Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Some Updates

Coupla follow ups to some older topics...

The previous post described a few "issues" with our Goleta Tuesday lunch-time ride. Specifically, some folks were none too happy with the aggressive style of riding by a couple of the participants. Whether or not it's a problem is debatable. Personally, I thought yesterday was really fun (That is, as fun as riding full-gas balls-out can be, which is kind of enjoyable in a sick and twisted way!) In my not-so-humble opinion, the accelerations by those that wanted to pull hard (read: Matt, Ben, and Jason) were within reason.

Yeah, some guys got dropped. My comment? They over extended themselves when they pulled. If you are ever going to succeed in a break, you absolutely need to know how hard you can pull and still get back on, even if the pace elevates a bit. Yesterday some guys found out the hard way that they pulled too fast or too long.

Reminds me of a story--probably a stupid story, but hey, it's my blog... I was pretty fit and confident ten years ago (my first 35+ year) when the Masters Nationals were up by Santa Rosa. The RR course had one hill of ~1 km but was otherwise pretty flat. Thurlow Rogers was in the race and I followed him around the pack for the first 25-mile lap. Then, unable to contain himself any longer, he bolted full throttle up the the hill the second lap. I was the only guy who stayed on his wheel. By the top, his effort had separated us cleanly from the group, with probably a 15-20 second gap. Awesome. We caught a guy who had been hanging otf, and the three of us settled into a smooth rotation. It doesn't get any better than this folks. My pulls were pretty tentative, and within ten minutes I was instructed by Thurlow that I would "have to pull a tad bit harder". I immediately obliged and thus unknowingly signed my own death warrant. It took awhile--each pull put me a bit further in debt--but eventually I cracked, unable to get back on. There was no attack, not even an acceleration or a hill, I simply had reached the end of the rope and couldn't hold on after my pull. Naturally, he went on to win the race solo by a margin of several minutes. BTW, our own Tony Vincente (Vinny the Hack) won the 100-man field sprint for 2nd.

Sorry for that digression... where were we? Oh yeah, Tuesday rides... Figure out how hard you can pull and still get back on. That's what the ride is good for.


I posted recently about the cost of bike racing and how it was bumming me out. Well, given that this silly hobby can't go on too many more years, I've decided to go ahead with some more purchases (e.g., wheels, bike, etc.) ...and I'm fine with that. More importantly, Gina seems ok with it too!

I hope you don't think this is too tacky, but I'll share with you some detailed records of my bike-racing expenses from a few years ago. I spent 2002-2004 tracking all expenses we incurred as a family--every coffee, every donation, every tank of gas, ...every single thing. It was an incredibly enlightening exercise, and I would encourage anyone to give it a try. Once you get a system set up, and assuming you're on the computer every day, it really isn't a burden.
Anyway, the table below shows the data for bike racing (sorry for the ugly format; I'm in HTML kindergarten):
Bike Racing Expenses:
Year:Equipment:Clothing:Entry Fees:Travel:Dues:Misc.:Total:

Obviously some big purchases in 2004, like a bike, some gucci wheels, and a boat-load of tires. Also, very relevant to these expenses is that I did around 20-25 races each of these years, and none were out of state. This year should blow the doors off of 2004 since I'm hoping to do nearly twice that many races, with potentially a few out-of-state trips. One last hurrah so to speak.


Got a comment from Gene on my Blood-Doping in Reverse post from a few months back. That topic was about the interesting observations I had after donating blood, which removes around 10%-15% of the body's red blood cells. There was a very obvious drop in threshold power as evidenced by climbing speed on OSM.

Anyway, Gene pointed out this thread on where a guy admits doping when he was trying to make a career out of bike racing. If you don't want to spend an hour reading it all (I did), I'll give you the Cliff Notes version... Not only does he (anonymously) detail his own usage of testosterone, epo, and blood doping, he also claims that all good cat 1 and domestic pro riders do it too. Of course, he has no proof. He said he doped for a year when he was an Arizona cat 1 trying to land a pro contract. When he didn't get picked up, he quit the sport (and quit doping). There were lots of responses--some appreciative, others derisive.

Personally, I found the guy a bit less than credible. For one thing, he claimed his doping brought his sustainable power up to 6.7 W/kg. Jeezus H, that's TdF contender power!!

Further, and maybe I'm totally naive, I really don't think he is right about the rest of the elite-amateur and domestic-pro racers. Being in Santa Barbara, we are fortunate to see a lot of very good regional and national talent. We see how hard they train. We see a steady progression that comes from putting in 20-30 hours a week, year after year. I trust that these guys are not doping.

On the other hand, some do. Take the Adam Bergman case for example. Just the other day I was told by a former pro who raced with him that his performance escalated so dramatically that many people in the domestic peloton knew something was up.

So yeah, there are some bad apples. But all of them? Or even most of the domestic guys? No way!


TnA said...

Man...all that cash spent on bike equipment over those 3 years and there wasn't any way to whittle out just a bit for a powermeter? Sheesh...some people's priorities....

BTW, that last Tues. ride WAS fun. Much better. I'm glad I decided to hang back at the start due to coming off my cold ;-)

Oh yeah...keep the old race stories coming. I love that stuff.

Jason said...

Good stuff. I really liked that last Tuesday ride. A good mix of new faces, no yelling (at least that I heard), and a hard pace. Matt and Ben did a great job hammering hard and making sure not to leave the group behind. You can do all the intervals, hill repeats, high-speed tempo rides and not match the kind of workout you get when trying to hang with guys stronger than you that are hammering hard. The accelerations are always when I least want one. It took me almost 2 months to not get dropped on that ride.

50 Races! Holy smoke! Be careful how much you market this year to your wife as the last hurrah. That crap always comes back to haunt me. "Well you said you wouldn't need any more equipment after you got the new bike". Yea, BUT......

Marco Fanelli said...

Hey TnA,
Nope, no PM yet... First come the essentials, then the toys. (Yeah I know, some people consider the PM an essential, but not me.) Re the old race stories... I've got a million of them. I may be a totally mediocre anonymous bike racer, but like Forest Gump, I've been around some pretty cool stuff (and people) over the years.

You're right on that you can't duplicate those kinds of efforts without a group. There's nothing like finishing a really hard pull and needing to get back on when you're totally redlined and gasping for O2. Fun stuff.

TnA said...

Uh Oh...I think you may have given yourself a new nickname.

"Ride Forrest! Ride!"

Hmmm....Forrest Fanelli...I kind of like the ring of that....

Aram Dellalian said...

What to say? The internet is rampant with gems like: "all good cat 1 and domestic pro riders -dope-".

Like you said, the only way to have that tinge of hope for the sport is when you have a personal connection, as you mentioned. The "we see..." aspect. That's what guys like captain Arizona were never exposed to.

As for SoCal Bike Blogs: There are very few, sadly. You're spot-on about blogs being better reads than cycling websites, particularly local ones with "characters" you've run into personally.

Bahati has one, but it's a bit crap. There's me, him, you, and really, that's all I can think of...

Marco Fanelli said...

Re SoCal bike blogs: I also like Neil@Road. He updates pretty often and has some good stuff.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

more oldey-time racer stories!

hey, think we've got a girl n' boy crew coming down SB way for the Mothballs.

give a shout out, fanelli.

Marco Fanelli said...

For sure I'll look you up at Mothballs, assuming I survive the day before at Boulevard RR, where the start list is dang near a roster of every domestic pro team in the US!