Posted by Paul on Monday, February 07, 2005 at 9:58 PM

Cherry Pie Crit, Super Bowl Sunday, 2005

The Cast:
Rob Robertson
Kevin King
Paul Carter, yours truly

The Skinny:
About a 1 mile course with a little grinder of a hill and a hairpin at the top. The course finishes at the top of the hill. We were set for 50 minutes of racing.

The Plan:
This would be our first official race of the 2005. The plan was simple. We wanted to try to get one of us into at least one early break to see what would happen. Then if it was together in the end, Rob agreed to be the setup man and Kevin the leadout man for the grinding uphill sprint. Easy enough?

How It Went:
We started off easy enough. The first trip down the hill felt a little... well, slow. Safe, but slow. Going back up the hill wasn't too hard for me initially, so that was good. The legs felt ok, even with 80+ miles the day before. So we sits and we waits.

The prime bell rings and there's a little action at the front, but I'm not interested and neither are Rob or Kevin. After a few more laps of grab-ass, at roughly the half-way point, Kevin follows a move up the left side before the hill and I see Rob following seconds later in a another group. So a tattered breakaway of about, I dunno, 8-12 get away. So I move to the front and chill. There were lots of teams involved in the break, so I wasn't alone.

The break didn't look too organized, but no matter, I had 2 guys in it, my job was to clog and bog behind. Sit up, read the newspaper, tell lame jokes, etc. So then the prime bell rings again, so I decide I'll try to hold my position at the front for a counter attack. After the guys sprint for the prime, I wait for the lull - the collective sigh of relief - and launch it with conviction normally reserved only for bean dip raids on Super Bowl Sunday.

I quickly joined Doran (sp?) from Solano and a Spine guy who I later found out was Chris and we got a decent gap. We quickly started working together through that lap and the next, although it became clear that Doran was fading already. We cut him some slack but he eventually just dropped off the pace. So then we're down to 5 to go and Chris and I are working together nicely.

I'm feeling good - not explosive - but good. As we wind down to 3 to go, it's still hard to tell if we'll make it. I was debating trying to attack Chris on the hill, or maybe just sitting in and hitting him with my wicked, ahem, "sprint" at the end. With 2 to go, they're getting closer, and it doesn't look good.

At the top of the hill, with 1 to go, they catch us. Shit. One guy shoots pass in a bold attack that didn't look like it would work. I stayed at the front, in the wind, not chasing, but trying to hold my position. I still had a sprint in me. A little before the bottom of the hill, the group finally swarms me, and I try to hold my spot.

Then a move goes on the left as we hit the bottom of the hill. I swing wide and sprint for it, but I've lost too many positions. I charge up past a lot of people, but only manage maybe top 15.

Post race:
Not a bad showing for just 3 guys. We had a man (sometimes 2) in the break for the entire second half of the race. I think our early season training is coming along nicely.

Posted by Kevin on Sunday, February 06, 2005 at 9:58 PM

Cherry Pie Crit (Elite 3's Race):

The day started out kinda normal. Wake up at 6:00 listening to the fishing report???? on KNBR 680 and roll out of bed. Get my gear together....load up the car....and get on the road by 7:00.

Get to the race, see some "old" friends (it's my first race of the year), and make my way to registration. The line is long...and as I find out...un-organized. But no problem as I see Paul and Rob and Know it is going to be a good day!!!

I get back to my car, get dressed, and meet Paul and Rob for a warmup.

We talk life and some strategy for the race...by the time you know it, we are almost ready to start. We pack up and head to the S/F line.

The course starts on top of the hill. The road is filled with potholes, and picking a good line is key in order to keep both tires inflated throughout the race. The course then makes a right hand turn to a short straightaway before making another right turn over some sketchy pavement. The road then makes a short bend to the left, then a long bend back to the right. The left hand turn before the Finish line is again sketchy as there is a rut right on the inside. The course then heads up the hill, past the Finish then make a complete 180 and head back down the hill!

The first half of the race is rather uneventful as there are only some solo breakaway attempts which go nowhere. I then see a Solano and a Soulcraft rider (both strong teams) moving quickly up the left hand side on the long right hand bender. I jump on their wheel and we quickly have a gap as we push it up the hill. I take to the front, around the hairpin, and down the hill we go. As we approach the right turn, I look back, it is now just 3 of us...myself, some guy in red and white, and....Rob! Cool!!!!

Rob then moves to the front as I shout encouragement that we can make this work. Then the guy in red and white makes a move so fast that it is very hard to go with! Rob and I get separated as I am barely able to regain the riders wheel.

A half lap later, as the break continues, we are joined by about 4 or 5 others and I feel the break is going well. We push it for a few laps then the Prime bell rings. Before we are able to collect the prime...we are gobbled up, like Beer at a Super Bowl party, and things move on!

I sit back in and try to regain my strength as I see Rob again in the pack and ask where Paul is. "Off the front I think" is his reply. As I am still in a little haze I say are you sure? " Yes...it's definately him" as we are looking at a pack of 3 about 300+ meters off the front. "Great....let's get back to the front" to block! We move up...and try to put the best blocks out that we can...but get swarmed numerous times.

With about 3 laps to go...Paul was still off the front (now just two of them as 1 had dropped off) and looking strong. Rob and I were now a little further back than required to throw more blocks and I was a little worried that if we didn't get back up there the break would quickly be overtaken. Rob was in front of me as we enter the sweeping turns and I let him know we need to move up. He picks up the pace on the left side of the pack and I follow. I then move around him, as his stong acceleration has given me good momentum, and move more to the front. We make the turn at the bottom of the hill and I'm now sitting about 5th wheel. I make sure to not pull through in an attempt to disrupt the chase....which works for a while as riders in the front start to ask me to "work" but I just sit there....they soon realize what I am doing and just try to work harder. At first I'm happy with this as the chase seems disorganized. But then the re-inforcements come. The swarm of people start to get hungry and the pace picks up dramatically. As we are approaching the bell lap the group catches Paul and his breakaway companion.

By this time....I'm about halfway through the pack after getting swarmed and not in good position. As we approach the final turn and I try to move up on the left side with a small group of people...this is good until we hit the last turn where there is a guy 1 bike in front of me who gets "squirley". The guy immediately in front of me slows slightly to avoid hitting the rider, and I have to get off the gas. We make it through the turn and I try to re-accelerate as I head up the hill in a sprint, but with that small hold up...it is futile as I cross the finish in about 20th. Paul gets about 15th excellent considering he was just caught after being off the front for a number of laps!!! Keep that up and a good season is definately on the Horizon!!!

Rob, as it turns out, got caught in a pile up in that left turn at the bottom of the hill right after he helped me move to the front with 3 laps to go. Fortunately he didn't go down but he was separated from the rest of the pack ending his race prematurley.

It was definately a good showing for "C4" despite not walking away with any prizes. We were major factors in both the main breakaways and the teamwork was definately there. Rob even said he heard a comment from a fellow racer that he thought there were 6 riders from our team in the race when there were actually only 3. Definately a good compliment!

The Elite 4 field also had a good PRT showing....but I'll let those who were involved tell that story!

That's all for now!


