Saturday, March 31, 2007

Piru Punch in the Pants!

So THAT'S the Piru Time Trial everyone is always talking about!

Pops Larsen and I cruised down in the vastly superior Sienna minivan, and we were greeted by a beautiful morning with clear skies and a gentle breeze. Surprisingly, only 20-30 crazy time-trial folks were up for 40K against the clock this morning. I guess this event is pretty low key.

The course is 10 km out along a continuously rolling road, so we had three turn-arounds to make 40K. The hills are pretty much doable in the big ring, but you have to get out of the saddle to avoid being bogged down by a few of them. No big deal--it's nice to get up and stretch occasionally.

Pops conveniently registered just behind me, thus making me his beotch... err, I mean, his 1-minute man. I caught three guys in front of me, but then Pops caught me at the half-way point. Dang. Now I know he's a good tt'er, but I sure didn't want him to put two minutes into me! Thus I found I could dig deeper and we stayed even for the second 20K, with me finishing just in front of him for a 58:13. He did 57:13 which I think was the fastest time of the day.

Now, if I can just extract the two railroad spikes that someone pounded into my glutes, I'll be ready for Ojai tomorrow!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thoughts...

I think we are damn lucky to have a configuration of streets like we do at Research Park. Think about it... where else can you make a loop, of crit-course distance, and not run any stop signs or lights? and no (left) turns across oncoming traffic?

Thinking further about this course, I've probably gone around that 1 km loop somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 times. That's based on nearly 20 years of a couple USCF races per year out there, plus nearly ten years of Wednesday-night crit practices at ~15 per year (late 80's to late 90's).

Maybe it's time to start getting out on Wed nights again...


I think it's dang cool of DK to provide transportation for a needy racer in town.

Oh wait, CW drives a BMW... how needy can he be??


I think it's really weird that sometimes when I mix my grape Cytomax, it turns purple, but other times it turns green. Does that happen to anybody else?


I think MKA may have a protoge... Check out T.S.Fugger on Truesport. Like MKA, Fugger hails from the O.C. and wields a sharp pen. Good talk.


I think I really like the juicer I got for Christmas last year. It sat in the box until today, but finally I opened it up and let the thing rip through a bunch of vegetables (organic, of course) to see what it produced.

3 tomatoes
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 a cucumber
2 small peppers
2 sprigs of broccoli
some parsley
pinch of salt and black pepper

...turned into a liter of fresh, home-made V-8 juice. (Next time I'll leave out the broccoli.)

Gina said the only missing ingredient was vodka!


I think I have to do the Piru 40 km tt on Saturday, and then try three races at Ojai on Sunday. I think I will be tired on Monday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Need Ice for Shoulder and Elbow

This little guy wants to practice with me every single day during spring break... TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT!

The Little League pitchers he faces throw curves, and junk, and great change-ups. They aren't supposed to put movement on the ball, but they do.

So when we practice he wants me to throw fast, no more lobs.

I think my arm is going to fall off soon.

I love it!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Training Week - 3/19 to 3/25

Could barely pedal for the first half of the week. Accumulated fatigue; would be easy to claim being overtrained... but, like Floyd supposedly said, it's really that I'm undertrained, and thus can't handle the load... gotta train harder.

Number of rides: 5
Riding time: 13 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 6 hrs
Best ride of the week: from a training perspective, it's Orosi hands down (see prior post). But for pure enjoyment and mental health, I have to say today's Figueroa-loop ride with Gina, Steve, and Gary was perfect! (See pics below)
Other: played some baseball and pulled some weeds (hey, that made my hamstrings really sore, so it must be exercise!)
- I had originally planned to do the LA Circus race today (45+ and p/1/2) but felt too knackered after Saturday. Plus, Gina wanted to do the Figueroa loop--more climbing than anything she's ever attempted--and I wanted to be there to support her like a good husband should. So we packed up the bikes and headed to Los Olivos for a (gulp!) 7:00 start. Steve Miley and Gary Maxwell joined us. None of them had done this ride before, and they weren't sure what to expect. Nor was I sure how it would go; I humped in extra bottles and food just in case. It turned out to be a spectacular ride, with abundant sunshine above the fog layer and brilliant gold and blue wild flowers in bloom. I have to say, it was delightfully rejuvenating to ride with non-racer-type people for a day, and I highly recommend it for occasional therapy!

Gina reaching the top.

Steve making it too.

Gary was waiting for us.

The Poppies and Lupine at the top of Figueroa!

The Great Orosi Training Ride

Eric Forte and I made a last-minute decision to race the Orosi RR yesterday. Left after dinner Friday, back by dinner on Saturday, rode 100 miles in between. Well, to be more accurate, Eric raced, I rode.

