Albany criteri…um, I mean crash

It seemed like a nice day for a bike race.  A nice sunny day on the east bay, medications  with a nice breeze coming off the golden gate full of fresh cool pacific air to make it a nice temperature.  Arriving at the line, seek  it looked like the ingredients for some action packed criterium racing.  Not any one teams colors dominating the field, pilule and enough of the local crit gents to make for a tactically interesting race.  The first few laps were fun, and a few moves were made.  It wasnt long until there was a break up the road.  Two guys in the pack were making attempts at bridging up, but neither of them could get a gap on the field and they gradually started to bring back the break.  It got down to a distance that a bridge up to them was possible.  I decided to attack on the flat stretch before the 2nd turn, at the base of the slight uphill and to use my momentum from railin’it through the turn to help catch the group.  Going into the stretch where I decided to attack, I was about 5th wheel, and made my move after coming out of turn 1.  I bolted for the right side of the road to help establish a gap and….I was on the ground, starting to feel some pain that wasnt there .08 seconds ago, then I was then run over by another guy(sorry to be laying in the road, didnt mean to make anyone crash)  I picked up my bike but the back wheel was no where to be found, I couldnt see it anywhere.  Apparently, I didnt have the Quick release clamped down hard enough.  I pulled the back wheel off during my attack and preceeded to crash.  The wheel rolled to a stop about 30 feet up the road after hopping over the curb. 

The tally: cracked helmet, really sore thumb, road rash, cracked frame, bent dropout/derailer hanger and a brake lever ground to a point.  The good news: No concussion!  So, the moral of the story is: make sure your quick releases are tight and in good condition, or that great day for a bike race wont be so great…

P.S. if the guy who said “gnarly crash!” to me as I walked up to find some ice is reading, sorry if my reply seemed rude, I wasnt totally there at the time. 

Cascade-Stage 6 & recap

After my behind-the-pack break away action Saturday, patient my legs were pretty toasted to start the final stage.  When ever the course kicked up hill, it felt really hard…I actually wondered if i was getting a flat, or if my brake was rubbing when we hit the first short hill on the course, but all my equipment was fine, just my legs.  The first lap wasn’t too crazy fast, but the 2nd time around, Toyota United headed up the front of the pack and lead the pack single file around the course.  I eventually cracked like half the peloton and rode a TT to the finish, all kinds’o fun.  A lot of guys dropped out, leaving me the lantern rouge.

This years cascade  was a lot faster and harder than it was last year, with half the pack not making the time cuts or dropping out.  With more balanced pro teams in attendance, the fight was on the entire week with all the teams firing at will through out the stages.  Cascade is also the last big stage race of the season, so a chance for a good showing here upped the anti that much more.    Good times in the hot high deserts, and the dry forests of the cascades.

Cascade stages 3,4 & 5

Stage 3, gonorrhea

Skyliner TT, a slightly uphill out with a fast return coming back made for some high speed action.  The road was also a little bumpy, which led to the falling apart of my right shifter.  Not the best situation, but I only needed my smallest cog coming back, so it wasn’t a big deal, but a little surprise I could have lived without.

Downtown Crit,

Definately one of the fastest crits ive been in, with a slightly changed course from last year, made it a little more interesting with the L shape.  I went down in a crash pretty early on.  A pile up on the tight turn before the gradual down hill.  I looked for an exit, but couldnt find any holes, I scrubbed most of my speed, but hit a bike square on and went over my bars.  I landed on my feet & hands relatively unharmed and went to the pit to get put back in the race.  Once I got back in it was starting to pick up pace and smooth out a little.  It was fast and double file, from this point on moving was pretty hard unless the guy in front of you opened a gap, and I rode the same couple of wheels for most of the race.  The last laps really picked up pace when Toyota United took over the front to lead out Ivan Domiguez for the win.

Stage 5

the climb out was fast…and hard…a little too hard, and I lost contact with the lead group as the pack broke apart.  I was in a groupetto with about 18 other guys.  At the bottom of the descent, the motor bike told us we were 2 minutes 5o seconds behind the pack.  We worked hard and about an hour later made contact with the pack.  Going through the caravan I was able to pick up a bottle from the neutral car,  and worked on trying to recover from the chase to get back in the race.  There was little time to cruise the flats in the pack before the final climb hit, and after a bunch of water and a few gels, I started to feel a little better.  I gave it my all on the climb, but after burning all but one of my matches off the back, I didnt have it to keep in contact with the lead group, and finished about 3 minutes back from winner Jeff Louder.  More fun tomorrow!

