Saturday, July 28, 2012


Today I was going to do an "epic" ride with Claudio, 75 miles and over 7,000 feet of climbing, but our schedule didn't match up so I went and did the Wheelworks ride in Davis instead.  This is hardly newsworthy information, but while on the ride I was told that I look like Bradley Wiggins.  I'm assuming this is due to my sideburns and gangly physique, though I stated that I don't have quite the schnoz for it.  Still, I hardly think mildly bushy sideburns is worthy of such comparisons.  I've only let them grow out a little:
Which is less aero, sideburns or euro-mullet?

Jules says I can only grow them out 2 more inches and then it's a bit too much.  I'm not sure how I feel about the comparison but at least no one called me Lance.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pescadero, Little City and Misfortune

Ryan Malm and Ryan Odell both upgraded to the 3's and immediately snagged a good result. For this reason it was expected that I should do the same.  Under such pressure I knew I had to train like I've never trained before.  I knew this would be the make or break endeavor in this season.  So I sat down in front of the interweb and began to organize my super scientific approach to peaking at Pescadero.  I checked out cyclings tips - salute like a pro.  Obviously, I'm not delusional, so though I enjoyed the images from sprint wins, my focus was on the solo victory:
The Solo Victory
1. Ensure one’s jersey is fastened to the top and shall be perfectly aligned so all title sponsors are clearly visible.
2 One shall take a quick look behind prior to victory to gloat at the peloton’s futile second place sprint.
3. One shall prepare far in advance (preferably in front of mirror) for thee victory salute that shall be unleashed.  One shall look 100% confident that this has been done thousand times before.
4. One shall cloak all signs of fatigue at any cost.  A war-cry of aggression is acceptable emotion to be displayed.
5. One shall hold the victory salute for minimum of 20 seconds and heed placing hands on bars until soigneur approaches with towel and waterbottle directly before post-race interview.

Since I've shared this training secret I'm sure you can deduce how I did and won't even waste typing time on writing out my actual result.

Seriously though, Pescadero was a beautiful course. Hard race. Tons of climbing. I got into an early break that lasted only 2 climbs. On lap 2 I got gapped but was able to wait for Malm, who had done a ton of work on the front for a teammate earlier and the two of us were able to get back on. Sadly, I got popped at the start of the last lap, but was able to finish well enough without completely bonking. The next big event was Little City Stage Race south of Reno.

This did not go as planned.  I got a flat during my TT and crashed out of the crit about 40 minutes in.  I was able to dust off the bike and myself and did half of the road race the next day with a borrowed and suitably silly looking helment.  Mike Gonzales and I were able to at least put in some work before getting popped, and though I generally like to finish races even if I'm off the back, I played it safe after the previous days' mishap.  Malm, Ben and Matt had solid finishes in a highly dwindled pack.  I was pretty shocked at how much of the field didn't finish.

Yesterday my misfortune continued in a small way.  My dinky little cateye computer fell off 2 miles into the Wheelworks Race Ride and I figured rather than pulling over and wasting a bunch of time, I'd just look for it when we returned.  After the first sprint and the climbs a friend had some mechanical issues and the group wasn't willing to wait so the race ride turned into the Davis Masters Hammer Fest.  Six of us rotated pulls all the way back to Davis (though at certain points Bigs just pulled us all along).  Was it fast?  No idea, for when I returned to look for my computer I found it.

Exit question: I have had two of these cateyes pop off during a ride now.  Any suggestions on a similarly cheap computer with a more reliable snap in feature?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Folsom Cyclebration

With Little City Stage race in a month, I thought it would be wise to try for multiple day racing.  Folsom Cyclebration is a well put together series.  Sadly I couldn't make the Circuit Race on Sunday. But I did enjoy the TT on Friday and didn't hate the crit on Saturday.  I was able to work in one more day on Thursday at a local twilight crit series a coach is starting up.

First, the practice crit.  Since there were only two categories, the A's (Cat's 1, 2 and 3) and the B's (4 and 5) I of course did the B's, which turned out to be the biggest sandbagging I've ever done in my life. For the record I have won two bike races.  The first was the beginner class mountain bike race called Prairie City, the second was this crit.  Medium sized fish in teeny-tiny pond.  Don't get me wrong, weening is still fun and ostensibly I earned free entry into the Saturday crit that followed.  I'm waiting to see this promise fulfilled.

