Friday, April 30, 2010

Cherry Blossom Day 3 Stage 3 and 4

This day was pretty uneventful. Time trials tend to be boring to recall and write about. I showed up on time and went about as hard as I possibly could and didn’t come in last or get passed.

The crit was uneventful too. Thank gawd! I executed my plan perfectly. I was going to make that announcer say my name. I knew it wouldn’t be because I won the race. Not with the two noodles I was working with. So I was going to go out for as many laps as it took to make him call out our team and my name and then get shelled directly.

I went out on the third lap. I didn’t know that there was a guy up the road already. That SOB was taking my glory and I would have to catch him to get the announcer to say our team name. But as we passed the start/finish line for the 4th time I heard the announcer say it and I went back to the pack. I was planning on getting shelled but I stayed on to the finish. Just trying to keep the rubber side down and get to the beer tent with all my skin. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cherry Blossom Stage 2

Todays stage was 54 miles of climbing, if there was a downhill section of that road I don't recall it. And not just because I blacked out more times than I care to share.

The race started out ok just like the rest we did the two small loops with punchy little climbs that softened up the legs that were already mush. The group stayed together just fine through those little loops. Then we made a left and up we went, again. That's when the screws were turned and I lost contact. I was cross eyed trying to stay in contact and inside the cars that couldn't see straight and was weaving all over the road. To make matters worse the back stretch had a false flat to a climb with a headwind, oh and the headwind by the way no matter which way you went today was there. Brutal! Demoralizing! We got to the next up hill bit, about a mile and half of dirt road that was a true tempo climb. That went on for 3 laps. Did it sound like it was all up hill? That's cause it was!

The last lap a group of us had formed out side the cars just trying to limit our damage, and save some face. When we got to the final climb, on the dirt stretch, I started to lose consciousness, no kidding, I dipped so far into the tank that I was seeing twice as many stars and begging for my mamma. That climb turned me into a little kid. The lights started to go and I grabbed everything I could find to eat, I even got a little nibble of my right index finger. Poured some water down my throat and finished the climb. Just as we topped out some pros went by me like I was standing still. Hell I thought, in my not so lucid state, that I was actually going downhill and wobbled a little in fright. Then I do remember one descent that I suppose we must have done before but couldn't tell ya. I was so out of it that I think my body was trying to crash the bike on the descent so that I wouldn't have do this anymore.

I collapsed at the finish! I am 22 min back

Cherry Blossom Pre Stage 2

I wake up to early! I had a good night sleep though. I went out and hung with some friends. One of which made some Strawberry/Chocolate/Mint/fat/fat/fat pie. I housed the thing. I couldn't stop eating last night. This morning wasn't much different. Woke up hungry and having to piss. The worst feeling, which one do you battle first.

I hit the foam roller and took a look at the weather. Although no need to look at a computer, it's staring me in the face from the big picture window. The worst combo for today. Hurricane force winds, raining and cool. Perfect! A hilly Belgium race in The Dalles. This race can only go wrong for mediocre rider like myself.

We will see how cross eyed I get today. I suspect I will need smelling salts after the stage today. Chad didn't do us any favors by taking 7 mile hill out of the line up. I think today will have people begging for 7 mile to come back. There is a 10 min sustained steep climb (shit it's really comin' down now!). There is going to be a mud bath on that climb today. I just hope I come out alive!

Ok I need to find my testicles and get to the race!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cherry Blossom Stage 1

It was a gorgeous start to the day. A little breeze, about 60 degrees and sunny. Some high clouds. We got to reconnect with friends and chatter a little and shit talk with some rivals. We got placed right next to the Team O guys in the lot and jive talk a bit.

I do like stage racing though. You really get to test your legs and lungs. Here is where you find out if you've done things right over the past few months, and if it was worth alienating all those relationships during the winter. It's just a different atmosphere joking and relaxing, all I do for three days is ride my bike at a blistering pace, eat and sleep. I love it.

The race started out reasonable enough. A little wind, and little casual conversation, and then we hit the first climb. People shut up and turned the screws. The first time up that climb wasn't horrible but you could tell that it wasn't going to get any easy with every time up.

The strong guys were all marking each other and I was marking them just trying not to lose time and still trying to test if I am strong enough to hang with them. There are a group of guys, about 12 strong, that are all going to upgrade after this race and I am going to see where I fit with them before they leave.

The back stretch was casual each time, the group was getting smaller each time as the big climb became selective every time up it. The third time up the climb, I didn't think I was going to be able to make up with the lead group. Lap two had hurt me badly enough that I was in danger of getting dropped on that third climb. I redefined how deep into the pain cave I can really go today. And I guess once your fitness is there that really is what racing is about. How much can you hurt. I have realized that I have levels of pain to reach that I didn't know existed. I am sure there are layers still left to peel away.