Posted by Paul on Monday, September 20, 2004 at 8:30 PM

Presidio Crit, September 19, 2004

Vaughn Van Naughty
Robbie 'O Canada' Robertson
Yours Truly, Master P

The Course:
A longish crit course that has a long uphill, a very short flat section (nearly a hairpin back down the hill), followed by a long downhill with one jog in the middle and then another short flat section to the bottom of the climb. The finish was near the top of the hill and the wind was blowing . . . you guessed it - down the hill! Nice! Oh and the course was still a little damp from the rain earlier in the morning. We were scheduled for 50 minutes and the field size was somewhere around 50.

The Skinny:

I started at the back - no biggie since it was a long tough crit and it I wasn't worried about losing it on a poor start. So I hung back for a bit. I was a little worried about the corner at the bottom. It was at the end of a long downhill, so you came into it hot. There was a little storm drain on the inside line, some botts-dots to rattle you off the middle line, and some wide, slippery crosswalk stripes to make you think twice before attempting to defy any laws of physics as you're leaning it over with 50 of your closest friends. The gnarly barriers on the outside at the turn's exit made me think of Abdu chowdering in many years ago in the Tour. Oh and did I mention it rained earlier?

I felt comfortable on the hill, but not explosive. I haven't been training too hard lately and I'm missing that extra something. So I sat in. After a few more trips around I felt like I had that bottom turn dialed in and decided to move up.

Perfect timing - they ring the prime bell. So I decide to see what I can do. Once we hit the climb the wind is in our faces and people are sitting in. Finally someone makes a good move to get a gap. I decide I'll try to follow him thinking he might tire near the top. He doesn't, but the two of us have a big gap. I put on the baggy pants, and decide it's hammer time - so we roll with it after cresting the top.

I pull all the way around, down the hill, up most of the hill and give him the elbow flick to take his turn. He sits.

I turn around - "You gonna work?"
"Not right now..."
"At all?"
"Well, I just uhhh, you know... the prime... and uhhh... "

Screw that. I may be blonde and ruggedly handsome, but I'm not that dumb. So I sit up.

Lo and behold, two more guys are bridging up to us. They pull right through and immediately start working with us. So we work together for probably the next lap and now everybody is contributing. I find myself pulling at the bottom of the hill, trying to keep the tempo high. But the guys can't hold my wheel. So I ease up - not gonna happen with this group.

There were a few more opportunities for primes that I could have contested but I really wanted to save it for the end. So I stayed near the front and out of trouble.

I think Van Naughty got pulled a little early but was able to encourage us on the uphill part of the course with the occasional golf clap. I was relieved to see Rob around this time - hanging tough in the front group. I was hoping for a little Pegasus love on that uphill, headwind finishing straight.

4 laps to go. I've got good position and just try to maintain my position each time on the descent. I knew I probably wouldn't make up any places on the descent, I just wanted to try not to lose any. So after two laps I look up at the lap counter, expecting to see 2 laps to go (4-2=2, right?), but it wasn't meant to be. They had counted it wrong, so now there was 1 to go. Bell Lap! Shit.

I wasn't quite as far near the front as I wanted to be and I knew I wasn't going to make up much ground with 1/2 a lap to go. I got through the bottom turn without incident, probably in around 12th position heading into the bottom of the hill.

But it wasn't gonna happen. I made up some places in the painful uphill sprint, but only managed top 6 or 8, I think. I was just too far back.

Post Race:
I've been kicking it old school lately - yes, sans heart rate monitor - the horror!!! So I don't know what my average HR was, but I only felt really bad warming up and sprinting to the finish.

Avg speed: 22.4 mph

Presidio Crit
19 September, 2004

The Unusual Suspects

The Course
0.8 mile loop "L-shaped" course. The long stretch is all up hill with the finish only about 50 meters from the top. The wind was also blowing down the hill. The road surface is good. The next to last corner is a bit of sweeper with a little dog leg that brings you awfully close to the barricade.

The V-Cam

The Presidio Crit has just about the coolest venue in the western US. Where else can you have the Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts and palm trees in the back drop? The race was tough. The field of 50 was cut in half midway through the race. The uphill finish stretch was a long straight uphill that lasts 0.7 to 0.9 km. My heart rate was in the 180 range every time up the hill. Needless to say I popped out of there like Janet Jackson's boobies after a "wardrobe malfunction". Then I was pulled faster than Pee Wee Herman's winkie in some undisclosed Florida theater. Paul and Rob hung tough. Paul was in a couple of short lived breaks, but with no one else willing to bury themselves, they were quickly reeled in. Paul ended up top 6 in a very very tough uphill/in-the-wind sprint. Rob ended a very respectable mid-pack. Not bad.

Posted by Paul on Sunday, August 29, 2004 at 3:50 PM

Winters Road Race
Winters, CA
August 28, 2004

The Cast:
Patrick "P-Money" Monroe
Rob "Everything's Better with Maple Syrup" Robertson
Dave "Shin-to-the-Head" Schindehette
Levi Leipheimer (but he forgot his Pegasus kit and wore some "Rabobank" kit instead... whatever)

The Course:
24 mile loop 3 times. It's got a good hill in it, but enough of a descent and runout to the finish to allow the pretender-descenders to catch back on. The finish is flat and fast, and if all had gone well (ahem), we would have had the full road (both lanes) for the sprint.

The Plan:
Survive. The start was a little chilly, but it was clearly going to get warm. I was bringing all the liquid I could carry and hoping for a neutral feed as well.

Last year I did this race and tried like hell to force the pace on the hill in hopes of dropping people. It didn't work - almost everybody caught back on eventually. So this year, I planned to just go easy up the climbs and save the energy. The race could be hard enough where even just the sprint at the end might be difficult after 72 miles of heat!

P-Money and MapleBoy were busy rubbing oil on one another or something so Dave and I didn't catch their plan. But I know that P-Money has been training hard probably had the same plan me. Dave and Maple Boy were a little uncertain of their fitness and were just out for the tan, the chicks, and the cosmopolitan culture of Winters, California.

How It Went Down:
The first lap was pretty uneventful. P-Money decided to show off his climbing legs on the big climb. Dayum - he was killing it! But I was content to be in the middle riding my own tempo.

The second lap was more of the same. Near the end of the second lap P-Mo rode up and said his rear hub was seizing up. At first it sounded fine, then it started making this awful grinding noise like when I first starting driving a stick shift. So he bailed at the end of the second lap.

At the beginning of the third lap, I assumed my position at the front. This is when the shit goes down. A Maguire guy just rolled off the front and got quite a gap. A Spine guy went after him. I stayed at the front but didn't really work too much. I was not feeling super and was still wondering if I had the legs to get over the climb one last time. Not sure where Dave and MapleBoy were at this point, but they weren't at the front. The Spine guy is a good climber and would easily get through the hilly section without any trouble. I resigned myself to catching him after the hill and descent. The Maguire guy came back as soon as the climbing started.

I stayed near the front on the climb and set tempo a few times, but didn't kill myself. It was now very hot - probably mid-90's. If knew if I could just make it over the climb with the lead group, I could be there for the sprint. We came down and were probably a group of 30-40 - I stayed at the front and didn't really look back.

