Tuesday, May 31, 2011

GRFS #4 Track Racing at Hellyer Park Velodrome, 5/28/11

By Dennis Pedersen

I've been racing at the velodrome almost every week, starting in March, this year. Most of the time I enter the Tuesday night races, as they fit into my schedule best. But the Get Ready for Summer series, on weekends, sometimes fits in nicely too. And since they are USAC sanctioned, I can get upgrade points if I do well.

Vlada and I carpooled, and met up with Nils at the track. They were both racing in the Category 4 and 5 races. I was in the Category 3 and 4 races. The weather forecast did hint at a chance of rain, but it was pretty nice. Unlike all the other bicycling races I know of, rain cancels at the track... another reason to love it! We signed in, suited up and warmed up.

Kierin race

Our first race was a kierin.
This Japanese version of the Motorpace, which is subject to pari-mutuel betting in Japan, has become very popular in the US, although, so far, without the betting. Keirin races, in which all the riders on the track jockey for position behind a single motorbike, sometimes most closely resemble the "Roller Derby" of old, with riders jostling and jabbing each other with elbows to get into the "sweet spot" behind the motorcycle. Then, just before the last lap, the motorbike pulls off the track, and the riders sprint madly to the line.
They split the nine Category 3 and 4 riders in my group into two heats. We drew numbers to determine what "lane" we started in on the track. I think it's better to draw a high number so you can start higher up on the track's banking. I drew number 1 for the first heat. We were held by assistants for the start, then jumped ahead on the pistol to grab the draft of the motorcycle. After four laps the moto pulled off the track and we were free to attack, which we did. I am still learning this stuff and ended up 2nd place out of five. In the second round I finished just 4th, even though I drew number 6. Still learning.

Scratch race (24 laps)

I'm not a big fan of these, as they are simply ordinary races; cross the finish line first and you win. Which I did... I like them more now for some reason.

Miss and out race

Next we all lined up "on the rail" (single file along the top edge of the track, holding on to the railing) for our "miss and out:"
Another variation of the Mass Start race that's sometimes called "Devil Take The Hindmost," because the last rider to cross the line after each (or every other) lap is taken out of the race. The field diminishes rapidly, until there are only a few riders left to contest the final sprint. This is always a very exciting race and crowd favorite.
The trick, well, one of them, is to not get stuck in the sprinters lane (the inside edge of the track), as it's very easy to get boxed in there by others who then pass you on the line... which is annoying because you can be fresh, but unable to sprint around them and then get pulled out of the race. I ended up in 3rd, after I was forced to lead out the other two survivors on the second-to-last lap. They were strong, and I just couldn't get around them.

Points race (30 laps)

We had a points sprint every ten laps, which isn't a lot; usually we sprint every five laps. I was 2nd in the first one (I thought), further back in the next, then 1st on the last sprint, with the spectators screaming at me to go... that was so cool! But it turned out they scrored me 3rd in the first sprint, and that moved me down in the results, into 2nd.

In the end I got 2nd overall, in the combined "omnium" scoring. Still, pretty cool!

Results and podium photo

See you out there!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mt. Hamilton Road Race, May 29, 2011

Notes From The Mt. Hamilton Road Race
By Jim Langley

Andrews get the Amazing Race award
This was my first full Mt. Hamilton Road Race. A couple of years ago I did the 55+ race but it started on the backside of the mountain and only covered about 35 miles, a far cry from the complete race, which has long held the status of one of the most epic road races you can do in NorCal.

So, when Bob Montague alerted me to the fact that they were offering a 55+ race this year over the full course, I couldn't sign up fast enough. Plus, Bob figured out an ingenious car transfer plan so we would be able to get from the finish in Livermore back to our parked cars at the start in San Jose without much delay. Otherwise, the driving is almost as epic as the race.

