Thursday, July 02, 2009

2009 Irish Road Race Championships

Last Sunday saw me take part in my first mass start race (I did a hill climb TT while I was in the US) since breaking my collarbone. I basically said to myself that I wanted a race on that particular weekend and the only thing on happened to be the National Road Championships.

Going into the race, I only had a few goals – stay safe, stay safe and ehhh, stay safe. In addition, I did not plan on actually racing the race, just using it as a big group ride for 4 hours covering 170km. Irish road races tend to have hard (but short) periods with endurance riding in between, exactly what I was looking for.

The course was completely not what I would normally go for – almost pan flat with only a few slight draggy sections. At almost 170km for the race, I knew it would be the quickest 170km I will have covered on a bike.

The first lap went by fast with me having to dig a little a few times but in general, as long as you had a wheel, you were cruising. Of course, up front the action was taking place setting up the days breaks but today, I wasn't interested.

As the kilometres rolled by the boredom sat in and I started to move around the peleton chatting to folks I have not seen in a while – at this point I was wishing I was actually here to race the race.

For the final half of the last lap I moved towards the front and started to have a bit of fun attacking, the last 5 minutes was by far the highest wattage figures I put out during the day – I had planned on making a run from the group with about 1.5km to go but I got a little boxed in and I guess everyone else had the same idea. I rolled over the line covering the 170km in 3:57. Around 43kmph average.

The power stats for this race are:
TSS: 205
Normalized Power: 280W
Average Power: 238W
5 minute peak: 344W
10 minute peak: 308W

comparing this to the 30 minute shorter Shay Elliot Classic (where I was racing, at least a bit)

TSS: 250
Normalized Power: 331W
Average Power: 287W
5 minute peak: 441W
10 minute peak: 418W (on Shay Elliot climb/descent)

(See here for an explanation on some of the above terms)

The race was very well run, roads where good quality and the marshalling was excellent so no complaints there – but the course itself was no where near hard enough to warrant a championship. People in the group finished the race looking reasonably fresh and very few dropped out (110 finishers). Please, give us a climb in the course – something to wear folks down!

Nicholas Roche went on to win the championship in fine style – he is now in the fortunate position of wearing the national champions jersey as he starts his first Tour de France this weekend in Monaco.

Results and a report can be found here.

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