I took a few turns at the front as we made an effort to catch the Spine guy. It was looking like a race for second. There were 4 Maguires and 4 Alto Velo but they weren't putting any effort in the chase - only 2 of them total were riding at the front. I yelled some sweet nothings at both teams, but since I used polysyllabic words - they couldn't comprehend. Oh well. I decided to sit in and ride for second place. It looked like none of the Pegasus homies made the lead group so I was on my own for the sprint.

At 1K to go an AV guy ramps it up as fast as he can for the sprint and I'm right on his wheel. But, of course that lasted about as long as a JLo relationship and at 500 meters he pulls off, leaving me in front. Now what do I do?!?!?

So I keep the tempo high, wait for the guys to swarm me, hoping I can just hold onto a decent placing. At 200 meters we're supposed to get the full road. But, when we hit 200 meters there's more traffic than a Paris Hilton website: a truck in our lane, and a big utility truck with a trailer in the other lane coming towards us. Nice. I stay seated, keeping it safe as we steer left then right around the first truck and come across the line a safe distance from the truck in the other lane. Four guys came past me, so with the Spine guy winning solo, I ended up 6th.

Woohoo - another Velo Promo T shirt!!!

Post race:
I drank nearly 5 bottles of water and still ran of out of water with 10K to go. HOT!!!
Avg speed: 23 mph

And yes, Levi Leiphiemer really was there, just back from the Olympics, but I didn't see how he finished.

Posted by Kevin on Monday, August 16, 2004 at 11:09 AM

Ronde Van Brisbeen Circuit Race:

The course is a 1.7 mile semi-oval loop. The start of the lap is all down hill with two tight turns (a left hand bender half way down then a real nasty 90 degree right at the bottom), and the second half is all uphill, back into the slight breeze (blowing at about 25mph). The finsh is on a right hand bender at the top of the hill.

The Race:

Rob and I meet up before the race and we get in a good warmup. We head down to the start line where they explain the rules of the day, including the 5 primes they have which also have 3 places for each. $20 plus schwag to first, $10 plus schwag for 2nd, schwag for 3rd. Decent prizes!

We start the race (on time!!!) and head off. About 30 meters from the start line, just to make sure we knew how windy it was, an A-Frame became unglued from where it was standing and landed right in the road. Everyone avoided it, but it was obvious it was going to be a tough day!

The first lap was quite uneventful as everyone seemed to be getting a feel for the couse.

Second lap, we come to the climb and already tempers start to flare as two riders almost crash each other out in the gutter, then words start exchanging. Then the rider further from the curb, right next to Rob, and in front of me takes one hand off his bars as if to hit the other rider. At this time Rob says something I couldn't quite hear, but this fortunately stops the punch that was about to happen and the guy turns his attention to Rob, who wisely doesn't respond to what he is saying, and everything settles down again.

Third lap...more interesting happenings...We are on the decent approaching the bottom right hand turn. I am on the inside of the peleton (right side) and starting my breaking for the turn when I notice a rider way to the right of the peleton and comming in at a bad angle to the turn. Since he was in front of me I yell to him I am giving him room to get in, because I knew if I didn't he would most likely take me out. At the same time, the front of the group hits the turn, literally, as there is now a pileup with bikes, people, and metal barriers flying! So now I have two things to worry about, but fortunately the guy to my right, makes it through the turn, somehow, and we get past the mess which took out between 10-15 people. Phew!!!

Fortunately, things calm down after this as attacks start going off the front, manily because of primes, but it was quickly obvious that a breakaway of only 2-3 riders wasn't going anywhere because of the wind on the climb.

Just under halfway through the race I hear a prime bell ring. As we hit the climb again I work my way up to the front intent on going for the prize, as well as test to see what the finish will be like with a hard effort. I am sitting about 5th wheel when a group attacks from my left. I hook on their wheel and follow until about 150 yards left. This is where I make my move. I pass the leader and hit the gas. I can see someone trying to follow my wheel so I hit it harder. I cross the line, and look to see what the damage is. The main group is about 35 yards back, and the wheel sucker is about 5. Feeling good about my effort, I decide to see if it is possible to stay away so I hit the decent with purpose. The other guy must be thinking the same thing and he closes in on me. However, after we take the right turn at the bottom, we quickly realize we aren't going anywhere and sit up.

Content with how I am feeling I decide no more attacking and just sit in until the last lap. The deeper into the race we get, the better I am feeling about this decision as more attacks go off the front, and everytime, the fail miserably within a lap. The wind is just too strong to face in a small group.

Now to the last lap. The bell rings and the remaing field (about 40 of the 80 we started with) heads down the hill. I am about 3/4 of the way back in the field, but not worried. We approach the sharp right as I am comming up on Rob and ask him if we are having fun yet! Yes, he yells, and we are through the turn safely!

We head into the climb and I sit patiently at about the halfway point in the field. About 3/4 of the way up the climb I start to make my move as people are starting to get impatient around me. I move up the left side and just as I do an acceleration starts to string out the field! Perfect! I think to myslef as I feel I am in great position! About 200 yards left there are about 3 riders in front of me, just to my right. I'm on them like glue. Then two riders start to move up on the left side, I see that both groups are starting to fade and there is a hole! There's my opening! I hit the gas knowing if I make it through the hole, I am home free! Just as my acceleration is taking effect and I'm feeling good, the two from my left literally shut the door. They come right into me forcing me to scrub all my speed!!! AARRGGHH!!! With no momentum left...and no place to go, it's all about keeping what I can at this point. So I try to re-accelerate, but there are now no holes, and everytime I think something might open up, someone seems to get in my way again!

After what seems to be forever of trying to fight the no-hole, people moving everywhere sprint, I finally cross the line in 5th place, narrowly edging out another rider for the spot.

The story should end here, but unfortunately, this is where my frustration with the race just begins.

Back at the car after the race, the results are taking forever to show up. Eventually an official walks by. I ask him casually if there is anything I can protest because of the people comming into me. He says he couldn't do anything because we were out of the view of the finish line when the people cut me off. He also said the results were going to be a little while longer as one of the cameras set up to get the finsh was actually blown off of the stage and down the hill at one point in our race...Yes it was that windy!

So I wait, and wait. Eventually they post them. I see they have me placed 5th so I'm happy the got that right. Moments later, I hear a voice from behind asking me if I was the person who beat him for the prime that was halfway through the race. I recognize the guy, and say yeah. He goes on to say, they don't have us down for any primes at all!!!!! Immediately I think there must be some mistake...but he was right...they didn't have us down.

So we set off to see what we can do. After getting the runaround for about 5 minutes, one official tells us we need to go to the S/F line and talk to those officals. We walk down there and end up waiting another 10 minutes because the race that was after ours is about to finish. The race finshes, and we go up to the official and tell him our story. He looks at his sheet, and says he has us down for leading a lap, but not a prime lap. You have to be kidding!!! I say nicely, but he isn't budging...and soon we decide there will be no changing the situation! The only thing I can figure, is that they rang the bell and forgot about it!

So more frustrated than ever, I make my way back to the registration table, where they are doing the podium pictures for the top 5 and wait some more! Finally we get called to the podium, I crack a fake smile, collect my Nickle & Dime prize and bolt quickly figuring I don't want them changing their minds about even giving me that much!!!!

