Monday, August 31, 2009

"What Happened To You???"

I imagine I'm going to be hearing that question alot for awhile so here's the short story (since typing is a pain in the wrists...)

Got up early Sunday morning with the intention of knocking out 40 miles before it got hot and to try to do some riding while the family was still sleeping. I felt good and it was a wonderful morning so I decided to tack on another ten miles that sent me a little ways up mount Hamilton. As I rode up to my turn around spot, the temperatures were starting to come up. I turned around and started struggling with the zipper on my Louis Garneau vest. Louis G. sucks ass and so do his zippers. While distracted by my fucking stupid stuck-ass piece of shit Louis Garneau zipper, I overcooked a corner. Before you can say, "That boy's going down," I was off in the gravel. This wasn't so bad but I could see a large cutout for a culvert dead ahead and knew I was toast. "No no no no No nO NO NO NO/" (I distinctly remember crying out to no good result) --- WHAM!!!

Deflect my torpedoed bike off my arm and back.
"I'm okay. I'm okay."

Stand up slowly.
Whoa. Maybe not okay. My left wrist was sore. Hmmm. So was the right one.

Front wheel tweeked but still rolling.

Both legs bleeding down into my socks from many places. Blood on hip coming through shorts. Both elbows bleeding. Yep, that was a good one.

I got back on the bike and, uh oh, the old boy isn't straight anymore. I must have bent the forks.

Over the next few miles the legs felt good. Back felt good. Head was clear. But both hands were not working right. It was difficult to hold the brakes and the only position tolerable was to rest the heals of my hands on the tops.

The 25 miles home were made much easier by a nice guy who caught up to me as I gingerly descended one of the hills and he rode with me and distracted me from my pain over most of the way home.

That said, let the record show that Roy is a tough SOB who rode 25 miles on two broken hand/wrists.

Later that day Urgent Care X-Ray showed a very well defined break in my left scaphoid and a "suspicious" crack in my right one. Now I am in two splints. The ortho doctor today has sent me on to a hand specialist tomorrow. Likely outcome right now is surgery on the left hand to get over this the quickest. Right hand? Don't know. Maybe just a cast. Maybe it's not broken but the Doctor today said it has all indications of a less severe break in the same damn bone.

More later, must put the young prince to bed with some reading time now. Typing this has been surprising easy with my thumbs immobilized by the splints/casts. Kind of hurts, though.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hellyer Wed. Night Omnium. August 26, 2009

Last Wed. night race of the year! I really wanted to make a mark but simply didn't have the legs all night. I only manged one point on the first points race. The miss and out was horrible. I knew there was a guy behind me but he basically dropped off and so they pulled me instead of him. D'OH! The last points race was FAST. Easily one of the two or three fastest races of the year. I was happy to have a brief moment off the front and then survive and not get dropped.

NOT TRACK: San Ardo Follow Up...
Met a guy who recognized me from San Ardo. I asked, "I didn't push you did I?" Luckily he was not someone I managed to piss off. In fact he gave the best complement you can give a bike racer telling me I was one of the ones he had his eye on and that I was dropping three or five guys on some of those hills but that they were able to claw back on every time. Too bad no one else was willing to help me keep that hot pace going. Oh well. So San Ardo was a 10th place. Truthfully, given my barely functioning legs at the finish I was surprised to learn I placed that well (keep in mind it was a very small field). NEXT YEAR!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Other stuff in my life...

I actually saw this video on another cycling blog but see what they're doing at 25 seconds to 40 seconds? Yeah, that's what I do to pay the bills only I attach alot of junk to it and fly it on airplanes. I wish I could make it track that fast, however!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

San Ardo Road "Race": August 22, 2009

Of the five road races over 50 miles this year this was the one that didn't kick my butt the most. But that's not saying much.

