Sunday, May 21, 2006

Berkley Hills Road Race

Date: 5/14/06
Course: 19 mile loop X 2.7 laps= 52 miles @ T 2:26. Three climbs per lap and the finish on one of the bigger climbs.
Category: Elite 4
Field: 50
Teammate: Said-Jon and Josh
Place: 23rd/ 22+mph avg speed

After Cat’s Hill, I went out and did a 2 hr ride to work out my legs from the intense but short race. I thought I would be o.k. And my plan was to ride for the team and help Said-jon and Josh at all costs. If I was lucky I might even finish! I didn’t manage last year…

I got there and the usual mayhem at the registration table meant I was going to get 25-30 min of warm-up. Channing and Darius were there and driving the follow car for our race and we got to all hang out and talk a bit before which was cool.

We line up and take off up the “neutral” section of road and guys are jumpy already. The group turns onto San Pablo Dam rd. and the pace picked up somewhat. It’s a fast long downhill run but not really steep. I was planning on moving to the front and working on some of the smaller climbs and figured I would test out the legs where possible and have enough time to sit in before the first major climb. Last year I was dropped off the back and I was a little nervous about the first lap. I felt if I could make it with the main group I might be in with a fighting chance. To make a long story short I ended up 2nd wheel for quite a while and the rider in front of me didn’t want any help, so I got a free ride up to the base of the hill.

First time up the hill and I figure I’ll do a good pace (in the 42X25) up the long first climb and hope it will be good enough to keep me in contention, I ended up leading up the whole thing. As much as it hurt, it also was a big relief to get there. Now I had 7 climbs to go and I focused on staying to the front when possible and conserving energy.

Climb after climb I managed to hang in and on the second lap though the feed zone I managed to get a bottle of water and I dumped ½ of it on my head. Now I know why the guys in the Tour do it. When it’s 85+ degrees and your hammering yourself into oblivion, some cool water on the noggin goes a long way to snapping you out of the race daze. I was still in the race on the last lap, I could barley believe it. I was feeling good and I was only really worried about cramps at this point. Not having done to many longer road events (over 2+hrs), cramps have been a bitch lately and I did what I could to stave them off (Pedelyte, Tums, and lots of water) up to the event. After the long decent on S.P.D. rd. we hit the 2 small climbs and sure enough I got some twingin’ in the legs. Oh man! I grabbed what water I had left and downed it all and just tried to spin and stay in the pack. Not now! I was so close to the finish….. I was planning a big surge on to the face of the last climb with teammates in tow but things were touch and go at this point.

2 riders broke away on the twisty rollers that lead to the base of the first climb. One being a rider that I was marking all day (he flatted and got back into the race) and I knew he was a danger. I got Josh’s attention and alerted him to this fact and we started to move to the front as no one was chasing. A few Cycle Sport guys lifted the pace for a bit but sat up. I told josh I could bring em' back but I would probley blow on the climb. We talked about it for a second and I decided to close the gap (which I did) and then hung on for dear life over the climb. Josh gave me a little push right at the top and I made it. Phew! At this point I was just trying to finish with the group and not lock my legs up on the final climb to the finish. On the run up the to the finish I had to sit up and go my own pace and watch the guys take off up the hill.

Fantastic team results: Said- Jon finished 3rd and Josh 8th…….and I brought up the rears in 23rd. Fusion Sport has been on the Podium at almost every race we’ve been at. One hell of a job guys….

This was not as good a finish for me as say McLane RR but it was a mental victory for me. I felt that I rode a good race, watched who was doing what and I was able to move around pretty well within the group. I managed to help my teammates, provided support and drove the front a bit taking the pressure off of them having to worry about it. All this after…….Cat’s hill.

Things are about to get a bit harder from now on, as I received my upgrade to Elite 3 and will start doing the Masters 1/2/3 and Elite 3 stuff.

Up Next: ST Bikes Criterium. Site of the #@^%# word heard around the Internet and my first ever win.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cat's Hill Criterium

Date: 5/13/06
Course: L shaped very technical with some cracked/ rough pavement and of course, the hill. (12laps)
Category: Elite 4
Field: 97 starters
Teammate: none
Place: 12th/ 26mph avg speed
Link to some photo's:

This race has a prestigious reputation in the area and It’s been around for a long time. I’d heard that this race was a tough one from lots of people and that it would be a good race for me. Being fast and technical with a brutal but short power climb “The Nicholson Avenue hill (Cat's Hill) is a gut-wrenching 23% climb” I knew it would be a big challenge. I walked over to the hill and scoped it out before I warmed up. Steep for sure but nothing we don’t have here in the city. I thought the tough part was a little dip after the top of the hill that led into a short false flat.

