a journal of cycling, adventure, and photography

To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to bikepacking and gravel it is all part of the TBD Journal.

The Daily Grind: Hello, Project 85

The first few days of the Intelligentsia Cup were particularly rough, and had me questioning whether or not I really belonged in the sport.

We were greeted with rain on arrival in Beverly, and after reluctantly lining up with the 2/3 boys, I was unceremoniously shot out the back of the pack within 2 laps. Timid wet-weather nerves got to me. Saturday's race at Lake Bluff was supposed to suit me, but I got caught behind a crash, didn't take a neutral lap, and...got pulled. And Sunday's road race at Elgin – two hours of "road racing" on an extra-long crit course – was a disaster that had broken my confidence.

The course featured some rolling hills on the first half of the lap punctuated by a steep, 40-second kicker that followed a long downhill.

Lap 1: 38s, 176bpm, 691w
Lap 2: 39s, 180bpm, 638w
Lap 3: 42s, 183bpm, 546w
Lap 4: 44s, 180bpm, 474w

Immediately after the hill on this lap, I blew up. I'd just done 30 minutes with an NP of 368 (ugh) and was absolutely dead.

Back at the house that evening, I asked folks what they thought of me switching my reg from the Men's Cat 3 field to the Men's 35+ 3/4 field (AKA the "Jobsters," masters that definitely are still employed). There was no way that I deserved to be there, no way a 95kg – or let's be honest, 98kg – 36-year-old guy should be mixing it up with a field of near-juniors with 53 upgrade points. But my teammates convinced me to stay in the open race and see what happened on the flatter courses. 

It was definitely the right call – I ended up scoring two second places during the week, and leaving Intelligentsia with some upgrade points to my name. But all my results came on pancake-flat courses. Anything with a suggestion of a climb put me further into the red than I wanted to be.

Which brings me to the point of this post: if I’m going to be competitive in anything other than a fast, flat crit, I’m going to need to figure out how to drop some weight.

While our team coach, Jacob Fetty, doesn’t ever focus on weight – “just eat with intention” – it’s become obvious to both me and Matt that while we’re strong enough to do well in the flattest, fastest crits, our excess contributes to injury on and off the bike, forces us to use more watts than we need to to hold a wheel, and means we’re completely useless to our teammates when the going gets hilly.

With that, say hello to your newest Content Tag™ on ToBeDetermined.cc: #project85.

Participant One: Clay

I’ve already introduced why I’m doing this, but, some relevant stats:

  • Current weight: 97kg

  • Presumed ideal racing weight: 85kg

  • Age: 36 (it’s my birthday on Saturday!)

  • Category: 3 in CX and Road

  • Barriers: job-related travel; affinity for beer; I still eat like I did when I was running track and cross-country in college

Participant Two: Matt

  • Current weight: 94kg

  • Presumed ideal racing weight: 85kg

  • Age: 35

  • Category: 2 in road, 4 4ever in CX

  • Barriers: a deep, undying and emotionally unhealthy love of eating food, often as quickly as possible.