Believe it or not:

Despite my sincere frustration with the officiating errors listed above...I did actually like this race and would do it again. The course was challenging, and for the most part, I thought fair. I overheard somewhere in the middle of everything that next year this course will probably be part of a stage race the club is trying to put on. So (Paul) keep your eyes open for that, it would suit you well!


Posted by Rob on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 at 1:19 PM

Ottawa Grand Prix Road Race (Saturday July 19th)
Course:  13 mile * 4 laps of surprising punishing rollers and small climbs.  Including one 7 minute climb which is defended where the moves will be on this course.  Incline similar to South Gate with a steep section very similar to 1000ft Northgate and similar length.
Category: Senior 3-4 & Juniors combined - Yikes!!
So I headed up to the course on Thursday afternoon to ride the course in the rain to make sure I was prepared.  The course was as I remembered it but my Kyrium front wheel had a weird shimmy in it.  A little later I would figure out that the whole front hub was loose and that all the bearings and everything were getting ready to fall out.  With a quick trip to the bike store they were able to repair the problem and I was ready for the race on Saturday.
Saturday comes and it is so muggy that I feel like I am just dying.  During the warm-up my legs feel like crap even though they have felt great for the last 2 days.

The race starts in the flat portion in the middle of the main climb of the circuit.  There is an attack off the front as soon as the race starts and the pace up the hill is absurd.  The incline is about the same as south gate mountain diablo and we are doing 18 mph and up when the grade decreases.  I am feeling OK and we catch the attackers after the main climb.  I am concentrating on smart racing, conserving my energy and watching who looks strong.  Near the end of the first lap riders from Velocity racing are beginning to slide up near the front so I go with them (knowing that last year they put 3 guys in the top 10).  With 1 km to go to the 1000ft NorthGate like section of the big climb I am 5 back from the front with 3 velocity and 2 other guys in front of me.  One guys is a really sketchy junior who is riding on the right so I stay far to the left because he looks like a crash waiting to happen.

Sure enough the attack comes from Velocity and I am on it immediately and feeling powerful we ride through the steep section and I know that things are going well.  We flatten out a little and the Velocity guys put in another strong attack.  The junior to my right is all over his bike trying to stay in the attack and somehow manages to crash him self out.  People behind start to ride over his bike and it keeps jumping further to the left.  Before I can get myself past there are riders down beside me and the juniors bike in front of me.  I have to come to a stop and put a foot down and make some room to get around the fallen bike.  Meanwhile hearing the crash Velocity has hit the attack even harder and are quickly moving up the road.  Somehow in the confusion there are about 20 guys up the road and I know that this will be the winning move and I need in the group.  There's no sense saving my legs because if I don't go now I will be racing for 20+ place.
I chase hard alone at first and when I see a few others get through the crash drop back and organize them to chase.  It turns out to be a tactical mistake on my part.  We end up with about 10 guys who I manage to get into a rough pace line but they had been dropped on the initial attacks and didn't have the legs or didn't want to chase the pack hard.  I have let the breakaway get up the road to far to catch them on my own because the back side of the course is windy so I ended up getting the chase group to help but I still end up doing about 75% of the work to chased the breakaway down.  We end up catching them about 1.5km before the steep part of the climb and I am not feeling so good as we finish the 2nd lap. 
The third lap has another attack come at the bottom of the hill and a series of accelerations through the climb.  I am dying but I manage to hold onto the leaders for 3 quarters of the climb but them my early chase effort catches up with me and I blow big time.  I loose contact but quickly recovery and start climbing well again.  After the climb I try to get a chase group working again but everyone behind me is pretty much dead.  I end up riding the remainder of the 3rd and fourth lap pretty much alone and not having much fun.
I ended up finishing about midpack in the race in the top 20.  We had about 50 guys in our group.  About 10-15 DNF'd.  Not the result I was looking for but I worked hard and was aware tactically..just needed a little bit of luck to go with it.

Ottawa or Bust - literally
So I thought I would set the stage for my weekend race reports with my trip into Ottawa and the excitement that occurred.  Since I actually have to do some work today and catch-up I thought that I would send the race report in pieces. 
So I flew from San Fran to Pittsburgh and then on to my home town Ottawa.  We flew into Ottawa on a tiny little jet.  The one that only has one seat on the left and 2 seats on the right in the isles.  What I learned later was that this type of jet does not have reverse thrusters on the engines which larger plans use on landing to help them slow down.  Our jet only relies on breaks and flaps to slow down.  Remember that because it will get very important later in the story. 
Fast forward to our approach on the runaway at Ottawa airport.  On our approach it starts to rain heavily we come in over the runaway and instead of touching down we flare over the runway and hold off the runaway for quite awhile. 
We finally settle smoothly onto the runway and as soon as we do the plane starts to veer all over the runway but isn't slowing down.  At one point we are sliding around so much that I thought the pilot was trying to turn onto one of the taxiways...But we were going way to fast for that. 
Anyway I have now become very interested in what the plane is doing so I am checking out the airport on the right of the plane when I realize that we are way past the airport and still moving very fast.  I start wondering just how long the runway is because I don't remember it being this long well just then I look out the left hand window and to my surprise I see the end of the runway.  I do a quick double take and before I have time to do anything the plane sails off the end of the runaway.  As it does the pilot comes over the intercom and yells "Brace! Brace! Brace!". 
Well we fly off the end of the runway and continue across a field for nearly half a km before the plane kind of bogs down in the field and comes to a rest.  We wait 15 minutes for the fire trucks to get there and then another 20 minutes before the cabin door is opened.  The whole time the firemen are kind of standing around scratching their heads.  Finally they drive a bus into the field and they evacuate us from the plane.  Being the well behaved Canadian I am the moment I get out of the plane I start shooting digital pics of the crash and everyone standing around.  I think the final straw for the fire chief was when myself and another passenger decided to take turns posing in front of the aircraft.  He yelled at us to get in the bus and something about this not being a circus.  He then swore at us quietly in French under his breath.  So I finished taking my pictures and hoped in the bus.
What followed was an almost 3 hour hold-up where we were passed through initial Canadian customs but couldn't get out of the Customs area because we didn't have our bags which were in the field where the cows lived.
It turned out that the plane had break failure and couldn't slow down in the rain with only flaps and no engine reverse thrusters.  So it ended up sailing off the end of the runway.  My personal take is that the pilot ate up too much runway when he flared on landing and then hit the breaks too hard and hydroplanned the plane trying to make up for using up too much runway.  Since the breaks on the plane have triple failsafe measures I really have a hard time imaging break failure.  It felt more like we were hypdroplanning in a car.
To make a long story short we finally got the bags after waiting for an inspector to check out the plane and cleared customs.  Reporters interviewed me and I got my name and quote in the paper.  The reporter was even going to run some of my digital pictures in the paper but a shooting took place (which never happens in Ottawa) it took the place of the pictures for the aircraft story.
Stay tuned for my race reports to follow when I have a few moments...

Posted by Paul on Monday, July 12, 2004 at 11:42 AM

Cascade Classic, Bend, Oregon - Stage 4: Old Mill District Criterium

A 1.2 K course in the Old Mill District of Bend. It's kind of like a industrial crit setting, but they're rebuilding in that area as well. It was a good course, with one little narrow cyclocross/goat path/driveway part that goes up a little hill from the parking lot (!) back to the road. The finish is downhill and fast. We were scheduled for 60 minutes of racing.

