Nov 17, 2016

Elite Runner/Triathlete, Eddie Stern Takes on the Peloton
Central Park Circuit Race – November 13, 2016

First bunch race in Central Park today. What an experience!

I finished same time as 4th place, 7 seconds off the front, but was officially 18th, in a field of 63 starters.

I thought it would be easy, given my race was Cat 5 and I have a solid FTP.  But let me tell you, bunch racing in Central Park isn’t anything like riding a TT or the bike leg of a triathlon.  The whole race was minutes of high alert in modest oxygen debt punctuated by seconds of intense anxiety and extreme lactic acid overload as I helped run down every break.

You need awesome 30 sec to 1 min power, combined with a solid FTP to do well in Central Park or any short road race, for that matter.  I’ve currently got one, but am working on the other.  Peaks Coaching Group Elite Coach, Brian Murphy has been developing my leg strength.  Consequently, I anticipate having a lot more one minute power (and a considerably higher FTP) by next summer.  I have big bike race plans for 2017 and entered the Central Park race to pave the way to condition my race fitness both physically and mentally.

After the starter blew the whistle, I followed Brian’s advice and positioned myself at the front of the pack.  As the peloton began to settle in, the attacks commenced.  Given I was in a Cat 5 field, the attacks were solo efforts and not team coordinated.  The pace at the front felt comfortable and I felt totally prepared.  

However, in my first bunch race, I didn’t have the guts to go for the break myself.  I had no idea how much power it would take to make a break that stuck. The field was so big, I just couldn’t see outrunning a bunch of younger guys by taking a solo flyer off the front.  And so, while I helped cover every break attempt, I got outsprinted as the field surged in the last 30 seconds up Cat Paw Hill to the finish line.  I am looking forward to moving up to Masters and racing with guys my age!

In the end, I rode 275 NP (95% IF) for the hour long race and know I could have held more.  Looking at my HR, I averaged 143bpm (91% LTHR) – so my fitness is good.  I just didn’t see the point in taking the risk of initiating a break attempt only to get reeled in and dropped.   Not this race. Not my first.  Brian assures me my confidence will build as I gain more bunch race experience.

Race goals were:
--Don’t crash. (Check)
--Have fun. (Check)
--No blow ups. (Check)
--A solid effort. (Check)

Mission accomplished!

Sometime soon, Brian is going to teach me how to respond to and work the break by putting my strong aerobic engine together with the new legs and race savviness Brian has me working on.

Afterwards, I rode a loop to cheer Brian on at the top of Harlem Hill.  He was racing the Masters 40+ and also had a solid finish.  We each grabbed a bagel at the finish line then headed out for another 35 miles across the George Washington Bridge to a popular training area for NYC cyclists called River Road.  Nice riding with my new coach and getting to know him.

What a great day!

Eddie Stern is coached by PCG Elite Coach Brian Murphy


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