15 April 2006

Menlo Park Grand Prix

A 1 KM rectangular course. The two short straights were about 100 meters long. The start finish was about 200 meters from turn 4. There was a strong wind against the field in the backstretch and in between turns 3 and 4. Overcast and cool with intermittent showers. If it was crowded, position in turn 3 would dictate finish position.

I got in an accident descending OLH earlier this week and had a bit of road rash on my right knee and shoulder and on my backside. I had full mobility without pain from the accident while cycling but it hurt to move my right arm in certain ways - had trouble zipping up, putting on skinsuit, so would not be sprinting very aggressively. If I had not already preregistered I would have skipped this race but so it goes. Figured I would get in some speed work and avoid anything remotely sketchy.

35+ 4/5
Teammates: George (from Bakersfield!)
friendly rivals: John and Robert from EMC, Eric P from the city

Was raining immediately prior to this event then stopped for the duration. George said this was his first race back from his broken collarbone, so we would just play it by ear. Eric had the same issue, first crit since breaking collarbone at Giro di SF last year. Stayed near the front for the first 15 minutes. Small groups would go off the front and get absorbed. A group of five got about ten seconds so I thought I would try it once and moved up easily on the backstretch, by the time I caught up, the lead five had shattered and no one would work so I pulled into turn four, turned out to let the guy on my wheel do some work but he would not budge so I pulled about half of the front straight but still no help so I gave up and we were reabsorbed. Moved to the back of the pack where Eric was hanging out. We got lap cards at eleven or so to go. Started working on moving up, bit by bit. Got to about 25th position with two to go when a couple of riders slightly ahead appeared to lock handlebars on the right near the start/finish. Moved to the left when suddenly a bicycle came cartwheeling out of the crash towards the left and it was still going pretty fast by the time I got up to it so I had to brake with about one meter of room on my left. About 25 riders were ahead at this point. I put my head down and worked on bridging back up. A few riders ahead of me started giving up and swerving across the road so I had to brake a few times and I gave up about ten seconds short of the field in turn 3. The hardest thing about this race was that sometimes the leaders would lead the pack into a poor line on the right hand turn 3 that was way on the right side, so folks were getting all cluttered in the exit of the turn and braking a lot, and some folks adjusted their line for no reason whatsoever in the middle of the turn.

Ate half a bagel, drank one bottle of Gu O2 and took two Enduralyte capsules. Was able to make it through the second race with only a little cramp on my calves towards the end.
Teammates: Shawn, Steven R, George (from Bakersfield!)
friendly rivals: John and Robert from EMC, Eric P from the city

Started raining after the first couple of laps and kept up for half the race. One rider went off the front immediately. Steven said he was more of a breakaway type of guy so I sat near the front for the first ten minutes, making sure nothing got too far away without us. Over the next twenty or so minutes, sat midpack, and could see Shawn, Steven R and George doing work near the front. A few sketchy moves combined with the rain caused me to give up some position so I found myself on the back with Eric again. With five to go we started moving up. A loud explosion happened behind us in turn four, someone had a blow out but thankfully not causing any crashes. With one to go I was back in 20th position. On the backside I prepared to move up in turn 3 to slot in behind Steven but several riders braked hard into this turn forcing a lot of close contact so I had to back off. Out of turn four I was ready to sprint but it was too crowded to move up so I did not get to sprint in either race. As we were cooling down, Eric had a front blowout on the backstretch, fortunately he was going very slowly so he was not hurt.

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