Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Slow month for racing. I ditched out on Enumclaw (hence the no update), and the only racing I've done in the past couple of weeks has been last night (Tuesday) down at PR, and the monthly drunken midnight race around Greenlake.

The monthly drunken midnight race lived up to its name in all ways. I started the evening with critical mass followed by several hours of struggling heroically to remember my highschool French. My Uncle's girlfriend (French) had her family in town and they speak very little English, so between mouthfulls of fondue and wine I was doing my best to communicate. Either I didn't do too badly or I was a lot more drunk than I thought. Either way, after that I rolled over to my friends Riain and Heather's, house had a beer with them. It ended up being a very French evening as Heather had her friend from France visiting. At ten till midnight I hopped on the fixie and met up for the race. I wasn't intending on winning, but I saw that the prize for first was a bottle of Makers Mark. Can't say no to that.

Didn't do so hot in the track stand or ghost racing (running your bike to the start line and giving it a mighty shove to see whose bike rolls the farthest before crashing)competitions. Lee trashed me in the track stand, and I was second to last in the ghost race, but I still get to keep the trophy for the month and have a nice bottle of bourbon sitting at home. The next day Henry said "my girlfriend told me I was there last night but I've got no recollection." 'Bout sums it up...

Last night was point a lap down at Pacific Raceways. I had never done that one before, it's fun. We had some fast guys down there. Richter was there (congrats go out to him for landing a new contract after the Monex debacle--wishing him luck in Europe over the next couple of months), Hone had a couple of teammates this week in Tubbs and Pleasure Jackson, and there were a bunch of other fast dudes as well. I rounded up six points by taking three laps fairly early but then only managed one more second place for a total of seven. On the last lap Richter and a couple of guys attacked and I chased them down thinking that Dave had more points than he did. He had been up front for a lot of the laps, but I didn't realize that he was giving the sprints away. Any-who, I spent it reeling them back in and Mike...well I forget his last name, but Mike somebody (used to race for BRI, number 85 at PR) took the final sprint and three more points bringing his total from six to nine. Seven was good enough for second for the evening.

All in all a fun night. Unfortunately at the bottom of the track before the finishing stretch Ian Tubbs ended up doing some off roading... through the turn... on the sand... fast. Not a good combination. I heard him sliding out behind me and he managed to just about save it but his front wheel ran into someone's rear wheel as he came back onto the pavement. It looks like he got a nice big patch of road rash, but was otherwise OK. I hope that doesn't put a sour taste in his mout for PR (just remember to take that turn a touch wider next time).

I'm feeling recharged though maybe a touch over-rested (fat), but I'll get some hard workouts in over the next week and a half, maybe do an alleycat or two, then I'm looking forward to Ballard. My race starts at 7:30 PM on the 10th and it's a great one to watch. Do a good weather dance then come out and watch.

Friday, May 19, 2006

All right JERKS I'm updating my blog. You would think that I would get a little bit of slack given the whipping I just received and the ginormous pile of work that I still have sitting on my desk...err inbox. Stupid email.

So first a Gila wrap up. The TT had come pretty big hills and I did pretty crappy. I was hanging tough on the way out on the uphills but was just getting whored on the downhills. The gearing wasn't nearly enough and I'm not a real big fan of trying to TT on my road bike. Ian McKisick is really on form though, he got 10th overall in a pretty darn strong field. I got a lot slower than that.

Stage two I got popped pretty early on the final climb then I was in an echelon with a couple other guys when the dude in front of me slams on his breaks and violently swerves a foot and a half to his left (a gross overreaction to a gust of wind that nudged the dude in front of him slightly to the left) sticking his skewer into my front wheel and ripping the spokes out of the rim. I finished up the race on a new rim and rolled home.

Stage three didn't have any really big climbs, but enough good sized ones to put the hurt on. Especially when Toyota United got on the front and put everyone in the gutter. That sucked. I managed to get over everything with the main group and was up near the front as it turned onto the main highway (roughly three miles to go). From this point on strong cross winds, lots of attacks tough to hang in and move up. Owen Gue did a really good job of staying up front but I let myself fall back. With a mile to go a the whole field was single file and guttered. We were on the shoulder of the highway which was covered in debris and the Target Training guy in front of me hit a rather large chunk of wood, flatted, and went straight into the guard rail. He and his bike hit the rail hard then flew over it and hit the ground badly. I finished with the pack 7 seconds down on the leaders. Target Training broke his femur. Shitty. Gue finished top ten and Sam DNF'd after spending most of the day off the front solo. Brave effort for sure, but it killed him.

