Here’s a shot of me riding through some of the sandy goodness from Storm the Beach. A clean drivetrain is overrated.
Archive for October, 2008
Sorry friends, this one’s kinda long.
So here’s how the last 7 days played out:
Raced hard at STB last Sunday and started to feel a little “off” by Tuesday. Just that little something that probably means you should hang easy for a day or two. But I couldn’t do that while the Santa Ana winds were blowing offshore. So I surfed instead, the first session probably in at least a month, maybe two. Which meant I had to work extra hard at it.
And surprise surprise. That little something was 102 degree fever by 5pm with sweat saturating my sheets each night all week. By Friday I was a little better and rode to work, trying to scrape together a little form for Spooky Cross on Saturday night. Saturday morning the fever seemed gone, but I could barely eat anything and was walking around all day with a headache and a subtle urge to vomit. The smart guy that I am, I figured the urge to vomit feeling would just sort of blend in with all the other fun feelings that come with an impending race and I’d be fine.
Time for some racing. It was the full family affair, with The Professor racing and massive coordination between the two of us to bring 5 bikes, two cars, and one Sprout (there’s a carbon footprint for ya) to the race in time for the Professor to race while I watched the Sprout, switch off baby duty, help teammates, chat with folks, unpack one car, repack the other and see the family off as my race didn’t start ’till 8pm. fuuuh.
At last the race. That vomity feeling had pretty much disapeared as the pre-race adrenaline began to work its magic. I had another good start, holding a spot somewhere around 3rd through the grass and into the crucial steep berm to sharp right up the steep loose bit where being in the back of the pack would surely have been my demise. A couple sections weren’t lit up well and were pretty sketchy at speed but we barreled through ’em at a good clip. Took it easy in the pavilion because I had lost track of how many people I watched slide out on the slick concrete during the races before mine. Follow that up with a fun little chicane-like bit and SWOOSH! Down I go. Almost getting run over by the guy behind me, it takes a second to get to my feet, but by then a train of 4 or 5 guys is barreling past me to catch the two guys I was with. I get back in the saddle and it’s time to chase back on. Pushing hard through the straight, I get on to the wheel of the chase group. Sitting in the back trying to recover is a nice place to contemplate the significant changes that can take place from small singular occurances.
A group of 5 of us were rolling. One team mate, ATV and DB’s bro were were both lookin good and we hung together for a few laps to chat about the good ol days. But time goes on and we went our separate ways except for the 29’er guy who was on me like flies. I pegged it on the flats to no avail, criminy. Pulled a gap on a couple turns and pegged it again. That did the trick. Except in one of the turns I heard a loud BRRRAP! and my front tire squirreled out on me, almost hit the deck again, shit. Didn’t roll it, tire’s still on there. what was that? Maybe something got jacked when I fell. Checking my frame looking around the bike, it all looks OK, wait a sec. I think there’s grass between my tuby and the rim. Geeze, I think I almost rolled my tire. A little nervous, now. Theres a really bad wreck with my name on it waiting for me. The game is called: “Which turn’s gonna roll my tire off the rim?”
Lucky for me, none. Though upon inspection today, I found grass all the way up under my base tape… Looks like all three layers of glue pulled right off the rim as it was shiny clean. Time to re-glue.
As for the end, I finished 3rd and considering all the factors, I’m pretty damn glad to have gotten that let alone just finish. The guys in front were riding really strong, too. They definitely left me no margin for error. And racing at night, it’s tits. Speaking of, i think i saw yours Dave.
Oh yeah. About being sick. So I weigh myself twice a day (Is that too much info?) to get an AM and PM weight and I generally see about a 3lb variation. So after taking the Sprout to Pipes Cafe for breakfast, I weighed myself (which I hadn’t done all week because I didn’t want to create needless worry about my health before the race…) to discover I was 9lbs UNDER my normal weight! AFTER breakfast. Thats about 6%, which is generally bad. There is only one place that kind of weight goes that quick and that would be to my friend Severe Dehydration. Gee, maybe that’s where the nausea and headache came from, so much was going on, I just kinda didn’t think about it. Glad it was a night race and a cool night at that. I’m usually pretty obsessive about my fluid consumption, but I just couldn’t keep up. Well, 4 L of Pedialyte later and I’m feeling so much better. I think Pedialyte might be my new secret weapon.
