How's my form after all the hard Monark cycling?
After all the hard indoor Monark work this Autumn I was very curious about how I would perform in a longer race. I adapted this weeks training slightly to perform well in the upcoming Sunday race by only doing two shorter interval sessions and my regular longer 9x9 (Wednesday). All three interval sessions I was able to perform at new record watts. I did a longer low intensity ride the day before the race (2+ hours) but from experience I know that these don't really affect my race-day form.
Heino Fall Race
The Race is a longish and quick mountain bike race with few technical difficulties and quite a lot of gravel road. The single track is quick and flowing. Two laps and 45 km in total. Few climbs but the ones that do exist are quite steep. There are no age categories in this race and as many of the best Danish riders turn up the opposition is tough. Danish pro Benjamin Justesen usually races and he was here this year too.
I've ridden this race many times over the years:
2015: Aborted due to snow chaos
This makes the race a good benchmark
So how did the race go?
Going up the initial hill I was slow and just managed to hang on the the tail end of the lead group of some 20-30 riders. However as soon as we reached level gravel road I went into turbo mode, overtook everyone, and led the whole pack up the second hill. Three guys outsprinted me to the top and went away from the rest of us. I formed a second group with four other guys: Palle Jensen, Jacob Nielsen, Victor Philipsen, Anders Edvard Johanssen. Up ahead were were three guys, among them Benjamin Justesen (pro) leading the race.
It's been a long time since I was able to hang onto Palle in a race so I was really happy to be able to tag along. Towards the end of the first lap, in a slippery downhill, Palle got a bit of a gap and and Victor joined them. The rest of us chased after them and almost caught them a couple of times but when we lapped to go out for the second lap they were about half a minute ahead of us.
Pace was still high as the three of us (me, Jacob and Anders) went out for the second lap. Jacob and Anders pulled hard when they were out front and I had few opportunities to help. I noticed that Anders didn't have the best grip in his rear tire because it kept slipping in the muddy uphills. At one of these uphills, halfway through the second lap, Anders slipped again and had to get off his bike and as I was on his wheel I had to get off as well. Jacob took the opportunity to sprint ahead but I thought we would easily catch him.
Anders did chase hard with me on his wheel. I thought it was only fair as it was his 'fault' that Jacob had got the lap. However after a while it seemed that Anders was getting more tired so I went ahead. I noticed that we weren't going to catch Jacob so I started thinking about how I was going to get rid of Anders. On the first lap I noticed that there was a slippery muddy climb just 3 km from the finish and I planned to make my move there. As we got to this slippery part I went all-in and pushed hard. After the climb there was a slippery and bumpy downhill and I kept going hard there without looking back. When I got down to the next gravel road I looked behind but I could see no sign of Anders. I kept pushing hard the last few kilometers to the finish.
Seventh place... very nice. My best result ever at Heino.
The power data from this race was really low and I think it may be because of a calibration of the power meter that I did the day before the race. I have to re-callibrate it to make sure it's correct. Left-right power however is valid: