Sunday, December 31, 2006

Training - Week 13

Number of rides: 4
Riding time: 13 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 3 hrs
Best ride of the week: Today (Sunday), SB-Ojai-Hwy 33 (Rose Valley)-Goleta. Longest ride of the year on the last day of the year. 115 miles in ~6 hrs riding time. Was bonking just as I got home. Perfect.
Other: 30 minute run.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My 2006 Racing Review

As 2006 draws to a close, it's time to get a bit self-obsessed and reflective about my racing season, such as it was. Doubtful this long post will be interesting to anyone but me ...and that's probably even pushing it. But since I've become too lazy to keep a journal, and I recently started this blog, it seems like the perfect place to record my memories of the year before they fade away.

What a mixed bag it was--some really weak performances with bad attitudes, followed by some personally-inspiring results in hard p/1/2 road races. (Plus, it was nice to help some great team efforts in support of Lindsay, who had a great year.) I did a few new things in training, and went back to some of my old-school favorites. I incorporated big-gear seated climbing intervals (thanks Jake!) and did some dedicated tt-bike training (thanks Lindsay and Steve B.!) and started doing more pure-climbing rides like the old days. Breaking 15:00 up OSM was a personal highlight of the year.

But when all is said and done, it's the races that matter. Here's the review of the ones I did...

2/4 Boulevard RR: I really anticipated this race because it was the beginning of the season and would be my first ever 45+ race. Lindsay, Kim, and I were planning for a battle with Sonance, and depending on whether or not Thurlow rode, we would try to hit them hard. Turned out Kim and I both flatted on the first lap. Lindsay then single handedly beat Sonance and won the race.

2/5 Mothballs Crit: A day for three races! 40+: rode agressively and was in all the moves, but it was together at the end and I got 4th in the sprint. 30+: worked hard with CW to bring back a long move, but got caught in traffic at the end. P/1/2: was fatigued but stayed up front and ended up 15th. This pic from U-in-Action is Mark Scott and me getting one of the breaks started.

3/10-12 Central Valley Classic: What a disaster; was a bit sick going up there, and then ran into the worst winter storm we've had in years. Snow level was so low, they canceled the hill-climb tt I was so looking forward to and replaced it with a flat tt. When warming up for it, I got blasted by hail that filled up the vents in my helmet. I wussed out and sat in the car. The next day I did the 45+ rr and got so cold I couldn't move my hands at all and was a hazard to myself and anyone nearby. So I quit. When we saw rain for the crit on Sunday, we all bailed and went home.

3/4 Island View Classic Crit: 45+: got in a break with Barney, beat him in the sprint and won. P/1/2: rode aggressively but it was together at the end and finished ~20th. Steve Weixel took some nice pics.

3/5 LA Circuit Race: Another day for two races, totaling >90 miles of crit-like pace. 45+: made a 7-man break but got 3rd in the sprint (Strickler won, Roger was 2nd). p/1/2: I basically sat in the whole time and finished in the back of the pack.

3/17-19 San Dimas Stage Race: What a battle! We fielded a good team for the 45+ with Druber, Ron, Boelter, me, and Lindsay. Stage 1 TT: Not much to say other than Lindsay ripped it up with a sub-15:00 to win, Roger Worthington 2nd at 15:17; and me 3rd at 15:24. We planned to defend the jersey in the Stage 2 RR by being aggressive. We outnumbered Labor Power and wanted to wear down Roger who had to respond to both Lindsay and me, as well as worry about Sonance. We threw everything we had at Roger, but we couldn't crack him. He also pipped me a couple times for time bonuses. In the end, we let Wayne Stetina go alone and he won. Roger got 2nd and Lindsay got 3rd, so Roger inched closer with the time bonuses but Lindsay still led on gc...barely! The Stage 3 crit would decide the race as Roger was within a single time bonus of overtaking Lindsay. Our goal was to get me or Lindsay in a break with a couple of Sonance guys but without Roger. We couldn't pull it off even though we had our chances a couple of times. Roger made some key alliances and other teams pulled us back. The mid-way bonus was scooped up by Matt Hahn. Now all we had to do was shut out Roger and we had the race. The last lap was hectic and I managed to stay close to Matt and Strickler, both excellent wheels. Roger was beside me on Larry's wheel. The last corner was very fast and we flew through it at nearly 40 mph. Matt jumped clean and blew us away to win. Then, in a drag race that seemed to take forever, Strickler, Roger, and I went side-by-side the whole way and man was it close. I thought Stricky took it, and was praying that I nipped Rog. Unfortunately, it went Roger-2nd, Strickler-3rd, and me-4th. With the bonus, Roger won the gc. What a warrior that guy is!