I got a decent warm-up of 35 min and felt ok. I didn’t get to do any hard workouts leading into this race and with Berkley Hills the next day I figured it would be the best thing to get me ready for the harder and longer race on Sunday. I lined up on the front and was relived to be there. Then to my dismay, the Los Gatos riders got a call up to the front. Kinda lame but they put on the event so whatever…. I still was in the second row and was confidant of a good start. Well all good plans at some point can go to hell in a hand basket and sure enough the guy in front of me muffed getting in his pedal bad and I was instantly 25-30th place! Knowing that it would string out fast, I tried to make my way to the front before the hill but there was too much mayhem and I had to work with where I was and try to move up. I had gone into this race with a Cyclocross race strategy in mind. The big hill was like a CX run up. Shoot we only had to do it 12 times, and we had a great downhill to get some recovery on.

I made me way to the front around the 3rd lap and proceeded to pull a whole lap with the idea of getting a lap at “speed” and try to figure out the course. After a lap across the finish line I fell back into the top 10 and was really feeling the effects in the legs. They just weren’t feeling too fresh and I was hoping they would clear out before to long. The pace picked up with 3 to go and a small break was off the front. I was content to play the waiting game and hope to counter attack with a lap to go. Last lap up the hill you need to be at the front really or your chasing till the finish. I managed to get back to the lead group on the last lap but was a little gassed. On the downhill we were going to fast for me to make up places so I sprinted off the last corner for all I had and got myself into 12th.

This was a tough race but I really liked it, because it’s so hard. Really no place to hide and very technical. At the end I was feeling a bit better and felt like I could have run more laps. I think I got a handle on the course and next year it will go a lot better even though as an Elite 3 you do 20 laps! Yahoo… I will be more prepared next year.

I went home and rode for 2 hours after, because our race was only 27 min! and my legs felt like wood. I think things will be good for tomorrow. The plan is to do whatever I can to help my teammates Said-Jon and Josh, even if I blow up and don’t finish. If they make it onto the podium, it will be worth it for sure.
Stay tuned, Berkley Hills up next…

Sunday, May 07, 2006

EMC Criterium

Fusion on the podium again!

Race Report: EMC Criterium

Date: 5/7/06
Course: 1 mile office park crit with a 200~ meter finish
Category: Elite 4/5
Field: 100
Teammate: James and Josh.
Place: 3rd/ 26+ mph avg speed

I went into this race knowing I wasn’t 100% (bit of sore calf muscle) and short on race fitness. The main goal was to finish in the top 5, which would get me the remainder of points needed for my upgrade to Elite 3. I wasn’t sure if Josh or James would make it to the race but they both did. If possible, I wanted to help them out if they felt good.

I got to Pleasanton and jumped on the trainer. I got to watch the 3’s race while warming up, very cool. The sun was out and looking like quite a nice day really. I lined up on the front and chatted with James a bit. At the whistle… we’re off. I got the hole-shot and figured I would pull a lap, to warm up. I looked down and saw 25+ mph on the clock and though sheesh I feel ok. Still… I pulled off after the finish line and slipped into the top 10, I looked back and it was all strung out. I was hoping to take the pressure off James and Josh by doing a lot of work up front, hoping they might get to sit in. Well a quick sip of water and back to the front. I was feeling good and not riding over my head. After what seemed like a few laps, I peeked at the time and saw 20 min. Cool… I was feeling o.k. and running the pace at the front without to much bother. I focused on being attentive and going with all the prime surges. I was away with every one but sat up and coasted across for the primes. It was good, I basically got to do a few trial “runs” into the finish and it paid off later.

Well, I’m now down to the last lap and I was alone at the front and getting banged up quite a bit from some riders. Oh, ya, did I mention it was a 4/5 race? I am stoked to not have to do any more mixed 4/5 events. What a relief. I got into good position on the last lap and maintained a top position. I knew I had to be 3rd or 4th at the very least, out of the last corner. I was 4th and on the inside but coming off the corner I lacked the snap I had at McLane and the Ronde. I powered it up and sprinted into 3rd with a good bike lunge. I wasn’t sure if I got 3rd across the line or not, it was a tight field sprint for the top 5~6.

I got a lot out of this race. I felt confident that I was riding a good race and upped the pace more than once. Did this hurt my sprint? No.. I haven’t been sprinting at all and you need to be 100% to do sprint training or you will end up ruining yourself. Once I can ramp up the Tue Port rides, the sprint snap will come, just in time for Burlingame I hope!

Props to James and Josh-->(suffering the after effects of food poisoning) for coming out. Next weekend: Get myself in good shape for Berkley Hills RR and maybe ride Cat’s Hill on Sat.

Fusion Hup!