Orosi is another NorCal gem promoted by Bob Leibold, and is held in spectacularly beautiful terrain in the Sierra foothills below Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The roads are fairly beat up, but that just adds to the epic factor. The 30-mile lap starts with a tough, stair-steppy climb that was advertised as ~2,000 ft, but I heard reports of nearly 3,000 ft total climbing per lap. Me and my sore legs believe it.

First the good news... Eric won the 3's. No, he didn't just win, he crushed them. They raced three laps and he took off solo at the beginning of the third lap and proceeded to put five minutes into 2nd place. Add his name to the increasingly long list of people who have been mentioned on this blog and subsequently won a race. You're welcome Eric!

Another one on that list--although I can't really take credit for it because it's becoming all too common--is Hernando who won the 35+. Not sure how that race unfolded, but it was probably pretty exciting. I thought perhaps Henri would uncork a winning effort in the 35+ (since the course was half dirt, gravel, and potholes) but that was not to be. He should have done the 45+, but apparently he is in as much denial about his advanced age as I am. Anyway, word is Hernando will be heading down to Ojai next weekend to take on the SoCal crit monsters. Anyone want to bet me that there will be a break in that race???

Back to Orosi... the p/1/2 race. Small field, as per usual for these VeloPromo road races, maybe 20 guys lined up. Of those 20, about 30 were from MontanoVelo/BPG/RHVilla so it was a pretty good bet that they would try to dictate the 90-mile race to the rest of us.

The first few miles out of town were neutral but as soon as that ended, one of the RHVilla guys took off. Now, at this point in the race, I didn't know who any of them were--they weren't all the 2's we raced the last couple weeks--but over the next few hours I was able to put names to the faces. One of them was Jesse Mendonca who I coincidentally just linked to the other day. He goes by many different names: Jesse, Andy, Junk-a-donk, Jandy,... probably many more not fit for print. Obviously I don't know the guy well enough to use any of those, so I'll just call him Badonkadonk Butt. On second thought, maybe I better not... As it turns out, Jesse raced at Mothballs and was one of the key animators in the break that lapped the field. This reporter made no mention of that fact--a major screw-up for the prestigious journalistic icon that is this blog. Therefore, to make up for that oversight, and not knowing who really took off at the beginning of Orosi, I will say that it was Mendonca. A minute later Arjuna Flenner bridged up to him and soon they were out of sight.

A few of us (Sal Borrego-Crum, Vince Owens, and moi) rode tempo at the front to keep the gap reasonable, meanwhile whenever anyone would really surge or attack, one of the remaining 29 RHVilla guys would mark it. They tired of that game eventually, and let Sal roll off and he quickly joined the break. Alas, Kevin Klein and Grant Van Horn pushed the pace hard up the hill at the beginning of lap two, and the escapees were caught. Poor Arjuna went right out the back, as did I and a bunch of others. But Dominic from Webcor and I hooked up, kept rolling, and eventually we rejoined on the back side. But ouch, that hurt. Sal, with ants in his chamois, took off again with a different RHVilla (Christian Kearney) and soon they were out of sight. About this point, I saw Klein whisper to Grant, and I imagine it went something like "look kid, I know you are strong and holding something back. I think you should ride at your limit the next time up the hill so we can shed all these cling-ons, catch the break, and settle this thing with a smaller group." Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened. Grant, Kevin, Ted Huang, and Matt Willinger (RhVilla too) rode away from us on the climb, and we didn't see them again until after the race.

So, with all six tee-shirts up the road, Jesse, Dominic, and I had a nice social last lap during which pleasantries were exchanged and scenery was absorbed ...until the last few hundred meters, where it turned into a race again ...for 7th. Dominic started it, but quickly popped ...I was moving good, but Badonkadonk came by me.

I am pleased to report that Grant won the race, yet another one for the blog-mention-subsequent-race-winner list! Ted Huang got 2nd, Klein got 3rd, Willinger got 4th, Sal 5th, Kearney 6th, Jesse 7th, moi 8th, Dominic 9th, Vince 10th.

With the out-and-back to town, I ended up with nearly 100 miles. All in all, a pretty good training day.

One last thing... Did you ever wonder what happens to all those water bottles that get tossed in a race? Now I know. VeloPromo collects them and uses them for neutral feeds in his future races. It's hard not to be grateful for a neutral feed, but the bottle I got yesterday was all old and cracked and the water leaked out before I could drink any! Not complaining, just commenting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Some New Linkage

Added some new links (mostly to other blogs) and off'ed a few that were either dead or rarely updated.

I don't have time right now to summarize them all, other than to say that they are all good and enjoyable. Check 'em out, especially the blogs (over on the right, and down a bit).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yesterday, Blah ...Today, Spring

I had big plans yesterday for an epic and rejuvenating day of climbing...

Alas, I awoke to gray skies, a cold house, and a very grumpy sixth grader who hadn't finished his homework and was in no mood to try. Often we'll let him take responsibility for getting it done (or not), but yesterday morning I insisted that he finish before going to school. If that made him late, so be it. Recently his attitude has been a bit too lax, and I felt he needed to know we consider that unacceptable.