I finished with the lead group of about 50 guys. It was a sprint finish and I didn't lose any time. Beautiful day, great race, tomorrow will likely be a different story.

Cherry Blossom Pre Stage 1

5:30 alarm, "I'm a Beggar in the morning" by The Barr Brothers. And I kinda am. I am begging for more sleep. I roll out of bed to make coffee and spew some words on this page before the big first stage of the weekend. Today appears to be a bit windy and that doesn't help matters. It looks to be an easterly which means that not only will we have a climb today but it will have a nasty headwind on the climb and on the descent. Perfect. Beautiful day though. It is awesome that the Fieldings let me stay here for this race. Guy, the Fieldings son, and I joked over email about me mowing the lawn whether it needs it or not because his dad has a sign up that says so. His dad didn't take at as a joke, he said the lawnmower's in the garage... So I guess I am mowing the lawn after stage one today. The life of an amateur bike racer just isn't as glamorous as we'd like. When was the last time Hincapie mowed his own lawn after a stage race? Or at all! Then there is the fact that I'm going to work on Monday, or at least I'm showing up.

Let's hope I show up at the race today. I don't feel so confident this morning about how this is going to go. I know there are some guys that are coming that plan on tearing me apart and everyone else for that matter. It's not personal, they're just stronger than me... for now. I'm just trying not to lose time today. But I am as tapered, tuned, and as thin as I can be. So what races today is what I am no excuses. This is one test that I did study for, unlike the PE, and today we find out if I am bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BMC is one of our sponsors here's what I think...

Turns out it doesn't have a power multiplier like I'd hoped, still just my legs getting me up the hills. But what it does have is an innate ability to get the rider downhill fast... this allows non beanpole/strong climbers to catch back on again and again with little effort. Seriously this bike descends like a stone, very stiff, very responsive. Screw "feel the road"... "be the road" with this bike.

Kings Valley 4.10.10

This race was difficult, there really isn't much more to say. I didn't do much, I tried one break and got shot back to the field by the wind where I remained for the duration of the ride making sure I didn't get shot out the back. I went into this race with tired legs and was looking forward to the pain, but I was hoping to be a bit more active. That didn't happen, instead it was a sit in and watch everyone else have fun/inflict pain. All in all a good day spent in the sun with good friends. Nice job to the guys who actually raced today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peace of Cake Road Race

I woke up to rain beating against my window and tin roof in the back. It was still dark out about 5:30am just before my alarm went off. I rolled out of bead and started the prerace routine. Coffee, food, email, pin the numbers on, and pack up the bike and clothes. It’s been a few years since I’ve done POC and the last time I did it I got a podium spot and was looking forward to what this race would offer. I headed north to Woodland Washington. I was on pace to be there my normal two hours ahead of time.

When I arrived in Woodland and got to the race site, it was empty, eerie. I check the race website on my phone and sure as shit, the race wasn’t in Woodland anymore they had moved it to Oregon south of Salem, now an hour and half away. This is not good! I’ve had races before when I didn’t have any warm up and that didn’t go well. I got shelled on the first lap. I get back on the highway and start my cannon ball run to the new race site. Had I left from the house in the right direction I would have spent an hour in the car not 2.

I got to the race site in time to get dressed, eat a little, sign in, and get a quick ramp up. The weather for this race was going to be the most challenging thing about this race. I had just spent 5 hours duking it out with some strong riders on Saturday and now I had my second cat three race in wind that would like to blow the lettering off my kit. The rain only added to the pleasant morning. 10:15am race starts.

We start out at a reasonable pace only because we are mandated. Then once the lead car gives us the go ahead the fury was unleashed. Man even the tail wind hurt here. First lap we must have shelled half our field. We mad a left turn that enter the pain cave, a road that had open fields on both sides so the wind could really wip through there. It guttered us all. No eshalon. We had to do that son of a bitch three more times. We made another left turn into the head wind and that was like hitting a wall of wind and water that sent us all backwards.

The second lap was when the attacks started flying. Even I was trying to get in on some of the action. Tired legs and all. Nothing I was in or around stuck. It was right back to the bunch for me. The race pretty much went like that for the duration. Chase and counter, chase and counter. My goal of staying with the main bunch went well. I was happy that I got to tough days in a row in. It hurt and I must have quit that race 40 times but I restarted 41 and it’s that last restart that really matters.

There was a breakaway of about 8 guys that stuck on the last lap and I got top 20 in the field sprint.

Great race, very euro.