Friday was the TT and here's my position for all of you to analyze, critique and offer to fix for a reasonable fee:

So I've done about 5 time trials, and usually mounted my road bike and sometimes even threw on aero bars.  Pretty much I suck at it and have been trying to at least not lose position in a stage race.  This time out Carson lent me his transition and I hoped to honor his TT skill with a respectable ride.  I can't say how much respect it earned but it did provide me with my first ever podium photo:
photo credit: Brian Malmers
I can't believe I let the white t-shirt team beat me for 2nd.

The boys in the 3's also had a good day with 3 Davis boys in the top 5.  Claudio, Ben and Malm crushed it.

Feeling quite satisfied with myself I prepared for the dreaded D shaped crit.  This is perhaps my least favorite crit course because it isn't remotely technical and doesn't lend itself to break-aways.  That said I decided to "play it dumb" and try to go for every prime I could, except of course the cytomax prime.  I distinctly remember watching a rider go off the front while the dude behind me laughed and said, "It's all yours".  Basically, what I was trying to do was get Omnium Point primes and I ended up snagging 3rd three times for 2 place primes.  Oh well.  All of that snagging confirmed my rightful place as pack fodder.

As mentioned I missed the circuit.  The 3's had a good day and Malm got 5th, though I'll let him tell you why that's disappointing.  Here's a shot of him in a break that stayed away until the last turn.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Golden State Crits and Circuit

I'm not particularly good at crits, but I've decided I like them anyway and would like to figure them out.  This past weekend was the Golden State Series, a local and enjoyable couple of days of racing.  Saturday I was able to do the 30+ 4/5 as well as elite 4 category.

The 30+ race was fun.  I stayed near the front and was able to snag a wine prime.  For the uninitiated this is a lap of the race where they call out that the first person across the line wins some wine.  It's not the final lap, but is meant to encourage speed and entertainment.  I was able to attack on the back side and catch a solo rider before the line, so Juliette finally got something out of my racing ;)  I didn't end up figuring out the final lap however and ended up 13th.

I'm not actually at the back in this picture.  Perhaps people don't like riding behind me.
You guys can be honest, am I squirrelly?

The 4's race was fast and fun as well.  I was already pretty beat from the earlier race so I decided to ride at the front and get into every possible break.  A junior from Bicycles Plus and I stayed away for about a lap and then I attacked him before getting caught which allowed a few other guys to bridge to me.  Sadly, no one wanted to work.  With 3 laps to go I was pretty drained and ended up mid-pack, but low and behold I was not a total loser.  Turns out they had a "most aggressive racer" award and I found my niche.  A second bottle of wine and a hat.

Please also note in the above picture my stealthy Odell crabon tubies.  I been "running" these since Chico but needed to give a shout-out.  I'm not sure who I'm actually advertising to since the only people who read this blog are Odell, Malm (who has a pair of Odells) and my wife who doesn't ride.  Marc, that leaves you.  Consider me a high pressure salesman.

Sunday was the circuit and I decided to leave my aggressive ways behind me.  Didn't turn out as well for me, but Brasel more than made up for it with some aggressive photography.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wente Vineyards

This was not my day.

If you look closely I think you can see me way back there, losing ground to this guy on the climb.

The above picture summarizes well how my legs felt going into this race.  I had plenty of rest due to travel, and perhaps it was too much rest.  Nonetheless it was a beautiful day and I love this race so I was determined to enjoy myself.  I was already off to a better start than the guy whose tire blew within seconds of the official blowing the whistle.  I also gave one of my stupid little attacks about a half mile from the first climb.  The first and second time up the climb were uneventful for me, and I was kind of disappointed that everything seemed to be staying together.  A theme for me this year in road races has been selections.  Since I'm too stupid to actually race my bike, I prefer these wind swept or climby races to do my thinking for me.  A selection finally came on the 3rd time up the climb and I wasn't in it.  There appeared to be two splits and I was able to catch what ended up being the third during the descent.  We had about 7 guys working together but I quickly discovered I was unable to pull through. I was toast.  The guys were cordial enough about my wheel sucking and I explained that I would not be coming around them on the last part if they were willing to let me sit in.  They obliged and we took the finishing climb slower than I thought possible.  I felt like I was doing one of those fixie bike who can go slowest races.  I can't complain though, because I probably wouldn't have made it without the tow.

