Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cytomax Benicia Criterium, 6/27/2009

By Dennis Pedersen

This season hasn't given me any impressive results, which gets a bit old when I'm training so hard. I have missed several races that I had wanted to target, and I was really hoping that this race would be different. The Benicia Criterium's new 8-turn downtown course, with a small hill thrown in, sounded ideal for a small sprinter like me, so I signed up in the 35+ 3/4 race with Russ.

First I want to thank Russ for driving Nils (racing in the Elite 3 race) and I there. And a special thanks to Nils for introducing me to Linda's Seabreeze Cafe, on Seabright Avenue... Geoff has also recommended it, but I had never been there before because the long wait always sent me packing. Well, I had an awesome waffle special, piled with fresh seasonal strawberries, kiwis and banana. Oh my was it perfect!

The weather forecast promised temps over 100 degrees in places, but I thought Benicia might be cooler since it was on the bay, along the delta's mouth where winds usually blow in from the Golden Gate. That proved true, and I don't think we got more than about 90 in Benicia. Speaking of downtown Benicia: I had visualized a blasted, industrial place with smelly air. Was I wrong! Benicia's downtown really is historic, and very pretty, with views over the bay, lots of old houses, parks, shade trees and neat sidewalk cafes.

Russ and Nils warmed up on their trainers while I stood around and relaxed. My warmup was a half lap of the course when it opened up for our race! I ascertained that I wouldn't need to use any gears lower than about 53x23, so that was nice. But I also became aware that the course is 6/10ths of a mile uphill, and 6/10ths of a mile downhill. That really meant "ride like hell for 2 minutes, then try to recover in 1 minute, and repeat until you explode." That isn't ideal for me, so I was a bit bummed. Larry told me later that the previous course was flatter. Oh well.

Our race started with a surprise neutral lap behind the motorcycle referee; I was again bummed because I was positioned nicely near the front and then had to fight people on a supposedly neutral lap just so I could stay there. But in the end I was still positioned well and managed to stay near enough to the front, where Russ was, that I could keep an eye on any breaks and also avoid the yo-yo effect from all of the 8 turns and the climbs.

Russ acted on his pre-race plan by hitting the course all-out for the first few laps. Whew, it was fast! Others had the same idea and several times one or two guys went off the front. All of these breaks were caught though.

Our race was pretty clean, which seems to be what happens on technical courses like this one, and we had no crashes that I recall. It was tiring having to constantly hit the climbs hard and then also fight the wind in some areas, but I found that I could easily move forward as needed by using my momentum on the downhills; it's tricky because you don't want to squeeze in against the curb, but I was careful to only use this move when the pack was a bit strung out.

With 3 laps to go I made sure to be near the front, and even ended up being the point-man in a chase after a solo rider... but I could tell he was blown up and I just soft-pedalled until some guys jumped past me, grinning as if I was being dropped. Not! I was in a good position and stayed in there, but soon my lungs gave out and I spent the last 2 laps just wheezing asthmatically until the final sprint which put me in 13th place, and Russ in 16th. It was a hard race for us but I felt good about how I'd done, though Russ was really disappointed to finish that far back. I tried to remind him that his goal had just been to blow the pack apart at the start, which he succeeded in, but he still hoped for more.

Afterward we had a really good lunch at "Issy's," a Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating right next to the course! We had beers and stuffed ourselves while we watched Nils suffer in the Elite 3 race! Larry had just finished his 55+ race and joined us with Priscilla. This is what racing is all about!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Masters Nationals update Mon, June 29

Masters Nationals Update 55-59 Road Race
By Jim Langley

Note that I'm sorry not to be able to organize the photos better here. They load at the top of the page, so I have added short captions here written according to the photo so they make sense, I hope. The race report is just below. Later I will create a more user-friendly slide show and link you to it, but probably when I get back home.

Photo captions
-this morning: Mark ready to do some damage at the hotel's great breakfast buffet (how many bananas can Jim stuff in his pockets for later?)
-the podium shot from Jim's race: Wayne Stetina 1st, Dave LeDuc 2, not there, Tom Doughty 3rd, Kent Bostick 4th, didn't find the 5th rider's name
-Jim's killer helmet hair after the race - wonderful entertainment for the other hotel guests
-the front of Jim's race, second lap we think - I'm sitting in nicely, barely visible a few riders back
-no, not the line for the portapotties - it's the line for registration last night at our hotel
-the 50-54 pack to show the Nationals' lovely park setting.
-walking around yesterday afternoon, just down the street from our hotel: it's the Louisville Slugger factory/store with this 68,000-pound skyscraper Slugger out front. Reminds me of Kevin Bostick's legs.
-last night after registration: this is the jig you have to check your TT bike against. We had to move Mark's bars back an inch or so, that's all. Thank you Nate at Bike Trip for getting the seat spot on!
-yesterday afternoon back at the hotel we found that The Galt House has a killer workout room, only $5 a day, and a spectacular pool - but everyone knows swimming is bad for cyclists

