Monday, April 24, 2006

Looking forward to Walla Walla I had arranged everything. I had a carpool lined up, host housing lined up, the bikes were ready to go, I was all set. Except I forgot to register. It was three days past the deadline, the TT start times were posted andI was SOL. I tried calling Steve Rapp to get an exception (despite the web site clearly stating No late registrations. No day-of-race registrations. No exceptions.). Steve stuck to his guns and I was SOL with no-one to blame but myself.

I really hate that, it's so much more satisfying to blame someone else. As a last ditch effort I emailed Gina Kavesh and asked her to appeal to Steve on my behalf. She agreed to but By Thursday evening I hadn't heard anything. I was in an exceptionally bitter mood over my stupidity so after riding ~55 miles I raced Seward. I don't really plan on doing Seward much this year so I just went for the first couple of primes (got 'em) and tried to keep it together for a sprint finish (didn't manage that, Richter and someone got away to take first and second). Rode home that night with a stiff knee and blown legs from that and the prior weeks training. Next day at work I get an email me telling me I'm in for Walla Walla. I'm psyched that I get to race this weekend but further pissed for trashing my legs the night before.

That's OK but now I have to get ahold of Angelo to make sure that I've still got a ride, get a bunch of work off my desk, attend this SNAFU emergency meeting, then bike from Everett back home to Seattle and pack everything. Sweet.

Well it all got done one way or another and Saturday I was in Waitsburg warming up for the TT. My first run with my new (to me) disk wheel. The course was out and back 5.3 miles total. Slightly uphill on the way out with a light head wind and the opposite on the way back. I knew that the way back would be fast no matter what I did so I front ended the piece substantially. I had made a fake attempt to mess with Ian's TT. My teammate Angelo was Ian's 30 second man so I wrote "IAN pass me on the LEFT!" on his race number. I figured if Ian was laughing hard enough it might throw his game off.

At the turn around I was feeling pretty blown but the wind and the slight hill made a huge difference. After a few pedal strokes I was in the 55-11 and cruising. The legs were loaded but I was rolling and the finish line arrived quickly. It was a very solo effort as I was the last one off and my 30 second man (Russell Stevenson) never showed. I saw my minute man at the turnaround, but that was it. Finished with no idea how I had done then went and snagged some pancakes and eggs for breakfast. The funny thing was while I was eating I was chatting with Ian Tubbs and Andrew McDirmid about how good/bad the TT had felt and the three of us made up the top three. I thought that I had done mediocre at best given the way my legs felt but I won, just goes to show, never believe what your body is telling you. Your body lies--punish it.

The road race was another story altogether. Anton summed it up before the race when he rolled up to me and said "I don't envy your position at all." Yea...

The "neutral" rollout was defined as the lead car going 18 miles an hour up a 3k climb. I don't know what world 18mph uphill is neutral on but the leadcar just walked away from us. Well the lead car and Johnny Sundt. Classic Johnny just sitting on the bumper, he couldn't have gotten any closer if they had a roller on there. It was pretty funny. Over the top the lead car finally made Johnny wait (after the neutral rollout which seemed wrong, but whatever). Hone then put in his obligatory early attack. He was off for a while but it was all back together for the first real time up the finishing climb. There the wheels started to come off. Ian didn't make the initial group over the top as people were sprinting for the KOM points. I was working with Emde, Sundt, and Richter to try and hold him off, but Ian isn't the kind of guy that you drop on a fast downhill. He fought back on and when we got onto the backstretch the attacks started. They didn't stop until the race was over. On the last lap Ian and Emde got away and stayed away. The field was down to just over 10 people, at least three of them were Broadmark riders, I'm out of water, and cramping. Almost enough to make you want to curl up in a corner and die. Fortunately for me there are no corners in Eastern Washington, just lots of rolling hills, and I was too dehydrated and tired to curl up and die. On the final climb Sam Johnson went off the front while Anton and Andrew set a slower pace up front. My legs were seizing up and I didn't have the juice to go chase him. He finished 21 seconds ahead of me, fortunately I had 24 on him from the TT.