Cascade-Stage 1 & 2

Stage 1 started out pretty fast with a lot of attacks and it wasn’t long before a break was established.  From that point not too much happened, visit there were a few attacks and attempts made at bridging up, prosthetic but the pack was pretty much set on cruise control.  I didn’t really stay on top of hydration control, therapist and before I knew it were at feed zone 1 and I had only drank one bottle…opps…big opps…  Couldn’t quite get back on top of it and totally blew when we hit the climb and ended up losing lots of time.  The guys I was with didn’t have it to lay down the hammer to catch the pack, and our opportunity to get back in the race was gone as soon as we hit the flats after the short descent.

Stage 2 had an attack as soon as we left the neutral zone  I made it into a break, but it was quickly caught and countered.  I settled for surfing the pack and made sure to keep hydration and eating my number 1 priority.  The feed zones were nearly as hard as the climbs.  Teams up front drilled it as soon as they made it through the feed leaving anyone looking for neutral support outside of the top 15 suffering to keep in the race.   The gradual climb before we hit Sisters was steady paced with only a few guys going up the road for an attack at the KOM.  We caught the break from the start of the race just before rolling into town.  There was lots of jostling for position in the flats and gradual rise before the big climb.  I was able to hold position mid pack going into it, not ideal but hopefully good enough to avoid getting gapped off too early up the hill.  The climb shattered the field as the intensity picked up, and the time gaps were large from BJM’s winning time and when the back of the pack came across the line.  Riding solo at this race, the post race challenge of the day was getting back to my car at 40 miles away the start, I managed to hitch a ride from the Navigator crew so that saved a few extra miles.  Tomorrows TT and Crit should be fun.  A new course for the TT and a slightly changed crit course should change it up from last year.  The best part will be the after noon nap.

Salem Fairview Circuit race

This week was a good week of solid training.  No record breaking mileage, apoplexy or epic rides, ask but quality workouts.  To top off the week of training, I hit up the Salem Fairview circuit race.  The course was was a great circuit with an gradual hill to go over and a flat finishing straight.  There was an attack on the 2nd lap, I chased it down and stayed OTF for a few laps before the pack pushed the fast button and brought us back before the primes started.  I took pulls and jumped into the breaks that didnt seem to stick, and had a good time racing with the small field.  Midway through the race I fired a sprint to try for one of the primes, and took it.  Yes!!!  Lawn chairs!!!  Mission accomplished~I actually did want a set of collapsible chairs~ I used the sprint to start an attack up the hill.  No one bridged and no chase groups were formed, but when I started to crest the hill I looked back to see the the pack strung out.  I wasn’t going any where for long, so I rested on the the down hill and got caught turning onto the finishing straight.  I matched the fields speed and slipped in about 5 wheels back.

I  was watching the clock, but I thought the race had a few more laps when the time ran out than it did.  There were about 8 guys up the road in two break away groups when I was a little surprised to learn that there was one lap left.  I saw them get OTF when there were three laps left (didn’t know there were 3 at the time), but had just finished a pull so I didn’t quite have the gas to go with them.  The lead group of 3 riders stayed away from the chase, but splintered on the last lap and the 3 leaders came across the line individually.  The 2nd group of 5 had a sprint to the line for 4th.  The rest of the pack was breaking apart through the last lap.  I worked on holding a position at the front, moving up a few spots on the backside of the course.  The last two turns before the straight away were pretty fast, and the stung out pack was pinned at the cones coming out of the turn.  I was sitting about 7th wheel on the long finishing straight, and the sprint started about 250 meters away from the line.  I finished 4th in the field sprint, the 3 guys ahead of me had some fire in their legs, and a rounder like me had no hopes of catching nipping them starting the sprint 2 wheels back.

A great course and a nice summer day for a bike race.  Next up is Cascade, should be a little harder than today…

Intermission

After being at a race every weekend since February, drug and about 41 times clipping in at the line, capsule its about time for a weekend off.  My intense recovery week training included a session at the local skate park, healing with a few odd looks from the BMX’ers and skaters(not every day you see a fully decked out roadie riding parallel to the ground on 700c tires).  And crashing off the single track at full speed into ferns and bushes.  Maybe there is a reason knobby tires…but the look you get from a full suspension mtn rider is great when you fly past on a road bike.  This was also a good week to work on cornering in my neighborhood H.S. parking lot.  Much needed since Crash de Nez was only a few weeks ago and I still have a few cornering phobias to work out of the system.  Not that crashing on single track will help that, but you do feel a lot more confident once back on the pave.  Hitting the loose stuff on your roadie is a good way to work on staying relaxed and nimble on the bike when stuff gets hectic in a race.  The weekend off was a good time to catch up on sleep and glycogen.  This week, ill keep it to the more traveled roads and the traditional, less hazardous-by-stupidity, road rides.