Here's my race report of the Nationals 55-59 race... it happened today at noon. Weather was much nicer, about 75 degrees and breezy. We did 8 5-mile laps. There were 41 in the field. Super organized start. Lots of officials. Everything goes off like clockwork here. You wear 2 numbers, one on the right, one on the left. A third number goes on your seatpost/seat like a little flag beneath your butt. On to the race action...

Well, while it was awesome to finally be in a race with bona fida former pro riders, it pretty much went the way it was supposed to. For 3 laps I was at the front of the pack, top 8 or so (I am in the photos but tucked in so tight I'm hard to pick out).

On the first lap a guy in all white went off the front and we let him go. On the second, we caught him and the fun began. Kent Bostick punched it on one of the little Kentucky rollers on the course and went off the front.

We matched him and brought him back. Then, from behind, teammate Tom Doughty went. Bostick drifted back and blocked, moving perfectly to force us to swing wide to get around him. We got around him and brought Tom back. Then, from the back, Wayne Stetina went (FYI Stetina, Bostick and Doughty ride for Amgen/Giant Masters on Di2-equpped electronic drivetrain Giant bicycles).

I tried to ride smart. In those early laps I never chased down any of the attacks. I was always on the wheel of the 2 or 3 guys that worked to bring them back. Behind, there was a group of about 10 that didn't do any work and just let our little group counter all the attacks.

It was painful and exciting watching the Amgen/Giant Masters work us over and being so close to such classy riders. The attacks were impressive. Great speed and power. Bostick breathes so heavy he sounds like he's in trouble. But, he's constantly smiling as if it's no worry at all. Doughty and Stetina are way smooth, quiet, strong.

Wayne hides beautifully. You never knew when he would go because he was hard to find in the pack, floating forward and backward with ease. When he went there was no matching it. And, it wasn't predictable, not on the main climb on the course where you'd think he would go but on a headwind section which seemed "safe" but clearly wasn't. Or on a little bump that seemed easy until you saw how much speed a top rider can lay down.

Another thing that gets in your head when you face riders of this caliber is that they aren't afraid to show their stuff. They don't sit in and wait. They're confident. They trust their fitness and they take care of business. Even though there were 3 of them working together to break the pack's will, each one was happy to bury himself on his attack. And also attack as many times as needed. You have to respect that kind of commitment and fitness.

Maybe I should have gone into the race resigned to letting them go and just raced for top 15, but I wanted to stay close and watch these hot shots ride up close and it was something to see. Even following wheels to close the gaps they kept creating with their impressive attacks, I blew up after 3 and a half laps and had to drop off the pace or completely die. Then the group of 10 or so behind that hadn't done any work and were clearly racing for top 10 - happy to let the pros do their thing - came by. And, while it's a mistake I've made before, so I knew it was going to happen - those guys were too strong and dropped me too.

I ended up riding in the 3rd group on the road and was able to compete in that group, attacking on the final climb and taking one guy with me. He sat on me to the sprint and beat me to the line. I ending up finishing 18th.

I'm kind of neutral about the result. I knew going in that I wasn't going to be able to podium. The names are just too big. I'm a good cyclist not a great one. I could have raced smarter and tried to eek out a top 15 maybe, with a different attitude of not trying to race with the big boys. But, it was fun being out there on the Natz stage and I was clearly fitter and a better racer than about half the group, so that's something to build on.

Interesting tidbit: I heard after the race that our race had set the new fastest lap times on the course. The young masters (30-plus) go tomorrow, and more importantly, Mark's group, so we'll have to see if that holds up, but it's good to know that I was up against some real fastmen.

Interesting factoid: Cherokee Park where the race was held was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted around 1894 and it is magnificent, with fabulous fountains, statues, walkways and lush lawns, trees and flowers. It was an exceptional location for the nationals. The course has plenty of challenging corners, just enough climbing, a gradual uphill finish - only a rider who can do it all will win as Wayne Stetina demonstrated. Mark watched Wayne come up the finishing climb like he was still a young pro and blow second-place, David LeDuc (who has a World Championship jersey) away.