We had a pretty good Bicycle Trip/Symantec crew entered with Bob, Gary and I in the 55+, Mark and Geoff in the 45+ Open, Scott in the 45+ 4s and Andrew in the Elite 4s. Geoff was our top finisher with a nice 12th place. Bob, Gary and Scott had solid races finishing in good shape. But, Mark, Andrew and I had some issues out there:

  • The Amazing Race award goes to Andrew. He gets knocked off his bike about halfway up Mt. Hamilton, hits his head so hard he smashes his helmet and is knocked senseless. But some Good Samaritan picks him up, puts him back on his bike and Andrew somehow manages to finish the entire race. The medics at the finish line take one look at him and tell us to get him to the hospital ASAP.
  • The Bad Luck award goes to Mark, who flats only 7 miles into the race and then has to sit in the sag and follow his race to the finish and then wait for us all to finish. You might think they'd have a sag with wheels considering how many people were entered in this race, but they didn't, so Mark's day was ruined.
  • Maybe I should get the Survivor Award. Things are going okay early in the race. We've passed Grant Ranch, which is where the climb kicks up again and we've pulled back 2 of the guys from the lead group. I'm feeling good and ready for the final 10 miles or so to the top, and suddenly I hear "snap" as my seat rail breaks and I go all crooked, leaning to one side. I think about dropping out, but decide to continue and managed to finish on the broken seat. I'm so lucky the other rail didn't snap.
  • We're on the starting line getting our instructions and they tell us that there's a motorcycle event taking place on the backside of the mountain and we need to be careful because they're speeding, drinking and racing up the road. Later we see ambulances coming up the hill and we're worried that one of these crazed motorcyclists has killed one of us, but it turns out that they crashed into each other. Idiots.
  • It would have been smart of me to research the race a little more. The descent down the backside of Hamilton is fast and dangerous and definitely not suited to carbon rims and the crappy braking of carbon-rim brake pads. My nice effort getting over Mt. Hamilton on a broken seat in around 10th place is wasted because I can't stay with my group on the descent due to having no speed control. I have to let them roll away or crash trying to stay with them. If you do this race, bring your best braking setup.
  • Speaking of that descent, Mt. Hamilton is probably the closest I've come to doing something like a Grand Tour stage. You have the 19-mile climb over Hamilton at the start (about 4,000 feet and supposedly with 365 turns - one for each day of the year), the super-technical descent where a daredevil can make up real time, then there are numerous short, tough climbs on the backside and some super-fast descent coming into the finish with an excellent run-in to the sprint. All in all, an epic race that I'm delighted to have finished under the circumstances.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

CCCX MTB 45-54 Cat 1

Back to back

Steve Heaton
May 8th&29th

2 races 2 wins - Both races I attacked from the start and lead it out to finish!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wente RR, PG&E Crit, Berkeley RR

Wente Road Race

Michele Heaton


Thursday night before this race I got sick with some kind of intestinal bug. Downing pepto bismol and electrolyte drinks the night before didn’t have me real confident it was going to be my day. When I woke up it seemed I was better, just worked over and surely dehydrated. The wind was whipping around in Santa Cruz and it was hard to fathom what that meant for the race, as it’s always windy there even if it’s calm here. Amy and I were sure not to call each other as we probably would have decided against going.

At the start line I counted 18 women, several of which I knew to be very strong climbers. I sat around 5th wheel and as we came around the turn before the climb there she went (winner.) I got on her wheel for a short while as everyone began to gap behind me. One of her team mates came up, I fell back to the others, and basically that was the race. Those 2 got away and won. Only lots more happened in between and it would have probably been a different race had there not been a terrible crash.

I got dropped on the climb, I caught back on, I got dropped again. I was just behind the shattered group when I came into the “hay bale” corner. A guy was frantically motioning me to slow down. Coming around the corner I see a sickening sight. Laurie Furman, a very experienced Cat 1 and former NRC racer was motionless on the ground at the last hay bale. I slowed and asked myself whether I should stop? Immediately I see 2 of her team mates stop and another turn around. I know there is nothing I can do and she will soon have 4 team mates with her. I made a mental note that I really like these Sycomp women.They all stopped for their team mate. Personally I think the most horrifying thing would be to have a serious crash and be LEFT ALONE. I keep riding, very distressed, asking myself if I want to continue. As I hear the ambulance coming I think about how much I hate this part of racing. I catch up to 2 Velo Bella riders ahead of me. They eventually drop me and up the road there were the 2 leaders, a gap, chase group of 3, 1 rider that joined the 2 ahead of me, me solo and the rest behind. So for 1 1/4 laps I road solo, having that familiar mental battle with myself, “do I want to continue? Maybe I will feel better tomorrow and can ride hard then instead?”

