Monday, March 31, 2008

Coming Soon...

San Dimas report coming soon but first we've got to catch up on a little sleep.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Now that was FUN!!!

I think I made the right choice.

Many years ago, I started competitive swimming at the age of 7. I don't think I could actually swim until I was 8 but I was on the team when I was 7. At my first practice I think I almost drown. I was flailing, got a mouth full of water and one of the older kids had to push me over to the gutter. I was terrified but managed to stick with it. In second grade, when I was 8, I raced at my first swim meet. I don't remember the events or how many kids I swam against but I do remember I 'won' two 4th place ribbons. I was floating on cloud 9. I remember taking them to school and showing them to my class. I'm pretty sure my classmates were wondering why I was so happy. I mean, dude, you got 4th. But from that day on I was hooked.

Today, Ms. K and I headed down to Hellyer with our neighbor, DDT, for the first of the 'Get Ready For Summer' series. On the drive down there was a substantive discussion about what field I should race: the B field or the C field. Ms. K didn't want me to race in her field but I've only done two mass start races on the track, both points races. Also, the omnium today included two types of races that I had no clue how to race: the Keirin and the Miss & Out. I was worried the B's would be over my head but decided to defer to the promoter. At the track, our friendly promoter Rick, suggested I try the B's and said my lack of experience shouldn't get in the way. I also had an experienced teammate, RC, to lend advice so I decided to try the B field.

Keirin: The first race was the Keirin, a race I had little or no clue how to approach. I'd seen a few YouTube videos but didn't really have much of a clue about strategy. The moto wound us up to 31 mph and pulled off with 1.5 laps to go. I happily let myself sit pinned in the sprinter's lane all the way to the 3rd turn. I crossed the line advancing for you. Hmmmm...maybe racing the B's wasn't such a good idea.

Scratch Race: This race I can's like a short crit on the track. Webcor had a big contingent and I'd already experienced their team tactics earlier this year so I suspected they would be working together. We started and there were a few attacks in the first few laps but they didn't stick. Then Rob from Webcor got off the front with another rider from Kovarus and they created a big gap quickly. Webcor was at the front disrupting the chase. I found a little daylight and jumped to try to bridge. I made it...woohooo!!! We managed to stay away for 15 laps. The photo finish picked me second. Well, ok, maybe I can do this.

Miss & Out: The third race was another I wasn't really sure how to approach. Luckily, I was able to watch the C's race and figured out where I didn't want to be. Teamie RC told me we had to work to keep me in as long as possible and spent more than a few laps shielding me from the wind. As we got down to the final 8 I decided I was happier on the front. I lasted until the final 3 but didn't have the legs to contest the sprint so I had to be content with 3rd. Wait a second...I'm actually in this thing.

Points Race: The finale was the points race. As the day was running long, Rick decided to combine the A's and B's for a 40 lap points race with sprints every 10th lap. Oooo, I knew this was going to hurt but I thought if I could get just a few points I might improve my standing in the Omnium. I also thought my best bet was to get some points early as my legs were starting to complain about all I had asked of them earlier in the day. The attacks started almost from the whistle. I hoped I could get away with another Webcor rider and we might stay away until at least the first sprint. No such luck. I was out of the points for the first two sprints but so were the rest of the B's. Then there was a crash in turn 4. Luckily I had an out onto the apron. Three or Four other riders weren't so lucky. While most came away with scrapes there was at least one broken bone in the crowd. We restarted with 18 laps to go. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sneak into the points and at least one of the B's scored on the last sprint. Ouch...that one hurt.

Omnium: Well, I managed to eek out a 4th in the overall. It was a really fun day of racing and I learned a bunch. I think I might be hooked.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To Copper or not to Copper

I'm signed up for Copperopolis but having second thougts. Actually, I've had them all along but they've been getting stronger. The practice races at the track are sounding more appealing. More sleep, less driving, flat pavement, no hills and some free time during the day.

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blown Away...

Remember this poster? Ya, me too...makes me feel old. Anyway...

For the second time this season Mother Nature has added an obsticle to one of our classic bike race courses. Yesterday at Bariani the wind was howling. It made the winds at Snelling, earlier this year, seem like a gentle breeze. And like the Snelling race, once dropped many a rider packed it in early rather than grind out the miles alone.

I was a little eager to start the suffering and wasted some valuable energy early. After getting gapped right after the climb, it was a long slog to finally reconnect with the main pack. The second time it happened I knew I wouldn't reconnect. I considered calling it a day but decided to grind out another lap. I fell in with some other stragglers and we raced well together in all shapes of rotating pace lines. Once I was 'racing' again all thoughts of stopping vanished. Over the course of the next few laps we caught other cast offs, some latched on, others fell off.

In the end I finished 24th. It was brutal and a twisted, biker racer kind of way.

For you data junkies out there, my power output was almost identical to Snelling but the race was 30 minutes longer. 2300 Kcals burned in 2.5 hours of racing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Check it out...

Just got this from a teammate.


You know... it's Pi Day.

Anyway, last weekend we did a little bike racing. At some point during my first race someone decided I was 'Uninhibited'. Not sure if it was me riding my bike or my itsy-bitsy jersey riding up my back that earned me this distinction but either way, I'm going to enjoy the spoils.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


We had many little stories to share from Saturday's shenanigans but in light of the tragedy that struck the NorCal cycling this last weekend they all seem insignificant. While we didn't know either of these cyclists well we had raced with each of them often over the last few weeks and admired their skill, fitness and humor. Just Saturday, while racing, Matt rode next to me and gave a good natured heckle about the fit of my kit. It's still hard to grasp that a day later he was gone.

While I struggle to come to grips the randomness and the senselessness of Sunday's events I find myself wanting to supplant my sadness with anger. Like many of us, it's easier for me to be angry than sad. But in searching for someone to blame I find only victims - the riders, their close friends and families, the cycling community at large and yes, even the driver. And without a focal point for my anger I'm left to face the sadness.

Peace and be safe.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Week to week...

Same roads, two radically different races.

Last week the wind was blowing, clouds threatening rain but the racing was a blast. DBC put their boys on the front and drove the pace all day long. Working in pairs, the men in orange would pull our little pack through the wind until they blew and had us moving at a pretty good clip. By the end there were only 15 of us left. The data showed a 2.5 hour race at what is typically a hard crit effort. I was destroyed but enjoyed every minute of it.

Yesterday was back to negative racing. The team in yellow and the team in red had superior numbers, enough in fact to try a couple different approaches to winning the race. Alas, they both had their minds set on the bunch gallop at the end so 70 of us went into the last turn together. Sure, there were a few attacks along the way. Attempts by other teams to make things interesting but team tactics are clearly not the strong suit of the Cat 4's. I guess when you're doing hypoxic math 2 in 70 odds is better than 1 in 5.

As for me, I didn't fight hard enough for position on the last significant hill. I watched the daredevils charge down the other side suspecting they wouldn't make the corner. My suspicions were confirmed as I rounded the corner and found riderless bikes in the road. I came to a complete stop and then chased my ass off to try and catch the pack. At the base of the 'feed zone' kicker I caught the back of the pack and then drove hard to get around those who were loosing contact with the business end of the race. I caught the back of the lead group right as the front was cresting the hill...another pack finish. After reviewing the data I have to was a nice day for an easy group ride.