Thus followed the Mother of All Meltdowns, with tears saturating his papers, and screams of how stupid I was for making him late for school. Soon enough however, he realized I was serious and was not yielding, so he focused and got it done. He ran out the door, still angry, and probably made it with seconds to spare.

I doubt that kids realize how much these kinds of confrontations affect their parents. But the tone had been set for my day, and I never got out on the bike.

Ahhh... but this is a new day! Today the little guy got all his work done--in a cheery mood in fact--and the sun is out. We've got blossoms in the backyard and baseball this afternoon. And guess what... it's the first day of Spring!




Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Training - Week 24

Felt fatigued most of the week. Longest ride was only 2:20.

Number of rides: 7
Riding time: 11 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 4 hrs
Best ride of the week: SDSR RR
Other: none
- Monday night 10-mile tt in 22:39
- OSM in 15:44 at really comfortable effort level, 80%-90%

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SDSR Final

Final stage was a speedy six-corner crit with generous time bonuses. We had planned to ride aggressively, and Cookie and MarkZen did a nice job of staying up front in the action, but yours truly was tired and had an aching right knee and never saw the front. Thus, it was only fair that some dude snagged a 10-second bonus and knocked me out of the top-10 in g.c. but, strangely enough, gc paid 11 deep so I got a small spot of cash anyway.

[add edit: just saw the official g.c. results on the internet... there was a three-way tie on time between 10th, 11th, and 12th. Natch I got the 12th... must have been a last-stage-placing-tie-breaker rule, and since I coasted in at the back of the pack, I got the boobie prize. If I see the RHVilla guy who should have gotten the $20 I took, I'll give it to him.]

It's funny to me... based on the last two weekends of stage races, I noticed that these young kids in the 2's race fast and aggressively in the crits, but for some reason don't throw down the same kinds of attacks in the road races. Why is that? Because nobody is watching? Lack of confidence in their recovery and/or endurance? Twice yesterday I rolled off the front for a few miles, desperately hoping someone would come across and want to work. No takers either time. What, nobody wants to work with a 45-year-old frail dork who looks like he'd get blown off the road in a 10-mph crosswind? Weak. I'm tired of road races in which 50 guys finish together, same time. Bring on the sufferfests like Copperopolis and Devil's Punchbowl!

Seriously though, the guys that finished at the top of the g.c. and in the stages are damn good bike racers and will not stay as lowly 2's much longer. Here's Justin Williams showing a clean pair of wheels to win today's crit. Also nice to see the yellow jersey battling for the crit win, not just sitting back satisfied with the g.c. (He had it wrapped up by this point.)

So here's the final SDSR Cat 2 podium. Congrats. (Note: all three of them are under 25 years old! A good sign for bike racing's future.)

Other races...

Third time's a charm for Lindsay. He won the 45+, holding the g.c. lead from day one. The past two years, he had the jersey going into the final crit but lost it. Last year, Roger Worthington barely beat him with time bonuses; the year before KK got away and put in enough time to win it.

Congratulations Lindsay! Final podium at right with KK, Lindsay, and Larry Shannon.

Finally, Jason Hannon finished a strong 4th in the Cat 4s, despite having no teammates in the race.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SDSR RR Quick Report

Time bonuses. Sometimes they are your friend, and sometimes they suck. The 2's gc leader after yesterday probably thinks they suck. He got none. The guy who started the day in 3rd (Eric Barlevav) scooped up a couple good ones today and moved into the gc lead. He's a young kid who looks like he might have a future in bike racing.

Your humble SB crew tried a few times to animate the race, but in the end, two guys escaped and got a few seconds and were followed in by about 50 guys all s.t., including Cookie, MarkZen, and yours truly. (Somehow I scooted up a spot into 10th on gc.)

As seems to happen almost every year, different categories got mixed up. This year they started the Pros only 5 minutes behind us and they caught us at about mile 50, which neutralized us and caused some confusion. Then we caught the 3s as we went into our sprint. Chaos.

Other races...

A strong front group went off in the Pros containing their gc leader Moninger, and our very own C-Walker. He moved way up in g.c. (top 10) which should strengthen his lead in the SoCal p/1/2 points series, which he seems to covet this year. Cody won the field sprint.

Jason held his g.c. position in the 4's and Eric Forte dropped a spot in the 3's because a good sized break got away from him.

Not sure how it happened--and it is surprising to me--but Greg Leibert lost his g.c. lead in the 35+. It looks like Mike "Chicken" Anderson, my favorite Las Vegas cop, was in a break and made up significant time. He's now in 3rd, Leibert's in 2nd, and Gary Scott has the lead.

