Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Couple of Weeks

It's the end of May already, damn where did the month go?

Quick recap, lot's of racing, not very noteworthy though but worth a recap.

Smoketown Crit - my teammate Kyle and I got shut out of Wilmington so we headed to Lancaster to race around an airport tarmac. actually not as bad as it sounds. helped drive a early split in the field then had to take a lap for a mechanical but not before being sucked up and spit out the back of the second group so I had to restart with them. Kyle made the split so I didn't try to bring it back, a few attempts to bridge across with some other riders never worked out.

Bike Jam - A.K.A "the ghetto race". don't know why I keep going back. course sucks, the racing sucks and this year I met the biggest douchebag on two wheels. dude rolls into me and another rider trying to get through the fence to stage, he insists on riding and can't get clipped in. rolls up next to me at the first staging point and proceeds to fall all over himself again trying to get clipped in as we roll up to the start line. I ask him if could try no taking me down before the race. douchebag wants to meet in the parking lot afterwards, I ask him if it's so I can teach how to clip into his pedals. third time's a charm. as the whistle blows he can't clip in again, then out of no where he comes jamming up the road not paying attention to the right turn into the round about and almost takes out the two riders infront of me. rest of race spent wondering why guys spread out across the course but don't move up. sit about 20th the entire race wondering why I'm even out there then sit up for the sprint since the race was over before I even make it out of the chicane.

Dan Spencer RR in Bloomsburg - HEF2, Kyle and myself make a last minute decision to travel almost 3hrs to Bloomsburg, PA after Murad is postponed. Race profile has one significant hill which we preview in the car when we get there, doesn't look that bad. don't see the ball buster on the backside of the course. HEF2 a.k.a the Cannibal, kills me with his get there an hour before the race. to make things worse, we're getting seriously pissed on by the only storm cloud for 300 miles. soaking wet and getting cold the race starts, Kyle gets bored rides 50m off the front for 10min or so, gets reabsorbed. Make our way to the backside, some guy goes off and gets a 20sec gap. After ball buster climb I work with 3 other guys to help close the gap. get to the big hill and realize I'm really not that warmed up, rear wheel slipping on the wet road then I make a stupid Cat 5 mistake and let a small gap open up figuring I'll close it going over the top. legs start feeling even worse, gap gets bigger, realize I'm popped. TT the next half a lap before Kyle bridges up to me with another dropped rider. we drill it for the rest of the lap with Kyle and I doing the bulk of the work. up the big hill, lose Kyle and the dead weight, TT for another almost half lap before Kyle bridges up again, this time solo. he asks if I was trying to keep him from bridging and I tell him yes if he was planning on bringing the dead weight with him again. we drill the rest of the lap together and he punks me on the line, hopefully the other guy finished so I wasn't DFL.

Legs are getting better. Had the opportunity to put in some longer road rides and the fitness is defintely coming up. Crits are ok, but they don't do shit for your road racing form. Made a second trip in a week out to Frederick today with HEF. Today was much better than last week and yesterday's ride was much harder than the ride I did last week before heading up there. Couple more weeks to hone the form for Tour of Washington County. Need to break out the TT bike though and get that dialed in.

On the home front Maddy is growing so fast, not just physically. She pretty damn smart for a 17 month old and saying and doing things I would have never expected. She really taken to climbing. She can climb up into her high chair so we have to leave the tray on so she can't when we're not watching her. She also know how to stack things to make it easier to climb up onto something, the does this with the couch. She uses the Ottoman to get onto the couch. The other day she pulled a painting down on top of herself while on the couch then Tuesday at daycare she apparently fell off the couch and put a nice shiner on her forehead. We need to get this girl a helmet.

I just had a sudden craving for spaghetti and meatballs, is that becasue I'm watching the Giro d'Italia?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Are You Feeling It, Evil?

Daddy's don't let your daughter's grow up to be stunt girls. This isn't even the half of it.
video

Monday, May 11, 2009

7lbs

Last week started out ok, Maddy was still feeling the effects of her little stomach bug from Saturday night and wasn't quite feeling 100% and not eating a lot. By Monday she was still not eating but seemed normal but I ended up taking her to the Dr. anyways since she needed a check up for her ears. Dr said she was fine and to just give her juice instead of milk as the milk could still be irritating her stomach. Tuesday morning the alarm goes off and as I'm laying in bed I realize I don't feel right, couldn't quite place my finger on it but just knew. A few minutes later I decide I'd better cancel my 9am meeting in Arlington, good thing I did or the fireworks would have gone off while I was sitting on the beltway. Let's just say the rest of my day was spent between the bed and the bathroom. 9 hours and 7lbs later it was over, my body had purged whatever intestinal intruder Maddy had passed me.

I spent the better part of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday recovering. It's not easy replacing 7lbs of fluids, and having no appetite I was really dragging ass from not eating anything since Monday. By Wednesday I was able to each a decent lunch, of all the things I could have had an appetite for, it was sushi so I went and busted up the buffet at Nikko. Thursday I hit Frisco when my buddy Jeff for lunch and was able to put down a few chicken tacos. Two meals in 3 days. All week I was wondering if I would be able to race on Saturday. I really didn't want to go to get shelled in the first couple of laps.

By Saturday morning I was able to eat some pancakes for breakfast but was still feeling very lethargic from not eating most of the week and still dehydrated regardless of how much water and Gatorade I drank. In the morning we went to Frederick for a dedication ceremony at the National Guard Armory where my grandfather served. They were re-dedicating a garden in honor of a former General and as a memorial to those who had served in the 29th/115th. After that we made our way up to Ft. Ritchie for the race.