How It Went Down:
I was a little scared of this course and not motivated. With the downhill finish and the trip through the parking lot with haybales (which some idiot decided would be better with large pieces of steel protruding from each) and the goatpath, it just seemed like it would be a little sketchy.

I started at the back of the group, just hoping to maintain my position on GC. Those first few laps killed me. I looked down as we finished our 3rd lap and we were right around 5 minutes gone. Ouch! This could make for a long race.

This continued as I was going balls to the wall, tongue on the stem, heart in my throat for the first 20 minutes. I was having to close gaps all over the place and knew they were pulling riders even this early. But that's what I get for starting at the back I suppose.

The pace seemed more even at about the halfway point as things started to settle down. Then I started to realize the course was actually safe and fun. Everything was wide open, and as long as you set up a little to the outside for the goatpath, it would be fine. Plus, the pack was considerably thinner now.

A break got away that would probably stick. Guess who? That's right, two of the LaborPower guys!!! What a shocker. So I enjoyed it. I considered going for a prime, but decided a little too late.

The LaborPower guys won it by about 30 seconds and I finished easily with the group.

avg hr: 158
avg speed: 25.8
Result: I moved up again a few spots to finish 13th overall on GC (out of 70+ starters). Not bad considering I had one bad day that cost me the bulk of that time.

Cascade Classic, Bend, Oregon - Stage 3: Awbrey Butte Circuit Race

It's a ~13 mile course and we were scheduled for 4 laps. It's got two roughly 1K climbs (the second of which is the feed zone) separated by 5-6 miles and then the finishing climb which is a short, steep two-parter. There are a few other rollers as well.

How It Went Down:
I was hoping to redeem myself after yesterday's disaster. But I didn't know the loop, so I stayed in the middle for the first lap. The Labor Power trio had the first 3 places on GC and got away with one other guy after the second climb. I don't know how that happens and I guess it's partly my fault for not putting myself in the right position to join them, but oh well. So by the end of the first lap I think they had 40 seconds.

Not much happened on the second lap although I reacquainted myself with the front of the group. I led the group over the S/F for the second lap and I think the gap was still steady at 40 seconds - but no one was really making a concerted effort to chase.

Then things started to heat up. There were a few attacks and I was at the front and just went with the flow, trying not to do too much work. Then I saw a good opportunity on the first climb - an Excel Sports guy (who was high on GC) accelerated at the base and I went with it. I took over halfway up the climb and noticed we had one other guy (Jet City?) and a good gap when we reached the top.

We quickly started working together although it wasn't the smoothest paceline I've ever done. I was feeling super. On the second climb I was worried they would leave me, but if anything it was the opposite - I ended up setting the tempo and one of the guys skipped a few pulls after we went through the feed zone.

The Moto gave us a gap of about 30 seconds as we were about 5K from the S/F. We drove it hard on the flats and had them in sight. As we got to the first steep pitch near the S/F line, I knew we could catch them. I could see the beads of sweat on their faces. They had maybe 15 seconds on us by my count.

I considered just burying myself to get up to them, but I knew what would happen. They would wait for me to catch on, and then accelerate away from me. They're all great, experienced riders (Chris Walker just won the Elite National Championships at age 42) and they're all on the same team.

After we came up the second steep pitch and through the S/F the announcer gave us a gap of 24 seconds. We were so close...

I tried to keep the pressure on and power up one of the rollers - but we ended up dropping the Jet City guy. I didn't think this would be too bad, but was now starting to worry more about the group behind catching us. At the base of the first 1K climb, the moto said we were 30 seconds down on the break and 30 seconds up on the field. Stuck in the middle!

The Excel guy and I kept up the pace. He could stand to move into 4th place depending on the final gap. Then, out of nowhere, a Soulcraft guy bridges back up to us with the Jet City guy in tow. It was kind of like Janet Jackson's jack-in-the-box-boob appearance at the Super Bowl: totally unexpected, but a welcome sight, nonetheless.

So we nailed the descent and began the second climb. The Soulcraft guy was big and I wasn't too worried about him on the second little climb. He opened up a little gap and I moved up to try to keep him close - although I still wasn't too worried. We still had probably 10K to go, and I didn't think he could do it on his own.

When we rolled through the feed zone he had probably 15 seconds and it looked like he was still pulling away. My remaining breakaway companions are tired and aren't into another little mini-chase. I'm driving as hard as I can, but they're slow to pull through and slowing the pace when they do. Damn!

After another mile or so, he was still riding away from us! Damn again! So now I'm just hoping that we can finish ahead of the group.

But more bad news, the field is closing in on us. I look back and see they're about 15 seconds behind now. So at 5K to go, I sit up and wait for the counter-attacks to start. I jump on the first one, but it doesn't stick. Then things settle down for the final climbs - looks like we're now racing for 5th place.

The first pitch comes and I hammer it - first one to the top. Then I start to get that special feeling, and as we climb the next one, I start going backwards. Too too tired from the chase. I hang for dear life and finish at the back of the group and don't lose any time on the day except to the break and the Soulcraft guy who finished 4th.

We were so close to catching the break. I was disappointed - I felt super in the chase and definitely gave it my all. Oh well . . .

avg hr: 160
avg speed: 24.5
Result: Moved up to 18th overall on GC

Posted by Kevin on Sunday, July 11, 2004 at 10:16 PM

Albany Crit:

I head on over to Albany and soon after I get finished registering I see Rob walking up. So I say hello to him, and let him know I have a great parking spot in the shade with a nice area for the trainers.

I get back to my car and start to organize when Rob shows up with trainer in hand. I mention to him we have another friend in the peloton. A guy I know from my Tuesday rides who I met on my way back to my car. He is a cat 2 rider who has downgraded to a Cat 3 after recovering from a back injury. I asked him if he wanted to try something with us if the opportunity presented itself and he said he'd be willing...the day is starting out good!!! After a good warmup and a visit from our new friend with further discussion on tactics it is time to start racing. We line up with about 50 others and are off.

The course is a short (.6 mile), rather narrow clockwise rectangle with a slight incline on the opposite stretch of the S/F. Good course for a breakaway if you get the right people.

The first few laps are good. A solid pace, with a strung out group. About 8 or so laps in we get a prime bell. There is a small gap with about 7 riders off the front, but I am feeling good and decide I want a shot at the prize. We take the 2nd turn and I'm off. I attack up the hill and catch the group off the front and pass them right before turn 3. I accelerate again and get a gap...nobody is chasing! I turn the last corner and look again. No chasers...so I start to think, maybe I was hearing things, maybe it wasn't a prime bell...I cross the line anyways. Since we are still early in the race, and I'm alone I wait for the group and settle in again about halfway down the pack.