I told myself it’s good mental excersize to carry on and finish through the obstacles because we often want to quit in a race. Just do it. As I came around to the hay bale corner on the 2nd lap there was a fire truck at the top of the hill and many races had been stopped altogether. I saw my group a few riders up and rode up to those 6 women. We were stopped for about 15 minutes as they had air lifted Laurie. The whole thing sickened me. When they let us go again they gave 2 minutes to the first 2 and 30 seconds to a group of 3 in front of us. They didn’t ask for a gap from me, which I thoroughly appreciated as I was just interested in riding with others at this point. I assured those 4 I would not try to take a place from any of them. I decided to work for Amy to help her get a better place since it wouldn’t be right to try and beat any of the women in front of me. So I helped catch the 3 in front by 30 seconds, then one of them overlapped a wheel and went off the road (but was o.k.) I kept telling Amy to sit in and save her energy but she was a crappy listener so at about the start area I just went to the front and did my last effort with a huge pull to the final corner (dropped 1.) I pulled over and wished them all well as I limped up the final climb for 8th place. This race was not my shining moment but I was glad to finish and glad to try to help Amy at the end. She had a great race and got to cross that race off her bucket list in style!

It turned out Laurie fractured C6 and C7, her scapula and several ribs. She is going to be o.k. but obviously has a long road of healing to get back. These crashes stay with me for quite some time. I don’t take this part of our sport lightly.

Tri Valley Velo Crit.



My 5th Crit. and first time racing the Open Pro123 category. I have a lot to learn about criterium racing. I really like the non stop action and top end efforts. I’m tentative being close to other riders in corners and sandwiched in packs. Of course I create a lot of work for myself staying at the back and away from wheels that don’t seem solid, especially in windy races like this one. This is obviously not an efficient way to race, but I didn’t want to create trouble or gaps for those behind me. I prefer to stay back while I am learning the ropes. I had to expend a great deal of energy to move up from the back after the corners and close gaps from dropped riders. The longer the race went on the more comfortable I got, so I know I have it in me! Amy and a few others worked hard attacking etc. making the race tough. The first 10 minutes I was really suffering but I felt better as the race went on. With about 5 laps remaining a Dolce rider had a pretty good gap to the group and it looked as if she might make it. Amy did some serious work to bring her back with less than 1 lap to go. We were flying. The race was 60 minutes of pretty constant attacks, hard enough that about 6 women were dropped pretty early and more on the final lap. I was happy to finish with the final group, albeit last of those, 8th out of a field of 18. I enjoyed watching the winner Mary Maroon power away from all of us in the finish. Impressive!!

Berkeley Hills RR



What a grueling race! In an adrenaline rush moment after the Sat. Crit. I talked Amy into this climbing race. I had decided not to do it since I had no one to race with, but a rider from another team I really like was going so I thought, why not? Although I wouldn’t be “fresh” I wanted the race experience.

We weren’t even to the parking lot before Amy was cursing at me when she became aware of the “hilliness” of the area. She said it’s been nice but I was officially no longer her friend.
We definitely were a little crazy to attempt this one after a challenging 60 min. all out effort the day before. I wouldn’t recommend this for those of us no longer in our 20s! As it turned out I had fun and was glad I did the race. The first time on the main climb we lost 10 riders. I was the 10th up the climb, off the back and just barely able to fight my way back. Before the turn into the headwind several riders had also fought their way back bringing us to 14. Next time up the climbs pretty much same thing. I just didn’t quite have the kick to stay with the leaders, chased back with the help of one awesome descender I was working with. Final section of slight rolling uphill I had the notion to go but didn’t. My legs were starting to cramp but I knew it was unlikely I would beat many of the 13 remainders up the final climb (after 2 times up, the writing was on the wall.) As it went I didn’t go but someone else did, and she won! It was a smart move. Too much hesitation from the group, no united chase, good for her. I almost went with her move too. Shoulda woulda coulda. I cramped on the final climbs and limped to the finish, 2nd to last of the lead group (12th.) Although I’m mad I didn’t go with that inner voice I was glad I did the race for a few reasons. I like racing with the Master’s women and was happy to finish with the lead group in a race that is really suited more towards a pure climber. I like getting the experience, getting to know my competitors and seeing what I need to work on. I got to experience a much different feeling descending as Steve had removed one of my spacers and my bike felt SO MUCH MORE STABLE! I couldn’t believe the difference. My bike didn’t wobble in the front wheel. Oh yeah, last year I suffered leg cramps the entire last lap. This year only the finishing climbs. Yeah!! I am improving on some things.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Swanton Time Trial Report May 5, 2011

Swanton Time Trial Report (and thoughts on time trialing)
or, How Mark and Jim Went Over to the Dark Side
by Mark Edwards and Jim Langley

It had been quite some time since I'd been out for the monthly Thursday-night SCCCC (Santa Cruz County Cycling Club) Swanton Road Time Trial. I've worked hard to reach a certain goal time racing it Merckx-style on my road bike. Once I reached the goal, I've found it hard to improve any further. Between aerodynamic limitations and age, I was holding my own, but I wasn't getting any faster.