We rode out of San Ardo P-I-A-N-O. I kept waiting for someone -anyone- to go up and make things fast. After 30 minutes of excruciatingly slow 18 mph "racing" in two very neat lines with no one taking paces or doing anything at all I went to the front and eased the pace up to a wopping 20 mph. I looked back and found one guy on my wheel and the pack 200 meters behind. A few minutes later and there were three of us and the pack a little farther behind. I say "pack" but it was all of maybe 17 guys. We got a moderately well running three man paceline going but not really pushing hard. That only lasted about five minutes and it was gruppo intacto again. One of the three of us was a Taleo guy and he pretty much spent the rest of the race riding at the front with EVERYONE more than content to just sit on his wheel and stop pedalling anytime there was the slightest threat of putting their noses into the wind. This frustrated the HELL out of me and I wasted all my energy for 60 miles trying to do my share to hurt some of the barnacles or riding slowly off the front then hoping someone would come with me. But everytime it was the same damn thing. I'd see shadows or hear riders behind me, look over my shoulder and there was Taleo-Man pulling the pack back up to me. What a load of crap! I really don't understand that dynamic at all.

As we began the last 20 mile loop the pace went up and some fresh faces finally showed at the front. Of course this was about the time my legs decided they were tired. Staying in the pack and being the ONLY guy (other than Taleo, "no no let me chase that down for you"-man) to make pace on the little hills was still easy but the tell tale signs of legs-about-to-crap-out-on-you were there. Sure enough I got the first signs of quad-cramps with about ten miles to go. I tried to suck wheel and give them a break but they were simply not hearing it. I had a couple of near lockups but was able to keep my legs spinning.

Going into town we mixed in with another pack and the cat-5 shennanigans of death-gripping stiff scary-bike-handling guys riding up on top of each other began. We made the turn up to the finish and I just tried to keep my legs spinning as best as I could with no hope for sprinting.

And I was pissed. Pissed, dissappointed and wishing I hadn't ridden so stupidly.

In hindsight, I should have just sat in and waited three hours for the sprint. I'm perfectly happy to do that in a 45 minute crit but that's simply a waste of time to race a road race like that. Despite the shorter distance of the regular E5 race I really wish I had done that instead. I think the younger guys would have actually been racing instead of merely riding along and only raising the pace when someone managed to make a small gap. Typical California negative racing bullshit. Now I remember why it was so annoying way back when...

I guess I should stick to the track, mtb, cyclocross, criteriums, and road races that create real attrition.

I probably wouldn't be so bitter if I hadn't been targetting this race so much. I'd probably be less bitter if I'd done this race with more of a sprinter mentality than a fighter mentality.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

1997 San Ardo Road Race - Ancient History

The motel is booked, the plans for sending the boy off for the weekend are made, the training has sort of led me up to this weekend and I'm just watching the clock waiting for the San Ardo Road Race to begin...

There's certainly nothing special, epic or unique about the San Ardo road race but it's a race I put on my calendar back in January as a "must do." But why? Well, pull up a chair and be prepared for a boring ancient history lesson.

1997 - Roy
In January of 1997 I pushed the boulder off the ledge that began the rockslide that moved me (back) to California to be with Kris and that history is known (and if it isn't then it goes like married-eleven-years-with-kid-and-mortgage). When I finally located to Cali in April, I hit the ground running looking for as much racing as I could. The Madera Stage Race went well as a first California race but everything kind of went downhill from there. In Crits, no one would work in breakaways. The only crit strategy was to chase down ANYTHING that went off the front and then sit up and wait to sprint. Well that didn't work for a flyer specialist like me. Then in all the road races, it was the same lame chase-any-break mentality. The pace in the flats was pathetically slow while everyone waited to do their racing on the climbs. It was really lame for a diesel motor flat land rider like me and by the end of summer I was very discouraged with the California racing scene. Every race I was either pack fodder after getting chased down on breakaway attempts or was miserably far off the back after getting destroyed on a climb (hmm, sounds kind of familiar to how it still is...).