Not long after I settle back in I see another breakaway forming. It has 4 people in the lead, and 2 other small chase packs. I get a hunch that I should really be in the break, even though it is still very early in the race, and start to make my way back up the pack. After about a half lap I can ascertain that the lead pack has a Solano Bike Club guy in it, and each of the small chase groups have one of his teammates in them...those groups are going to be worthless. So instead of using them to help me bridge...I use them as leapfrogs. I get a small draft from each then accelerate past them. This worked out well until I was all alone between the pack and the escapees. So I put my head down and after just a little more than a lap I catch the tail end of the break. I delay as long as I can before having to take a pull with the group as I try to catch some form of air. During this time I take a quick look to see who is in the group with me and the news is good. 2 riders quickly come to my attention. One of them is a junior rider who is, believe it or not, a very good rider (small flashback here: I was in a break with this guy last week at Davis. We had 5 riders but unfortunately were caught with 4 laps left mainly because the 3 others didn't work with us. But I knew he was strong and a good person to have in a break). The other rider I noticed was the Solano guy...he actually ended up winning the Davis crit last week. The other two I didn't recognize...but even so, I knew we had a shot, if only I could hang on! Unfortunately we quickly lost 1 of the other riders and were down to just four of us.

Our pace remained high, maybe too high, as I feel on a number of laps that I am going to pop. I knew we had a long way to go and made the mistake of looking at my clock at one point and it only made me feel worse. We were only 23 minutes into the 50 minute race. AARRGGHH! I decide however to make sure that if I do pop, that I was going to have nothing left, so I trudge along trying to conserve what energy I could.

A few laps later I can hear someone calling out splits on the 3rd turn. At first the news was good; 15 seconds was the time. However, the next time around, it was down to 12. The next 9. I think to myself that despite our efforts, it will only be a matter of time before they catch us. Oh well, it was a good effort...Right!

But then something weird started to happen. Up to this point we were doing good, but I don't think we were riding all that well as a 4 man group. The pulls were somewhat scattered, and we were accelerating more than we should have. But I think the thought that the pack was going to catch us relaxed the group and before I knew it the splits were back up to 15 seconds...then 20. We were riding much better together and the time splits showed it. Soon there after I look at the lap cards for the first time, and we only had 6 laps to go...Great News!

With 3 laps to go disaster almost struck. I go into turn 1 after taking a pull, and Ooops...I skip my pedal. My back tire jumps in the air and lands hard. I fight my bike for a brief time, and am fortunate to be able to recover. Phew...nothing lost as I am still in contact with the group.

Bell lap and the unknown rider in our group attacks. I'm on the front and let him go for the time being in hopes the other two would cover him...they didn't. We take turn 1 and he has about a 30 yard gap. I do my best to keep him at a safe distance, while also hoping the others will pull through...They still don't. So we hit turn 2 and I'm getting fed up with this so I try to drop the hammer up the incline. No avail...they are still on my wheel...and still not comming through. Turn 3 I hit it again...and finally catch the guy off the front. Still in the lead I know I am in a bad position. So I try to hit it again on the last turn and make a run for it. I'm now in an all out sprint 100 meters from the line. My right calf is now locking up with a cramp and I can see the Solano guy about to pass me on my left. I try to hit it again, but my legs are done! Argh...maybe I can hold 2nd. I keep my sprint for as long as I can, but suddenly here comes the Jr. rider. He splits the Solano guy and myself and takes the win. I end up 3rd. Not exactly what I was hoping for...but since it is my best result so far this year...I'll take it!

On the cooldown lap I see that there was, believe it or not, a crash in the field. I think about 2-3 riders went down, and was happy to see Rob was not one of them. I catch up with Rob a little while later and he mentioned that the field was very sketchy at the end, and he decided he didn't want to get mixed up in the frecas and backed off. Good Move on his part!

As for our psuedo teammate...it's unfortunate I never saw him once the race started...but at least he didn't help the pack chase us down!

Oh...and by the way...I did end up winning the prime...so more good news!

That's it for now.


Posted by Paul on Saturday, July 10, 2004 at 7:41 PM

Cascade Classic, Bend, Oregon - Stage 2: Mount Bachelor Road Race

About 60 miles total. It's 30 miles of mostly downhill, then up a short hill for the feed zone, then down, some flat and 10+ miles of climbing back up to Mount Bachelor Ski Resort. This would be the second stage of the day - we started at around 2pm.

The race starts kinda goofy though - first you go down from Mount Bachelor about 4 miles, do a U-turn, climb back up, and then drop down over the other side. WTF?

How it went down:
You'd think a nice wide open descent would be a good way to start the race - wrong. There were 4 high speed shimmies on this little downhill section. We were doing over 50 mph and these guys looked like they were riding jackhammers down the hill. Scary shit.

We turned around and came back up the hill and then down the other side. No more shimmies this time. We covered over 28 miles in the first hour - mostly all downhill. Labor Power had already sent one of their guys up the road to make the leader's team (from Lowe's) chase.

At this point I really started to notice how badly I had to whiz. My stomach didn't feel so hot either.

We got to the feed zone and I moved up to the front. I still didn't feel that great mainly because of my swelling bladder. There were a few attacks, but, like the articles in Playboy, they just didn't matter.

At the base of the climb I was feeling really bad. The break had 4 minutes on us and I knew what would soon happen. The LaborPower boys would go to the front and ride everyone right off their wheel. So they did.

I was still aching from my full bladder, but was experiencing some stomach cramps too. I guess my nutrition plan for the two stages in one day wasn't quite right. I started falling backwards through the group. It was so demoralizing. I got to the back and the gap started to open up. So I made one final effort to close it.

Hmm, I didn't feel so bad. More gaps were opening up, so I kept closing them. I wasn't feeling as bad as I thought. I kept this up all the way to the top and gradually felt better, although I still wasn't climbing full steam. I finally bridged up the one last group of about 10 as we made the turn up to Mount Bachelor with about 5K to go.

The final few miles was a not so steep climb but into a stiff headwind. I just made sure I stayed with the group.

Avg HR: 150 bpm
Max Speed: 52 mph
Result: Finished about 4:30 down - not nearly as bad as I thought, given the stomach and bladder conditions. This dropped me to 22nd on GC.

Posted by Paul on Friday, July 09, 2004 at 7:25 PM

Cascade Classic, Bend, Oregon - Stage 1: Tumalo Time Trial (Master's race)

6.6 miles total, first 1.5-2 go uphill, then some steep down, then some rollers. I brought the full TT setup: cowhorns, aero bars, and Zipp deep dish wheels.

How it went:
My plan was to launch it as hard as I could on the hill. Since my climbing skillz are better than my flat TT skillz - I thought that would be the best strategy. At the top it looked like I had gained some time on my 30-second-man. But I was feeling it too. Finally got to the top and recovered a little before the downhill.

I got to the top, tried to roll it as fast as possible on the downhill section and the rollers, but I was definitely losing some time here. Blech. I soldiered on and finished in 15:55.

Avg HR: 170 bpm
Avg Speed: 24.8 mph
Result: 11th place, about 50 seconds back.

Posted by Paul on Sunday, June 27, 2004 at 9:29 PM

Topless Girls In The Feed Zone

or Pescadero Coastal Classic, June 26, 2004

The Skinny:
Same hard course, different cast. 1800' of climbing per lap over two short climbs (less than a mile each) and one longer, roughly 2 mile climb. The top of this last climb is the finish. The Cat 3's do a total of 72 miles (which ends up being 2.7 laps).

The Fat:
Last year I got 3rd, which would be tough to beat this year since I noticed that there were plenty of good climbers at the start line. The plan this year was the same: chill on the first lap then look for something good on the second lap. If it stays still together after two laps, I'll take my chances duking it out on the final climb.