My next hilly adventure will be Pescadero in late June.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chico Stage Race

This race report is a little late so I'll probably remember things even less accurately than usual.

Day 1 was the Paskenta Road Race course, a 45 mile loop, mostly flat with some rollers and a 4 mile stretch of gravel.  Right from the gun two guys attacked off the front and the field wasn't entirely eager to chase them back.  A little more than halfway through the course Brasel went on the attack and had a few guys with him.  I dutifully followed wheels and contributed nothing and over the course of a couple miles this shattered the field.  Once I was satisfied I threw in and made it to the lead group, making it 7 guys chasing the original 2 off the front.  We caught to 2 leaders and only one could hang on with us and this was the selection before the gravel.  I figured I was safe and sat at the back through this, but that turned out to be a mistake because even with a small group I was swerving and braking too much and lost contact.  Brasel started his sprint a little early but snagged 7th and I was not caught by the group behind, so I held onto 8th.  All in all, not a bad day.

Day 2 was a downtown crit in Chico and it was fun.  The plan was for Brasel to lead me to the front with 2 laps to go, but as it turned out Brasel had some early umph and I sat up at just the right time for him to get into a small breakaway.  Just about every team was represented and Schuyler was doing some great blocking for Rio Strada.  At some point 3 of the 6 break mates fell off and were swallowed up but Brasel was committed and ended up taking 2nd and gaining some time in GC, IN A CRIT!  Pretty sweet.

Not much to say about the Time Trial except that I appear to be sucking a little less at this.  I definitely felt the pain of not having the right geometry, since I basically threw bars on and wore a TT helmet.  Brasel had a phenomenal TT, but unfortunately so did 2 other guys.  He ended up 2nd overall on GC and I held on for 10th.  Pretty fun weekend.

Here's a pic of Brasel crushing it.


And here's a pic showing how much draft I get off of Brasel :)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wards Ferry Climbfest

Once again it was supposed to rain and once again it didn't.  This has occurred probably half a dozen times for me over the last few years.  I'm sure I'll start to get cocky about the weather and one of these days I'll face a Spring Hill 2010.  Click here for example.

I drove out well before the crack of dawn and headed for the hills of Sonora.  While standing in line to register this kid starts asking if he's supposed to race the 4's.  "I've only done a couple road races," he says.  The lady helps him out and it looks like he's due to upgrade.  I figure he must have done a handful of crits and has his 10 finishes.  I tell him good luck and figure I won't see much of him during the race.  This turns out to be true since he practically never leaves the front and ends up winning the race.  Afterward I heard the grumbling, "Dude, this pro mountain biker was in our race.  They should make any kind of pro cat up."  I even heard someone suggest this about a nordic skier.  I agree with the mountain biker sentiment but the nordic skier might be a step too far.  Just because Forest Gump becomes an international ping pong star doesn't mean he's pro enough to pack ride.

Of course, after watching this video I convinced myself I'm wrong.  First of all, I'm certain he could handle a bike, since he also handled football and Jenny's mood swings.  Secondly, have you seen him run?  Thirdly, did you notice when you go back and watch this movie how much time Forest spends talking about himself?!  He's totally a roadie.

 03 24 2012_IMG_1779
Click here for gallery
Anyway the race was hard and the whole group lasted only 1 of 4 laps before the split.  I'd like to think I contributed to this, but who knows.

I was warned that the descent was tricky.  I thought this meant twisty, but what it means is bumpety.  I almost got bucked off a few times and this meant even the recovery on descents was anything but.

 03 24 2012_IMG_1845
Here's me getting in that guy's way.
(Click here for gallery)
I got dropped at the start of the last lap and dangled within range for a little while.  Then I caught Josh from Rio Strada.  We chatted for a minute and then I asked if he wanted to try and catch anyone else.  He didn't want to I didn't succeed.  I managed to avoid getting caught and held on for 10th.  My goal was a top ten, so as you can see, I didn't get greedy.

 03 24 2012_IMG_2080
Here's my best impression of Chris Horner.
(Click here for gallery)

That's not a "winning" smile no matter what my mom says.  That's me joking with the finish line crew about reading my number during my "high speed" finish.