26 July 2008

2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge

Zayante, where for are thou?
Punch to the solar plexus
Ka pow ow, ow, ow

Wasn't planning on doing the time trial, but these guys made me do it...
T: 25:05
S: 11.3 kph

Full ride
T: 7:38
D: 165 km ( went off course a few times )
C: 73
S: 21.6 kph
Pav: 132
Pnorm: 173

13 July 2008

2008 July 13 Spring Hill Road Race

aka Two Rock Road Race

35+ 4/5 AKA the gang that couldn't ride straight

CTL: 119
TSB: 3

Had to work again last night so had to skip R's birthday bash and the alcohol loading again...

This race has not been held in a long time, I remember doing it when I was not so fit and getting dropped on the first hill, catching, and getting dropped for good on the next hill, which happens within the first two miles or three miles. I also remember a lot of short hills which is good for my correspondingly short attention span.

Park on a side road of the finish hill and find the hill to be really short, and only a little steep. I decide after a second viewing that since our races are pretty negative that I should just enjoy the two laps and fight for position and go all out from the bottom - the climb is very similar to the climb on Sand Hill from Whiskey Hill to the summit overlooking 280 in terms of length, and I can usually can put the hammer down on Sand Hill after even a ride to the coast.

The first lap is pretty uneventful and the first hill is not a problem for me. One of the hard parts of the course is the continuous string of little rollers but none lasts for more than two minutes, and the hardest is the second that occurs after the finish hill. Since I am just sitting in the first lap it really feels like there is more downhill than uphill. The first lap is most useful for identifying riders that one would not want to ride with given any other choice - i.e. riders who swerve violently without looking, riders whose front wheels are oscillating because they are hanging onto the bars too tight, and some riders who given the choice between riding the one foot to the left of myself and the yellow line and the six feet on the right of me that is empty of riders, insist on saying left and continue on their predetermined path...

I find myself surfing the back of the front group for most of the race with a SJBC rider and he is super strong, too. I make childish, snarky remarks about everyone in front of us and he finds me amusing. At one point we have to turn onto a highway and ride the shoulder and a gap opens and he puts his head down and closes it by himself, and I am all too happy to accept the free ride.

On our second time up the finish hill I am feeling really good so I test out my legs and easily get up to the front of the group. This is probably a mistake, but I stay up there until we descend from the next hill - we are down to about fifteen but ten riders catch on during the long descent. On the next roller my calves are starting to cramp so I massage them and consciously start using a smaller gear, which possibly is a bigger mistake.

The next few hills start to make my hamstrings sting a bit, which seems really odd to me as this has never happened to me during a race. But the front of the group starts to pass a splintered women's group and a couple of them entangle with the women and I come to a complete stop and forget about everything else except catching the front group again. I catch before the summit and we are still about twenty five strong in the peleton.

Marked a few landmarks on the first lap and note the last signficant hill before the two turns onto the finish straight, about five miles out, at which point I want to start moving up. So I do, and the first thing that happens is my hamstring seizes up. I signal so the other riders behind me are not impeded, and immediately start massaging the muscle. This is harder to do while riding versus the calves. I am also rapidly losing ground on the field. Do a bit of calculus and figure that I have to catch now or lose them on the descent/flats to follow or the leg will seize up again and the race will be over in either case. The leg cooperates until I get to the top and it tightens again, but I am able to coast/soft pedal for a long time while I massage it. The SJBC rider is kind enough to offer some water/food but I really need a break in the action! :)

The next three and a half miles is fight for survival against the cramp and the field dropping me. We still have twenty five at this point and reach the two kilometer to go sign at the base of the hill. Once we start going uphill, I really, really, really wanted to go for it but my leg is not cooperating at all. The SJBC rider bolts up the right side of the road and everyone responds. I don't have much of a jump, but am able to sustain a decent effort to the top. Can only pass the riders that blow up, the other riders ahead of me are just too strong for me at this point to catch and pass, and when we turn the final corner I think I see at least ten riders already across the line so there's no point to doing much more and I look behind and don't see anyone, including the riders that we dropped on the hill so I soft pedal the final straight.

The SJBC rider won the race, deservedly so.

Close for me, and yet so far. Need to consciously remember to stretch/rest during the race no matter how strong I feel...


T: 2:04
D: 73.6 km
S: 35.6 kph
Pavg: 162
Pnorm: 222
H: 167
C: 96

Spring Hill Road Race 35+ 4/5

12 July 2008

Coyote Creek Circuit Race 2008

CTL: 117
TSB: 17

Due to way too much work and the injured knee from Burlingame still bothering me a little, didn't ride that much or that hard this week and didn't get to alcohol load for this race. This teetotalling is going to kill me.

Like this race because it is so close, and has a significant hill.

