Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hellyer Friday Night Fights (finally): June 25, 2006

Finally made it out for Friday night racing! It's definitely a notch above the regular weekday races and fun to race for a bigger crowd too. After three hours of driving over to pick Jasper up and then getting down to the track I was a little weary already and only had a few minutes of track time so there was essentially no warmup for me when I took the rail for the 20 lap scratch race. I tried to take a few big pulls and force myself into waking up but the body said, no way Johnny Ray. So off the back I went (for the first time this year!). I hit the rollers and got my body good to go for the 30 lap points race. I sat in and watched the first two sprints then went for the third one, scoring third. Recovery was good and I managed to do the same thing on the next to last lap. So four points scored probably wasn't enough to make omnium points but it was educational to sprint in a different style from what I usually do. Usually I go from WAAAY out - like a 400 meter sprint. Last night I kept them shorter, more like true 200 to 300 meters.

Next was the REAL fun. Jasper raced the kiddie kilo!
Thanks to Garrett Lau for the photo.

The horrible videos are from me (and Jasper in a wierd handoff at the end of the last one which comes off kind of funny to me since it accidentally catches us natural-like).

It got garbled by my crossing my wheel on the rollers but the first rule is "Have Fun." And we did it right!

Shortly after that last video it was clearly time to go so we packed up and didn't look back. I suck at the Miss and Out anyway!

It was a great time and I can't wait for the next opportunity to enjoy a Friday Night at the track. Probably won't be doing the huge traffic headache of going to the track via Livermore, however...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Easiest Race Report Ever: CCCX #6 Father's Day Classic(?)

With Kris' encouragement to go mountain bike race as a last minute-ish decision I headed down to the always lovely Monterey Peninsula last Sunday for some good clean fun in the dirt. Thanks to the inestimable Steve Anderson, I will let the pictures do the thousands of words they are so famous for...

First there was a start down 1/4 mile of pavement and I made a bored looking face... But actually I was contemplating whether I wanted to be the roadie dork who won the hole shot only to fall all over himself at the first sign of dirt. I opted to enter the dirt ninth wheel.

Next there was passing and riding hard and racing...

Followed by more riding hard and getting passed... Dude on the single speed was waaay too strong.

And yet more riding hard. Check them bar-ends! Probably the only pair in use that day... What can I say? I'm a dinosaur. And they work for me. I really don't fully understand why they've become so looked down upon.

Then my quads cramped up on the last lap and I almost lost a place but held it on at the finish - barely as evidenced by the below thousand words.

Then I washed in two cycles of technu, switched to baggy pants like everyone else and stood and grinned on the steps. W00t.

Pretty satisfied with 3rd of 34 overall and 3rd of 13 in the 35-44 year olds. Now I never allow myself a moment of pride without trying to crush myself in the same breath so I will mention here that I WAS SANDBAGGING IN THE NOVICE/BEGINNER category. But, hey, that's what it says on my license! Definitely want to do more mountain bike racing and upgrade.

And in case I was too subtle with the photo credit they were all by Steve Anderson (, whom I hope to crush on the track Friday night! hehe...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Night Racing at Hellyer, June 9, 2010

I don't know why I feel so compelled to write about every little race. It's almost like it didn't happen if I don't. Silly. But it's a healthy neurosis. I think?

Tonight was a first! Because of the real race coming this weekend there were no races for the big boys and girls tonight leaving room for us lower categories to race. As a result it was the first time racing against only Cat 4's. I also think this is the first time this year the field size was under 20 guys. Almost felt a little like last year. Unfortunately this is an off period for me so I really didn't enjoy some of the good legs I've had earlier in the year. Scratch, Tempo, Win-n-out and Points races were on tap tonight. I think I've only ever done one other Win-n-out before and this was the first tempo race for me.

Scratch (12? laps): I can't remember too much but there were one or two guys off the front? I lead out the pack on the bell lap but got swarmed for about 6th or 7th.

Tempo (15 laps): I rarely go to the rail as first rider but I did for this race. I stayed there and when we got the bell I drilled it all the way around to win the first sprint. But that was as far as that went. I simply couldn't recover from the effort. I couldn't breath and my stomach went into rebellion mode. After five or six laps I had that familiar sensation of the pack slipping away (what was left of it anyway). I rode with two other backmarkers and on the last lap gunned it and just held off getting lapped at the line. BUT instead of going around for one more lap and going across the finish I went off the track with everyone else and -just like that- lost my points. OOPS! Maybe Steve Woo gave them back to me out of kindness but it was he who pointed out my mistake. It's not like it matters but, hey, I threw up in my mouth to get those points.