Here's a photo sequence of the sprint, with Matt winning cleanly followed by our drag race:

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

And finally, a podium shot with a dejected looking Lindsay...

4/1 Ventura County Classic: A nice new race with an open and fast course. 45+: Thurlow rode away from the gun in an awesome display of dominance. I made it across to the chase of CW and KK, but got dropped right away!! Arghh. Ended up 8th. 35+: This was dominated by the Labor Power dream team (JB, Steve Larson, Teske, Wike, etc.). JB won, I got 13th.

4/2 Garret LeMire Grand Prix: Great downtown course with a crowd and nice atmosphere. 45+: Just Druber and me against Labor (C. Walker, Roger, and Larry) and Sonance (Thurlow, KK, Strickler, Malcolm, Mueller). Early break w/ Druber, KK, and Larry. When they got absorbed, Thurlow unleashed a wicked volley of attacks. At one point, I had to bridge with both CW and Rog on my wheel and as soon as we got there, they threw down another and I cracked. Thurlow won; Druber and I rolled in for 7th and 8th. I was too depressed to do the next race.

4/7 Sea Otter Circuit Race:

I love racing on Laguna Seca! 40+: Druber, Boelter, and I lined up with a smallish field, but it still had some good guys (e.g., a handful of Safeways plus Chris D'Alusio). Druber was active and aggressive and pretty soon was away with Janne Hamalainen who I knew was strong. Boelter and I did what we could to discourage the chase, but I was itching to get into a smaller group and I didn't want to drag anyone up to Druber. About half way into the race, I bolted up the hill and shed everyone but Chris
D'A, Bob Pasco, Ron Reade, and a couple others.

Another couple surges and it was just Chris and me. Now I really respect Chris and it was killing me not to work 100% with him, but I couldn't until about two laps to go. From that point on we traded pulls and went into the sprint side-by-side. I jumped and he basically sat up. Unfortunately, Janne dropped Druber, so it ended up: Janne-1st; Druber-2nd; me-3rd.

4/8-9 Vuelta a Valencia: I bailed on the Sea Otter RR and came back for the 45+ Valencia race which started Saturday AM with a Stage 1 TT. I sucked and was buried on gc. The Stage 2 crit was in the afternoon, and Kim got into a good move with Tim Black so I just sat. The Stage 3 RR was on the old-time Acton course which I have done as a junior (1978) and also won it years ago in the p/1/2. I love this course. The Sonance guys had the gc locked up so there was nothing left to do but go for the stage win. Fortunately, I was having one of those George Hincapie "No Chain" days, and was able to win the stage.

4/22-23 Conquer the Canyons Stage Race: p/1/2: I thought the Stage 1 TT was more of a hill-climb than it turned out to be. The first few miles were flat to downhill; only the last two miles were up. I finished 25th in 12:52. Jake Erker blew away everyone with an 11:40. Now he had to defend solo against a full Successful Living squad plus assorted LaGrange and Monex guys. The Stage 2 crit was fast and aggressive but nothing got away. Adam Livingston won and Jake was 2nd; I finished in the field around 30th. The Stage 3 RR was on a cool course in the coastal range between Westlake and Malibu. Christian Valenzuela (Monex) got away early and everyone looked to Jake to bring him back. He threw down some brutal attacks up the hill, which put people in a world of hurt, but nobody would follow through to help him. Soon Daniel Ramsey (Successful Living) and Jorge Alvarado escaped and caught Valenzuela. They motored away. Walker then got away with Ruben Meza. With two laps to go, I rolled off and Dan Vinson came up to me so we started drilling it. We caught Meza who had been dropped by CW. Now I started feeling really good, and was able almost pull us up to Chris on the last time up the hill. But not quite. Daniel won the stage. CW tt'ed in for 4th. Vinson jumped away from me for 5th and Meza out-sprinted me for 6th after I pulled hard to get as much time as possible for gc. So I ended up 7th on the stage. The field sprinted in a minute later. Valenzuela won gc. I was pleased with my race (11th on gc) because it had been a few years since I felt strong in a p/1/2 race.

