Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wente Vineyards Classic weekend.....

Saturday 4/26
Wente Classic Road Race
Elite 3/ 66 miles=5 laps/ *T 02:52
Field 100/ 34th place
Teammates: Josh, Marc, Raymond

After 5 weeks of mostly mtb races I was feeling strong but really needed a R&R week. I have done the RR @ Wente before but in the 4's, 2 yrs ago! This time it would be an extra lap and a very large and competitive 3's field to contend with. Coming off a rest week, I knew this would be a tough challenge but was willing to do the best I could. My cardio/endurance is good but I was worried about losing my legs before the end. I planned to do what I could to help out my teammates if in a position to do so.
Well.. first lap, no problems. Second lap still OK. On the third lap a large break of around 12-15 guys were getting away on the backside of the course and nobody was chasing. I spoke to Marc and he felt as I did, that something needed to be done. So he took off to close it down. Only one guy went with him. I was near the front and felt good so I decided bridge to Marc and help out. I caught on to the break right as we headed down onto the long windy start straight. Pheww!
From there things get a little fuzzy. The pace picked up somewhat and I focused on staying with the front group. 3rd time up the climb and I was a bit more tired but still felt ok. Scotty was doing a fine job of water boy and I reloaded.
On the 4th lap things started to thin out and I stayed with the surges and had to close a lot of small gaps as riders popped, also while passing other race traffic. It was then after looking around and not seeing any teammates that I realized I was alone in the group. As we hit the climb for the 4th time I was starting to feel my legs a bit and I couldn't shift into my 25t cog, crap... Stuck in the 23! I could have used that last cog.....
I get over the climb, I'm in with the lead group and actually feel good. Legs were feeling a bit suspect but I thought I would make it to the finish. As we wrap up the last lap and head onto the final climb I was hit with the realization I might finish with the lead group! This would be a huge improvement for me. If my legs would let me I had a good chance at a high placing. As I looked around guys were tired, I still felt good although my legs started to seize up :( with about 1.5 km to go they locked up and I had to stop and walk a bit. I was soooo pissed! I got back on my bike, rode until half-way up the steepest climb---had to stop again, walk, re-mount and speed to the finish.
Not a pretty finish, but I finished. what I took away from this race was some confidence that my climbing prowess is coming back and that IMHO I read/ rode the race well. I was placed right where I needed to be for the finale. The crit was the next day and figured I would feel better after this beat down. Damm rest week....

Sunday 4/27 Wente Classic Criterium

Elite 3/ 50 min Field 100~/ 74th place Teammates: Scott, Tyron, Josh

This course is a super wide open Nascar type deal. I have raced here once before. I like the course for the most part. Although Botts Dotts seem to be in all the wrong places. This would be the first time racing a crit with Josh and Tryon since they both upgraded and I was looking forward to it.

I was active in the race and felt good. Legs were not 100% recovered from the road race but OK. Scott and Josh were in the mix as well and things were going well. Once the 5 to go card was shown there was a slowdown, then a fast lap. then 3 to go. This is where my lack of crit racing surfaced.

I really mis-cued the last 2 laps and got boxed in. It didn't help that guys were all over the place trying to find holes to go through as the pack slowed and spread across the entire road! I was OK and willing to just drill it fr whatever place but could not get through like many others. After 2 guys almost swept my front wheel I threw in the towel and coasted across the line in the rears.

ah crits, I like the speed but I need a few more to get my timing back. On a positive note I felt good after the beat down on Sat. Best of all, after a mid-race flat, my teammate Andy won his race in the 4's right after our race with Hendrick in the top 10 and James not far behind. Those boys did a fine job.

It was great to be flying the Fusion colors again and I'm fired up for Cats Hill this weekend. Off to do hill repeats and then massage!

Ride the big ring, it's your friend.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mtb ride pictures from the week...

29er parking
The top of...

East Peak...

Mt Tam 360 view...

Good ole' Miwok trail.

Not the most technical of rides but good climbs and descents. Fun stuff-- not to mention the views from the headlands on a nice day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lot has happened this week....

Napa Valley Dirt Classic.
One lap/ 22 miles. *T 01:40:44
Expert SS-- 2nd Place
It has "classic" in the name for a reason. The climb out of Pope Valley, towards the end of the race, is very steep(up to 20%) and unrelenting. I did this race last year, got 3rd and I did a 1:45 time. I struggled on the big climb and was so worked I got cramps--walking. This year was a different story.

There were 12 of us in Expert and 25 in Sport/ Open Single Speed which started as one wave. This was a huge group and the bottleneck to the trail was going to be a challenge. I got the hole shot, was first onto the trail and drilled it till past the airport. Fantastic! I ended up drawing two guys out of the group. Then, on the rolling open section before the single track a few of the geared women who I had passed earlier on the climb came rolling by (with what ended up as the 1st plc SS) tagging along. I was recovering from the start effort and it took me a second to realize the SS guy was in tow. Right before the technical single track he got in front of the now 4 person group of pro/ expert women and I never saw him again. It was so tight, I got by where I could w/o taking any of the other riders out.