I'm still buzzing from the excitement of being out there. I'm sure I'll be bummed tomorrow, but I have to be realistic too.

Thanks for all the team support and for making it possible for me to take this trip. It's been an incredible experience for us. I'll report back tomorrow - or maybe Mark will want to bang out the report since he's going to step onto the big stage at 2pm.

Sidenote: We had a dinner invitation to a nice restaurant from great Aptos racer Jim Fox, but we decided to eat an early dinner in the hotel so Mark could get to bed early. I'm sitting on my bed typing this to you guys and Mark is doing everything right, sleeping soundly so he's 110 percent tomorrow. Keep in mind he doesn't race until 2.

We're trying to figure out the best eating strategy for him with such a late race start. We'll probably do the breakfast buffet and then a small lunch around 11 before heading to the racecourse for his warmup. I'll be in the feed zone for a few laps and then float around the course to try to get some shots. And, I definitely will be at the podium too. I think Mark has a real shot tomorrow - even more so now that I know the course so well. It seems to me to be custom built for a smart, strong racer like Mark. Think positive!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Pescadero RR mini-report (Elite 3)

I'm too large* to contest a finish at the top of a 3k 8% grade, but I sure as hell can make a good expression during an attack:

Photo courtesy of Michael Robertson at velodramatic.com

This is what you do when you need to be among only 5 racers to be in the top 5. Of course, it didn't work and our two-man break got caught 10 miles later... but man it was fun!

* And I'm not Steve Reaney, who definitively annihilated the p/1/2 race.

2009 Cytomax Benicia Crit + ITT race report (Elite 3)

By Nils Tikkanen

Russ, Dennis, and me+lauren had a delicious pre-race breakfast at Linda's. Dennis had never gone, but after that giant corn waffle topped with piles of yogurt and granola, I think he's hooked. Seriously, sometimes I swear I do this sport so I can ingest the caloric needs of a horse without the typically subsequent gut.

When we left Santa Cruz at 8am, the fog was gone and it was already warming up: Not a good sign when your race is way inland and starts at 1pm.

The course is 1.2 miles with 8 turns, in a figure-8 layout. 0.6 miles of the course is a gentle (but sapping) uphill; the downhill section is also pretty smooth but has some great, fast corners in it. Nothing too technical if you know what you're doing.

Russ and Dennis race at 11am (Aside: Russ managed to somehow flat his tire while warming up.) They both race, finish in the top 20, and wait for me to race. And I'm sitting on my trainer, sweating (what seems like) every ounce of water and every gram of sodium out of my body. For some bizarre reason, Russ and Dennis decide against doing the E3 race with me and to instead eat fish tacos and drink some Negro Modelos at the local taquería on the race course. Pretty irrational if you ask me: I'd prefer racing in 90something degree weather any day. ;)

So the race. We start with a neutral lap, and I'm toward the front. Our moto ref keeps a pretty good clip to discourage the field from bunching up at the front—great decision. Once the race starts, things became sort of a blurry haze.

A few attacks are launched and brought in. I spend some time in the first few laps responding, bridging, and testing the waters. It seems like a fast group today, and one that's going to chase breakaways down... good to know. I was feeling the heat and regretting my decision to bring only half a bottle, and I look down at my watch to see...13:xx minutes in.

Crap. I swear I've been out here for longer than 13 minutes.

More racing happens. I feel pretty mobile, but the heat and lack of water really is doing a number on me. Yet more racing happens. I'm just sitting in, really. I look down at my watch to see....14:xx minutes in.

Wait, what?

In yet another classic Nils move, I discover that my watch was displaying military time, even though I swore I started the clock at the beginning of the race. It turns out we have two laps to go. HALLELUJAH!

I move up. I get lucky in my positioning to avoid getting pinched in the corners. I come out of the final corner with decent but not great positioning and sprint like mad (which is what I do well) for 6th place. Not bad!

Point of interest:
  • Not one, but two riders attacked on the neutral start. One of them did it right in front of the start/finish, which made for some great commentary ("And that rider is sent to the back of the pack. Put on your dunce cap, buddy!")
  • Pretty intense crash sequence from our race: When clipping your pedal leads to fail.
  • Downtown Benicia is really nice! The course went around a great park, a cute little downtown strip, and there were some really impressive old Victorian and Craftsmen houses in the neighborhood.
Taleo ITT

Sunday. After an evening of stretching, spinning around, and eating some Russ-and-Dennis-inspired fish tacos at Aldo's, I'm ready for the 12-mile rolling TT just east of Benicia. For some twisted reason, I love time trials and I seem to perform well in said events.