4/29 Devil's Punchbowl RR: p/1/2: Another wicked road race out in the desert with all the SoCal studs. On the second lap I made my way into what turned out to be the winning break with Thurlow and Rigo Meza, but they dropped me on the 3rd lap. It turned out to be fortunate timing because as I slowly drifted back to the group, Walker just nailed it up the climb and shredded the field. A small group caught me right at the top, so I settled into a nice rotation with CW and Adam Livingston. Again, like the week before, I felt pretty damn good, and was even able to bring back CW after he attacked on the hill on the 4th lap. Then, with only a lap to go, I hit something and got a blow-out. Sh!t...I was pissed because I think a top-5 was in reach. The wheel truck was way back behind the remnants of the field and by the time I got going again, 5 minutes had passed. Game over. Rigo won; Thurlow 2nd; CW 3rd.

5/8 San Luis Rey RR: p/1/2: Another quality field to battle on a hot and windy day. Rigo Meza and a few others went early, but I looked around and saw CW, Kyle Gritters (HealthNet), Thurlow, plus assorted Successful Living pros, so I figured it was a good idea to sit and watch. The field shrunk each time up the hill past the s/f and eventually we caught the early break with about 30 miles to go. The next hour saw a lot of attacks and regroups and we were all together for the final five-mile stair-steps to the finish. Rigo Meza started the fighting up the hill and soon our nice group of 15 was spread all over the road. I buried myself to stay behind Walker and we rolled in for 7th and 8th respectively. There was a separate prize list for 2's and I got 3rd in that.

Mt. Hamilton RR: p/1/2: Another race I love and have done as a Junior (1978) and Master (I won in1997) but had never done in the p/1/2 until this year. My goal was to make it to the observatory in the first group and I almost made it. The pace reduced the field substantially but I was still in the front when I could see the observatory about 2 km below the top. That's when I breathed a sigh of relief. Big mistake! The CalGiant guys started really drilling it and I got popped. Ten guys went over first, followed a minute later by my group with Kevin Klein, Ted Huang and a few other Webcor guys and a Lombardy's kid. We dropped a few on the descent, and picked up another Webcor in the valley. Despite being out of the money, the Webcor guys rode for a finish, and Ted was able to jump away from us at the end. I ended up 15th. I had mixed emotions after this race--I was disappointed not to hold on to the top, but I felt great in the valley and probably could have dumped those guys on those smaller hills (but what would be the point!?!)

Here are a few pics from HippStar and from Steep Hill...

5/31-6/4 Mt. Hood Stage Race: 40+: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. My season ended abruptly up in Oregon. We went up with a strong team: Wracher, Druber, me, and Lindsay. The Stage 1 Circuit Race was a wet and nasty affair that saw the winning break escape because they were more brave on the slippery descent than the rest of the field. Pasco won, despite having to chase back on following a mechanical. The Stage 2 TT was not as windy as it could have been, thankfully, but I still got buried. Not as bad as the prior year, but still a major weakness. The Stage 3 crit in the evening was fun...until I crashed. With zero warning, my rear tire blew out on the sharp downhill corner and I slid into the curb. Ouch. I got a wheel, and went back in and got to the front--the adrenalin theory at work. I thought I had the perfect wheel going into the last lap because the guy was wearing stars-and-bars, but he died with 2/3 a lap to go leaving me on the very front. I looked back and saw Chris D'Alusio with a big "pretty-please" grin on his face, so I said what the hell and drilled it for him. Turns out Chris D'A's teammate Dan Smith was on his wheel and they easily went 1st and 2nd. I got pipped for 3rd, and ended up 4th on the stage. The final Stage 4 RR is a bitch, but is tailor-made for Lindsay who was well within striking distance of the guys in front of him. The day was cold and rainy and I sucked from the beginning. Being covered in bandages and tape didn't help either. I came off the front group on the first major climb of the day but decided it would be a good idea to bomb the descent (on mossy, wet, and muddy Oregon forest roads) to catch back on. Stupid. I was never in the zone and was blowing it on lots of corners. Finally my number was up and I went off the road, flipped over, and shattered my clavicle. Lindsay won the stage and the gc; I went to the Hood River emergency room.

Season over!