I'm pretty sure Lindsay still has the g.c. lead in the 45's, despite letting a break get away with Larry Shannon and Malcolm Hill. Watch out for time bonuses tomorrow Lindsay!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Long Twisted Affair with Time Trials

I first started really riding a bike during the summer after seventh grade in Stockton CA, and when I say "riding", I mean like all-day, 100-mile outings with my friends Doug Stuart and Greg Traverso. Typically, we'd head off to some river crossing, splash around for an hour or two, then go eat pie at some remote truck stop, and return home by dinner time. Average speed during riding, not much more than 12-13 mph I'm sure. Good times.

Eventually we stumbled across the Stockton Bicycle Club (SBC), whose members seemed to be the absolute coolest folks we'd ever seen. They all had nice bikes and actual cycling clothes. I, on the other hand, rode in cut-off jeans and tennis shoes. Picture the character Moocher from Breaking Away, only much dorkier.

Most of the SBC members raced, which really intrigued us, but the thing they mostly all focused on were the weekly 10-mile time trials that went on for the duration of daylight-savings time. That is where I first dabbled into bike racing. I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I got before the first few time trials I did. I'd daydream about them in class. My entire riding life began to revolve around those time trials.

The course was a laser-straight, certified stretch of Comstock Rd. out east of town where the difference between the starting and ending elevation was about 10 ft. This road was so straight and flat that if you had good enough eyesight (or zoom power), you could see the turn around 5 miles out.

My Dad said he'd buy me a pair of sew-up wheels once I broke the 30:00 barrier twice. It took an entire summer of trying, but I did eventually do it. I even won the Novice category with a best time of 28:38 and received a nice little trophy that I still have today.

The picture at the left is me in the summer of 1974 finishing one of those Tuesday night 10-mile TTs. That summer would be the end of the cut-off jeans and tennis shoes, as the next year I started real racing.

I continued to do most of the Tuesday night time trials, but my focus had shifted toward mass-start USCF races. Like many juniors, I thought I was just too cool for school, and tt's were not cool. Instead, they hurt, and they were nowhere near as fun as crits and road races. I did TT's less and less often. I still did improve substantially, but leveled off in the low-to-mid 23:00 minute range. Keep in mind that this was well before aero equipment and skinsuits, so not too shabby for a 16-year-old kid. But there were other juniors I raced with that could go a minute faster or more. One was Greg LeMond, but that's another story.

Thus began my multi-decade approach to Time Trials that is pictured on the right. I convinced myself that they were not real bike races and that anybody who was good at them, or god-forbid actually liked tts, must be some kind of freak. Besides, everyone knows it's all about obsessing over equipment and such, right?!?

Well, in retrospect, that attitude cost me some decent results over the years. I once did a stage race that was attended by the Russian National team, along with a gaggle of good US guys. Evgeniy Berzin did ~30 mph, whereas I did a very-good-for-me 27 mph. Had I been able to go even 1.5 mph faster--half the difference--I could have been top-10 instead of 24th. I had good road-race results, but my tt'ing buried me. Last year in the 45+ Valencia Stage Race, KK started two minutes behind me in the 8-mile tt, and almost caught me!!! Sheesh!

So this year, in the twilight of my racing experiences, I have vowed to pull my head out of the sand and actually focus on improving this freakish aspect of bike racing. There, I said it... time trialing actually is a legitimate part of bike racing!

Recent results hold promise. Last week at the CVC race, I finished smack dab in the middle of the 2's field, which for me is pretty remarkable. Then two days later, at our local Monday night 10-mile TT, I miraculously posted the fastest time with a 22:39!

Today was yet another TT ...stage 1 of the San Dimas Stage Race. Unoffically, I pulled down an 11th out of 100 Cat 2s. Now this was not a typical TT because 3/4 of the race was at ~5% grade, but I found that a key TT skill still came into play, namely, pacing the effort in a manner to not blow up. I didn't do a very good job of that, but hey, that means there's still room to improve!

Page 1 of the 2's results fro the SDSR stage 1 TT...

Note that MarkZen and Cookie are up there too, and with the generous time bonuses and the opportunity for aggressive riding and breaks, we're all in striking distance.

Other results of note to locals and others perhaps...

Jason did a ~15:20 something which was 4th or 5th in the Cat 4 race. That's a bit scary!

Lindsay, as per usual, blew away the 45+ field with a 14:56. Next closest guy is ~:30 back. Watch out for those time bonuses!

Eric Forte rode a 15:01 and is top-10 in the 3's.

Walker rode a 14:2? and who knows where that puts him. Considering there were some Pros in the 13's, he may be buried.

Also, Greg Liebert rode a low 14 in the 35+!!! Dang, make that guy ride with the Pros.

I'll post another update tomorrow after the road race.

[Add edit: Here are the in-progress SDSR 2007 results.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Training - Week 23

(Forgot to post last Sunday) Short rides during the week, with only two days of intensity plus three-day race weekend.