Lauren (my awesome girlfriend and occasional race chauffeur) and I arrive with an hour before my start: plenty of time for a good warmup. I discover that Dethklok (a "fake" death metal band, Google it) makes for some of the most awesome high-BPM warmup music ever.

Not much to say about the race itself. The second leg turns to be much harder (wind + net elevation gain), but I'm used to rolling courses. I pass my 1:00 man and nearly catch the 2:00 man, and I know that's a good sign. Total time: about 26:4x. [Nils: I'll edit this when results are online.]

Said time nets me 3rd. 2nd got me by a reasonable 12 seconds, but 1st had nearly a minute on me and is clearly in another league (not to mention he probably has a dedicated TT setup *jealous*).


Turns out 6th + 3rd get me the overall omnium position and nets me some extra cash! Excellent! For once, I came out of a race weekend with a net profit.

Mark & Jim's Excellent Nationals Adventure Update Sun June 28

Hello everyone, Jim Langley reporting:
Well, we're here in hot, humid Louisville. No problems yesterday with the flights. Got here on time and the 3 bikes made it too, though I almost lost mine to a woman who had the same bike case and took off with mine before Mark and I got to the baggage area. I had to sprint after her to catch her.

We're at the race hotel, the Galt House, which is a pretty swanky place (photo). Had a nice buffet breakfast this morning in the hotel. We also went out and rode the course. Pretty tough. Lots of little hills, many tight corners, always up and down. With the heat and humidity it should be a serious test.

Here are some photos taken so far but not in order. The racing photo is the women's 30-35 race which happened to go by when we were checking out the course. There are some sights of Louisville and the hotel. That's us on the curb at SJ Airport figuring how best to check the bikes (we used the sky cap - $50 per bike is Southwest's fee, which is cheap).

I race tomorrow at noon. It seems like the humidity is high in the morning but cooling as the day wears on. We're expecting a super fast criterium-like start. The race begins with a dangerous serious of downhill corners. It'll be important to be up front. On the backside of the course is a reasonably stiff double-stage climb. We think the deciding move will happen here. From the top it should be possible to stay away until the uphill finish. But, we expect repeated attacks and intense action throughout.

Over 'n out for now,
Jim & Mark
Watch my twitter page for updates as possible. That's at www.twitter.com/jimlangley It's easier/faster to upload photos and soundbites.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pescadero Road Race (elite 4, 2nd place)

I woke up around 5:30 and looked outside to see the fog so thick it may as well have been raining so I quickly stuffed some rain gear in my bag before Ed picked me up at 6. As we rolled up to Pescadero we chatted about cycling and before I knew it we were rolling in to the highschool. This was my first race as a 4 so I was honestly a bit anxious to see what it would be like with a potentially faster field of 77 guys. So my race began and as we hit Stage road the peloton picked up the pace a bit and I fell into line about 10 back, waiting and watching. Once we hit 84 a couple guys tried to go off the front and I just sat in and enjoyed the free ride with the inevitable surge that ensued. As we hit the first feed zone 2 guys crossed wheels just ahead of me and went down amid sounds of crunching carbon and hissing tubes. I shook my head and thought, "so this is the 4's huh?". As we hit the first run up Haskins I soon found myself at the front grinding a steady pace in the saddle, conscious of my tempo and respiration rate so as not to dig too deep. When I hit the top I took a look and saw a Third Pillar rider and a Taleo rider about 25 meters back. I sat up and let them catch on and the three of us rolled down to the flats on Pescadero Rd enjoying being out of traffic on the descent. The 3 of us continued to work well together but we all agreed to pull through nice and easy since it was obvious we were going to get caught with so much flat ground ahead, which is exactly what happened as we neared the turn off to the highschool. As we neared the first hill on Stage I went to the front and upped the pace and I could hear heavy breathing behind me as I began the descent down into the saddle I let a couple bigger riders get ahead of me and I just sat in their draft. As we began the second climb on Stage I again went to the front and pushed the pace and as I neared the top I looked back to see some pretty tired looking riders and the pack pretty strung out. As we descended Stage and turned onto 84 I sat in on the wheel of my Third Pillar break-mate who had 2 teammates pulling ahead of him. I continued to sit in on the Third Pillar team until the base of Haskins. At this point I point I spun as hard as I could while remaining in the saddle dropping everyone but it seems I went a bit too hard too early as I pretty much blew up a couple hundred meters from the finish and held on for second, obviuosly not quite as good as winning but I at least I didn't have to regret not being aggressive enough.