Peloton Dynamics Driving on I-5

Yesterday's trip home on southbound I-5 was remarkably smooth considering how many vehicles were on the road. Most of the time it was like being in a pack of really skilled and considerate bike racers. The group always goes best when everyone's behavior is focused on the common good.

In a bike race, when you're out in the wind going backwards, you always appreciate the guy who lets you back in line (especially if he also gives you a little push). It's a small gesture, and maybe you and he are the only ones who recognize it, but it helps the group dynamic. You remember those guys, and you return the favor(s) when you can.

Same thing when driving on the open freeway. For example, a couple times yesterday I found myself in the right lane coming up behind a slow truck, with a lot of cars going faster on my left. In that situation I don't want to just insert myself into a small gap in front of someone on the left. I was in a minivan with marginal acceleration, so I would inevitably cause a bunch of braking if I did that. But a number of times I didn't even need to worry about it, because an alert driver in the left lane recognized the situation early enough and smoothly opened up a gap for me to cleanly accelerate into. That dynamic is subtle--the driver opens the gap early enough that I didn't have to slow much for the truck in front of me in the right lane, and the gap is opened slowly so that traffic behind him (or her) in the left lane only needs to slow slightly. I get around the truck, move back over to the right lane, and everyone continues along smoothly.

Contrast that situation with impatient drivers in the left lane that don't open up any gaps, and an aggressive driver in the right lane that swerves into a too-small gap. You then get a bunch of sharp braking and a major slow-down that propagates backward through traffic and maybe even causes a few people to swerve off the road to avoid rear-ending the car in front. It's just like the rider in a bike race who chops people in corners when there isn't room, or abruptly swerves into the pack and causes a bunch of chaos behind.

I imagine almost everyone thinks of themselves as a good driver. I think most bike racers probably really are, if for no other reason, because they understand the traffic-flow dynamics of a group.

Speaking of traffic, if you're in California you should bookmark this streaming video site of traffic web cams. It's a great resource to see how freeways are flowing, and it's also kind of cool to see the weather around the state.

Training - Week 12

Posting this a little late--it's for the week 12/18-24. Went away for the holidays and didn't bring my bike since the forecast called for a lot of rain. Naturally it didn't rain until the last day.

Number of rides: 5
Riding time: 8 hrs
Time in mid-high aerobic zone: 3 hrs
Best ride of the week: Tuesday; sprints on Winchester Cyn, then second-half of group ride.
Other: 40 minute run
- Did 6 hard sprints on the Winchester Cyn hill on Tuesday;
- Climbed OSM+PC at 95% effort in 37:19

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Catching Up

Been off the net since a couple days before xmas... which has been a good thing 'cause we're up here in NorCal visiting our families... and when you're with people you love but don't see very often, you shouldn't waste time surfin bits and bytes... so this post will be brief.

For sure most definitely totally positively absolutely gonna get up here more often in 2007. Big picture, family time is where it's at. We love them, they love us... one or two brief visits a year isn't enough. Can't get so bogged down in the day-to-day muck.

Friday, December 22, 2006

But I Love the SB Chicken Ranch!!

All this debate about vegetarianism certainly makes me pause and think. It's easy to be deliberately naive--I mean, who wants to consider the things they talk about here? [Warning: don't click on that link unless you are ready to get serious--it's all about cruelty in the industrial-poultry business.]

And it's not like you only see it on obscure .org websites either. We'll be driving down I-5 in a few days and will pass by Harris Ranch in Kettleman City. Like always, we'll joke about how bad it stinks and the kids will blame me for the smell, to which I'll respond "Hey, mine aren't that bad!" After all, there must be 10,000 cows packed into those dirt lots not much bigger than a few acres. They live in their own crap and eat cheap chemical-infused grain poured into their feed troughs. They are most definitely not Happy California Cows. We don't want to support this.

Trouble is, I am weak.

Tonight for example... just couldn't see cooking after a hard day of holiday shopping, so where did we go for dinner? Yep, Matt's Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. We love that place. Best tri-tip burritos in town.

And look what was right next to our table! An authentic signed yellow jersey. That's right, even Lance goes to the Chicken Ranch when he's in town.

So my question for Matt is: where do you get your chicken and beef?

Please don't tell me it's from Tyson Foods or some other mega-industrial meat company. If so, please consider another source. I'll gladly pay another buck or two per burrito.

