Friday, March 30, 2007

Ahhh the Ronde

This weekend is the Ronde Ominium. I always try to get to all the Pilarcitos races and this is one of my favs. It's in the "hood" and this year I get to ride in the Elite 2/3 and we'll race for 75 min. Last year I was in the 4's and got on the podium both days and won the overall. This year, well.... I feel pretty good but I am going into it with a few unknowns. I think I can do well but right now it's about getting through the entire weekend in one piece and see how it all shakes out. I won't really have much in the way of teammates, so survival is the top priority. I think endurance will play a big factor and mine is pretty solid at the moment. It's the race "fitness" that been slow to show up but after last week things are looking better.... so... we'll see.... I'll bury myself that's for sure!
Our Elite 4 squad looks strong and I am looking forward to watching them race for sure....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dancing with the devil in the pale moon light

Race #1 Elite 3/4
Field 100 place- 8th
Teammates: Raymond, Cullen, Scott

I was looking forward to this race. The course was a swoopey one with only 2 real straights. I lined up on the front with the boys and we're off. I had only 10 min warm up and for whatever reason my stomach was not feeling good and I was a little nauseous, so I thought hey I'll just ride the first 3 laps in the small ring and pick it up later in the race when I feel better. Well I didn't really feel better the whole race so I tried to play spoiler and block for Ray when he was up the road. At one point I had a few Cycle sports guys and myself blocking pretty well but guys caught on and started chasing and the break fell apart. Raymond was on fire and looked good. I managed to get into decent position for the last lap and sprinted but felt weak. Ended up with 8th. So for feeling nothing short of sick, and riding practically the whole race in the small ring, 8th was OK with me. I rode around in a daze wondering why I felt so crappy and hoped it would pass for the 2/3 race.

Race #2 Elite 2/3
Field pretty full maybe 80? If I read the results correctly I was 22nd for the 3's result and 44th maybe? for the combined.
Teammates: Raymond, Scott

I was still feeling bad and I rode a few laps before lining up. I was looking forward to testing myself against most of the faster 2's that I know ride in the area and that I will see in next weeks Ronde. Pulling up to the line I was slotted in behind Ray and next to Scott. We had to sit there for something like 10+ min. before starting off. Good thing too cuz while there, the shitty haze I was in vanished. Figure that? We take off and I thought well maybe it might work out after all. After a few laps I somehow ended up on the front pulling for a whole lap, opps, that was not planned but these are the things you sometimes have to just suck up and do. For the remainder of the race it was going well. Ray and I seemed to be able to stay together pretty well and shuffled through the top spots often despite the now hurricane force head/ cross wind down the front straight!

On the bell lap I had managed to move myself up into a good position and still felt fresh and ready to go. Past turn one, after the finish line and 2 guys touch and go down in front of me. I had time to see it but I had to do a "stop and go" then full sprint to catch back on to the now fleeting front group. I managed to get back to the group but finished on the back.

Ouch... I was a little disappointed. I wanted to post a good result in this race. Raymond got stuck even worse than me and probably would have been right there as he looked strong as well. Given the circumstances It was good. stayed off the pavement and rode well within the race. I have to say this race was no harder than any Masters 1/2/3 race I have done and in some ways a little easier. Another double race weekend complete and now I look towards the Ronde next week.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and to Chad for some encouragement on the sidelines...

I'll try to post pic's when I find em!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Racing Round-up

O.K. A little late....

Last weekend I did 2 races. Sat.-The Landpark Crit (Masters 1/2/3) and Sun.- Barini road race (Elite 3). The results aren't up yet, not I'm not really sure where I finished in either hence the delay in the reports. The races went well. The Crit was fast and furious and I managed to follow the winning move launched by Hernando but he attacked again and it was time for me to drift back to the pack and finish the race maybe in 35~? I'll take it. Oh was a little warm 80+?

In the road race we had a few plans and with 6 guys reduced to 5 and with only Marc getting a decent warm up we had to just go into it heads up. Marc managed to get the first 2 laps KOM (king of the mountain) points ( first one off the front in a break!) so we decided to rally around Marc and the KOM. Lap 3 saw a dangerous break go up the road and when Marc took off to catch the break I jumped in to help out. Raymond, a couple other guys and I, manged to close it enough for Channing to jump and take 1st w/ Steve in 2nd for the KOM. With only 2 laps left left, odds were good Marc would hold the KOM. I ended up doing a little off the back team TT w/ Marc to finish.

