Sunday, April 29, 2007
And no doubt, it's one of the elements which brings this community of cyclists together.
I had a few teammates dig especially deep for me today. I feel honored to be on a team which value this so strongly.
Those who raced in the am and did feeds in the pm, must-a done a whole lot of diggin.
I did no more or less diggin than many others today, but I'll share what happened on my end of the bike.
If you have taken a clinic with Nicole Freedman, you have undoubtedly experienced her favorite drill. Its goal is to simulate the race when everything which can go wrong will go wrong and how to own up to it, not give into it, and overcome it. It's a race against your teammates where everyone starts with their chain off. At the whistle, you get your chain on, ride through an obstacle course around water bottles, bunny hop over some water bottles, take off your back wheel, put it back on, grab a water bottle from the ground (to simulate a missed feed), etc. etc.
Today was the real deal.
At the end of the bumps on lap 1, I looked down and swore that my tire was low on air. I asked two separate racers if my back tire looked low. Both confirmed that I "definitely" had a flat. A teammate immediately offered her wheel and then her entire bike (as she had Shimano and I campy). When that didn't work out (we had different pedals), a second teammate offered me her Campy wheel. Wow. We stopped, I undid my wheel, grabbed it, and !$@^& !, it wasn't flat. We TTed through the feed zone, skipping a feed, traded pulls, and caught back on a few miles later. Phew!
Then, on lap 3, I dropped my chain onto my pedal spindle on the tiny roller on the bumps before the real bumpy section. The pack jammed along the bumpies, up the rollers, through the feed zone, and was out of sight, despite my best attempts to catch back on before it was too late.
Panda was alerted to my misery when she passed through the feed zone. She dug and dug and came up with a monstrous pull to launch me back into TT mode. It took me a total of 41min. of diggin, but I caught back on just in time to do the bumpies again(thanks to a slow pack where no one wanted to pull on the last lap).
It was a character building weekend for us all.
And oh my stars, that Pepsi that Linda gave me post-race was good!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Make Packing List
And the packing list seems to be that much longer:
CoolerBut it's going to be a great weekend...if we can fit all this stuff in the car.
...blah, blah, blah
Monday, April 23, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
My only personal goal was to not give into the pain. Warming up, I cranked up the suffer-music, took off my HR monitor, and declared to myself that I would ride in zone "Don't get dropped." I came prepared to suffer. Once we turned onto the steep part of the climb (Carrol Rd.), the real climbers were kind enough to unleash some crazy-ass pain. Somewhere, somehow, I dug deep and stayed with the lead group. Our starting pack of around 40 riders was widdled down to 8 within the first 20 minutes of the race. I was honored to be there. And it hurt. Man, did it hurt. So, I promised myself that if I could stay with this group, I'd come straight home and lose a few more pounds, so that maybe it wouldn't hurt so badly next time.
A little bit of this:
Followed by a little bit of that:
And it looks like I'll have to suffer through the pain again next time.
I got gapped later on from the lead group, did some TTing, and ended up in a chase group. I heard that we brought the gap to within a minute somewhere mid-race. Unfortunately, there was a nasty crash in our paceline on the flats. I went down hard, but was fortunate to be able to get back on my bike and finished 16th. The good news is that it was my best finish ever in a hilly road race. Before the crash, I was in a chase group with some very strong climbers who I have admired from afar for a long while. I wish the best to Annie Henry from EMC who took the worst fall and had done some kick-ass pulling to move us closer to the lead group.
And Sabine made Laurie's day with her amazing pulls. I'm looking forward to racing together again soon!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Yesterday I spent a few hours in the garage doing some wrench work. Making the last switch to a full Campy household. I'm not a very good wrench but as an enginerd I can appreciate good design and recognize the other kind. After a grumpy (the old stuff made me grumpy) evening and rainy morning I finally got out to test the results.
Smooth as butter!!! Gawd I love Campy!
Speaking of cool designs, the Vikenator mentioned one of these doohickeys over a couple of beers a few weeks ago. The birthday elf put one in my stocking over the weekend and we tried it out the other night. If you're an omnivore and like a little marinade and BBQ you gotta check it out.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Then it was time for cake...from Ici.
Then the bikers in the crowd gathered in the play room to watch Paris-Roubaix
Now who's going to help me with the left-overs?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
We drove up to Santa Rosa today for a little local crit action. We decided to avoid the craziness at Sea Otter and do the smaller race. We had a good time, froze our butts off in the pouring rain and I eeked out a couple of top 10's. I'm not breaking out any champagne but I'm happy and feeling strong.
But, the story of the day was the men's E4 race. As I was getting dressed, in the lightly falling rain, I expressed my concern that we wouldn't meet the field limit in the E4 race. Alicat paused and said 'I'll race, do you care?' My response was go for it. She ran off, registered and jumped in (I don't think she even had time to warm up). For the first few laps I could hear Jess-ter cheering her on in corner 1 but I lost track after a while and thought maybe she got gapped or pulled out. With about 5 laps to go who should ride up next to me but the grimace herself, little miss Alicat. Two thoughts went through my head...cool she's still in it and damn I need to move up. We managed to move up over the last few laps, narrowly avoid a crash and roll across safely. Our field ended up with about 40 riders. Alicat finished 17th (without sprinting as she was trying to warm up for her own race)...Now that's HOT!
It's been suggested that women race the men's fields when promoters don't offer women's races. I've raced with women a couple times this year and think we'll see a lot more before the season is done. All I can say is 'Be careful what you wish for cuz those gals come to play!'
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
We had a great trip to Kauai. Good friends, good food, good wine, good weather, good coffee...you get the picture. I've been to Kauai more than a few times but we managed to do some new fun stuff: I finally made it to Waimea Canyon (incredible), did some hiking, took Little M on her first snorkeling excursion (she'll be back) and found some good new eateries.
Saturday we were back in the East Bay and I got on my bike for the first time in a week. I decided to take one of the local loops through Morinda. Most of this loop is great; East Bay Parks and redwood lined canyons...it's easy for me to forget I'm skirting the burbs. Unfortunately, there's one stretch of dodging cell phone equipped mini-vans, jaguars and lexi that brings me back to reality.
My ride Saturday included one other treat...something I've never seen before in all my hours of riding in the hills and a reminder of the things I love about the east bay. As I made my way back from Morinda, ascending the hills from the redwoods in Canyon, I heard a rhythmic pounding coming from around the bend. I rounded the corner and saw a car parked in one of the turnouts. All I could think was 'Hmm...someone must be working on their car'. As I got closer I realized the pounding was too musical for car repair. Then I saw it...a full drum kit sitting next to the car, in the turnout, in the middle of the woods. A curly-haired rocker was seated at his yellow drums, eyes closed, headphones on, wailing away at the drums. I tried to make eye contact to signal my approval but the guy was in the zone. For the rest of the climb I could hear the da-da-BUM echoing through the canyon and all I could think was 'It's good to be home....dude!'
Saturday, April 07, 2007
* After spending a week in Hawaii, doing a 2.5 hour ride on my TT bike Atalanta, this morning was a lot more painful than I had bargained for. I was so pained that I don't think Ms. Panda even recognized me when she passed me on San Pablo Dam Road. Did you?
* I think there are only 10 more weeks of school left until summer. Wow.
*Is it bedtime yet?