Playing with Legos in the 21st Century

My son wants more Legos for Christmas. This is what he does with them!

I also like this one.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carnivores, Omnivores, and Herbivores, Oh My!

As if my teammates didn't have enough things to "argue" about! Most items on our group email list need to stay private, lest wives, parents, and children find out how incredibly immature we really are... but one recent topic of discussion deserves some publicity. It seems that our ranks include a few strict vegetarians at one end, and some die-hard meat eaters (and meat hunters!) at the other. (We even have the ex-owner of the best Steak restaurant that ever existed in Goleta--oh how I miss Jaspers.) The meat-eaters question the manhood of the veges, and the veges wish the meat-eaters enjoyment in consuming their fecal-encrusted chicken nuggets. Ahhh, love the team chemistry! Actually, everyone truly does respect the other guy's choices and it's really all in fun.

But if you'll allow me to get serious for a minute, and veer off in a related direction... Isn't it true that as a species, we have evolved eating meat? I assume that our incisors are evidence of that. Yet still, people become vegetarians, and certainly they have a wide variety of reasons. Some are disgusted by the inhumane conditions with which livestock are raised and slaughtered. Others are justifiably concerned about all the chemicals that are used to quicken the animals' growth and artificially enlarge them. Some just want to eat "lower on the food chain" and avoid the accumulation of environmental poisons that inevitably build up in the tissue of animals higher on the food chain. These are all valid concerns.

But there is another way, which addresses at least some of these problems.

Eat Local and support your Local Agriculture. The benefits are huge. You keep money in the local economy; you support sustainable farming practices; you discourage the pollution resulting from transporting food thousands of miles; you encourage the growing of a large genetic variety of crops; on and on.

And most importantly, you reestablish a more visceral connection to your food. What you eat comes from the dirt. It shouldn't come from Von's wrapped in plastic and pumped full of preservatives.

Now I must admit that my family and I do not 100% practice what I'm spewing forth here. But we are working toward it. Most of our fruit and veggies are either organic, locally grown, or come directly from our backyard. I have a goal someday to personally grow almost all of the produce we consume.

Well, thanks for the opportunity to rant. I'll close with something I find very satisfying and refreshing--you can ride your bike all around Goleta and see local farms. So of course I take pictures. Most of these places use sustainable farming practices, and you can buy their produce at local fruit stands and farmers markets. Remember, Eat Local!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Sundries

We had a team "meeting" at Dargan's on Friday night, during which much important business was discussed. Unfortunately I can't remember any of that. Good thing I had a camera to catch some of the happenings.

Notice that Ron and Carissa are sitting next to each other. We probably shouldn't allow that in the future because they got into a fight. Well, it wasn't much of a fight... Carissa kicked his ass and he cried like a little baby.

I'm happy to report that I didn't get groped by Flood, although it appears Brewer wasn't so lucky.

As the night wore on, it seemed that TnA was making quite an impression on Ben's girlfriend Katie. He fascinated her with the underlying physics of clincher-versus-tubular rolling resistance, aerodynamic properties of round, oval, and triangular tubing, and the principles of anaerobic work capacity. Doesn't she look enthralled???

Apparently Flood is deep in thought too.

[Edit: just in case it is not clear, I'm just trying to tease my teammates--please don't think it is mean spirited. I love these guys!]

More proof that bike racing is a life-long affliction (not sure that's the right word... maybe "addiction" would be better) After a mandatory pee break before the Sunday Worlds this morning, who rides up to me but none other than Hans Mortenson, sporting an old wool Danish National Team jersey. Hans is an old-school bike racer who learned his trade riding echelons in the cold North Sea winds of Denmark. Way back in the day, he taught me the importance of always knowing where the wind was coming from and how to ride in it. Not enough people "get it" today. Anyway, Hans gave up the road for MTB in the early days (mid 80s?) and was one of the early pros in the dirt. But then he got used to the soft and easy SB life, and gave up the bikes around 1990. Cold turkey. That is, until a couple of months ago when back in Denmark he entered a Masters race and all that adrenaline came rushing back. So now he's back out riding a few days a week and wants to race. Hans Mortenson--just another junkie that can't get the monkey off his back.