But then there was San Ardo. For some reason, I pretty clearly remember the drive to the race and what I ate and drank that morning. When the race started, I rode the pack for about ten miles and realized it was one of those lucky days when my legs were really good. So I did what I wasted most races of my youth doing, I attacked! Flying out of the pack I found myself on an easy climb with another fellow. We rode well together and enjoyed a very long flyer. We lasted something like 30 miles off the front together before we finally saw the pack catching up. We agreed to back off and when the pack caught us I remember feeling surprisingly fresh. Mostly, I think I was just happy to find myself on a road course that didn't have a miserable climb on it to kick my ass in.

On the last lap, I saw too many big legs again and took another flyer with ten miles to go. It was a good move but no one went with me and so it was totally suicidal. I was caught on the turn up to the finish and was able to stay in the pack and finish 28th (amazingly the results are still online!). 28th is not exactly a great result but it was not DFL, like many of my races that year so it stuck in my memory. Mainly the wasted tactic and the idea that if I had been more patient and dug in on the field sprint stayed with me all these years.

By the time the race rolled around in 1998 I was shoulders deep in helping organize our wedding and couldn't even think about racing. As it turned out, Madera SR 1998 was the last race I did until late last year and I never got a chance to do San Ardo "right."

So that's it. It's simply one of the races that I remember being able to not only survive but thrive. Maybe it won't be the same at 40 as it was at 28 but I can't wait to find out. Been waiting 12 years, in fact.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hellyer Tuesday Night Points Racing August 18, 2009

Wow. Three weeks since a visit to the track. Boo! Actually. Take that boo back. It was a nice break with the family medium-sized San Diego vacation thrown in there which was muy relajado.

Format tonight was 40 laps, sprints every ten. Times two!

Race one: Initial goal was to see if I had any legs or head or lungs or heart left in me after a MISERABLE heat bonk last Sunday that left me creeping the final 10 miles to home up two climbs that took an hour! The warmup let me know I had recovered okay. The initial pace was pretty easy with one spurt that strung out the pack briefly. About five laps in the bottom of the track was wide open and I thought, "why not" and did one of those seated attacks that don't look like an attack. One guy went with me and within a lap we had a nice gap. One lap later and four dudes joined us. "Sweet!" thinks me. I finally get to see what a paceline breakaway is like. I didn't have enough gas for the first sprint so I just held on and did my part to reorganize. A few laps later and we were looking at the tail end of the pack going into turn one when we were coming off turn four! There followed a semi-heated discussion between three of us whether or not to lap the field. I was outvoted and the the rest just kept sucking wheel so we didn't lap the field (BOO!!!!!). The logic escaped me but I guess they wanted to stay off the front and get points despite the 20 point bonus of lapping the field available. Huh? I'm new to this track stuff so maybe I missed something there. Someone please 'splain me it.

So after the next sprint I got gapped and chased for three laps then realized I wasn't going to make it. I waited for the pack then held on in there for awhile and sucked wheel with little motivation for the rest of the race feeling a little dejected.

Race two: Not much happened. Tried to race a solid aggressive one but couldn't get any points.

Lots of fun on and off the track. We had three of us VSRTeammates tonight so that was nice to reprezent. With all the lone wolf racing this year though, I had to remind myself to block instead of chase at one point but I did it right and helped Ted get a gap on a flyer. We didn't have any planned tactics, however. Maybe next year!

The legs feel pretty good for San Ardo, a big objective for the year (why?).

Thursday, August 6, 2009


In the last week I've done two of my favorite types of ride that are half road and half off-road on my "new" (new to me) cyclocross bike and I've got the poison oak on my right butt cheek and the road rash on my left butt cheek to show for it.

Cyclocross begins in only one month. I'm so excited that I just can't hide it and I think I'm about to lose control and I just might like it (or something like that). I probably won't be winning any medals but you can bet I'll have a big ol' smile on my face when I hear them cowbells.

I wonder if this could finally be the year I exorcize the damn stutter in my remount step??? Probably not. There's just too much damn momentum (and self preservation for my crotch) behind that old old bad habit.