Monday, June 22, 2009

ADA Tour de Cure, 2009

By Dennis Pedersen

The American Diabetes Association organizes this fund-raising ride every year and this year I was once again captain of the Hewlett-Packard team. While I felt I did a better job promoting than before, the team was only half the size this time and so was our fund-raising... I suppose the economy didn't help, but I was still bummed. This year I dedicated my ride to my wife's aunt Rosa, who passed away from type II diabetes just two days before my ride... we went to her funeral the Wednesday after. But I'm happy to say that many friends, coworkers and family donated to the effort against this increasing disease. Thank you everybody!

My teammate John and I both signed up for the 120K route (78 miles), so it made sense to carpool and do the ride together. I knew ADA had signed up some good sponsors, including Hobee's who supplied their delicious coffee cake! So I didn't have to eat breakfast at home... but I still had to get up at 4:45AM to make the 6:30AM opening of our route (the shorter 25K, 50K and 75K routes opened later).

Even though I rode almost 70 miles in the Pescadero Road Race the day before (and got dropped from the furious pace!) I was hoping to get in some long intervals during the Tour de Cure... It's not a race, but that doesn't mean I can't hit the big climbs hard. I was dubious that my legs would be up for the task though, and figured that mere survival would be hard enough, but it was my goal. Then I could give my legs a well-earned break on Monday!

After a nice warmup through Portola Valley we turned through Woodside to get to King's Mountain Road. I pushed myself at a hard "L4" pace, just short of my endurance race power. I couldn't believe how good my legs felt as I powered past other riders with John holding my wheel. Maybe the rest station at the junction with Skyline Boulevard, with more treats, motivated me! I sure didn't feel like I was well into a 150-mile weekend.

It was very cool to see the many "Red Riders;" people with diabetes who joined the ride anyway, with careful attention to blood glucose levels en route. Sure makes my ride seem easy!

After flying down HWY84 we turned onto Pescadero Road and up Haskins Hill; the same climb that killed me in the race the day before. It's much nicer at a sane pace! Then we dropped into pretty Pescadero town for another rest station stop. Yummy. We tried to make good time so we set off quickly and up another reminder of my race; Stage Road. Ugh. But again I felt good.

Next up for me was the steepest and longest climb, up Tunitas Creek Road on the way back up to Skyline. Before the road went up there was a small rest station set up in a really neat red and white-striped shack with a cool steel sign reading "The Bike Hut." It was built as a place for cyclists to stop and refuel on this cycling popular route. The weather was pretty nice and blue sky was peeking through as I started my next interval. I powered up Tunitas Creek almost as hard as I did earlier on King's Mountain, even though it was 35 minutes long... but this notoriously bumpy road has been repaved and maybe the smooth asphalt helped.

At the Skyline rest station again, I was amazed that I still felt good, and after John and I dropped back into Woodside we were dodging big crowds of riders from the shorter routes on Alameda de las Pulgas. Much more of a party atmosphere! And the party continued as the volunteers cheered us upon our return, which was lots of fun for we racer wanna-bes!

We got back to HP a little after 12:00, earlier than last year, so we rode 4 hours and 55 minutes at an average speed of 16 MPH. I burned 2749 calories. This year the HP team had an awning with nice HP banners (thanks Jessica!) and it served as a meeting point for us as we swapped stories and enjoyed fish tacos from Wahoo's.

Another bright spot was HP Vice President Joe Beyers' visit to accept a jersey signed by 3-time Tour de France winner and ADA promoter Greg Lemond himself! That was a real morale booster for me. Thanks Joe! Getting support from upper management is key to building a strong team.

With all of your help I hope to ride again in 2010 and make the team even more successful! And if you missed this year, it isn't too late to donate. Thanks!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mark & Jim's Excellent Nationals Adventure Update

Mark & Jim's Nationals Trip Update - Sunday, June 21
T-minus about 5 days to departure for Louisville
By Jim Langley

As you can see in the photo, we packed Mark's 2 bikes today. Huge thanks to Jay Brodie, Nils Tikkanen and Matt Wocasek for loaning their bike cases. Jay's case is a Giant soft bag custom made for Jay and Mark's Giant with its integrated seatmast, and Mark and I marveled at how beautifully the bike fit. You don't even have to remove the bars or seat! It took a little more to get Mark's Felt TT bike in Matt's hard case, but we got 'er done and it's one less detail to worry about this week.