Finally, and more importantly, the Stingrays won the Central California Coastal area championship yesterday with two victories in two very close evenly-matched games. Afterward, an informal poll of parents revealed mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's great for the girls because they have worked hard and are getting some nice recognition for their efforts. On the other hand, the team will now be playing and practicing into Febuary as they prepare for the state championship tournament. It's a tough commitment for players and parents. My opinion? Rock On I say. You never know when you'll get the opportunities again.

Training - Week 11

Had to use the stick after Tuesday. That's good, right?

Number of rides: 6
Riding time: 14 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 4 hrs
Best ride of the week: Tuesday Ladera intervals (ouch)
Other: Nothing

- Ladera times: 5:30, 6:30, 6:00, 6:00, 6:00

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Time Henry Kramer Saved My Marriage

Well, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration. You decide...

It was 1989 and yours truly was just getting back into bike racing after a few years off for college and career nonsense. I had moved up to category 2 in the spring and, like most 20-something bike racers, thought I was just too cool. You know the type--sneering down upon the racing category they just departed, checking out their legs in every mirror they pass, incessantly boring non-cycling friends with tales of their bike-racing exploits. Your basic $12K dreamer wannabe.

So one weekend I took the future Mrs. Fanelli to a little event called the Silver Bullet Stage Race. (Doesn't every guy bring the girl he is courting to watch him prance around in shiny lycra?) Well this race was in Madera CA, which pretty regularly reeks of dairy-cow excrement, and it was hot, like 100+ degrees Central Valley-in-June hot. That was Strike One.

Well the future Mrs. Fanelli was not yet accustomed to the ways of a self-centered bike-racing boyfriend, and she naively agreed to feed me in the first road stage. Now this particular stage took place on what probably was the most devious course Bob Liebold has ever constructed. He found roads in the Sierra Nevada foothills that, I swear, hadn't been used since the Gold Rush. And he made the race one big 95-mile loop with two separate feed zones along the way. So I shoved a map in her direction, commanded her to wish me luck, and pedaled away. This was the beginning of Strike Two.

Like a trooper, she made it to the first feed zone and successfully handed me up a nice cold bottle. In return for this kindness she got an audible grunt and an empty, dirty, sticky water bottle thrown in her general direction. Her day was about to take a turn for the worse. She hopped in the car and tried to follow the rest of the feed-zone crowd on to the next stop. But somehow she got separated. And then she got lost. Now if you've ever spent much time in the California foothills, you know about some of these roads--think Copperopolis...but worse. To hear her tell it afterward, each wrong turn she made led to a narrower, bumpier, and more remote road. None of them were on the map I had given her and, of course, this was before the age of cell phones and in-car GPS navigation. The poor thing shed a few tears and I'm certain let loose a few F-bombs. Strike Two was pretty much complete. But she persevered and amazingly found her way out and eventually arrived at the second feed zone with just minutes to spare.

So the pack comes rolling up to this feed zone after spending the previous three hours pedaling through the countryside, and Gina hands me up a nice cold small water bottle. I did not say "thanks". No, instead of that simple gratuity, I screamed at her "NO DAMNIT!!! BIG WATER BOTTLE GINA!!!" A more perfect Strike Three has never been thrown.

Poor Gina just lost it and started sobbing uncontrollably--a fact of which I was completely unaware, as I was competing in this terribly serious Velo Promo bicycle race in the very important p/1/2 category.

Well guess who was sitting in the feed zone, after having gotten off earlier in the race. Yes, good old Henry Kramer was there to pick up the pieces. Now Henry was a handsome and suave fellow back then, and the future Mrs. Fanelli quickly regained her composure when he came over to comfort her. He didn't know me, but still he assured her that I would apologize profusely once the race was over [I did]. He explained how the heat-of-competition and the heat-of-the-day can make the bike racers uncharacteristically grumpy, and that anything they say shouldn't be taken personally. He said that all bike racers deeply appreciate the support they get from their significant others. Whatever else he said, and I'm sure there was more, really worked. Despite her Hellish adventure, when she found me after the race, she was as kind and supportive as when the day began. I'm convinced Henry's act-of-kindness saved me the loss of my soul mate.

The following year Gina became Mrs. Fanelli (well, not really, but you know what I mean) and to this day she still goes with me occasionally to races up there. Inevitably she asks me if Henry is at the race. And we usually see him once or twice a year, always reminding him about the time we first met him in the foothills of Madera. I don't think he remembers, but we do.