Heading into the crit Ian and Emde were untouchable in first and second respectively but I was a very vulnerable third. Fourth and Fifth place were Sam Johnson and Andrew Mcdirmid, 3 and 13 seconds behind me respectively. With two, two-second time bonus primes and 10, 5, and 3 second bonuses for first second and third anything was possible. Despite an inauspicious start (massive blowout on my rear wheel in lap two or three), I had a really good race. Before the crit Johnny had some really good advice for me. He told me to bring the fight to Broadmark, don't wait for them to do it to you. That strategy wouldn't have worked if it was only me doing it, but what was left of the other teams realized that if we all didn't work to put Broadmark on the defensive they were going to own us again like they did in the road race. In the crit I made a conscious effort to attack Broadmark just after they had reeled someone in, particularly when it was Andrew or Sam who had done the work. Johnny was right, everyone started keying in on it and Broadmark was suddenly on the defensive. Don't get me wrong, Broadmark had a good race with Anton collecting more primes than anyone else but they were definitely knocked onto their heels a bit and it felt good to see the tables turned. There were a couple of times late in the race were I let Broadmark put me in a bad position. I had won the first two second time bonus, just out-sprinting Sam for it and then turning that into an attack as I saw that he was pretty gassed from the effort and wanting to make him work to get back on. Fortunately enough the next time around they rang the bell for a $20 prime and I was able to stay off the front to collect that too. When the second time prime came around I was caught resting in the back when Sam managed to get off in a break of three without me noticing. Bad race awareness on my part. He took the time prime and the three were in danger of opening up a big gap. Two guys from the Garage were working on the front but they were getting tired and the gap was growing. I got Angelo to go up front and help out. He put in a blowout effort for half a lap and coming into the start finish stretch I made my move to bridge up. I managed to do so without pulling anyone along with me, but Broadmark quickly chased us down now that I was with the lead group. That was fine by me, I just wanted to make sure that every time that I was working they were too. No free rides.

The second time that I let myself get into trouble was at the end of the race (somewhere around 5 or 8 laps to go) when Andrew McDirmid, Johnny Sundt and a third rider were off the front. I made my move with four laps to go (again on the start finish stretch which now had not just a head wind, but a brutally strong head wind). Once again I was (through a fortuitous combination of luck and skill) able to get off solo. It took me an entire lap to bridge up to the break, but I made it. When I arrived people started to sit up and Johnny attacked. The third unknown rider said "I'm not working with that guy" and dropped back and I sat on Andrew's wheel as he chased Johnny down. With two to go it was Andrew, Johnny and myself. Andrew and I traded pulls and coming into the last lap Broadmark had finally started to chase us back in the main pack but we still had a pretty good gap. I was feeling pretty strong so I pulled most of the last lap not really caring if I got 1st, 2nd, or 3rd just so long as Sam didn't and Andrew didn't finish with a time gap on me. Coming into the last corner I had a little gap on Andrew so I started my sprint long and had a good gap on him coming into the final straight away with it's wicked head wind. Unwilling to blow it at the last second I kept the hands on the bar and waited until I was actually crossing the line for a victory salute.

Final GC standings were pretty much the way they were before the crit, but I walked away with my first crit win. Afterwards Johnny came up to me and said "Look at you, you just won a crit."

My response was (and is) yea...go figure.

WOO-HOO, I won!
As it turns out I was a little excited by my victory. Hence the yell.

So two stage wins and third GC. I would have obviously liked to do better in the GC, but given the caliber of the Broadmark riders coming after me in the road race and the limited support that I had that was about as good as I could have reasonably expected. Next week I'll be racing with some of those guys (as a guest rider on Broadmark's elite squad) down at Bisbee and Gila. It will be nice to work with them for a change.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday night at Pacific Raceways.

Tuesday night was the second PR this year, counterclockwise down the fire escape. I attacked from the start just like last week, but unlike last week it was just for fun. After staying away solo the entire time last week I didn't particularly expect them to let me go this time. Besides, the races are pretty short down there early in the year, may as well make sure that everyone gets a good workout. The pack did not disappoint. They chased me down in just under a lap. There were a bunch of attacks throughout the evening and I went with at least half of them, but nothing was sticking. For the first prime there was a lot of energy as the pack seemed pretty excited at the possibility of winning the Oh Boy Oberto polo shirt that was up for grabs. I went to lead out Joe and was laying down a really aggressive pace around the bend coming into the closing 200 meters with him on my wheel when I heard him yell "go for it." We had opened up a sizeable gap on the peloton and Joe let me take the prime since I had opened up the gap. For the second prime it was pretty similar to the first except replace Joe with Andrew and stick Richter on his wheel. As I was sprinting for the line trying to lead Andrew out, I hear Andrew telling me to go for it and see him drop off. I barely managed to hold off a charging Richter who didn't appear to immediately notice that Andrew had let a gap open. As we crossed the line he was a little pissed at us for our "tactics." I explained that I didn't think Andrew was sweeping and he was just gassed.