I had a good race, never cramped and was able to run the steepest parts of the climb. I had so much traffic in the single track, I'm pretty sure it lost me about a minute. There was a guy on my wheel for a while and I managed to distance myself from him right after I almost took a detour in the wrong direction. So from there I rode my own race and picked guys off til the end. After the finish I noticed that my rear tire was almost flat! (turned out the sealant was all dried up). LUCKY! I shaved 5 minutes from last year and had no cramps even with the 80+ degree temps. If I had been in pro SS-- my time would have been 3rd. Shit Barry Wicks showed up and schooled the field with a time of 1:23!! Hey... only gave up 21 minutes w/ 1 gear LOL...

The Headlands have been treating me well. More Miwok intervals in the near future.

Then Tuesday... and shit hits the fan.....

Long story short. I'm unemployed, not by choice and so its job hunting time. This week has been a blur. I did an EPIC ride on Wednesday. My prescription for stress relief was a Mt. Tam round-trip with the headlands on the way home. About 48 miles--on the single speed. The Tam climb alone is long, I set a new PR for the climb up railroad 45:53--about 3 min faster then 2 months ago. Then I got to enjoy the great weather. I hung out for about 25 minutes or so. It was a special day. See for yourself.....

What a view!!
I call it... PERSPECTIVE.

So here it is Friday. I got out and did a solo Paradise loop on the road bike. Shoot I managed to PR the Camino Alto climb and the TT loop. Kinda surprised myself. In the last 2 weeks I'm feeling stronger and my knee isn't bothering me as much.... It's really let me do some better training. the pic is from today. This picture doesn't seem real. the fountain in the background looks photo-shopped in, but its not.

Sausalito coffee break.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Game on...

Napa valley dirt classic this weekend. I'm fired up especially after getting my 29er care package. Bring it...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yes it was a wall....

Talking about the pain to come.....

CCCX #5 Toro Park was a smakdown of a race. I had never ridden here before and I was really glad I brought my 20T cog. I switched out the gear and proceeded to do a warmup lap. The pavement "wall" I had heard so much of was indeed a wall. There was a telling sign at the bottom of the hill that stated "steep grade use low gear" ya that's for sure.

The above sawtooth graph was from an earlier race. We did the climb 5 times, something like 840+ feet per lap. I have to say I was not really to pre-paired for this race. A 21T cog would have made life a bit easier--Just a little. The course as indicated was an up and down affair. The downhill was fast and technical, very cool. For this reason I did a second lap to get a better look at the decent because there were a lot of places to get into trouble.

Pro/ Semi Pro Men and SS start...

I managed to barley cling onto the Pro leaders over the top of the wall. Howie was there also and a bit further ahead so I gathered myself after a flogging and set in for a very tough race. The rest of the climb was somewhat rolling but up. there was only one more steep pitch maybe 40-50 meters at the top before you headed down the roller coaster descent.

Lap 2, I am more focused on riding smart and not to sure where anyone is. The field had blown apart pretty fast. after the second time up the wall I could see Howie up the road. OK I had him in my sights. I figured at worst I would hold the time gap or at best I would make up time on the down hill. This bike goes downhill very fast and handles like a scalpel. 29er's rule!

OK lap3 I am not sure at this point if I am going to finish the race at all. I was starting to get cramp twinges on the last lap and although I was feeling good the legs were in question. I did everything I could to manage the on-set of cramps. Move up, back, drop the heels, toes down, anything I could to spread the work around and give different muscles a break when they started to complain.

Across the finish line on lap 4, I felt better. After getting over the wall I had a GU, drank alot and my second wind came from nowhere. I was able to pick up the tempo and started to catch and pass geared guys on my way to the top. Phew! downhill and one more to go.

Last lap and I'm feeling remarkably better and in 2nd place. Rod shouts at me "Howie is only a minute ahead, your closing!" Wow. I thought if I can get over the wall w/o cramping I might have a chance to pull him back. I think I was a bit faster than most on the downhill, the motocross skills were paying dividends in this race for sure.

Photo by Rick

It was a downhill Disneyland... Hi Rick!

Last lap and I manage the wall....barely. OK I just need to finish. I kept the pace high all the way to the final pitch and once over the top. It was W.F.O. to the bottom with a sprint for time to the finish. Overall it was 37.6 km/ **T 01:48:03/ avg HR 172, max 189 and 5 very hard climbs. It was a well earned 2nd place and this will no doubt help me to get stronger for the upcoming race in Napa next week, the Napa Valley Dirt Classic.

CCCX Toro Park Google Earth map.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Few pics from last weekend

Chasing Mark, who won our battle.... this time.

Crossing the start/ finish with 1 lap to go...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This is the future....

My sister had her second kid about a week ago, a boy. His name is Dylan Jay (sweet.. DJ) the pic is of my nice Tara. She is finally big enough to fit a bike so I didn't hesitate to promptly swoop over to visit the new nephew and bring what every kid wants... a shiny new bike all their own.

The look on her face was indeed PRICELESS. I hope it will bring Tara as much joy as the look on her face brought to me. Of course a new bike wouldn't be complete without a new helmet to boot! Pretty in pink, complete with bunnies.

**insert warm fuzzy feeling here**

Peace out......