So, I'll end this post by saying congratulations to Henry Kramer for a well-deserved Silver medal in yesterday's Masters 50-54 National Championship Cyclocross race. He battled Ned Overend to the end and came up just short. You'll get it next year Henry! (The picture below is Henry putting the hurt on Ned Overend at the Nationals.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wacky Wednesday Wandering

Too many things tumbling around in my brain to continue with C++ so howz about some bloggin...

Yes, I admit it... I'm a Walker Stalker. I was out on the bike path on Monday doing a little easy ride by Goleta Beach when a bunch of women riders from the UCSB team pass by going the other direction. Cool. Glad to see that. Then, 30 seconds later, I see good ol Chris Walker coming at me. Hmmm. Coincidental timing?

Anyway, I hadn't talked to him since his New Zealand race so I flipped it around and caught up to him. He immediately confessed that he wanted to catch up to the UCSB girls, but he chose not to because it would have put him above his 90 bpm recovery pace if he sped up. I submit that even if they were going slow and he caught up, simply talking to them would have elevated his heart rate beyond that!

So we putted around Goleta together for the next hour.

Coupla tidbits: the NZ race had brutal crosswinds and blizzards, and the Kiwis are extremely aggro in their echelons. CW was getting headbutted out of line by the big brawlers, so he cracked one day and lost a half hour. OTOH, Tilford and Thurlow fearlessly fought for position, and both ended up in the top 15 g.c.

Another tidbit I learned... Doug Knox and the Time Factory Team may be taking on Aram Dellalian formerly of the Amgen team. I don't know the guy, but I find his blog interesting. He'd probably work well with Chris.

CW and I rode together yesterday also, though not so leisurely... four hours at ~20 mph with five (!) Ladera intervals in the middle. Now it's been awhile since I did Ladera--the last time probably was with Chris Hahn--so I had forgotten how to pace them. I stayed with CW for the first one but man did that put me in debt. We climbed the 0.9 miles and 500 ft elevation change in 5:30, which I think is about 6 W/kg! I never fully recovered, and did the rest in the 6:00-6:30 range. Walker otoh ripped off all five in times within 10-15 seconds of each other. Amazing. He's gonna hurt some people at Boulevard in seven weeks.

Tower of Power training guru TnA has been patiently explaining some of the latest concepts to me and one of them is finally sinking in. Namely, the concept of functional threshold power (FTP) and anaerobic work capacity (AWC) and the cool relationship between them when you do maximal efforts for durations more than a couple of minutes. It's taken me a while to accept that a person can only do a fixed amount of anaerobic work (in the physics sense) during a maximal effort, independent of the duration of the effort. In other words, you can blow it all in five minutes up Ladera, or use it up at 1/3 the rate going up OSM in 15:00, or 1/9 the rate going up Gibraltar in 45:00, as long as those are all maximal efforts. And the aerobic contribution to work in those efforts is simply your threshold power multiplied by the duration of the effort ...i.e., Work = (FTP x time) + AWC. Makes me want to get a power meter because I know this must be useful! When will they get cheaper?

Are we spoiled or what? If you doubt it, read Jake Erker's latest diary entry. By leaving Santa Barbara, he and Laura not only lost access to all of us witty, charming, and good-looking training partners, they also gave up 70-degree December days like today. Fenders? Plastic baggies on your feet? Full bib tights? What is this stuff he speaks of? (I hope I didn't just jinx us and bring on a massive El Nino!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stingrays Still Alive!

The Stingrays, 2006 SB U-14 girls champs, continue to roll in the area playoffs, beating #1 seed Oxnard today in a thrilling overtime game that saw some very aggressive and physical play. The girls from Oxnard thought they could intimidate the smaller, demure Santa Barbara ladies, and after jumping out to a 3-1 lead before halftime, it appeared that they were succeeding. Rather than meekly back down however, our girls took it on themselves to push back. And did they ever. Marissa launched a rocket from near mid-field that blew by the surprised keeper. Then a few minutes later, after Erin was blatantly shoved in the back inside the box, Marissa punched in an angry PK to tie the score. The first 5-minute OT was scoreless, but with about a minute left in the second OT period, Larkin pushed in the game winner. The stunned Oxnard team is done for the year, whereas the Singrays move into the semi-finals for the Central California area with high confidence having come from behind to knock out the top seed.