Mark's Felt at Masters Nationals
I had bought a fast Felt time trial bike some time back and even raced on it in the Masters Nationals Time Trial in Louisville, Kentucky on 2009 (photos). Jim was there but rode a standard bike with clip-on aero bars. We had fun but didn't set fast times and were awed by the winning times in our respective age groups - all set on super aero sleds.

But, I found the aero time trial position on my new bike so uncomfortable that I didn't want to ride my TT rig once the race was over. I also was put off by the $3,000 price tag for a competitive wheelset. It's tough to want to commit big dollars for something I wasn't sure I'd like.

And, I knew from comparing my times to others that, without all the aerodynamic goodies, I would never stand a chance to match other guys of similar fitness.

The starting ramp at Nationals
Meanwhile Jim went to the Madera Stage Race in March and took 3rd in the crit, won the road race, but had an awful time trial. Actually, he time trialed with his Power Tap and analyzing the file proved that it was a really solid effort and should have resulted in a fast time that might have kept him in the running for the overall. But, because he was on a standard bike, his time wasn't competitive.

Jim's first road racing in the late seventies was time trialing and he was a decent triathlete due to fast times on the bike. Plus, he had aero bars and a disc wheel in 1984, long before it became popular. So, it frustrated him to lose badly at Madera because of slow equipment, and he decided to do something about it so that at the next stage race he would have a chance.

With the same concerns regarding such a big investment, and not being sure just how many TTs we would do, Jim called upon his trademark ingenuity and decided to build a budget TT rig. His goal was to build a competitive machine, without putting his family in the poor house.

This was a plan I could get behind!

With solid 2nd tier aero frames we had a good foundation. Aero helmets, while not cheap, are a bargain compared to wheels - and supposedly help just as much. Fortunately we had both bought helmets two years ago for the Masters Nationals Time Trial. Same for our skin suits.

Next... wheels. I couldn't even consider a nice set of Zipps. How would I ever be competitive? Jim found me an easy and cheap fix, which worked amazingly well. An $89 rear wheel cover. I know it sounds funky, but it's really engineered well, and works great. It also allows me to use my power meter so I can monitor the watts I put out. Cool. A Power Tap equipped Zipp disk is going to run $3K by itself.

Jim's P2 with retro aero wheels
Jim dug through his garage and pulled out a vintage Specialized tri spoke front wheel and that old HED rear disc wheel circa 1984. While most of us would have dismissed 1980s technology (7 speed friction shifters), Jim isn't like the rest of us. Toolbox in hand, he had everything working like it was designed from the factory that way.

Not content to leave any stone unturned, he didn't like the front brake cable hanging out in the wind. Heck, that's nothing that a 1980s centerpull front brake won't fix! Then how about those quick releases catching the wind? Where's the lever for opening and closing? More tricks to cheat the wind. He also put on an aero bottle and cage setup, another thing shown to reduce drag significantly.

For my part, besides the wheel cover, my best idea was to relax the overly aggressive position I'd used at Nationals. Raising my bars by a full two inches solved more problems than I have space to list, making the thought of training on this bike much more appealing.

With neither of us doing a single ride (no training) on our TT bikes, we headed out to Swanton. With the usual evening ripping north coast wind, combined with our lack of time riding on aerobars, we agreed we'd ride hard, but not take any chances. This was an opportunity to set a benchmark time that we could hopefully improve over the next year. I figured the slower my time, the more personal bests it would be possible to achieve.

There's nothing like setting a new PB to keep you motivated.

Bike inspection at Natz is serious
So, off we went, into the wind. Jim was my minute man, while teammate Nils on his supersonic Giant Trinity positioned himself right behind me. Great... just what I need, the reigning King of the Swanton TT starting 1 minute behind me. So much for an "easy" race. I'd be riding scared, waiting for the inevitable whoosh-whoosh of that fast Zipp disc.