Stage four was the crit. The three remaining climber types (Owen, Andy, and Evan) were planning to let the crit roll pretty easy and sit in on the pack while J-mo and I knew that we didn't stand much of a chance going up the Gila monster on day five. I was in some attacks early that went nowhere, as was Owen. J-mo put in a couple, but none of us were in groups that stayed out long and no primes to show for it. With six laps to go I started working my way towards the front and made it up to the top 10 or 15 with about four laps to go but I stuck myself on the inside of turn three while I was trying to reintegrate into the pack. I wasn't getting let in then felt myself getting elbowed into the curb. I had to slam on the brakes just in time to see Wherry go around and another 80% of the field behind him. If you're going to get served may as well be by a national champion. After losing position I just finished in the back of the pack. Owen snagged another top ten which was good work on his part.

Stage five sent you up and over the "Gila Monster" (after 50 something miles), out to a turn around, and then back up and over but with another 30 or so miles to the finish. I was climbing with the pack until 2 miles from the summit when I cracked. Shortly thereafter our team car rolled by and my teammate J-mo (who had pulled off at the first feed zone) yelled "See you in the next feed zone?" I said yes, rolled there nice and easy, and abandoned.

In short I had a lot of fun learned a lot and got my ass thoroughly kicked. I am guessing that a climbing race at altitude in the desert isn't the best NRC event for a fat kid (comparatively) from sea level in the Northwest. Word.

Last weekend I went to the Washington state omnium out in Wenatchee. Did terribly in the TT and couldn't figure out why until I was taking off my rear wheel. My brake had been rubbing the entire time and I felt like a total choad. Ian McKissick won with a new course record and a very impressive time.

Going into the crit I was just angry. I knew that my GC hopes were down the tubes so I just wanted to try and be aggressive in the crit grab a few primes and come away with something. While Jason, Wes and I were warming up on our trainers right next to turn one this portly late thirties to early 40's woman walks up to me and in a voice that is half southern drawl, and half white trash says

"Mah friends dared me tuh pinch yer butt."

and with that she pinched it once then took her big ol' meat hook and full on grabbed it a second time and shuffle/ran/waddled away giggling. I was laughing hysterically, Jason was thanking the lord that it hadn't happened to him and Wes was wondering aloud why his butt hadn't been molested.

The race started and immediately Wes and someone else were off the front. They got a bit of a gap and Ian Tubbs went up to chase them down. I sat on his wheel then when we started to get close Dave rang the bell for a prime. I jumped from Ian's wheel at turn 4 and was able to take the prime and keep rolling it into an attack. I spent a few laps off by myself but the two Ian's (Tubbs and McKissick) bridged up to me. We built up a good gap, quickly but I was more interested in Primes than making the break work. I took my pulls when it was my turn but finishing position didn't really mean much to me so I wasn't selling it to try and make the break work. Long story short I got two or three more primes while the three of us were off the front before we were chased down by the pack (and when I say the pack I mean Kenny Williams for the most part). After we were caught I picked up a few more primes bringing my total to six of the first six primes. Not a bad percentage. After that there was no more glory for me. I hung in there and was reasonably aggressive for the rest of the race but didn't create an opportunity to contest the rest of the primes or a good finishing position. I took eighth and was happy walking away with $150 and some random merchandise (some recovery gunk, a hat, a cycling computer, a shirt, and an I.O.U. for a couple of tires).

In the road race...I didn't do so well. I've been typing for quite a while now and don't particularly want to go into it, but sufficed to say that with ~10 miles to go once I had gone over the big climb twice and was once again on the flats I cramped up so badly that I had to stop and get off the bike.