Number of rides: 7
Riding time: 12 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 5 hrs
Best ride of the week: Raymond/Granite RR; 68 fairly hilly miles in 2:54
Other: none
- 10 mile C.O. tt in 23:56 with junk wheels
- 16.5 mile Piedra TT in 40:44

Monday, March 12, 2007

CVC Crit and Wrap-up

Lots of stage races conclude with a crit--sometimes they are merely a formality, and minimal gc changes occur, and other times, well, let's just say they can be exciting. CVC put on a terrific race this weekend, and the concluding stage was a fun and exciting crit in the old Tower District of Fresno.

In the 2s, where three of us TGI/Hazardous-Waste old men were racing, the gc leader (Joe Wiley) had over a minute on 2nd place. However, there were three Davis Bike Club guys in the top six and two were within striking distance (1:13, 1:18). Cookie was our highest placed gc guy in 13th at ~2:30. Our basic pre-race plan was to ride at the front (always a good idea) and take advantage of the DBC boys racing the way one would expect they should, namely attack the heck out of the gc leader, over and over again, trying to get a gc guy away from him. DBC had six guys total, whereas Wiley had only one teammate, so it seemed like a reasonable strategy would be to alternate attacks in groups of three of them, making sure each time they had one of their gc guys in the move. We would try to cover every move with DBC in it, and help establish a gap and drive it.

Unfortunately, DBC didn't attack. Maybe it was because of the very fast early laps which were frequently being driven by the big motor of Sal Borrego-Crum of CalGiant Strawberries. I like his style--instead of wanking when guys don't pull through, he just puts his head down and ups the ante a couple of mph! Other guys were drilling it too--not attacking, just pulling at 28-30 mph. All this was perfect for gc leader Wiley. MarkZen and I stayed near the front and tried to go with anything promising, but nothing went.

Finally, with 6 or 7 laps to go, a little move got some time, maybe 10-15 seconds. We missed it, and so did DBC. After a lap or two, small groups were trying to jump across and those flurries brought the gap down and the break was just about to be reabsorbed when disaster struck. A DBC guy went first through a corner too fast and slid out and took down the next 10 guys. I was right behind this carnage and to avoid piling on, I had to hop up onto the curb, and come to a stop on the lawn. I then sprinted down the sidewalk and rejoined the other survivors. The gc leader Wiley went down hard and was unable to rejoin the race. Same with Grant Van Horn who was the first victim of the crash.

Meanwhile, the crash chaos provided the break with a more-than-adequate time cushion now with less than 5 to go. Also, since it was within the final 5 laps, gc leader Wiley was not penalized and thus wrapped up the win. Sort of like the Levi rule for Cat 2 hacks.

So now the field was sprinting for the remaining places (5th?) and going into bell lap I scooted up to two Webcor guys at the front who were starting to wind it up. About half way around, I heard Cookie yell out that he was on and for me to take him to the end, so things looked decent for our field sprint. I was hoping the first Webcor guy could go a bit further and faster, but by the corner before the chicane (~500m to go), I couldn't risk the swarm so I went by them and wound it up to the last corner. Unfortunately, it turned out that Cookie was a tad too cooked, so instead of him flying around me for the field-sprint win, four other guys came by. Cookie and I sputtered in for 9th and 10th, and MarkZen finished 13th.

On the cool-down lap, with minimal filter between my adrenalin-flooded brain and my mouth, I lashed into Cookie for what I felt was a mistake, namely asking for a leadout without having the legs to close the deal. I should have been more diplomatic--sorry dude. I think the lesson is that it is key for teammates to make a solid assessment of how they are doing in a race, and make decisions accordingly.

So, here's your Cat 2 crit podium. Congrats to them for strong and opportunistic racing. Interestingly, the guy on the top step (Adrian Gerrits) recently moved to Goleta after graduating from Penn. Let's get him out on our rides 'cause he's obviously a motor and a talented bike racer. Someone should offer him a job though, 'cause word is that he's flippin burgers at In-and-Out. (Of course, if a perk is free food there, maybe it's not so bad after all!)

So, summarizing the stage race, I think we all feel pretty good about the weekend. This was our first race together (other than stinky ol' Mothballs) and considering that, we did pretty well. We came home with eight checks for various stage and gc placings. There's always stuff to improve, e.g., we all need to work on our tt'ing--especially me--because in the end, that was the biggest factor in determining the outcome of this race.

From our vantage point--a restaurant right at the start/finish--the Pro Women's race looked to be very fast and exciting, with all the best teams in the country battling. Sprinting star Tina Pic took a close victory from T-Mobile who had lined up that last lap.

The Pro Men's race also didn't alter the gc outcome any, but it was similarly exciting with Henk Vogels pulling out the win. Sorry to report that the 100+ man field couldn't make it through the U-turn without a few crashes. Here's a pic of them just about to slam on the breaks for the turn...

Happy to report that Cody stayed upright in this crit and finished a strong 11th.