We got the KOM. Hanging in to finish ahead, were Raymond 14th and Steve a bit further behind. We were lucky to not get tangled up in the multiple crashes in the finale although Steve was mowing the grass on the side of the road to avoid one of em'. We agreed as a team that this race would be a chance for all of us to push it a bit extra. I hadn't pushed myself that hard in a while (red line and beyond) for that amount of time, I was happy with my performance and I think the whole team was happy with there's as well. We worked together and showed some heads up riding that with time, over the season, will just get better!

There was more criterium racing this weekend in Santa Rosa and it was pretty hard. I did the Elite 3/4 race and also the Elite 2/3. Report shortly.......

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Riding with the girls.... Velo Girls!

Oh.... snaps. That's a long drag strip

Results: 15th in the E3 and 36th in the M1/2/3

Last weekend I went down to Menlo Park for some office park criterium racing. Velo Girls did this event last year but for whatever reason I missed it. The course was straightforward. 4 corner, all right turns with about a 400 meter drag to the finish. I like the long sprint, so I was feeling pretty good about it before I even warmed up. I went into the weekend solo and decided I would ride at the front and try to be more of a protagonist within the race instead of following the bubble around.

I got a good warmup and the weather was nice. There was a medium headwind down the front straight and then tailwind down the back. I hit the rollers for 40 min and felt good. I posted up on the start line ASAP and forgo ed the sighting lap. I was looking for a start without guys in front of me, which I got, sweet....

Anyway, we take off and I maintained a top position for most of the race, closing down some gaps etc... I felt good and Brad (lombardis) and I worked together a bit. I was having a good race. With the laps winding down I was still hanging tough and feeling o.k. Two laps to go and I got boxed in on the backside after a big swarm. From there I managed to move up into the top 15 or so before the last turn. Even with the long sprint I was further back than I wanted to be. Off the corner and launch the boosters. 14..13..12.....11. Bang! Very bad noises start coming from the rear wheel. WhoA! I sat up and coasted across the line. Oh man I was about to get 4-5 place and I watched it slip away fast. 5,6,7,8910.......15?th place. Well up that point I was feeling good. I had spare wheels, so I could still do the Masters 1/2/3.

Sprinting to a broken spoke.

I went straight back to the car. I only had an hour between races to survey the damage (more than I thought) and switch wheels. I did that, then had a Cliff bar/ Coke snack and had some time to relax in my folding chair... Ah sun... did I mention it was a really nice day? Almost forgot I was here to race... I went into the M1/2/3 with the same plan as the E3 race. I got a front row start and again stayed up front. The pace was however much faster than the 3's, on the front straight it had been 41~ kph, while in the Masters it was more like 51~! I was good until 2 laps to go when I started to feel the pace. Big ring, squirrel humping action going on for sure. ( I think I stole that from Hernando) My legs we cooked, I missed out on the action and ended up around 30th? of like 70?? O.K. I guess. It's my first M1/2/3 race of 2007 and only 3rd crit so far. I think a lot of these guys have been going at it from the EB"s while I have been reloading after CX. I was hammered more after the double crit than the Merco weekend. Endurance/ cardo wise I am OK. I felt like I was beat up with a 2x4 especially my butt. I had to take an extra rest day to work it out...

This coming weekend I am fired up for Barini. I will have 5 teammates in the E3 race and I should make the Landpark crit Saturday but only for the M1/2/3. Another wild and woolly weekend of bike racing! Big shout out to the Velo Girls for putting Menlo Park together, it was good times. Special thanks to Dad for coming down for the cause.

More racing action this weekend!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Merco Weekend

Results: Elite 3
Merco Crit: 25th of 120/ 36 laps/ 29 miles/ T-1:00
Mecro Road Race: 16th of 120/ 3laps/ 72 miles/ T-2.47
What a weekend. This is always a big deal and teams and riders come from all over and out of state for the NRC opener in Merced. I was looking to do well this weekend. My fitness seemed good and I was feeling ready to race. I had missed the tune up races leading up to this event and honestly was not sure how well I would go.

