Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hellyer Tuesday again! May 11, 2010

After a hard week of riding last week that culminated in a 50 mile climb-fest on Friday afternoon, I took the entire weekend off and did stuff around the house and such instead. So I hit the track last night thinking I'd either have sleepy legs or rested legs. Luckily they seemed to be more on the side of rested.

As usual, I used the 25 lap scratch race as a high intensity warmup and worked on pack position and conserving energy. With two to go I was in a really good position but got swarmed a little then lost my nerve, got my nerve back but then couldn't move back up and rolled in around 10th. Hesitiation kills! I know it but I constantly have it get reminded to me.

This year I am really loving the long points races. Last night was 50 laps, sprints every 5. I sat in for the first nine laps conserving conserving conserving. So when the bell went for the second sprint I gunned it and flat out won that sprint. Woohoo! 5 points. Then three guys went off the front with one in no man's land. I sat in for the next sprint and went for the next one (w/ guys still off front). I think this is where I screwed up. There was a break of three off the front and a resulting chase of two guys between. I got confused that the two ahead were the original break so while I spent the next three laps sniping points I was just being an idiot since all the points were up the road. D'OH! Oh well. Somewhere in there I'm pretty sure I scored more points than the original 5 but I don't know. Must put brain and eyes on next time!

I'm noticing some real improvement! Last year was all about surviving and sniping the occasional point toward the end of the summer. This year hanging in is NO problem and now I'm actually mixing it up in multiple sprints and have scored regularly (though I'm always coming in out of the upgrade points -grr). Maybe a track upgrade is in my future afterall??? I sure hope so. I'd really like to get up into the A races where they ride alot smoother and there isn't weird pack behavior.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How to Lose a Race you Should Win by and EXPERT in the field

Birth of a suicide attack: Wente Criterium, 2010 ->>>>
Photo by BMX and LARPD cyclocross promoter extraordinaire Shane Huntoon.

On Wednesday we had the second annual bike race at work. Last year I sort of messed it up and missed the win by hesitating. This year I'm definitely faster, fitter and more confident.

Now pull up a chair for some old timey Uncle Roy past glamorization... Back in the day, I was a young buck full of piss and vinegar, with loads of free time and more strength in my legs than I knew what to do with. I loved to race my bike and did so as much as possible, logging up to 70 races a year in my peak. But I was dumb as a donkey when it came to tactics. In my head I was Jacky Durand, Massimo Ghirroto all rolled into one attacking, off the front, fighting machine. Dumb dumb dumb. My specialty was attacking, getting caught and then counterattacking my own capture! As a result I would spend most of a race off the front by myself or with one or two companions in suicide fliers that would always get caught.

My second specialty was doing that Ekimov move where you try to attack with 2 km to go and hold it to the line only to be swamped with 200m to go. The drama was high in these maneuvers but the results were nonexistent. Guys who had been around awhile were constantly coming up to me in large training rides, parties or after races and saying things like, "man you were STRONG in XXXsuchandsuchraceXXX, I thought sure you were going to stay away." The intimation was that I was a rider on the up and was headed for bigger things. But I never got smart. I continued to race dumb. Then I stopped racing and I always wondered what could have been if I'd only been smarter.

When I started pinning numbers on last year I promised myself I would race smarter. Nowadays, I make up for that lack of pure horsepower by sitting in, waiting and being smarter. With the exception of the Wente Crit -where I purposefully blew my wad off the front in three separate suicide attacks- I've done a good job of it. Until Wednesday...

I had every expectation of winning the race on Wednesday. I mean, I had already savored visions of obtaining and actual trophy and where I was going to put it and everything. Jasper would think it was so cool that Dad actually won a race and had a trophy and everything. I blew off the little voice in my head saying, "don't count them chickens..." like a sister ignoring the pleas of a younger brother to come play catch in the backyard. This race was MINE.

So about the time I found myself THRICE counterattacking myself into the wind the doubt started to creep in. "Hey stupid, we don't race like this anymore, right? Do you really think you have that much energy to waste? You raced your balls off last night with legs that were already pretty tired... Are you sure you shouldn't just be sitting in and waiting for the finish? You're only dropping half the pack, not all of it..." But there I was, 95% heart rate, a tiny two second gap and caught again and again. Then with the last 2 km into a very stiff headwind I was fading and fading hard. The splintered pack was divided, the top folks were sprinting for the line and I was solo in no man's land watching the three trophy spots sprint for it. Fourth place was my reward for stupidity. No trophy, no win, no nothing. Just a big headache for the rest of the day and one very pissed off me, at me. Ah, what a familiar sensation...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hellyer Tuesday Night Racing, May 4, 2010

During warmup my legs were D-E-A-D from Sunday's 4 hour time trial up and over mountains and wind.

During the 25 lap scratch race, hanging in was pretty easy but I could tell I had NO pop whatsoever. Whenever the pack bunched up I tried to get to the front and string things out. A fast race is a safe race and all that. Had no position or ambition for the sprint so rolled in and got taken up track again by someone pulling the plug and not staying on their course. Let the guy know it was bad riding and he took it well. Hopefully I did it in a, "by the way, be safe" kind of way rather than a "BLAH RAH BLAH GRUMBLE POO!" kind of way. (hey, it's late, that's what comes out of my brain through my fingertips).

The points race was off the hook! Right from the go, there was a big split in the pack. Luckily, my legs finally came around and woke up around this time. Unfortunately I got stuck all by myself in no man's land. I almost bridged up to the break and they were oh so close but when I got to within about 20 meters, they gunned it. After about seven more laps of losing ground I eased off and went back into the remains of the pack behind. The break must have been faster and furiouser from then on since guys were getting peeled off and coming back to the pack. Eventually they lapped the field and it was pretty chaotic (in a good way!) with guys up a lap, lots of people down multiple laps and then a few of us one lap down from the break. Somewhere in there I scored points once or twice (or thrice?) but mostly it was really hard fast riding strung out more than bunched up. It was probably the most fun I've had in a points race chasing stuff, sprinting, getting caught out alone, and generally just survival of the fittest badassery. Great stuff!