Signed up for the 4 and the 35+ 4/5 but due to the knee wasn't sure if I was going to do both. Felt great during the warmup for the 4 race and was third wheel going into the second turn on the downhill when my rear wheel slipped out from under me a bit, corrected and kept it up right, but was wondering what the heck was going on here. Looked down and my rear tire was going flat so I pulled out and had to consider either not racing the later race or sucking it up and waiting around for 2.5 hours, decided to do the second race.

Drank four water bottles in the mean time and probably still managed to lose weight in the heat.

Fixed the flat and got ready for the old and slow guys race, and told my teammates to just follow me on the last lap. Found myself midpack when the bell started ringing for the primes, one every lap (about five minutes) for four laps. Tried using the small ring on the first few laps but the pack was so big I was able to benefit from the draft and ride up the hill without too much strain in the big ring. It took me three laps to get close enough to the front to consider going for it on the final one. Had to get out in the wind on the left on the flat backstretch to move up, as the pack congregated on the right side, and from near the front launched as soon as we exited the last turn. After a hundred meters I looked back and only one rider had responded. Tried to work as little as possible to keep ahead of him and claim the last prime.

Now I kind of felt like quitting but managed to stay in the race. There were only four laps left on the lap cards on our next summit of the hill so I justified it as only twenty more minutes.

Gradually moved up again to about tenth with two to go, then a rider went slightly off course and knocked some cones into the field and I dropped back to fifteenth with one to go.

Tried to be patient and move with the surges on the last lap and surf wheels, got to the second row of riders when there was a pause, for a second I considered going and probably should have since my sprint isn't so great, then Allen from Alto Velo went. Quite a few riders responded so I jumped on the left, unsheltered from the wind from about four hundred meters out. I could tell I did not have a teammate on my wheel but can't do anything about it now.

This drag race went on until the finish, Allen ran out of gas about a hundred meters out, then someone started pushing me with their hand from behind to the left. Now I had to concentrate on sprinting and trying to go in a straight line, finally the other rider pushed me far enough over that I had to slow a bit to avoid hitting the rider to my left and three or four riders passed me with ten meters to go, leaving me in eighth. Then I noticed my rear tire feeling really soft again...

On the plus side, the knee is in good shape, had my best sprint of the year for the prime (still down 15% from last year), and managed to finish the race on a slow leak. On the minus side, my sprint during the finale sucked. Maybe I used it all up for the prime. Oddly, I went harder overall this year for the masters than last year, but did much better last year, but had to conserve in the masters race last year after doing the entire cat 4 race earlier in the day.

Pnorm: 257
Pavg: 182
H: 180
C: 104
S: 38.8 kph


06 July 2008

2008 July 6, Vacaville Crit

CTL: 121
TSB: -7

Rode a bit too hard on the Fourth of July, started off with an easy ride to test out the injured knee and kept going farther and farther and farther... Topped it off with another easy but overly long ride on Saturday so come into this race with tired legs. Sometimes I like riding too much to sacrifice a good ride in order to rest for a race. But can't really use it as an excuse today because plenty of people did Leesville on the day prior to this. Work commitments kept me from getting a prerace hangover, have to make up for this next week.

During the warmup my legs were sore which is not a good sign. Due to some odd starting circumstances, we start really crammed together shoulder to shoulder. Since the course starts off with a technical left, then right, decide to gun it from the start just to string things out and keep it safe.

Two other guys have the same idea so I concede the lead for the first one and a half laps, take a pull or two, and sit back in about tenth for the first prime. On the next prime lap I am sixth wheel and move to the front on the hill, take a look around and decide to see if my sore legs have any jump for this prime.

It turns out only a tiny jump is available which gets about thirty meters on the hill. When I check after the next two turns, the field is about twenty meters behind. Disappointly for me, two riders catch me before the line. I am not feeling that great at this point and pull out, reload for the next race. Using a big ring the whole race with my current legs was probably mistake, vow to remedy that on my next attempt. Didn't really go that hard because I have done this sort of effort for forty plus minutes on the track, so fatigue is a factor for me. Have to reset expectations for the next race.

T: 8:21
S: 41.1
C: 98
H: 183

This time at the start take it pretty conservatively and sit mid pack for about thirty some minutes and use the small ring for most of the race. With five to go start moving up, with the field strung out, just a few efforts here and there and sitting on the right wheel makes this pretty easy even with tired legs.

More people than last year, but not any organized leadouts so it's a cluster even at the front. Get in the top ten on the last lap. When we hit the hill my legs don't respond so well so I just sit tight... An AV rider and Paul from Pen Velo are the first to strike, I respond but the acceleration is pretty puny and I can only manage to be fifth on the descent. At this point my legs are complaining mightily and a small gap opens in front of me. I always hate it when other people do this to me in a sprint... Someone behind me tells me to keep going, so I give my last bit of effort to pull them as close as we can get to the lead group and can only watch as the top ten riders sprint madly for the line.

This race was really easy compared to last years' data, but I can only blame myself for the results...


T: 46:50
S: 39.8
C: 102
H: 179
Pavg: 182
Pnorm: 236