The 35+ crit was epic, and shows that the final crit stage can be a dramatic and significant way to end the stage race. AMD Master Marco Hellman ripped an incredible tt the day before and had the jersey with :18 over Mike Hutchinson, and 1:09 over 3rd place Mike Hernandez. Both Hellman and Hernando had solid teammates, and the final stage was set for the fireworks. Rather than scribe that race for you, I'll suggest you navigate over to Hernando's blog where I'm sure he'll eloquently recap the goings on.

Here are a couple 35+ crit pictures to whet your appetite...

A break with OV, teammate Dan Martin, and AMD's Larry Nolan sitting on.

Could they gain enough time on gc leader Hellman chasing with more AMD teammates?

Parting shots...

Cody and Cookie wondering "Do we really have to wait around for a coupla $15 checks???"

Let me wrap this post up with the sad news that I am no longer the King of Stink. Yes, after three days in Room 111 at the Quality Inn and Suites, the evidence is overwhelming and I am truly humbled. Therefore, I formally abdicate my throne to... it's a tie, both MarkZen and Cookie are deserving winners. I think these two dudes produced enough H2S and CH4 in one three-day weekend to pollute the Central Valley's air for months. That combined with the inevitable increase in global warming they caused will seriously harm the valley's agricultural industry and burn off the beautiful fruit blossoms we saw out at the tt course on Saturday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

CVC TT -- Ouch!!!

Quick report...

Cat 2: MarkZen 14th ~39:40, Cookie 16th ~39:50; me 25th-30th in ~40:45. Winner Joe Wiley was ~37:00 with over a minute advantage on second place. Assuming he's not a crit spaz, he should be able to take the g.c. with help from teammate(s) ...Not that we, and others won't be trying to prevent that. We'll have to wait to see the official g.c. before the crit, but I think we'll now be able to race full-aggro tomorrow. Make it interesting...

35+: Marco Hellman (AMD Masters?) won with a blazing 36:50, Mike Hutchinson 2nd (I think), and Hernando 3rd (I think... working from faulty memory here). Not sure what happened to Dave W., but he was down around 42: something. Hawk is out of it, but their crit should be very interesting with the Bagboys against AMD.

No info on P/1 or the Women.

Other notes from today...

Harvey Nitz is here supporting logistics for the AMD masters. He was a big-time track and road star in the 70's and 80's and lived in Sacramento when I was a junior. He was one of my idols and was always kind to me on Sacto group rides and the Wed. night Cal-Expo crit series. After the tt today, I went up to him and told him he was my childhood hero (god, I'm such a dork). He was very gracious and we chatted briefly about the old times and the Sacto guys we both knew ...Tim Imai, Mike Williams, Steve Uhler, etc. Apparently those guys all still hang out together after all these (30!) years. Very cool.

Also chit-chatted with Chilcott... He's happy with his new career owning and running the BMC team. He's looking at it as a long-term business and is building for a bigger and better future. He was pretty disappointed that his team got blasted by a flu virus during the ToC, which explains why they were a non-factor.

We're off to patronize race sponsor Bentley's for dinner.

Friday, March 09, 2007

CVC; Stage 1; Cat 2 -- Brief Report

Hmmm... Well, that didn't exactly go as expected. A lot of people talked about how hard this stage was going to be. Cat 2's, Women, and 35+ all did 2 laps (~68 miles), and Pros/1's did 3 laps. I'm sure the promoter expected that this stage would generate a lot of gc time separation. That's why most stage races start with some kind of tt, even a short prologue generates some separation.

I'm not sure how the other races turned out, but the 2's are barely separated at all after Stage 1.

Basically, the course had two climbs early in the lap. Our plan was to try to get some early separation--ideally a group of 10-20 with all three of us (Brian, MarkZen, and me)--so we could then drill it and get multiple minutes on the rest of the 75-man field, thus reducing the impact of tomorrow's tt. Mark and Brian set a good early tempo, and then I went at what I hoped was hard enough to get a smaller group. Maybe it hurt a few people, but the group was still too big at the top. Actually, Brian was an early casualty, but heroically battled back on!

Some half-hearted attacks for the next hour, but there were still at least 50 guys for the second go around. Once again, MarkZen set a hard tempo leading up to the hill, and he was followed by some red-zone climbing, but 30 or so were still together at the top. Now, with 25 miles of rollers remaining, and despite a few teams with 6-8 guys, there were no serious attack-counter-attack flurries. Brian and I stuck our noses in a few attempts, but nothing got more than a couple of seconds. The only way something would stick this far out would be to have some guys from each of the teams (Alto Velo, RH-Villa, CVC, and Davis were the big ones). None ever materialized. But, at some point within the last ~10 miles, a couple guys did roll away and they hung out 10-20 seconds. But it stuck because of negative racing (yes, by us too) and nobody wanted to bury themselves in the wind.