The bikes worked perfectly. Of course, we'll be making minor adjustments (isn't that half the fun of time trialing?). But the results speak for themselves. A 40-second PB for me (29:11) and 58 seconds shaved for Jim (31:02). Now let's see if we can train a bit on the bikes, get more powerful in the aero position and go even faster. Hope so.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tri-Valley PG&E Criterium 5/7/2011

Steve Heaton 35+123

Power to the pedal

Criteriums are filled with instinctive responses or “moves” as we like to call them. One wrong move and your race can be over. Too many stupid moves and your race is over. Launch your sprint to the line too early and get swallowed up by the pack. Everyone seems to be on an adrenaline high. One minute you’re all out on the pedals the next you’re diving into a corner with guys all around you. You might be sprinting all out to hold your position. You can go from the gutter on one side of the road to the other in a split second while hammering all out. Guys will push on you, yell at you and even cut you off to try and take the wheel of the rider in front of you. Actually, I expect it to happen more than once in a race. You have to be hyper sensitive to not only what’s happening in front of you but behind you as well without looking back. It sounds like a crazy discipline of racing, but for those with balls (and ovaries) of steel it’s a huge rush.

I went to the race with my good friend Derek. We were hoping to breakaway if the opportunity presented itself. The race started and like most crits. the attacks came from the start. For the first 10mins of the 1hr race it was very fast and furious. I was holding a forward position in the top 10 (out of 61.) Prime lap comes right way. I set up to go for it and as we came around still a long way to the line two guys bolt past. I couldn’t believe how fast they went and just watched in amazement. Now I’m thinking, “ I should have waited for the 45+ race later today and maybe I’m a little over my head in the 35+ category.” Then 10mins in it settles down into a hard steady pace. We go around and around with attacks going and coming back until three guys stay out with a good lead. Then more attacks come and more guys bridge up. I missed the moves and just watch and hope we real them in before the finish. Holding a top 10 position I see we have two teams blocking and slowing the pace and the lead guys get further away. About half way through the group starts to make efforts to close the gap but with guys blocking and disrupting the rhythm of the pack we would gain and loose. Guys would try and launch but not be able to bridge across over and over. With 5 laps to go it’s looking like the 10 guys up the road will stay away. I say to myself “I didn’t come to this race to sprint for a pack meat finish.” I remain calm and go into a “Zen like” state of mind. I pay special attention to how the breakaway group is responding and how the pack is reacting. I assess the strong wind and where I would want to attack and what the situation would need to be for me to make a move to get across. I’m thinking I would want to respond and latch onto one of the numerous attacks but it would have to come on the back side right after the headwind section as we turn into a cross wind followed by another turn into a tailwind. This would give me a draft to the tailwind and possibly with a serious effort catch them before the vicious headwind. With 4 laps to go, I’m 5 back in the pack. We turn into the cross wind section. I’m waiting for the move to come and my buddy Derek makes a strong pull to try and real in the break. I respond and let him know I’m on his wheel. He pulls off at the corner taking us to the tailwind section. I look back as I go to take my pull and we have a gap with one other guy. I say “let’s go, we have the gap!!!” I dig deep and signal the guy on my wheel to pull. He does and as I drop back Derek is gone? The guy pulls then signals me through to do my turn at the front but when I go to signal him through he is dropping off my wheel?

Now I have to make a decision……….I look back and I have a good gap. I look forward and I know I won’t catch the breakaway before the headwind section. In a split second I have to decide to be proactive and dig super deep in hopes of catching them before the final 2 laps so I can recover in time for the sprint finish. If I don’t make it I risk getting pulled back into the pack and not have anything left to challenge for a good placing. If I do make it with 2 or more laps I should have time to recover? I decide to go for it. I would rather go down in flames than to finish in the pack. As I turn into the headwind I thought about last week’s race (Wente RR) when I attacked into a headwind and solo’d to win the race. I put my head down and caught the breakaway by the time we turned into the cross wind. 3 laps to go and I’m super stoked. 2 laps to go and I realize I’m gonna battle for the win. I start yelling, “go go, we are going to get caught!!! “ The pace picks up. As we make the final lap I realize I’m now too far back and have to get forward. Problem is, it’s single file and fast. I hold off until the final sweeping turn and start my move on the outside with a little wind shelter. My plan is to dole my effort to be alongside second wheel as we enter the final straight away and then start my sprint. As I come up alongside the fourth rider from the front he reaches over and grabs my hip and pulls on me. I yell at him “hey what the hell” and he yells something back? I lost my momentum and about 1sec later the sprint starts by his teammate to lead him out. Shit… “go gogogogogogogogo.” Fourth wheel wins and I end up 3rd. I went to the official and protested, explaining what happened, which 1st place denied. The official told me that was the third time today that someone had done something like that and thanked me for telling them, but kept the results as they were. I shook the winner’s hand and congratulated him on the win. It’s disappointing when people race this way. It was poor sportsmanship on his part but he has to live with it. For 3rd place they gave me a tub of Cytomax, a tub of Muscle Milk and $93 cash. Sweet!! But oh yeah, I race for fun and the love of cycling!

Wente Road Race 4/30/2011

Steve Heaton 45+123

Into the winD

A few days before this race I had a conversation with my teammate Russ. I told him I wanted to go and support him in the race. I looked at the start list and noticed we had a few others from the team listed as well. It was going to be a tough race with a good size field of riders and a hard climb to the finish. The course leans more to the advantage of a climber than a sprinter like me (or so it seemed.) Once at the race, Russ said that this wasn’t going to be a good day for me to support him and he requested that I go for a podium spot. Then I see teammates Mark and Geoff (pure climbers) decided to race last minute like me. I thought this is good, we now have 7 guys in the race and two who can climb with the best of them. My focus was to have a good workout and to employ smart strategy and tactics.

The air was dry and the wind blowing super hard (in the 20mph range) with gusts. It’s going to take 3hrs to finish and more water than I can carry but I will figure that out later I hope. It’s a great course with a tough climb to the finish followed by a series of rolling climbs with super fast descents that end with a long flat in your face headwind back to the finish climb. I became very intimate with this headwind (but more on that later.)

The first two laps we had 6 teammates covering the front (Russ, John, Miles, Geoff, Mark and me.) We went with the breakaway attempts and made a few of our own but they always came back quickly. At the end of the third lap going up the climb I was dangling off the back, out of water, looking over at people on the side holding my empty bottle, begging. No one offered up any fluids. At this point I’m thinking “no frickin’ way will I be challenging anyone the next time around for a podium spot.” So, I go into “what can I do to help Mark and Geoff mode” assuming they have it in them for the final climb. Once we get to the top I sprint to catch back on before the next rolling climb and ask Geoff how he is doing. He says “good” and he looked fresh! I told him I was no good for the finishing climb but I will do everything I can to keep it together and not let anyone breakaway. I look to the front and Mark is the one driving the pace looking to soften the group up before the descent and the final climb later. I slowly crawl up to him over time and let him know I’m good on the flats but not for the final climb. Let me do all the work and you and Geoff sit in ready for the final climb. I looked back once we started descending and notice a split in the group so I attacked the descent all out to the bottom in my biggest gear, 53/11. Then I took a small breather and checked in with my guys and went back to the front and pulled to keep it single file. Mark comes up and says we need to keep it together until the climb. I responded with, ”you take cover, I’m good.” I didn’t want him using any extra energy and I was committed to making sure no one got away by holding a hard pace into the wind. Then I realized in a split second after about 10mins driving the pace that I could stay on the front of the group and let everyone draft off me or I could ATTACK into the wind. The next thing I know I’m attacking all out pulling away straight off the front into a vicious headwind. It had been tried by others on earlier laps but failed. In my head I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away. My tactic was to force other threatening teams to chase me and soften them up for the climb while my guys got to rest. I look back and the pack is hesitating because no one wants to take chase into the wind. I don’t blame them. The pack has seen every attempt come back to the group. So, I went into time trial mode thinking, “All I have to do is go all out to the base of climb and my work is done.” Every time the wind would gust and release pressure I would jump out of the saddle and sprint to get on top of another gear. I would look back under my arm pit and see them single file, then another time spread out. I was increasing my distance on them but still was only thinking about an effort to the base of climb. Once I arrived at the base of the climb it’s a slight rise and the wind shifts to my left side so I’m able to pick up speed. As I approached the start of the serious climb I realized my gap was worthy of a chance at the win. All I had to do was hold my pace to the finish (5 more minutes) and I could win the race. I looked forward using riders from an earlier race finishing in front of me as carrots. I would catch and pass all the way to the finish. I would look back to measure my lead and feather my effort to assure I would take the win. On the final climb team mate Mark put the hammer down and rallied for third, earning the team 2 podium spots.

Tactics won the race!

I’m about to cross the finish line

I had to charge into a vicious headwind and not let the wind chew me up and spit me out like every other attempt. I had to have the mental strength to shift from thinking I wouldn’t finish the race with the group to digging super duper deep and battle for the SOLO win. But without having a team with me, I would not have attacked 20+mins from the finish. I would have stayed out of the wind and tried to save myself for the climb and salvage whatever I could muster.

I love many aspects of periodization training. Over the course of the year, I work on sprinting, climbing, flats, time trialing, tactics & strategy, group rides for simulation racing, short intense efforts, medium and long efforts and riding into the wind. I focus on my weaknesses and as I get closer to my peak fitness I train my strengths. After a few years it starts to accumulate in a way that gives more options when racing.

This is what I love about racing! It’s not always the strongest rider that wins the race but the savvy and most willing to put it all on the line under pressure. What I have learned over the past 19yrs racing is those who race reactive usually come up short and those who race proactive end up on top. The risk is much higher but the rewards are sweet.

Team Bike Trip/Symantec claim 1st and 3rd

Check out my legs. I use TylerBalm! It’s a rub on potion by pro racer Tyler Farrar that makes your legs swell.
I use it before I go on the podium to pump up my legs.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wildflower Triathlon/bloody-bloody-gent

Hi all, I wanted to report in after a fine windy weekend down at Lake San Antonio for the Wildflower long course triathlon...although I had fun, my results were not what I had hoped for...after enduring a couple of minor health issues ( a nasty cold and my bruised ribs) I decided I would do the race anyway, and I am happy that I did, (27th year racing there). I needed the race for my preparation for my Ironman the the end of June in Cour du' lane.
I started the race at 9 am and immediately I knew that my shortness of breath (cold/bruised ribs) would become devastating if I didn't slow way down and pick a nice comfy pace for the swim...I did and I finished the swim well and hopped on the bike hoping to make some time....As many of you may know the race is a very hilly course and my repeats with you all proved invaluable as I was rarely passed while going up (or down) hill...but it was EXTREMELY windy, and I was very cautious after witnessing my first of six accidents! (I was the eye witness at three)...Now I know that time trial bikes are not the most stable, and I know that triathletes are notoriously bad bike handlers but WOW!...
The cross winds on the back section were gusting to about 25 mph and saw many more 'close ones'....but when after number one I was looking down the road and a lone rider was doing some sort of acrobatics...turning sideways, throwing something into his front wheel, and then flying what looked to be about 15 feet up into the air...unfortunately for him gravity caught up to him and he landed about 60 ft down the road....ALLS I COULD THINK ABOUT IS... OH SHIT!!! I looked around and nobody was any where close.... so I felt compelled to stop...I AM NOT A MEDIC...but I briefly interviewed the bloody- gent, he told me he WASN'T ok....about that time the missiles started flying by!!! STUPID TRIAHTLETES NOT LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD!! ....I told BLOODY-GENT to stay still as it was all I could do to direct the on-coming bike traffic from hitting BLOODY-GENT AND MYSELF!! ....after what seemed like forever a CHP showed up and an ambulance was on its way....
I tried to carry on, and I think my adrenaline was pumping...I almost was involved in another incident not long after but that fellow who was only 20 ft. in front of me pitch to the side at least 20 degrees...he righted himself with no major drama and when I passed him he commented to me "thank god for cyclocross!".....I seconded his remark and I am sure glad I made it out of that section of road...I soon left that fellow in the good company of many behind me....but at that point I kinda had the wind taken out of my sails....(a spike of excitement/adrenaline) is NOT what you want in an endurance event....I SURE WAS GLAD I MADE IT OUT ALIVE...
On the run I felt sluggish, but I dealt with it like it was a hard training day at that point and I did not walk at all (with the exception of one aid station)....my run was sluggish and my stride was too short, but I did keep my cadence up and I am glad that I finished in the top 20....and...like I said to Tobin Ortiblan this morning about his weekend race...."there's always another race"....
All in all, I had fun...and I know I was on pace to a solid race until the 'incident'....I later learned that BLOODY-GENT had to be flown out, but was doing fine later in the day...Kem
P.S. one weird thing....when the CHP showed up he and determined not to move BLOODY-GENT, he covered him up---with a white sheet!