Unbeknownst to me the second prime also marked two laps to go and the next time around was the bell lap. I was sitting pretty far back but Byron pulled me up to the front with Joe on my wheel. Down the Fire Escape there was a recycled guy and a BRI guy off the front but Jon Ryan and got up to the front and put in a good pull to start reeling them in (after a little pushing with Johnny Sundt). We hit the climb 20-25 people back and finished it about ten people back. At the top Andrew came up and worked his way onto my wheel in front of Joe. With three or four hundred to go I started ramping it up passing the 5 or six guys left in front of me. I kept amping the pace up and Andrew was feeling a little gassed and didn't have the juice to come around me. Joe was waiting for Andrew to go and waited too long. Richter, who had jumped onto Joe's wheel as we rolled past, read it well jumping with ~75 meters to go. Joe jumped late only 50 meters from the line and Andrew and I rolled in for third and fourth respectively. I'm not certain who took fifth but they were a ways back from the front four. After the sprint I went up and congratulated Richter on the win and was happy to see that he agreed Andrew hadn't been sweeping in that second prime. Never good to walk away from a race with people pissed, especially a training race.

Overall a pretty good night, I was riding aggressive, took both primes and we took second, third, and fourth place. We should have walked away with the win too, but weren't firing on all cylinders. No big deal, it's PR and that's what it is for. Practice.

PR standings (I think)
Me in first with 11 points
Dave and Joe tied for second with 8
Andrew in third with 5
Pruit and whoever took fifth last night tied for fifth with 1

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Sleet fell from the sky, dogs attacked Rob, shit hit the fan.

That race was hard. Very, very, hard. It was raining before the race started and it never really stopped. Well unless you count when it turned to sleet and then snow. It definitely wasn't raining while it was snowing but those are some pretty fine hairs to split. Ten minutes into the race I couldn't really feel my fingers or toes and by the end my manual dexterity was pretty abysmal. I could barely pull the breaks, I couldn't squeeze my bottle, I didn't even try to open a cliff bar and eat, and shifting gears consisted of taking the frozen lump of ice on the end of my wrist and swinging it at my levers in a somewhat controlled manner. As a result upshifting when I meant to downshift and vice versa happened several times.

There was a break early on that got a couple of minutes or more on the field which was making me very nervous, especially in the middle when everyone seemed pretty content to just roll along at a fairly unaggressive clip. At one point I tried attacking and got a little gap on the field when one of the flaggers at an intersection was yelling at me. All that I heard was "blah blah blah left. Blah blah blah left." So I turned left. Turns out that was wrong. Probably for the best anyway as I didn't have much of a gap and they didn't seem to want to let me open it up. None the less I was pissed. I managed to make it over the first few hills in the top ten of the main group. As I write it staying up front over the hills sounds like a good idea--seems easy enough, but man did it suck. I nearly cracked going up every single one of those. That being said, I didn't crack and was even the one pushing the pace a couple of times. At least I was until Ian Mckissick, Andy Fischer, Sam Johnson, or Tom Peterson would cruise by and really put the hurt on.

Damn them.

When the last big climb rolled up I started up front but was getting the hurt put on and ended up on the wheel of someone who was dropping fast. I passed him and tried to keep pace with the leaders but as we crested the top and started into the nasty rollers along the top I was about 20 meters back and it took for frickin ever to get back on. I did make it back on and after a short breather felt pretty strong again. Over the rollers and into the descent there were a bunch of small attacks a couple of which I was in, but none stuck until with two or three miles to go Ian Mckissick attacked and floated around 100-200 meters off the front for a while. I thought about trying to bridge but would have just pulled everyone up with me. I was somewhat surprised that Broadmark (who had 3 of the 14 riders in the group) didn't set up a chase. Someone pointed out to me later that the Broadmark riders in the lead group weren't really local and may not have known that Ian can hold a gap like that and won't just die if you don't chase him hard. As we rolled through 500 meters to go I was sitting on Kenny's wheel in good position in the pack. Kenny realized he was in shitty position and slowed up/pulled off. Being the idiot that I am I said "dum-dee-dum, better start my sprint WAY TOO FRICKIN SOON!" So I did. Needless to say a got passed by a lot of people starting 50-100 meters from the line. Moron. One of these days I will learn that lesson, but in the meantime the competition is going to keep beating it into my skull until I get it.

So I totally biffed the sprint, but I'm happy I made the lead group (well, technically, the second group given that Ian won off the front).

Oh yea, as the first line indicates Rob Campbell got bit by a dog. I didn't see it but apparently this dog just ran up to him and bit him on the arm...WTF?!? I hope that he bit it back.

In other news, after the whole Brad Lewis cardiac arrest thing I went in and had a stress test. I wasn't worried about my heart or anything, but then again I've never had it checked out so I figured that I should. Long story short, the doc says I'm fine for racing but I do have high blood pressure (already knew that) and an Atrial Septal Aneurysm (ASA--didn't know that). This isn't like a brain aneurysm he quickly explained as my eyebrows flew for the ceiling. I couldn't help it, somebody tells you that you've got an aneurysm and it doesn't sound good, right?

Anyway I asked a few more questions about what causes it, what I can/should do about it etc. It's congenital (thanks mom and dad), and while it is a risk factor for embolic strokes, I am healthy enough in pretty much all other departments that the doc is totally not worried. If he isn't worried then I'm not worried. Doc said that even a daily aspirin would probably be too severe a treatment, he just suggested I try to work on lowering my blood pressure. As for the blood pressure, I'm working on it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

No humor this time.

Seattle, Washington - Today was a very sad day for the Seattle cycling community as Brad Lewis passed away while racing the Boat Street Criterium Category 1/2 race. Early reports indicate Brad suffered a cardiac arrest in the race causing him to pass out and crash.

Brad was well know in the cycling community, riding for the Recycled Cycles Racing Team.

BikeCafe will pass on more news as it becomes available. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brad's wife Emily and their families.

A memorial vigal will be held at Recycled Cycles Monday April 10 at 8pm

My first real encounter with Brad was after the Blackberry Crit at the end of last season. I had crashed and broken my frame when he approached me saying that he new the warranty guy at Cervelo and would do what he could to help me out. I didn't know Brad well but in every encounter I had with him he exemplified generosity, kindness, and class. We are worse off without him, and he will be dearly missed.

Friday, April 07, 2006

With regard to a good night's sleep, many claim that the night before the night before is more important than the night before. With that in mind I had the bright idea of going on the .83 Thursday night ride last night.

Last night by the numbers

Number of bridges/ overpasses I jumped off of ........2
Dollars earned for doing so .................................$22
Number of pallet boards burned in Fremont fire pit ...15-ish
Number of people who ran through the fire ...............3
Number of people who did it barefoot .....................1
Number of guesses you get to figure out who that was ..1
Number of times fire department showed up .............2
Number of times SPD showed up .........................1
Number of teeth lost by end of the night (not mine) ...1
Hours of sleep last night .............................<4

Idiocy, you have to love it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm a lazy bag of poo. I apologize. I said that I would have a race report up soon the Sunday before the Sunday before last. I guess that makes me a lying lazy bag of poo. I'm more of a big picture guy any way, I don't tend to muck around with the details too much. Unfortunately this leads to problems every now and again.

For example:

Big Picture Idea (BPI): Race my bike
Slight Detail Forgotten (SDF): Don't crash

BPI:Lose weight for impending climbing races
SDF:Six LARGE cookies today 'aint going to help

BPI:Going to the Dentist sucks
SDF:Brush your teeth moron, it'll suck less (eat less cookies too)

BPI:Having a car sure would make it easier to get to races
SDF:Maybe I should think about getting a drivers license first

BPI:My tummy hurts
SDF:Again with the six cookies...I'm retarded

BPI:Write fun race reports so my friends can follow how I'm doing
SDF:Actually write them

So in short, I should probably mention the in addition to being a lazy lying bag of poo, I'm an idiot as well.

Three Sundays ago was the Market Street road race. It was out in the podunks and my teammate Wes and I got pretty lost but managed to find it eventually. We showed up, raced and I got sixth.

Not much of a race report I will admit, but it's been long enough that I don't particularly remember or care to transcribe the details. It was my 5th road race of the season and my first one outside the top three. That was coming though, next I should look forward to my first finish outside the top ten followed by my first DNF.

I'm chalk full of optimism today, it might have something to do with the fact that today was my first day back at work after a week of training down in the sun near Palm Springs. Highlight of the trip had to be riding through Joshua Tree National Park. That was cool.

Seeing as how I didn't race the last two weekends I have been usurped as the undisputed champion of nothing (WSBA rankings). I'm back to racing this weekend though, and looking very forward to it. The training down in CA felt good, hopefully I'll be able to produce some results with the miles that I put in.

If you are in the Seattle area this Sunday I should (weather permitting) be racing at the Boat Street crit in the U-district. Come holler, boo, throw stuff at me, whatever. It's a fun course that is good for spectators.