Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nobody decides who they love

PIR - Where Cervelos go to die...race report 4/28

Well, I managed to get my butt out to PIR finally to throw on a little cat 3/4 race tonight. I had it in my head that if it was wet and/or raining that I wouldn't suit up. I've been out there when its rainy and slick and its SCARY. Besides I had my virginal white Tarmac, and I was pretty sure I didn't want to desecrate it with a rainy race at PIR. Anyway, for the most part it held off. Between flying sweat and little spitty rain drops it was ok...cold but ok.

First off, its freakin' difficult to race when Portland Velo and Ironclad show up in the numbers that they showed up in. Its pretty much them and then everyone else in ones and twos. Makes it hard to play my cards, but its what I've always done. But it sucks when there's a PV rider and a Ironclad rider in the break and there isn't anyone else strong enough to pull em back...So I did it myself. The good news is that I was strong enough to pull back the f'n break! I have NEVER been strong enough to do that! WOW. It's gotta be the bike!

I managed to recover and sit in pretty much until the last lap, but had to get in and pull a few times to keep it together with five or so to go. On the last lap there was a break of four or five riders off the front, w/ no PV rider in it. Curiously, they were reluctant to for about a quarter lap, there wasn't any real motion to catch the break. Then, even more curiously, Ironclad brought five riders to the front and pulled us all for the next half lap, to within striking distance of the break (which had an Ironclad rider in it. WTF????). A rider from Kislers (correction: BridgeTown Velo) went down after crossing a wheel...right next to me! Miraculous that I didn't go down. I and a handful of riders bridged up and started down the straight away in a brisk cross wind...coming from the southeast (also strange). So the final ramp up at about three hundred meters I was set a bit far back, but ok, trying to figure out what PV rider was the mark when a Bike N Hike kid who had been randy all race shouldered up with someone and went down, wheels blazing. He took down a total of six riders I think, including all the set up riders for Ironclad. Again, it was just to my right and I steered hard to my left to avoid the carnage of helmet parts and white Cervelo soloist carbon chips (for real). That brought me out of the slip stream and out of real contention for glory. By the time I was close to another wheel I'd run out of real estate. Just missed 5th place by a couple of centimeters.

But the good news is that I stayed up right, AND that my legs didn't seize up.

The best news is that Dorothy arrived home from Boulder last night, tired and happy. There is nothing like a short separation to make you realize how much you can miss someone, and how dependent you are on that person...which at this point in my life gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, not the feelings of dread that it did when I was younger, better looking, and less, well, 'energetic'.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Strain on my marriage....

New Ride. 52 cm. Replaces the '07 version of the same bike that is a 54 cm which is too big for me. Paulo Bettini complained to Specialized that his 48cm was too tall at the headtube for the given size of his bike, and I tend to agree. Though I am told that they are not abnormally tall at the front end compared to other bikes...I haven't gone as far as busting out the tape measure and the straight edges, but based on how hard it was to get the 54 feeling right, I'm guessing that the head tube was tall. Anyway. I haven't ridden it yet...I'm almost afraid. Its so clean, pristine and jewel like. Dare I ride it in a crit? I waxed it before I began the build so that it wouldn't get covered w/ grease. I have a problem...Today I get the head tube cut, bar tape on, and cables connected...exciting. Now, will it make me faster?

ed: I've ridden this bike now for a few weeks and I can say with out a doubt that this is the BEST bike I have ever owned. It is amazing in most every way. Every time I race it I am pleased and amazed at how well it handles; sprints, corners, descents-awesome. Its a rocket in the big kicks, but isn't rattling out my fillings. It climbs like a goat without being twitchy on the down hill and it has almost no sway in the lows when I'm hammering the flats. I love it. Thanks Specialized, for the deal on the frame. Go buy one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

chomping at the bit...

My legs are feeling good, the weather is amazing and PIR is tonight...but I can't race! Its been a quiet few weeks since I last raced and its hard watching guys I've been racing against (and even beating) getting results. I see a particular rider in the results posts and think about how I could have beaten them...its killing me!

Had talked to my co-worker, who is just getting into road racing as a supplement to his off-road racing, about leading him out in the 4/5 race. Its a bit of a risk, the 4/5 race. You never know who is going to come out and pose a serious danger to himself and everyone else. I've had pretty good luck out there. Only taken down once, at low speeds. It pretty much amounted to falling over half-way in the grass. But I've heard/seen several bad take-downs because of over aggressive/stupid/ambitious riding. Happens a lot with the 5's. Delusions of grandeur, I guess. We're all entitled to a bit of it as cyclists...after all, why do we all go out weekend after weekend, getting our buts kicked by some of the same riders we know are stronger? But the chance to lead out a friend, see them take the line in a full-on sprint for the win would be worth the risk. That's pretty much how it always is...worth the risk. And me? I got a win in the same race last year. All things considered, a modest win. But a win, and that is unlike second place in ways I can't describe. I dreamt about it as a junior, never realizing it. I allowed myself to dream about it again in '06 when I lined up again for the first time since '89. Worth every bit of pain, torment, sweat and fear leading up to that moment- worth every bit of failure, set-back, and negative internal monologue. In that instant, I shut up the voice of failure. For a moment it looked away, pretended not to notice I had just kicked its bitch-ass. I'd won. I want more. I want more. And any amount of effort, dreaming, and planning is worth the risk of getting another. Always worth the risk.