Win-n-out (10 laps plus). Just sat in and tried to recover. And that's what happened. Didn't get myself into any of the sprints.

Points (40 laps - YES!): Long points races have become my absolute favorite events on the track. They start civilized but at some point everything goes to crap and you either survive and regroup with the other survivors or you find yourself up at the rail waiting for the pack to lap you. Though I only scored two points the entire race (points were every 10 laps) it was a real fun survival of the fittest knock down drag 'em out. Fun!

So no omnium placing but that's ok. I was really off my game for most of the night until the points race and even then couldn't quite put together a series of good sprints to get many points. Oh well. Still a great way to spend an evening. Except for the weather! It was getting downright chilly toward the end of the evening. Isn't it June for cripe's sake?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I guess the middle of the year is a good time to take a deep breath and think a little bit about the season so far - in alphabetical order...

Criteriums: Only did one and didn't take it remotely seriously. But crits just aren't in my field of view these days. Usually it's a long drive for a short race and really I just don't have the pushy riding style to do well in the typical negative racing cat 4 crit. I guess my aggro east-coast influences have worn off.

Cyclocross: There hasn't been any racing (duh) and my bike is kind of torn apart right now anyway so I haven't even done any of that riding.

mtb: FAIL! Haven't done a single mountain bike race or ride even! Geesh. Reality is that I'm scared of poison oak and the stupid month-long energy-draining reaction I always have to it. But I kind of feel like a mountain biker trapped in a roadie lifestyle.

Road Racing: I guess this was supposed to be the focus of my efforts but I've only done three races! Early Bird was good since I was still coming back from the broken wrists and managed to finish in the top third. Copperopolis was a mixed-blessing of a 2nd place finish but in a very small field of competitors. Mt. Hamilton was a HUGE disappointment and I am still not really over it. I really wish I was road racing more since my endurance and climbing are way above where they were last year but it's so dang hard to get away sometimes and not feel like a complete schmuck to the family.

Track: The track has been good this year but I'm wanting more. Hanging in has been easy this year. I haven't been dropped once and that is a small success all by itself since last year I was getting dropped. Not only am I not getting dropped, I was consistently scoring points on the Tuesday night races. But these are only results in weekday races and I haven't really tested myself much outside of that and even in the weekday races I need to be bagging top 5 finishes if I'm going to get up into the A races where I will be pack fodder but feel safer and probably have more fun.

blah blah blah. So I guess the short assessment is that there have been glimmers of improvement in races that do not reflect the big improvements I've noticed in training. Part of the problem with bike racing is that if you don't race very often, you're more likely to have an off day in a race (ahem, like mt. hamilton). I'm frustrated by this result-wise. The strange thing is that while I raced more last year, I felt like I was balancing family and race/training time better. This year it feels like I've been riding more and shooting giant holes in Saturdays and Sundays more than I was last year which is a bad Dad but then I'm not using that fitness for racing. That's not completely true since the track has been going easier this year. I guess I shouldn't do mid-season appraisals when I'm on day 9 of a post-race funk from the race that was supposed to be the day when everything clicked.

So what's in store for the second half of 2010?
-I'm going to try to squeeze in a mtb race on an open weekend in a couple of weeks.
-Return to Leesville Gap Road Race on July 3. That was definitely one of the more fun races from last year and I've got a bug up my butt about Mt. Hamilton that can only be exterminated with another long hard road race. I don't race well in the heat and this is a tough race so I don't have fantasies of a high finish but at least I'm not going to stay home.
-Track: Get at least one Friday night race in (something always seems to come up!). I'm going to try to at least attend District Masters Championship but work is getting heavy and I'm not sure I'll be able to race that weekend or train well leading up to it.
-August will be an off month. I'm not even looking at the schedule. Work will be heavy with some traveling anyway. Maybe I'll do a mtb race if I can find one that fits into the work schedule.
-September is up in the air. We have to get a family vacation in there sometime this year and after August work busy-ness we'll need one. Would be nice to fit a mtb race in. Running schedule will begin along with regular rides on the cyclocross bike.
-September to January. Cyclocross season! Do what I can! Definitely going to do as much of the Bay Area Super Prestige series as I can. IF LARPD series is on this year I'll do all of them I can. By late September, early October decide if I'll try to do nationals.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hellyer Wednesday Night, June 3, 2010

The track is like driving in jammed pack traffic except instead of poking along you're all putting the gas pedal to the floor and moving at 80 miles per hour and, by the way, you don't have brakes. Yet somehow it works. You'd expect all kinds of 30 mph carnage but it rarely happens. But that doesn't mean there aren't those "oh shit!" moments. Tonight had more of those than I'm comfortable with. On top of that the Wednesday night races cram four races in and the actual track time suffers.

