of the group today and still managed to work my way up to finish 1-2-3 with John and Luis.  I’m starting to enjoy that little stretch of road.

At the top most of the guys headed toward the shop, but John and I headed toward Paris Mountain.  He was on his way home and I was enjoying riding so much that I didn’t want to call it a day quite yet.  We talked as we climbed Altamont and then separated as we neared his home on the way to Travelers Rest.

I went on to TR and stopped at Leopard Forest Coffee Shop.  It was nice to sit for a bit with a muffin and coffee checking my Twitter and e-mail (have I mentioned that I am LOVING my new iPhone?) before heading back home.

I hopped on the Swamp Rabbit Trail right there and started home.  I wanted to see how far I could go.  The trail went quite a ways out of TR, through the back of the Furman campus, and then finally to section where they said not to enter.

At that point I wasn’t sure where I was.  I turned in the general direction of Greenville and started pedaling.  This led me to Berea.  Things seemed a little more familiar as I continued until I got to Highway 25.  This was a section of Greenville I don’t frequent every often.

At long last I came upon a sign telling me that Greenville was only 3 miles away if I would just take a turn.  Otherwise, I would end up in Easley.  I made the turn and after a solid 3 hours on the bike I arrived at home after 53 miles.  I didn’t see that coming while I was looking at the Giant in the basement this morning!

Sometimes it just pays to get on your bike and ride.  No big event.  No big goal to train for.  Just ride.

Those Hour of Power rides can be so much fun

I had three pretty hard days of riding Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Thursday was a very tough POA Cycling Summer Series crit.  Friday was an unplanned 2+ hour ride that included a 12 minute push up Paris Mountain in 90+ degree heat.  Then I got up early on Saturday to do the Hour of Power.

Probably most riders from Greenville were in Athens for the racing or participating in the Meal for Wheels ride.  However, there were ten of us on hand for the 8 AM ride.  We rolled out for a fun morning.

I won’t spend too much time on all the action.  There were three instances that added a little more fun to the morning.  Let’s get started on Meece Bridge Road.

We were stretching things out a bit on the road.  Bob Rentz was leading the pack as we started the climb to the sprint zone.  I was sitting on his wheel when I saw Ed Buffington come up beside Bob to say something.  Then Bob slowed just a bit, but not too much.

Then Tony Warmuth came by and the sprint was on.  Bob jumped on his wheel and I stayed where I was.  We continued until we neared the traditional spot where someone tries to close the deal.  I decided to get a jump and took off a little early.

I pushed pretty hard and then looked to see if there was anyone on my wheel.  No wheel.  No shadow.  No rider.  I twisted to get a better view.  There was no one there!  I had killed myself and no one reacted to even make it interesting!

I wondered if this meant that the morning would be just a social ride – which is just fine – it is just that normally that isn’t the case.  We always regroup for slower riders, but typically it is all on during the sprint zones.  Socialize during the neutral zones.  Kill each other in the attack zones.

We pulled up to the stop sign to regroup and Tony had to head to work.  Ed left us at that point as well.  I learned that what he had told Bob was to slow because he was breaking up the field.  Well, that broke it up.

Now there were eight of us.  We rode on together talking and recovering from the move.  We were getting closer to the quarry road.  It all started in a pace line.

We neared the turn that would take us to the climb.  Randy Hutchison, John James, Rob Crouch, and I were on the front at this point.  Randy and Rob went ahead while John and I followed at a little slower pace.

I decided to turn this into a team deal.  My plan was to hold a steady pace knowing that we would probably catch Randy and Rob on the start of the climb.  Then when we reached the climb I would lay down a steady hurting while John sat back for the final move.

It was one of the most fun points of the day because it worked to perfection.  I just kept tapping out the cadence.  We passed Randy and Rob and then there were just a couple of riders on my wheel.  I could look under my arm and see the wheel inches from mine.

I picked up the pace some more.  I started to hear labored breathing.  Then I saw John going around me.  I kept my pace.  Still the wheel was there inches away.  John was going up the road.  I had the urge to drop the rider on my wheel and took off after John.

It wasn’t my intention to try to beat him.  I wouldn’t have been able to anyway.  However, he slowed and I did catch up to him as we neared the line.  He reached his hand back to do a track sling, but I didn’t have the strength to get a good hold on his hand.  I crossed the line just behind.

John returned the favor on the Paris Mountain State Park sprint.  We were chasing down Randy who had launched the attack.  John pulled me past him.  Then he pulled off.  I was now on point with a good amount of the sprint left.  I didn’t like that.

I eased my pace just slightly so that hopefully a rider or two would come past me.  Here came John and Randy.  I jumped in behind them as we raced toward the bottom of the dam.  Then when we hit the climb, John attacked.  I followed him up.  I saw him look back and then say, “You’ve got it.”  I left him and churned up the climb.  “Keep going,” I heard John say behind me.  I picked it up a bit and reached the top first.

I’ve been doing Hour of Power for years.  This was the first one since I joined the POA Cycling Team. Back when I first started, I never dreamed that I would be doing stuff like this.  I really never thought I would be racing on the same team as John – who is someone I looked up to as a rider since the beginning.  It was really cool to have those two POA Cycling kits crossing the line on twin Giant TCR Advanced road machines.

Maybe someday we’ll be able to do that when it really counts.  However, the more I think about it, that IS when it really counts.  When you are out riding with friends and having these good natured competitions there is something you don’t get in a structured race.

Oh, I finally met John Davidson who, it turns out, lives about four blocks from me.  We rode back home together from Sunshine Cycle Shop.  Good guy.  I appreciate what he does for the Donaldson Center C ride.