I took the shims out from under my cycling shoes this morning before my commute based on the theory that the shims might be exacerbating my leg problems...While it's hard to tell immediately if this will be an improvement, I definitely wasn't feeling the same pressure on my hamstrings. I'm hopeful that removing the additional leverage of being almost 5mm away from the pedal spindle will translate into less pressure on my bunk legs. Anyway, I'm more flexible now, and I may not even need the added angle on the shoes..that may be part of it too. We'll see.

I got a call today from RC about my NEW new white-hot Tarmac Pro SL frame waiting for me. I wanted to run down to pick it up as soon as I heard it was in, but couldn't...damn job.
In the continuing quest to dial in my riding position/kit/feeling of seriousness as a racer I said 'go' on this recent acquisition even though my current Tarmac Pro is probably sufficient and something I could work with. Even though every day I ride it, it doesn't feel quite right.... But I'm glad that now that I have it, and that I waited for the white one, when a black one was offered. Its pretty slick...and PRO. Now all I need is a set of carbon tubies to round it out...and some wins. Pictures to follow. Problem now is how to keep it clean!

Maybe I'll restore my vintage Cinelli..I've been thinking about doing it. Can't decide if I should go totally retro, put on all the old Campy, or make it relevant and put some click-shifting on. I've already got the tubies on the way courtesy of Challenge Tires. Thankyou! One pair for the track bike (vintage Holdsworth, circa 1989) and once pair for the Cinelli (circa 1986), and one pair for backup. Sounds like the Cinelli should go old-school...I'll just rock it with six on the back and friction shifting. Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Francisco y Fernando

Since I presume to write 'bout design on this here blog...
I had this wonderful song stuck in my head for about a year once. I went to visit my girl friend who was working in Ecuador, and this song was all over the radio...Never saw the album cover, till now..I think the design speaks for itself. Really, its not the best example on the site- but it conjures up memories of riding on the roof of a bus, holding on to a deflated river raft and a couple of kayaks as we barreled along a mountain road. Over hanging cliffs covered with wild orchids and water falls above, and a harrowing, thousand foot plus cliff below. Every time the bus hit a pot hole (often) I landed on a bag full of live chickens. Oh oh oh...vamos a la playa, oh oh oh...

I stumbled on this site today (linked without permission- sorry). Its now tied for my favorite site with Sexy People..which put together are good for many lost moments of wonder.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

oh sh*t! I can't get on Facebook.

I have a problem...
I actually felt a twinge of panic when I realized Facebook was down and I couldn't get me.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

bum wheels

locked up...
Its a bit like being given a key to ferrari that has no gas. My legs let me down. After nearly an entire week off the bike, I rolled up to the start of the Cherry Blossom stage race in The Dalles with two question marks attached to my hips, and the answer after the first lap was 'No soup for you. Come back one year!'

After getting run into a ditch by a Team O rider who had his head down (I think his tongue was stuck in his front wheel at the top of the big climb) and nearly rode into the trunk of the rider in front of him. Instead, he panicked, swerved, crossed wheels, leaned on me and pushed me into a gravel and mud ditch..You know, standard cat 4 fair. I jumped the bars as the front wheel dipped into the loose gravel, dropped the bike as it got run over and hit the ditch running. I gathered my bottles and chased back on, which in could have been worse, the peloton was only going 5mph the wind was so strong.

What I found out on the front side, with the bitter wind at our backs, was that I couldn't get into my 12. I was spinning, under big efforts, just clinging to the wheel in front of me for dear life, until I gave up...Just before I did, I heard a Ironclad rider ask 'how many cat 3's are in this race?' Just then my legs tightened, ached and twinged, threatening to cramp. 'don't you know you're 39?!' I pulled right and watched the ironclad rider behind me close the door I opened, and the whole lot spun off into the distance. Faaack.

The real insult came in the following interminable thirty or so minutes. As I made the turn for home, surrounded by the shelled carcasses of other similarly unfortunate suckers, the wind was like a slap in the face with a fish. 20 or 30mph- plastering wind! Cramps, defeat, and an energy sapping wind make for some good times. I herded up with a couple of Portland Velo dudes, and a different Ironclad rider and we pace lined it back, rolling over the line together, laughing, shaking our heads...

I didn't show for the TT the next day.

D has got me on the PT plan now. 50lbs in a backpack which I put on three times a day (the real sweetness is that I get to take it to work with me every day and do my exercises in the stairwell) and do heal lifts and heal lifts with a bent knee...until I come back like Steve Austin- sweet haircut, track suit and ready to kick some cold war era ass. Just you wait...I'll get my rematch with those sucka's who already upgraded to 3's. SMACKDOWN commin' - Its a train- and you can't get out of the way.