In the crit for the Elite 3 race we had 6 guys in the field. I was hoping for some payback from last year when I missed out on the "W" by half a wheel. umph. Ya... well, that didn't happen. with a 120 person field it was total chaos. Guys were chopping wheels all over the place and I did a pretty good job of staying up front. Marc, Steve and Scott all had a dig on the front but none could really stay up there, only a few of my teammates, Channing and Raymond, were able to stay on the bubble and with 4 laps to go, into the last turn a guys runs up the inside, touches another rider and crashes right in front of me. Thanks to my Ninja like reflexes I managed to not crash and somehow nobody rammed me from behind. I did however have to come to almost a complete halt (didn't want to run over the guys head) and when I looked up the finish straight the pack was already into turn 1. Oh man I thought my race was over, Steve who was caught up in the crash was yelling for me to get on his wheel but I had already launched the sprint to catch the group and was off. To my surprise I caught back on within the lap and now with 3 to go I was trying to move up anywhere I could. guys were all over the place and nobody was willing/ or able to string things out so I had to fight my way through. On 2 to go, a guy rolled his tubular and crashed exiting the chicane and I was watching my chances of a good finish slip away and just wanted it to be over at this point. I managed to get up into the top 25 or so into the run in and on the finish straight what do you know 2 guys right in front of me touch and go down. I have a hard time understanding crashes in a straight line. Guys need to learn to handle themselves and there frikk'in bikes. I felt like I let the team down a bit as I was feeling very good and missed out on the sprint. After I learned that Channing got 3rd I felt better but had that hollow feeling of what could have been. We rounded up the troops and went for a nice 30 min cool down ride after the race. Ah well, at least it was a great warm up for the Road race.

The cool down ride after the Crit. It was a beautiful day in Merced for sure.

For the Road Race I did no warm up. the weather was great and I was a headed into uncharted waters so to speak. I did the race last year as a 4 and we only did 2 laps, the 3's do 3 laps and that's 72 miles. I've done this distance and more but not in a proper race. Last year it was strung out pretty well and moving up in the wind was easy. This year no such luck. Shoulder to shoulder riding was par for the course all day and moving around in the pack was hard. I know I was being a bit on the safe side and not to aggressive in the pack and this was getting very frustrating, as I felt really good and we could only get something going team wise a few times. A couple of times we tried to move up when we were together but couldn't get through or if a few guys did start to move up, clowns would move over, not looking and breakup our lineup. I just don't understand the thinking of these guys. If a team it lining it up I would let them go, and jump on the train. Not jump in and break it up. Idiots....

Anyway, things wind down to the final lap and I was starting to feel a little crampy and Steve came through big with some extra Acclerade and gels. Man that saved me, the twingy feelings subsided before the rollers and I was good to go. The pack was still all over the place but the final time over the rollers you could see guys starting to crack. I kept my rpm's up and felt OK and got ready for the final run into the finish. After the downhill left-hander the road tilted up and the attacks were coming fast. I thought the pace would stay high and I might get up to the front but alas, no..... guys started sitting up, bunching up and I was again caught in the quagmire that was a very messy Elite 3 field. At this point I had Marc next to me and we could see Channing and Raymond 2-3 rows ahead and I commented that we need to get up now or never. Marc somehow found a hole and got going while I was still stuck and watching him sprint up and away, past Channing and Raymond. Once on the final short hill guys were now cracking bad and I was able to get past a bunch and sprint up to Channing. I yelled at him to go with 200 meters left but he was cooked so I launched what I had left and ended up 16th. For all the mayhem and carnage, I feel OK about it. I felt I could have done better and was ready to attack at 1Km to go but could not go anywhere. In retrospect I should have just blown by Channing instead of getting on his wheel, oh well... these are the things you learn while racing. In the top 20 we had 3 guys (Marc, Channing, Me) and Raymond finished in 21st. In the finish line photo you can see all of us and the first place guy (Tora, who I've battle with in the past) all together. Real close. For the 3's squad it was the first time we rode together and I think once we get a few more races under our belts we should be able to get some fine results. Eric H. has upgraded and Jeff E. is ramping up his fitness after along trip abroad so with the addition of these 2 super strong guys we should have a solid squada of 8 guys? Almost sounds too good to be true. We have some other strong guys that are cutting there teeth in the 4's right now and should be moving up shortly. We (Fusion) don't like to pressure guys to upgrade just so they can race with the other 3's. It's always been about learning to race well, as a team if at all possible. Then move up.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have been a bit more aggressive but it was my first race this year and I was kinda playing it safe. This weekend I am signed up for the Velo Girls Crit in Menlo Park for the E3 and Masters 1/2/3. I'm hoping for a good result as I feel totally recovered from the weekend and ready for more lunchervals!

The guys hanging out after the crit.