Now selfish Dad has to figure out if he can squeeze in the Simi Ride before next weekend's game, which will be in either Ventura or Camarillo.

Training - Week 10

Like a workin man... rode Mon-Fri and took the weekend off due to rain and soccer.

Number of rides: 5
Riding time: 9 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 5 hrs (lots of climbing)
Best ride of the week: Wed with Steve B., Barney, & Mark M.; over the hill and out Paradise Rd. to the river crossing.
Notes: OSM in 15:33 Thursday with fatigued legs.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Frivolity

Climbing: Had four great climbing days so far this week, and man am I glad because the rain has finally started so rides may get a bit less frequent. The weather gurus keep insisting it will be an El Nino year--a bummer for us cyclists, but not for the surfers. Spending all that time climbing got me wondering again why more SB riders don't go up there. I mean, we must have 100-200 "serious" riders here in town but I see only the same 10-15 people up there. I'm not one to preach, but they are really missing out on one of the best things about living here and riding a bike. One who definitely does not miss out on the climbing is Lindsay, and he conveniently left town before the rain for a nine-day bike tour in Cuba. I didn't know Cuba had mountains.

Snow-Bird Bike Racers: I've been seeing a lot of strange jerseys out there lately. SB is to bike racers as Florida is to old folks, a great place to escape the snow. One dude around town now is Brad Huff of the TIAA-CREF team, or now the Chipotle team. He's not really here just for the weather, but is seeing Ernie Ferrel for some body work. Ernie must have a helluva reputation cause guys come from all around to see him. I remember Julian Dean came here from NZ to get worked on a couple years ago.

Psycho-cross: I really wish I had tried some 'cross this winter, but alas I'm too cheap to buy a bike and, realistically, probably too fragile and wimpy for all the dismounts and running. Plus, I'd probably get mud in my contacts and cry. Good luck to Mark Be-Luke-ie if he makes it down to the District Championships this weekend. It's gonna be a wet one.

Another New Teammate: I'm happy to report that former Gumby Warrior and all-around nice guy Ben Haldeman will be flying our colors next year. Not sure how much he'll be able to train and race but when a guy has an aerobic engine like he does, you take whatever you can get and can expect it to be good. He's a former winner of the NorCal end-of-year Cal Cup series of races, and that's a big deal up there.

NCNCA: Speaking of the land up north, NorCal Grand Poobah Casey Kerrigan sent out an email this morning stating that there are now more than 4,000 licensed racers in the NCNCA district! That's got to be tops in the good ol US of A. I can see why. Take one look at their calendar and you'll understand it too. Great races from January to October (not even counting 'cross), often with several choices on a weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about SoCal at all--it's great down here too--but I'll always have an attraction to races up there since that's where I started this silly sport. Those races up there have a permanance we don't seem to have here. Other than Manhattan Beach and on-again-off-again Acton RR, I don't think any of our current races were around when I was a junior oh so long ago. But up there, we've got: Pinole ttt, Santa Cruz crit, Land Park crit, Cat's Hill crit, Berkeley Hills rr, Mt. Hamilton rr, Nevada City, Burlingame crit, and Davis 4th of July crit--all races that were around 30 years ago and that I raced as a junior! Whatever those promoters and clubs are doing is working. So yeah, we should go up there some this year.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Training - Week 9

A low mileage week with time conflicts and a mild virus.

Number of rides: 5
Riding time: 7 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 2
Best ride of the week: Saturday (see below)
Other: Nada

Notes: Fitness-calibration ride up OSM Thursday: 15:50

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Da Boyz Go Climbing

'twas 45 degrees in Goleta at 7:00 AM and not a wisp of wind. Da Boyz were planning on a big climbing ride but I had to be down in Ventura for soccer this morning so I went out early and climbed OSM twice before they arrived. All chatty and happy they were, so I tried to capture the moment (as best I could) in the pic above. L-to-R: Pops Larsen, Ron "Lover-of-Lance" Takeda, TnA, MarkZen (a real pro photog--covers the TdF and such), and Blingerman. BTW, at this point on the hill, it had warmed up to about 70 degrees. Makes it sorta hard to get into the season!

p.s. to the meanie who defaced my banner with graffiti... that wasn't very nice, and I hope Santa doesn't bring you any presents! But it's kind of funny so it can stay.