So nothing much happened on the first lap. On the second lap we went a little harder up the two little climbs. I started to get some bad stomach cramps - must've been that Forty I chugged in the parking lot before the race. Damn...

The climbs up Stage Road were a little slippery since it was still a little misty and foggy on that side of the course. So it was no surprise when some guy ate chowder on the second descent. He seemed to be fine - just lots of road rash. Although he didn't take anyone down, a little gap opened up and 2 guys got away a little. I was sitting in 4th or 5th wheel stuck between those 2 and the group. It all came back together on Highway 84 though.

The second time up the big climb I started it near the front and rode tempo all the way up. The cramps went away, but I wasn't feeling super. One guy attacked hard (he did the same thing the first time up) but, like a bra to Pamela Anderson: it just didn't matter. He wouldn't stay away by himself. We eventually caught him riding tempo and we crested the top with about a dozen guys and started the scary descent. I white-knuckled it down without much trouble. The 12 of us worked together a little bit, but slowly the group was catching us. So at this point it looked like plan B - keep things together and duke it out on the final climb.

We cruised the flat section pretty easy and then the race started to get a little spicy. There was a $10 (maybe it was $20) cash prime at the beginning of each lap. It was just before the start of the first climb on Stage Road. So some guys were launching it for that. There was a little group that got away here, including Max, one of the Tieni Duro guys who can climb really well - probably the best pure climber in the group. He took off but I just didn't want to chase it down - especially into a headwind. So I let 'em go.

They had probably 30 seconds when we got to the first climb. I was at the front and decided to keep the tempo up and keep them in sight. There were probably 4 guys - I doubted they could stay the 8 miles or so up highway 84, but didn't want to chance it. A Spine guy moved up and took a turn as well. They stayed away over the first little climb and I drove it again hard up the start of the second one. We caught them near the top of the second climb.

So on highway 84, with roughly 10 miles to go, the group was all together. This was a good thing, but I wasn't feeling all that great and was absolutely dreading the final climb. It was at this point that I decided to call ahead and make a reservation for 1 in the pain cave. Non-smoking please. I'll be arriving shortly...

With about maybe 6-7 miles to go, a little break went up the road, including Max, the Tieni Duro climber. I'm not chasin' anything, so I sits and I waits. But, we definitely don't want to spot him even just 10 seconds on the climb - we'll never see him again.

I don't remember how it happened (but I know I didn't do any of the work) but suddenly I'm off the front now with a certain Real Bicycles guy, Max, a Maguire, and a few others. We have a small gap but aren't really working so well together. I work a little, but not killing myself - I still wasn't convinced it would amount to anything.

Before long a few more guys bridge up - enough to make it stick. But some of those guys aren't working. We're disorganized, not everyone is working, and somehow we're staying clear with just a few miles to go. I'd love a little 20 second head start on the climb. We pull through the feed zone and I'm really feeling it - I didn't work that hard in the break, but just didn't feel like I had it.

I recover a little on the flat part and then we start the climb with probably a 20-30 second gap. Max jumps and I let him go - the pain cave is my domain now. I notice there's just 5 of us - Max up ahead, and CVC, Maguire, Real Bikes, and me leftover from the break. Real Bikes is on my wheel and riding the climb in the big ring as he had been doing the whole race. Nice.

Maguire and CVC start to go a little, I'm deep in the pain cave and watch 'em go. I don't give up though. Real Bikes is still on my wheel, big ring and all. Slowly I catch back up to CVC and Maguire, and then Maguire starts going backwards. I'm still in the top 4, but I'm starting to taste the bile now.

CVC starts riding away - I whimper and let him. 500 meters to go and Real Bicycles is pulling now. I'm thinking about the sprint. He's in the big ring, I should just go early and surprise him. Then, some Solano guy (who wasn't even in the break) catches and passes us. Bastard.

100 meters to go and Real Bicycles realizes I'm still on his wheel and starts to wind it up. I should have done something earlier, but brainfarted. It's a drag race to the line and today is not my day. He punks me at the line for 4th place in a photo finish. Shit!

So I ended up 5th - not a bad day, but not a great day, either.

avg HR: 160 bpm
avg speed: 20 mph

Posted by Paul on Saturday, June 12, 2004 at 10:36 PM

Fremont Freewheelers Criterium, June 12, 2004

Flat four corner, 0.8 mile, roughly square course. Some botts dots all around and it was windy - the finish was into the wind.

How it went down:
Kevin wanted to hang for the sprint, I wanted to try my legs in a few attacks or maybe a prime, and Rob, well he's from Canada, so pretty much anything goes. We get the speech about this being a 60 minute crit, and then off we go.

I'm hangin' in, just trying to stay near the front looking for an opportunity. The bell rings for a prime lap, I'm too far back, and not interested just yet.

A few laps later, we're coming through the finishing straight, the group mushrooms a little, I decide to launch it - hoping someone will join me for some lactic acid burning joy. As I do, they ring the prime bell - what timing!!!

It seemed like it took forever in the headwind, but I made it to the first turn with a little gap and kept it going as hard as I could. Halfway through the next straightaway, I look back, and I've opened up a nice gap. If I don't completely blow, I should be able to take the prime solo. I keep it going as hard as I can, knowing the next turn will get me to a nice tailwind. In the tailwind section I look back and I still have a decent gap. It looks like there is some movement in the group, but I've still got nearly 10 seconds.

Now I'm on the last crosswind section and I know I've got it wrapped up. I take the prime solo and just try to maintain it, hoping maybe somebody can bridge up to me. Not happening yet, but I'm not just going to stop pedalling so I keep it going. Well I start to tire and nobody wants to bridge up, so right at the beginning of the next lap, the group catches me. Oh well, 2 laps of solo effort for the sponsors!

Nothing much else happens for awhile. Nothing sticks, but then hardly anybody tries either. It was a little windy, so it's tough to get motivated for that kind of pain. Soon they ring another prime bell, and I'm at the front, so I decide to stay attentive and see what happens. There's a little surge and things get strung out at first, but nothing major. I'm in the front four or so in the tailwind section and when the leader pulls off, I decide to make it interesting. So I put my head down and go for all I'm worth. Maybe I'll soften 'em up for Kevin a bit.

I pull through the crosswind section and make the turn to the final straight. I just keep it going into the headwind as hard as I can. I'm expecting to be swarmed any minute. But nothing's happening. They're just sitting on my wheel. At 200 meters, still nothing, I push it as hard as I can... 100 meters, still nothing. So, I decide to go for it and launch my "sprint". Right at the finish someone challenges me and I can't tell if I got it or not. Photo finish for the prime, I guess you'd say.

It was a little bit before this that we noticed the lap cards were now counting down from 9 laps to go. But it was way too early - at this rate we would finish after 40 minutes. People in the race are whining a little but there's not a lot that can be done.

With a few laps to go, we start winding things up for the finish. I see Kevin out in the wind and move up to help him get to the front. I do the best I can, but I'm not feeling so strong with the wind and my previous efforts. So I peter out and leave Kevin on his own. Rob is near, but looking pretty gassed.

I see Kevin trying to fight it out, but looks like he had to scrub some speed for some reason and he's too far back to make anything happen. Damn. I finish right by Rob - roughly 30th?