So, sprint time... 30 guys left, full road, lots of surges and braking and herky-jerky moves. I found the WasteManagement guy that MarkZen said won the field sprint at Merced and I locked on. A big Morgan Stanley/Specialized guy snaked me, so I sat on him instead and fought off all comers. Brian shouted out from behind me that he was on, and to move up. Hold on big fella, we got time, and most significantly, we're on the right wheels! After waiting patiently, WasteManagement jumped full gas and then Morgan Stanley tried to come around. Next Brian jumped to the left and I went to the right, but it was too late as the WM guy won another field sprint, this time for 3rd. Brian nipped the Specialized guy for 4th and I got 6th.

So, gc... two guys with ~20 seconds plus time bonuses. Another guy with a couple secs bonus, then a big mob (30 guys?) all s.t. gc. Dang. This whole stage race will come down to the tt tomorrow. Good thing Cookie, MarkZen, and I are all big bad TT monsters! :)

Other races...

35+ race: Hawk Worthington and Olaf Vanderhoot got away and put up some good time. OV won the sprint. Henry the K was in there somewhere too.

P/1... who cares!?! No seriously, I don't know the outcome. But I do know that Cody made the time cut easily. Maybe even a lot better??

Other stuff...

Happy Birthday Sweetie!!! ILY

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Off to CVC...

Cookie, MarkZen, and I are off to the Central Valley Classic to race in the 2's with 70-80 upgrade-point-hungry guys. Raymond RR first, 16.5 mile tt next, downtown crit to finish it off. Fun, not-so-fun, and fun.

Not sure what the internet situation will be in Fresno. If I can connect, I'll give updates and perhaps even tell the self-aggrandizing tale of the time long ago when I won the Raymond RR in a p/1/2 stage race. Barely.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jens is So Cool

What a likable guy! Can we come ride with you Jens?

NorCal hero BJM is pretty good too!

Check out all of Mark Shimahara's cycling-video diaries on Youtube.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Morning Musings

When the boss is away, the bloggers will play... Actually, since I work at home (when I do work, that is) I can blog at will. The issue is usually more about what to say/write than it is about getting time to say/write it. This morning I've got some odds and ends rattling around my empty skull, so allow me to spew forth...

Group ride redux. For the first time in many months I was able to make both group rides this past weekend. What a treat! Back-to-back, it really put into focus how different the Saturday and Sunday rides are, even though it's mostly the same cast of characters.

Saturday's ride is usually more social, which was good because we had a nice couple from Fresno join us. Coby rides for Central Valley Cycling, the promoting club of next weekend's Central Valley Classic stage race, and Heidi, who I assume is his significant other, is a Velo Bella. That latter fact actually brought out Jen See (another Bella) and hubby John Parsons, the stealth couple we usually see out riding just about when we get back to town. It must be that they enjoy sleeping in late... it couldn't possibly be they don't like our company, right!?!

Anyway, to be completely accurate, Saturday wasn't entirely social thanks to Matt Dubberley's pulls out past the highschool, and then once we hit Casitas... well, you know some of us can't resist going hard there. I mean, there's still ToC KOM markings and fans' writings on the road. In fact, I swear I saw a "GO COREY!!!" chalked along the way. Anyway after regrouping at the top, 15 of us continued around the lake with a friendly and chatty two-abreast paceline for the next couple of hours. Rockwell flatted, and we all waited. We all shared the load in the headwind and soon enough we were back in town. I continued on home the long way to Goleta, ending up nicely bonked with 100 miles.

Satisfied...your basic group-hug ride!

Sunday is different. This ride--our version of the local "World's"--has been going consistently for thirty years. It's had some real cycling luminaries: Lance himself came out a few times during his recovery; also Phil Anderson, Trent Klasna, Malcolm Elliot, Hilton Clarke, Julian Dean have all ridden out there. Yesterday we had Lyne Bessette who is hanging out in SB while husband Tim Johnson does the California NRC races this month.

Yet it's not this collection of celebrities that give this ride its character. Rather, it's the decades' long rivalries; it's the smack talking between four or five different local teams; short leg-burner hills, and sprint locations steeped with rough-and-tumble histories--Javier's crash into the avo trees, Vinnie the Hack's wicked hooks of Ghengis Hahn and Christian and resulting crashes at 35 per, and of course the classic Brawl-in-the-Bushes betwix DK, Daniel Ramsey, and UCSB Nick. Just to name a few.

Thus I don't think it was just my imagination on the Goob-to-Bates portion that there was a bit of extra oomph and testosterone flowing. Guys were digging deep to hold on, others were pulling really hard, and still others were fighting for wheels to stay near but not at the front. No conversation. No group hugs. This fun stuff climaxed in a back-and-forth drag race up the Bates Rd. hill between Lindsay and me, in which I felt every muscle fiber pop and burn, yet still couldn't beat him. I know when Lindsay turns the pedals in anger (so to speak) and this was one of those times. Good stuff.