Our Nationals schedule is (so you can think positively for us during these times):
Sat June 27 10 a.m. we fly out of San Jose
Sun registration, pre ride course
Mon Jim's 55-59 road race - 12pm, 8 x 5-mile laps for 40 miles
Tues Mark's 45-49 road race - 2pm, 10 x 5-mile for 50
Wed Jim and Mark's time trials, first start 8am, minute intrvls
Thurs return home

As of today there are a whopping 1390 riders registered to race at the Nationals so it's going to be a ton of fun. From the registered riders lists it's certain that both Mark and I will be facing the best fields of racers we've ever ridden against. 78 guys are in Mark's RR so far including super star Kevin Metcalfe. Curiously, multi-time winner Thurlow Rogers has not yet registered
but we expect to see his name appear soon. He won last year with an average speed of almost 25mph. Metcalfe wrote about the race, "Thurlow was just too strong."

My race features a cast of all-stars I never thought I'd get to race against including Wayne Stetina, last years' winner Kent Bostick and Tom Doughty (all riding for the Amgen/Giant), plus David Leduc who took second last year. Mark let me know that Bostick's winning average speed last year was faster than Thurlow Rogers' in his race - so it's going to be interesting to see if I can hang.

Mark has updated everyone via email on his excellent training. Mine has been a little different as I coached for a week at a cycling camp in Wisconsin. There we rode 638 miles in 7 days, which I'm trying to recover from now. I hope to get some intensity in this week before going into taper mode for a few days before we head to the airport next Saturday.

Thanks everyone for all your support (my neighbor put this sign on my mailbox to motivate me every time I roll out the driveway).

We'll do our best to update you here on the blog during our trip so please watch for updates. I may also post on twitter, which might be faster and easier. You can follow me at www.twitter.com/jimlangley

Ride safe out there and we'll see you on the road,
Jim Langley & Mark Edwards

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pescadero RR M35+123

Steve Heaton M35 crush

Where to begin? First I need to get it out…………..I’m SUPER disappointed with my placing.

My race started with a 4 man break leading into the first prime. We let them go thinking they would sit up for climb but didn’t. we had attacks and counter attacks on first 2 climbs on Stage rd (I had no problems) then pushed a good fast tempo pace on 84. I positioned myself in feed zone to hold a front position for the main climb knowing this was going to be a decision maker for me. We hit it at 15mph for a few minutes then 13mph until half way I settled into 11mph(this was my limit I could hold the distance). I watched them slip away then made a surge the last 500m to join a group of 5 to chase back and that we did before the bottom. OK I can handle that is what I was thinking. Again no problem over the climbs on stage rd & out 84 and was able to hold any position with ease. I made a few turns at the front to feel it out and had no issues(NO CRAMPING). Going into the feed on second lap I pushed over and had a lead so I used the distance to help me on the final climb and it did allow me to make it further but still got dropped. My hopes were to make it close enough that I could dig extra deep and make it with group(no dice) and ended up hammering the DH, railing the turns and sprinting out of every corner (Don’t tell Michele)and passed a couple of cars along the way (I felt great). Once at the bottom I had a group of 4 roll up on me and we worked to chase. Three of the guys were climbers who couldn’t hold a fast enough pace for the chase we needed to catch the pack and then it was over! We rolled into town and the group softened I noticed a group ahead and hit it hard to shake the spirit ( I don’t care – I’m not going to let up, I don’t race that way) It turns out it was Michele’s group. We rolled past them and up the road was a Tripper? It was Michele on her own I roller up to her and said “ a sight for sore eyes” what a cool feeling seeing my wife racing in the same race. We charged on and attacked the stage climbs, pushed hard on 84 and once we hit final climb I jumped out of the corner and launched a big gap and tried to hold them off. I didn’t want to hold the climbers pace as I knew it could crack me so I wanted to attempt to crack them. I held them off most of the way but came up short. I dug as deep as possible with 3 gut wrenching attempt to latch back on for a final kick only to find myself impotent.

This was the worst placing ever for me and I’m pissed. I can come up with a few excuses like I’m still recovering from my dislocated shoulder or I’m not a true climber or I wasn’t feeling good that day etc. the reality is I was feeling great, strong, motivated, no shoulder problems, my climbing is best it’s been in long time. The bottom line is my weakness is climbing over 5 mins!

What did I get out of the race: demoralized, disappointed, realizing if I want to be competitive in road races I need to climb more, a flat new $100 tubular tire after race, a good workout, see Michele racing.
While I might seem down about it (I am) I realize I’m a well rounded rider who hasn’t done much climbing training (reap what you sew) and believe me I will be doing more climbing going forward. I‘m going into hiding for a few weeks to work out some kinks.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ICCC Dash for Cash Criterium

By Dennis Pedersen

I've done this race before and felt it would be a nice change from my usual intervals... many of them on hotel gym stationary bikes lately. Yak! Larry and I carpooled, with his wife Priscilla and their sheltie Sam. Very nice!