The good news is I did win the second prime. So two primes for Pegasus / Allegiant: $20 and some gloves and booties from Bergamo. Not a bad showing for the day. The bad news is the crit turned out to be only 38 minutes. The chief ref goofed up the timing and shorted us 20 minutes.

Avg HR: 170 bpm.
Avg speed: ??? mph

Posted by Paul on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 at 10:10 PM

District TT Championships, June 6, 2004

This is a mostly flat fast course, not so much as Moriarty, but still a great course for fast times. But not so on this day, as there was a little wind. In a TT, a little wind feels like a tornado. We previewed the course the day before and it was really windy, so at least we knew how bad it could be. Riders started at 30 second intervals.

How it Went:
Had a good warm up with the Pegasus girls. I rode the TT Land Shark with Zipp front 440 and a rear 404. I was 2 minutes behind Vaughn, but started 30 seconds in front of Hutchinson. Ouch!

I had a good start and quickly hit a good rhythm - my HR was good and I was feeling pretty comfy. My average speed was probably in the high 27's (mph). After 10K no one has caught me, and although I've caught one person, I can't see my 30 second man anymore. Hmmm. At about 12K Hutchinson passes me. Darn. But, it's a good thing, as I increase my effort and match his speed. On the last hill going out, in fact, I very nearly catch him back.

At 15K we come up on Vaughn. I pass Vaughn going 29 mph, probably a little adrenaline burst since I'm still pretty close to Mr H. But shortly thereafter the wheels come off - figuratively, of course. I start to wither. I can barely see Mr H as he makes his turn. I make my turn - not a pretty site, but at least I didn't crash it, and start the second half. My split was around 27:40 which is a little slower than I had hoped for.

The wind is kicking up some, and I'm not up to the task. For the next 10K I was awful - for parts of it I was down to 22 mph. Not pretty. H is completely out of my sight now.

I come up to the 10K to go sign, which has a smallish hill (which feels like Mount Hamilton now) but there's a downhill after to pick up some momentum for the final push. I wind it up and get maybe close to 28 mph for a short time, but then am able to just waver between 24 and maybe 27. I'm not comfortable, my crotch hurts, my left shoulder aches, my right hand is falling asleep. I'm just trying to save some dignity and finish strong.

56:49 was the official time (I think). Not too impressive, but it was windy. I ended up third in the Master 35+ Open category. Not too bad, I guess, but I'm motivated to do better next year.

Avg hr: 167 bpm
Avg speed: 26.2 mph

Posted by Kevin on Monday, June 07, 2004 at 8:57 AM

ICCC Dash for Cash:

After driving for what seemed like forever (5-7 minutes), I finally arrive in Pleasanton and find myself a parking spot for the crit. I register and set out to find who else made the incredible journey!

I quickly find Patrick and we exchange greetings. I relocate my car near his because he found some shade and we casually start to get ready for our race. We discuss our plans for the day and I mention to him I am currently signed up for the 3's and Pro 1,2,3 race. He says he is going to do the 3's and Master 35+ 1,2,3...and maybe the Pro 1,2,3 as well (he's a monster)!

The race begins and the pace is moderate. My starting position is not great as I quickly realize I am about 3/4 of the way back in the pack. So I make it my goal to move up a little each lap, and by lap 5 or 6 go for a 10 spot! Things are working out perfectly as we are about 5 laps in and the announcer actually announces a 2 place prime. As we round the last turn I am in about 3rd position and just gun it from there. I get a small gap and am able to hold it as I even have time to look behind me to make sure nobody is going to nip me at the line.

A little later in the race I am feeling a little hyper and start to think about going for another prime...Unfortunately, I am a little too aggressive and end up leading the pack through turn 3 which goes right into the headwind. Down that whole stretch I do my best to slow the pack down so someone else will pull around me, but nobody does. At this point we are approaching the last turn I decide I'm not going to make it easy for the wheel suckers to get the $10. As I hit the turn I make two quick shifts and launch an attack. Sprinting as hard as I can I approach the line. As I am about 100 meters away I can see someone moving up on my right. I try to hit the gas a little harder, but to no avail...he has the draft and is going to pass me...oh well, at least I made him work hard for it. So I relax a little and look over my shoulder. The pack is gone! We have quickly built about a 150 meter gap. So I let the guy know we have a big gap and to keep it going in the hopes we can stay away for a few more laps and suck up some cash. So I pull around him in turn 1 and start to take a pull After a few seconds I look back and to my disgust he has dropped back leaving me out on my own. So after a real quick debate I decide to go for it but quickly realize as I hit turn 2 which gives you a nice head/cross wind that it wasn't going to be easy. My legs were still fried from trying the sprint, and my HR has to be up in the 180's. But I keep going anyways. I look back and see that the pack is starting to close...I keep going. Around turn 3 and the pack is closer...I keep going. Turn 4 and the pack is closer...but I can see my $10 up ahead and keep going. As I am approaching the line I can hear the announcer (who is actually a friend of mine) start to yell at me that the pack is closing fast. I give it everything I have left and at the line I have to actually throw my bike to keep a wheel on the two people who closed on me from either side. From the riders reaction (a loud groan), I could tell I just nipped them at the line, that's the good news. The bad news is that I'm fried, and we still have about 7 laps to go.

With about 2 laps to go, I am still not feeling recovered, but I figure I better move back up in the pack. So I am able to get about 1/2 way up the pack as we start the last lap. I continue to try to move up, but on the back straightaway, much to my frustration, people in front of me start to sit up and quickly there is a gap between myself and the lead group. All I could do was watch from there as I didn't have the legs to bridge that gap.

I find out later that Patrick was in the lead group and got a top 20...Good Job Patrick.

The Master 35+ race, unfortunately, was not good to Patrick as he was involved in a crash. He was not injured, but he had to bail from the race and the next one because of a mechanical which resulted from the crash...I'll let him expand on that incident.

So now it's time for the Pro 1,2,3 race. I do my best to get my legs going again before we line up...but I can tell it's going to be a tough one. I spot Steve Wu early, but we are separated in the pack.

The attacks come early and often in this race. As the Dash for Cash hasn't even started yet, and already there are riders trying to get away...but unsuccessfully at first. After about 5 laps there is another break...and this one is dangerous. It has Dave Fuentes and he has about 6-7 others with him.

I see Steve is not in it so I move to the front and start to reel them in. I successfully get to with about 20 meters and pull off to let someone else take over the reigns...but even though the next person doesn't have a teammate in the break either...he just takes an easy pull and the group starts to pull away again???

The next lap I see a pack start a bridge...the good news is that Steve is in that group and they are making ground. The group makes contact with the break...and I breath a quick sigh of relief. But quick it was as Fuentes attacks again, pulling 3 other with him...leaving the group that just bridged defenseless.

The main group is now back together with 4 off the front and this is where things get weird. All the cash primes are being eaten up by the 4 escapees, and the teams that should have been closing the gap, because they had numbers and nobody in the break, were instead doing solo attacks off the front of our field for no apparent reason. Needless to say the 4 ahead just kept increasing their lead...while we were now just going around in circles for no apparent reason! The laps tick off and the race ends with the field pretty much in pieces.

Oh well...it was fun getting two crits done in 1 day...something I haven't done in a while.


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