No boring details, just another day of racing, at least this wasn't a boring course. Warming up the legs felt like rubber bands and as we lined up, I was already spitting cotton balls I was so thirsty. Race went off fast with multiple attacks from my teammates. I was following HEF for a bit figuring he would get something started but it was Stephen who slipped off the front with 3 others. A few laps later I was about 5th wheel with HEF on the front going though the last turn and avoided a pile up when HEF got T-boned by someone not following their line. HEF's bike was trashed so he was out, that left Kyle, Lance and myself to cover the field for the next 25 laps or so. The team rode hard, countered moves, prevented any real chase from forming and Stephen stayed away but unfortunately didn't get the win. Last lap I was sitting on the wheel of Coppi's Jason Hall since he's usually a pretty good sprinter but following him into the last turn he over cooks it and goes down, sliding right in my line. I have to swing wide but then see Steve Fife slam into and endo over Jason forcing me to keep riding right off the course into the grass. To sum it up as Steve put it, "I raced around for an hour to be crashed out in the last 5 seconds". At least this week I didn't go down or ruin a tubular trying to avoid going down.

A few pics from the race

Sunday, May 03, 2009

9'44"

Yesterday was the Turkey Hill road race up in Lancaster, one of the better road races in the area. I raced THRR last year for the first time and really liked the course, hilly but not too hilly. Selective enough a break can stay away but not until the later laps. That was the plan this year, hold tight until the first trip up the Gamber Wall then look for a move at the top. That plan lasted all of 9 minutes and 44 seconds according to my new Cateye Strada computer. That was the moment I hit the deck for the first time in a road race, crit or circuit race. Sure, I've had plenty of near misses, I've ridden over piles of bikes, over fallen riders, been run off the road etc..., but never taken down. It was along the one section of the course where the yellow line was enforced and there were cones on the yellow line.

In a bike race there a good lines and bad line and good wheels and bad wheels to follow. Sometimes you don't have a choice of either one. A bad wheel is often worse than a bad line. A bad line may simply cause you to loose a few spots or get gaped, a bad wheel can ruin your day. More often then not you don't know you're on a bad wheel until it's too late, there were 100 riders in the race and I don't even know all of the MABRA riders let alone the guys from PA, especially the 4's. All I know is I was following a guy from the Bike Rack, hence forth known as the Bike Wreck. I think my teammate Kyle had warmed of these guys, one of them managed to crash in every race they entered last year or something stupid like that. Anyway, it should be pretty obvious when the jersey of guy who's wheel you're on looks like a piece of swiss cheese a month into the racing season it probably a bad wheel to be following. This guy was having his own personal game of chicken with the orange cones, constantly swinging in and out of his line to avoid them. I was doing everything to not overlap his wheel but as the pace abruptly slowed for a right turn I found myself coming up on his right just as he grabbed a handful of brakes and moved into my line. About to cut my front down, I in turn grabbed some brake, apparently a bit too much as I was expecting my wheels and pads to still be wet requiring just a little extra squeeze to stop on a carbon braking surface. I don't really remember much after that other than the odd sensation that something was terribly wrong.

As I landed chest first onto the pavement with my bike ontop of me still clipped in, I realized I had just endo'ed. WTF? Apparently a little too much brake was applied and I was on my head. I quickly got up, grabbed my water bottles and tried to replace my chain as the pack was still rolling by I knew I could catch back on. Somehow my chain came off and slipped back behind the chainrings and wedged itself between the small ring and the stay. After realizing I wasn't going to fix this as I couldn't even comprehend how my chain could even get like that, I walked to the side of the road and looked at my computer, 9'44". Fantastic. $30 and an hour and a half drive for less than 10min of racing.

After the 1/2/3 field came through I grabbed a ride back to the S/F. I jumped out and walked over to the tent, to my surprise they asked me if I wanted to get back in the race. Hmm, well seeing it's not usually allowed in a road race, sure. By that time I had taken stock of the injuries, a busted left elbow, a busted right knee, 6 holes in my right quad from the chainring, a couple of contusions on the left quad and a very sore chest. As I made my way back into the race, I realized how bad everything hurt since I went from sitting around to full on chase through the first turn and up the first rise to stay in contact. It was also hard to breath as my chest was even more sore than I had realized.
Rest of the race I pretty much just sat in and tried to stay near the front to avoid the accordian effect out of every turn. Last two laps we hit the Wall. It doesn't look like much going into it, but it hurts like hell when you're on it. It's only about 75m long but at probably 18% grade it stings and the short climb before it takes a bit out of you before you get to it. First time over I got stuck behind a Coppi guy who had to dismount and run it, fantastic. A couple of minutes later on the 40+mph winding downhill, I see some guy go down on my right and then his bike goes sliding across the road hitting another rider forcing him down right in front of me. Fortunately he slid off the road but the bike from the first guy was still sliding down the road in my path. Once again I grab some brakes and prepare to find out if I have the skills to ride over a moving bike at 35mph. The result was me "Tokyo Drifting" my rear wheel for about a 100ft and safely making past the bike and in the process ruining a $90 Vittoria Corsa EVO CX tubular tire. My teammate Mark thought I was a goner and was surprised to see me back with the group. Last lap up the wall my legs seized up and I left a gap open. I tried to close it on the fast decent before the turn back on to the main part of the course but just could catch the end of the pack. I couldn't really connect the finish anyway so I rode in with another which was probably a good thing since it looked like there was a really bad wreck in the last 500m, some Coppi guy was laying in the grass, I think he went to the hospital.
The aftermath, elbow looks similar, just smaller and without the teeth marks. Weird thing is this doesn't even hurt, well , except for when I knock into something.