If you have ever wondered what competing in a stage race is like, CCNS athlete Bill Strebel has got you covered. He was kind enough to give us a sneak peek into his Killington Stage Race "diary." Bill had a GREAT race that weekend, taking the Sprinter's Jersey win, 2nd place in the final TT, and finishing 4th overall.
Thanks for putting this together, Bill!
9:30 pm - Arrive at the hotel.
10:00 pm - Pick out kit to wear, decide on wheelset to use (40mm will do nicely), check over bike, settle on fuel to carry.
10:45 pm - Try to get some sleep.
5:00 am - Woke up an hour before the alarm. Can't sleep. Guess I'll review race strategy for the day.
Ride controlled and patient. Assess any breaks and who is in it. If it looks promising, let a gap develop and then attack and bridge. If no break, stay protected in the field, keep everything in front of you and wait for the sprint. Ride for GC, don't worry about sprint and KOM points.
7:30 am - Pick up race packet.
8:00 am - Arrive at the start and check-in.
8:20 am - Begin warm up routine.
8:50 am - Race starts.
5 miles in, the first break goes up the road. 2 riders. The field seems uninterested. The gap builds to 15 seconds. It's early, but I decide to bridge across. No one follows.
5-second gap, joined by Andy Tine. Raced with him before, strong. This could work. Complete the bridge. 4 of us are rotating nicely, gap builds to 25 seconds, then 35. Becomes evident that the other two riders need to be used to keep us away. They are strong enough to help, but not a big threat. Agree to let Andy take the KOM points, I'll take the sprint points and GC if we make it to the end.
Over the KOM, gap 45 seconds... this might work. Past the finish, turn back onto route 4, gap 55 seconds... keep grinding. Back on the climb and over the KOM Decent and turn onto 100. The gap is down to 25 seconds and closing... Not good. Two other guys can't help much anymore.
Decision time. The Field is in sight. Sprint is just a few km away. Caught... Okay, sit in and rest for the sprint. Sprint!!! 3rd place. Okay, that's okay. Final lap up and over the KOM with the leaders - legs are feeling it. Need to conserve as much energy as possible for the next sprint points and then the finish. Third again for sprint points, the finish is next. The Legs are cooked - nothing left to give. Roll in 12th place.
11:10 am - Cool down and begin recovery
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Recovery, water, food, lie down and watch Harry Potter marathon and review strategy for tomorrow.
Go for the sprint only, and only if it feels good. First climb starts a mile or so after. Don't push it over the first and second climb, stay in contact with the climbers and empty the tank on the final climb.
9:00 pm - Try and sleep
Stage 2 - Lookout Road Race
5:30 am - ugh, I can't sleep again. Drive the final climb.
6:30 am - Breakfast - 1 cup of grapenuts with water, banana, lots of water.
7:30 am - Switch wheels for climbing wheelset, get kit ready, bottles and fuel for the race.
8:00 am - Arrive at the start, begin warm-up - easy spinning, nothing hard except one effort to open the legs up.
9:05 am - Race start.
The first climb, 5 miles in, GC leader decides to hammer up the climb at 4.7 w/kg - that hurt field is blown apart. Sit in on the decent until sprint and decide what to do.
The Sprint leader flatted! I'm going for it! The sprint is approaching, sitting 3rd wheel, no one is attacking, 200 meters, unleash, no one follows. Sprint is mine and the jersey! Recover, quick, the climb coming.
First climb, ride within yourself, don't push it, get on a wheel and let him pace you up.
Over the climb with the leaders. Next climb, gravel - same strategy as last, over the top with the leaders, no roll to the finish climb. I hit the base of the climb with 15 or so left in the lead group. Andy and Rick hit the bottom slope hard, try to match but realize I'll blow. Settle into a tempo and hope I start to pull them back. Thomas, gaps me halfway up, I don't respond, keep tempo and wait. Crest the steepest section, Thomas and the guy he is with are coming back. Re-establish contact. Sit on Thomas's wheel and recover on the rolling section. HIt the finish 1k hard, head down, ignore the pain. 200 meters, Thomas was on my wheel, failed to noticed, he sprints around me to take 4th. 5th for me, about 2 minutes back on GC.
TT tomorrow, 1 minute 8 seconds back of podium - still possible.
12:10 pm - Ride back to car, change out of kit and drive back to hotel.
1:00 - 9:00 pm - Rest, drink, eat continue watching the Harry Potter marathon.
Review TT strategy:
Ride at threshold, +/- 5%. Do not go into VO2Max at start, slow, steady acceleration. Focus on breathing, ignore the pain, catch as many guys as you can.
Get TT rig setup, switch pedals, check tires, brakes, everything.
9:00 pm - try and sleep
May 30th - TT
5:30 am - Awake, ugh. Might as well drink a bunch of water.
6:00 am - Get kit ready, helmet, shoe covers.
6:30 am - Cup of grapenuts with water and a banana and more water.
8:00 am - Drive to gondola parking lot.
8:20 am - Ride to start and get warm up in on the way.
9:16 am - Start TT.
30-second gap to the first guy. He's in sight and coming back. Caught in the first 5k. The next guy is in sight, caught a couple k later. Maintaining target power well, feeling good! Catch two more guys before the gondola station. Easy up the hill, keep it under 500 watts. Over the top, one guy up the road, too far to catch - headwind now. Dig deep, it hurts, but almost there. Final rise onto the finish road. Empty the tank, everything you've got. 200 meters, out of the saddle and sprint.
25 minutes 46 seconds. Not sure if it's good enough... we'll see.
Not good enough of the podium - a bridge too far. The 3rd place rider going into the TT was strong, he put 17 seconds on me and won the TT. But my effort was good enough for 2nd and put me in 4th on GC. So that, plus the Sprinters Jersey - it was a successful weekend.
I rode to plan, stayed within myself, and took advantage of opportunities that made sense to go with.
Thank for reading!