We were in the same race, though he was in the 55+ group, and I was in the 45+ group. But we both knew it would be hard to work together, and Larry just needed to watch the guys in 55+ so we didn't make any plans.

This 4-corner flat race course, with some extra curves on the back straight, always seems to have strong winds as it is along some of the last open fields in Pleasanton. Each turn tends to open up gaps in the peloton as the wind shifts and hits guys who were sheltered before the turn, disrupting their pacing. The pavement is fairly good though.

At the start line I looked around and was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Chris... plus Larry Nolan and other hot shots.

The first few laps were very nice, probably because the prime-sprint laps hadn't started and because two guys went for an early breakaway that kept the rest of us reluctant to burn matches so soon trying to bridge up to them... likely with a string of sausages in tow.

The strong wind hit us hard from the right after turn 2 every lap, just where a center divider jutted out, so it was always a bit scary there. Then it would hit us from the left front after the last turn which would mean that the sprinters would benefit from a leadout to shelter them. Fortunately all of this resulted in an increasing pace that kept the pack strung out in double file, especially as $30 prime laps were announced. Yes, that left me gasping for breath, but it also was safer and there were no crashes. Cool!

At one point I passed Larry just as he sat up exhausted. He was done! I tried to give him my wheel as I closed the gap ahead of him, but it's hard to come back from blowing up in a fast race.

At some point three more guys took off; I thought we'd caught the first two, but it turned out they were still out there. Darn. But the fast pace made bridging nearly impossible.

Another bigger gap opened up later and I worked really hard to stay with the lead chase group. Whee! Made it! I also pulled Chris with me which was cool. I make a point of watching him and held his wheel at times. He does a lot of the same intervals we do and it shows.

With about one lap to go we caught the three chasers and sprinted for 3rd place. Chris took 6th and I took 13th. We chatted later and he had to remind me, once again, that I'm better off being at 95% and well positioned than at 75% and blocked in. Sigh.

The two guys in the successful break also had a chat; the winner had sat on the leader's wheel for five laps only to pip him at the line. Kind of dishonorable and I like to think I would have resisted the temptation. But I'm weak so who knows? Heck, the leader could have sat up if he didn't want to risk being so ill-used, huh.

But I digress... We had so much fun that Larry and I agreed to climb Mtn. Charlie up to the summit as an interval on the way home. Yikes! At least the weather was perfect!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Butterfly Criterium 45/55

Butterfly Crit 45/55
By Larry Broberg

Since breaking my hip in November I decided to make a little change in my training and get the dreaded (by me anyway) power meter and follow Mark’s systematic plan for training which I’ve noticed has helped everyone who has been following his advice. I feel like I’m back to about where I was pre-accident. I did terrible at Wente RR but have felt ok in the Crits I’ve done and did manage to get 3rd in the Sea Otter MTB cross country (60+ cat1) although my time was slower than last year. I rode with Mark and the Boys on their interval training up Buddy Doom last Monday and had my best week of training so far this year. On Saturday, before the Butterfly Crit, I rode terrible but tried not to get too discouraged.

The Butterfly Crit started off fairly quickly and I was riding at my usual place in the back when things started getting strung out because of the hill. I figured people would start getting popped off the back so I moved up toward the middle front where I could see Vlada with Russ being at the very front chasing everything down but the ice cream truck. He must have covered a half dozen breaks and never seems to get tired.

I thought of going up to help him a couple of times but I know what it’s like to stick your nose into the wind so I just tried to stay near the front. Several laps from the end, a guy in front of me started sliding out and I hit my rear brake and started sliding and dabbed my foot to keep from falling. When I regained my composure and sped back up I was now at the back of the pack and was struggling when this hand from above came down and gave me the acceleration to get back to the front (Thanks again Vlada).

The last lap was another big surge and the only 2 (out of 11) 55’s left were both in front of me coming out of the last turn heading up the hill to the finish. I shifted up 2 gears and punched it (even though I was out of gas) and could see I was going to catch Ernie Galardo. Once I got past Ernie, I could see Dave Stockwell in front of me sitting down spinning towards the finish line and I caught and passed him and I was pretty sure I had won.