Kieren: Blah. Fifth in my heat. Realization that the legs are NOT recovered from the race weekend. Congrats, welcome to the next 45 minutes of doing nothing but holding starters.

Scratch race: 12 laps. It was a wierd pace. Semi fast but balled up. With 4 laps to go I finally found my way up to the front. I was second wheel with 2.5 to go and actually feeling good. But the guy ahead faded HARD at the beginning of the last lap and with all the passing over the top I got boxed in. Boy that was frustrating but what was worse was hearing a big crash behind me on the last lap. Not cool. No one was hurt badly, just a bunch of road rash and some sore butts and shoulders tomorrow. Saw more than a few trashed wheels.

Miss-n-out: First guy pulled and it was intentional. I just wasn't comfortable with four or five of the guys in the pack especially with the nerves of the crash still fresh.

Points: 15 laps, sprint every 5. Lots of really sketchy riding again. My legs didn't have any oomph until 4 laps to go when they suddenly woke up. In a totally dejavu moment, I moved up into a sweet position for the sprint and the guy ahead (flippin' Fergus, the one time of the night he doesn't rise to the challenge of a sprint, I'm on him like glue, geesh!) faded and I got boxed in.

So, the usual fun of camaraderie and racing induced adreneline was all there but the length of the races on the Tuesday Nights is better. Too bad those are done for the year until September.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mt Hamilton Road Race, May 30, 2010

Jasper's perfectly capturing my post-race feelings about Sunday's Mt. Hamilton Road Race. Therefore I will skip the typical overburdened post full of boring details and sidebars all carefully constructed to leave any reader that actually happens to come here to to think I'm greater than I really am.

Instead just accept the following list of bullets (in modern day powerpointy kind of speak) to represent. The time breaks are very rough.

-Nice ride to San Jose with Carl's wife doing us (being teammates Carl, Glenn and I) a solid and doing the early morning driving.
-Collected numbers, kitted up, warmed up, lined up and rode out.
-o:oo to 0:50; Pack intact going up lower slopes of Mt. Hamilton. Some surprisingly squirrelly riding given the lowish climbing speeds but a pack of ~80 is gonna have that. But, Taleo, really you guys should teach some pack riding etiquette including not passing over the centerline... Anyway, my heart rate just would not come down. My legs felt great by my heart rate was just out of control over 188 for almost the entire first hour.
0:51 to 1:40; Pack breaks up. Survival climbing to the summit of Mt. Hamilton. I pass a few but get passed by more. About ten minutes from the top I burp and end up throwing up a little on my top tube (too much information?).
1:41 to 1:48; Screaming, bombing, adreneline spiked kick ass descent passing about ten guys from my field in the second half.
1:49 to 3:20; Basically one giant, long, depressing time trial where I pretty much catch no one but get caught and passed by many while drinking both of my original bottles plus two more I grabbed from neutral support and, that's it, no more available.

3:21 to 3:21:03; Ride past the mailboxes. Kris is juggling a camera and trying to understand why I'm desperately waving my water bottle up and down and yelling something like, "Wada bodda!? Don't you has a botta?!?!!??" while Jasper lays into a cowbell. Kris does not has a botta and I remain very thirsty but still managed a backwards wave and a "Thenks!" Cowbells in one's honor should never go unrewarded.

3:22:04 to 3:48: Ignore cramping legs, heat, aching body and nagging feeling that I'm being chased to finish off this crappy day. The finish line finally comes and someone in the officials tent calls out "nice job" which is very nice but I don't feel like it was such a nice job.

Result was 47th of ~80 which is pretty much a sub-par performance and I am moderately crushed. This was supposed to be MY race. This was supposed to be the race where I actually peaked, tapered, prepared and all of that good training garbage. But instead it ends up being a below average day at best. I'm always bummed when my body doesn't do what I want it to do but that's usually a result of not really being prepared. Here, I was prepared. I've been thinking about his race for a LOONG time. Just ask Kris. Ever since we moved up here I'd always dust off a bike and get my fat out of shape ass out on the road to see the race go by. Last year I didn't register in time and missed it. And now finally I get to do the race and I show up missing on two cylinders. I'm really trying to remind myself this shit is for fun and to not take it seriously but, dammit.