Not once,

not twice

but three times. I had enough liquid but I think I just lost too many salts and my body was not a happy camper. I promised Mick Walsh that he would make my blog for hauling my butt most of the way up the climb the second time (until I got dropped at the top), but I 'm too lazy to give a full account.

This coming weekend I'm doing Enum-scratch, but I'm not too optimistic. Not feeling the least bit fresh these days, but we shall see how it goes. I shall let you know (hopefully in a more timely manner).

Monday, May 01, 2006

As I write this I am sitting in a coffee shop sans internet connection so it won’t actually be posted until this is all old news. None the less, typing I am and typing I shall continue to do. The prologue is about an hour and forty five minutes from beginning. It’s 2.8 miles total starting in downtown Bisbee. When I say downtown you need to take that with a grain of salt. Apparently Bisbee was a mining town but the mine shut down in the 60’s. It’s up in the mountains a solid 5,000+ feet above sea level nestled in between some peaks. Apparently when the mine shut down people left en mass. Some hippies stumbled upon the town and bought up all the property dirt cheap. It’s a very cute little town.

But back to the cycling. From downtown we ascend through the town for a little under two miles. It isn’t terribly steep, but it’s definitely up. With about a mile to go the route leaves town and becomes decidedly steeper until it ends at the summit. Right now, and likely when we start, there is quite the nasty headwind the entire way up. Should make it interesting. I’m not sure how I’ll fare but my strategy is go hard for the first two thirds then go a lot harder for the last bit. Get to the top and fall over gasping.

So far we’ve had one adventure. On the way to the grocery store this morning we were pulling into the parking lot when suddenly there was a TT bike hanging off the side of the car. Due to space constraints I didn’t bring my TT bike so I was fairly confident that it wasn’t mine. From the back seat I hear Justin Morgan say “I guess I should have zip tied that.” No real harm done, but it was extra funny given that J-mo and Andrew Fischer had just been reassuring Andrew McDirmid that Broadmark cycling was held together by Zip ties and they had never lost a bike.

**Three hour time lapse**

Well we’re done with the prologue and at our host housing. Jeffrey (our team manager) and his girlfriend Laurie are cooking up what smells like a fantastic dinner which is very good news. It means that I can look forward to a good meal and try to forget about the prologue because the prologue sucked. I have no idea what the times are I just know mine wasn’t very good. I’ll find out how I did relative to the rest tomorrow. Yuck.

The host housing that we’re staying in is this great adobe style house just outside Bisbee. I haven’t met our host or her Great Dane yet, but apparently he has a habit of peeing on peoples beds and belongings. So far I’m very happy here, I’m just hoping to avoid waking up to a Great Dane Golden shower.

**Two day time lapse**

Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that I got my suck out of the way, the bad news is that I sucked. Prologue, as mentioned above, was relatively booty. Stage one wasn’t bad for the majority of the race. Andrew Fischer, Justin Morgan, and I were doing a good job of making every break. At the first sprint I led out my teammate to and we took second and third (time bonuses). Andrew made a break that we all did a good job of marking the chase groups. Then at the end I positioned myself stupidly behind a group of people that got gapped and I couldn’t close.

While I was warming up for the TT I flatted twice. I gave up on my disc and begged a training wheel off of one of the Velo Bela girls. My TT was unimpressive to say the least. Justin Morgan on the other hand put out a blazing time that was good enough for 3rd.

In the final stage we had a long descent then at the bottom a break went off. I moved up to try and bridge, but halfway there my front derailleur cable slipped and I was stuck in my small chain ring. Stuck in my small chain ring with ~80 miles to go. Just before the final climb I totally cracked. I had spent so much time and energy spinning my legs off trying to stay with the pack on the flats and downhill stretches that I was completely done. I DNF’d.

So that was at the same time the biggest race I have been to and the worst I have performed. I expect that there will be more competition at bigger races and I might not do as well, but I know I definitively underperformed. Some of it was bad luck, but some of it was just stupidity on my part. I am going to take that, learn from it, and do better at Gila.

The plan from here on out is three fold

Step one: Pull head out of ass
Step two: Get bike fixed
Step three: Do well at Gila

Steps one and two have theoretically been completed, but will have to wait until step three for confirmation on that. I’ll update when I can.