When I see my daughter all dressed up. Again, more proof that absolute cuteness sways absolutely. She asked to wear the apron and then selected the Park pedal wrench, a good choice for swinging around the garage, I think.
Of course, Gordon at B and L had some advice for her: “Just be a mechanic for a few years, OK? Don’t become a lifer.” Sorta like that song, hmmm. “Papas don’t let your daughters grow up to be mechanics…” I think that’s how it gos.
I think this is the first work related post. But it had to be done. Working in a chemistry lab, I get a lot of junk mail for new products that will revolutionize my productivity. Like combi-chem… Anyway, I don’t work in the biology department, so I don’t pipette as much as this poor las, but it is by far the best add I’ve been exposed to to date. At last, boy bands have a use. Enjoy
That’s how I would describe my technique riding in the sand at Storm the Beach this weekend. Seriously, it’s a super cool venue that you can’t not do, but golly, I’m glad there’s just one. And that’s why you gotta do it. Because it is what it is. Does that make sense? Who cares.
The third race of our SoCal cross series was 4km of mostly flat, fast, non-technical crit-like fury. With a giant sand box thrown in for spite at the end of each succulent slice of goodness.
I felt my starts had really developed into one of my weakest areas based on the last couple races, so that’s what I have been working on. And running in the sand once a week (which only confirmed why I got in to cycling and not running, ahem). I felt like I seriously came off that start line like I was in a BMX race. Clip in was pretty smooth. Front wheel off the ground. 53×19 spun out. Shift up. Shift up. Shift up. Look behind me and theres a gap. Now this is a scenario I like. Ease up a little, the guys I expect to see are there, not far off. Not too much though, no need for everyone to regroup.
4 or 5 of us now, we haven’t hit the sand yet and the pace is mod fast, just fast enough to keep things a little broken. Turn, accelerate, tail wind, shift up. Turn back into the wind shift down, ease up, let a couple pass and take a break. This feels so much better than chasing.
And then there was sand.
And that’s where my game turned south…
I had been running in the sand at the beach and felt mentally prepared for it. Riding in the sand however, proved a little different. Heh heh, yeah punk.
My sand technique is part flailing mixed with a whole lotta pansy thoughts like “ooh, salt water is bad for my bike, I’m gonna ride high up in the soft sand and let the suckers ride away from me down at the surf line.” (The quote must be read with an extremely sarcastic voice for accuracy.)
Seriously though, they just rode away from me in that heathen sand pit.
So this was the game for 4 laps: Hit the sand- losetimelosetimelosetime, get back on dirt-claw claw claw back up, then hit sand-losetimelosetimelosetime until by the end of the 4th lap I really had to struggle to just keep them in sight. Which by this time was just two guys.
Then we hit that f&%$ing sand again.
While 3rd was a little disappointing to be honest, a lot of things came out of this race which made me feel pretty confident I’m improving. 1) the venue is rad , 2) I finally had a good start, 3) I felt pretty good besides the sand, and 4) On top of the race, I had baby duty all weekend with The Sprout because The Professor had a conference and now I have a bunch of brownie points ready to burn-baby-burn. Y’all know what I’m talk’n ’bout.
Tried my hand in the Open Elite race at SCPS #2 to see how it compared to the 35+ Elite category. My start was a gazillion times better than at Muck and I thought my remounts were getting down-right fair.
But it did me no good…
Now I just need to find a little extra power. Or maybe a lot.
My bike handling skills were great compared to a lot of the roadie guys out there and I was taking the turns like a champ. Only to watch them ride away from me on the straightaways while I chocked on their dusty dry plumes and cursed their heartless souls.
It’s a special feeling when your whole body is screaming but you push it a little harder and find you can pull out just that little bit more to get you up there. Contrarily, it’s an especially bad feeling when your whole body is screaming and you push it just a little bit more only to blow a seal and find there just isn’t any more in there.
Well, on to plan B then…
Time to maintain my spot, damage control. Not quite as heroic as coming from the back to win a race, but at least it keeps ya in the points (1 point, in this case, I think).
I ended up 15th out of 32. Not too bad for “coming out of retirement” about 6 months ago, but it was no “Lance at Vegas”, either.
Next stop, sandy beaches.