Next up, the Polo Fields sprint. A mile to go and Keith Horowitz had two of his trusty 2007 boys in front of him and everything looked as it should. I'm sitting on Keith and I thought Cookie was on me, only it turned out he got bumped off by Hecky who took a short-cut through the dirt and gravel. Enter Hans up the side--back out there after a fifteen year hiatus--and he thinks he wants Keith's seat, so he starts moving in on him. Huh?!? Didn't you get the memo Hans? Keith owns this sprint, besides which, if a team want's to line it up, then you should let them. It's better for all of us. I'm the one you should have been worming in on... the physics would be much more in your favor. So of course Keith body slams him a couple of times, and Hans quickly retreats. By now, at 300m to go, the only problem is that we're going just 30 mph which means the inevitable opportunists come up looking for glory, and this time it's Jacque Benny and Carlos, both Jedi Masters of sprinting chaos. One of them slammed the door on Keith resulting in much brakage, bumpage, and deceleration. Natch I backed out so I could report to you here today that nobody went down and it was just your typical SB Sunday ride Polo Fields sprint.


As far as I know, Cody and MarkZen were the only two locals up in Merced at the Merco Classic this weekend. I heard from each, and it doesn't sound pretty. In the Pro/1 crit, Cody was top-ten with a lap to go, sitting comfortably on a teammate or two, when he was taken out from behind. Dang! With his sprint, he might have made the podium in his first NRC event as a pro. The 2's race that Mark did also had a big last-lap crash that ruined Mark's chances but fortunately he didn't hit the deck. Same story in the RR apparently. Judging by the names at the top of the board, most races ended in big field sprints.

[add edit: read Hernando's reportage about Merced. Especially the comments.]


Speaking of big field sprints, Dave Lettieri rode the Long Beach Circuit Race last weekend which was probably his first race outside of SB county in ten years. Despite not really training--yes, I'd call what Dave does as just riding, not training--his incredible depth of experience allows him to work his way up to finishing high in crazy field sprints. He got 4th (see photo) in a sprint which also unfortunately claimed SB's Mondo in a crash. BTW, the winner Mark-Paul Gosselar, is once again looking back at the field. Hmmm.

A few other local folks--Ron, Blinger, Boelter, Choo-Choo, MarkZen--raced down there but nothing too noteworthy to report. Blinger won a couple $100 primes. Choo-Choo crashed but is basically ok.


Darn if Eric Forte is not only a phenomenal climber, but it turns out he's also a pretty fast runner! He did a local fund-raising 5K this weekend and ripped out a 17:00! And that was with absolutely nobody around to push him. Tell Todd Booth to watch out if Eric actually puts some focus on running. The irony is Todd was expressing some worry about Eric as a MTB competitor a few months back. You go Eric! Take him on in all disciplines!


Some things are too funny to go unreported, even if it involves a slight bit of embarrassment. Not mine of course, but at others' expense. Yesterday was another installment of the Fillmore-regionally-famous Piru Time Trial and a few locals made the trek down there. One of them was big Steve Boeltero. TT's are worse than real bike races from many standpoints, one of which is all the weird crap you have to bring... multiple wheels, goofy bike, space-invader helmets and assorted strectchy clothing and shoe covers. Oh yeah, shoes too... Steve? You got that Steve? Oops... big Steve Boeltero forgot to bring his bikie shoes.

But he did have his flip-flops. So he raced wearing them. That in itself is mildy amusing, to me anyway.

But here's the better part. Pops Larsen was also down there to race. And race he did! So fast in fact, that he put a whopping 25 seconds into the flip-flop-clad Boelter!

But it gets better still! Dano and Bermant were also there ...oh stop me please... AND BOELTER BEAT THEM WEARING HIS FLIP_FLOPS!!

Now I know I will never go to Piru, lest such a thing happen to me...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Training - Week 22

This week was kind of like cramming for finals. You know the drill... going over everything that might be on the tests. I've always felt the best racing here in CA is March through June, and we're looking at doing four stage races in the next 1.5 months. In other words, it's time to start the tests! So this week had a lot of climbing, hard pacelining in the wind, some short high-power intervals, some tt'ing, and a bonk-inducing endurance ride. Good stuff... time to recover.

Number of rides: 7
Riding time: 17 hrs
Time in mid/high aerobic zone: 8 hrs
Best ride of the week: Monday, 6X OSM in the cold and blustery wind
Other: none
- 6X OSM climbing time 1:49
- Thursday OSM 15:30
- Friday C.O. 10 mile tt 23:19
(all the above in windy conditions)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's Got To Be Mental

I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.
I love the wind. I love the wind.

If I say it enought times, will it be true?
Could I ever relish it like I do the hills?
Slice through it like an arrow?
Use it to my advantage? hurt my competitors?