I didn’t see Russ because he was so far in front of me and he got a hard-fought 5th with a couple of guys off the front (I think). Vlada also rode very strong and has been placing top three in almost every race he’s been doing so congratulations to both of those guys. I got $90 for the win and found out that by being at the front of the 55’s, we had separate Primes and I won 2 of those - $50 in cash and a 20 min massage which I thoroughly enjoyed, plus a bunch of Giant Strawberries and a hat. I haven’t gotten this much booty since the initial days of the Sea Otter. It was fun.

Cycling Adventures!

Though I haven’t written in a while I have been racing and riding my bike a lot and having plenty of fun at the same time. Some of the highlights for the past few months include:
4/26/09 Wente Criterium – 18th out of 30
5/2/09 & 5/3/09 – Women’s Track Clinic at the Velodrome
5/8/09 – Friday Night Track Race – 2nd overall Ominum winner
5/17/09 – Strawberry Fields Forever Century Ride – Tons of food and fun times. My boyfriends first 100 mile ride too!
5/25/09 San Jose Memorial Criterium - 8th out of 42 (won 2 prime laps)
5/30/09 Golden State Criterium - 1st out of 16 (won 1 prime lap)

During these past few months I have learned quite a bit about racing, tactics and making sure that having fun on the bike is my top priority. I had quite a disappointment at the Wente Crit: I was 4th coming around the final turn but couldn’t react to the attacks coming on both sides of me during the straight away to the finish. I was very bummed that I didn’t take any chances and played it safe until the end of the race, only to have a spot on the podium vanish in front of my eyes. My self-esteem on a bike plummeted until the next weekend where I played on the track with about 24 other girls. The women’s track clinic hosted by SJBC was an excellent introduction to the track and I gained A TON of fitness that weekend. The following Friday there were specific races for us beginner girls and I had a smile on my face during the race and afterwards when I received my overall second place prize of legwarmers and a cookie. Once I finish with my semester at school I am going to be racing the track much more on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights, the skills and explosiveness of track suit my racing style and it’s just so much fun!

The other highlight of May included completing the Strawberry Fields Forever Century Ride with my boyfriend and my dad. My boyfriend is an English teacher at a high school over in Morgan Hill and doesn’t have much time to train, but was amped to think he could complete this beautiful course right in our backyard. Not only did he complete with hardly a whimper, he did the whole thing without cycling shoes and has a steel touring bike that weighs about twice as much as mine. What a trooper!

The San Jose Memorial Criterium was the beginning of a new era of racing for Kimi. The Women’s 4 field was the largest I’ve raced in for a crit, 42 ladies charging for 1st place. The Los Gatos team was out in full force and they were trying to dominate the race by throwing girls up in the front to keep the pace high. Even though I knew I was all alone out there I figured I wouldn’t let a stronger team dominate the race and not wait until the end to make a move. I ended up breaking away from the pack twice throughout the race and nabbed 2 primes and time trialed a total of two laps by myself in an attempt to psyche out the field. I am happy with an 8th place finish since I know I worked hard and learned a lot about my racing style.

The Golden State Crit this past Saturday was certainly a highlight for me. I took the lessons I learned from the Memorial Day Crit and applied them to this race as well. The field was quite a bit smaller, only 17 girls total and I could see that a few of them were inexperienced in racing crits. The FBCC/Chipotle team was out and it was immediately obvious they were shooting to having one of their teammates win, they were trying to lead her out and were protecting her the whole race. At first the pace was decent, but on the backside of the course the headwind made everyone slow down to a crawl since no one wanted to work. I was getting frustrated by this speed and went up to the front to try and speed up the pace. Instead I ended up breaking away from the group and TT’d for about 1 ½ laps while also grabbing a prime. I figured it was too early to keep my break away going so I headed back in the pack to rest for a bit. Again, the pace slowed and another Dolce Vita girl tried to attack a few times, but didn’t stay out in the front for too long. I attacked a few more times as well but still the group never did increase their speed, even on the last few laps. During the backside of the last lap a Chipotle girl (a girl that has a mean sprint) attempted an early lead-out for her teammate but the teammate didn’t follow. People were looking around trying to figure out who was going to make the next move but no one was willing to work because of the slight headwind we had. With 2 more short turns to go before the finish line I attacked with all my might hoping that: a) I would string out the pack so that it would be a safer finish for the less experienced riders, b) I would get enough of a gap so that the sprinters wouldn’t have a chance in hell of outsprinting me at the line, or, c) if I did get passed I would still get a podium finish. Luckily it was a combination of options b and c and I came around the final turn with the pack far behind me and I crossed the finish line with no competition around me. Yahoo! It was such a thrill to finally win a race, and I hope it will be the first of many wins to come.