Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is the first time I can remember looking at my bike and not wanting to jump on it and ride really fast. I am going through a small bout of depression due to the crash on Sunday. The one thing I love that was loving me back has dumped me into a guardrail doing 30 mph. And adding insult to injury as I sat at the medic booth waiting for them to clean my road rash and check out my shoulder I saw five other guys who were involved in the accident being supported by their significant others. As I sat there I was left thinking "am I going to be able to drive myself home?" Maybe I am being too dramatic about this whole ordeal? I mean its just bike racing right? Ha Ha Right? If that were the case I would have never been up in the top 8 at Dana Point. I was up there because its more than just bike racing to me. Its a whole slew of things that I can't even get into right now. But I can sum it up by saying it is my one true love.

I looked through the race results and wanted to say this... Kudos to the guys who were top 3-5 not sure if you would have been there had I stayed up right but just being in the front of that race was tough work so you deserve the top slots. To the guys who finished 6-12 your welcome. I hope you know that you should have never been there. If it wasn't for some shit head crashing on a straight away taking out the 5 heavy hitters that went down behind him you would have went home once again thinking to yourselves "damn I almost had top 12" So your welcome, but don't get used to it. I know a few of the guys that went down, and I know my self of course and we will be back. We will be back to bring the pain on your legs and your ego leaving you to sprint for top 20! Tomorrow I am getting back on the bike! See you at San Luis Rey.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dana Point Race Report

O.k. Ill make this short. As always I stayed in the top 10 for about 98% of the race only being shuffled back into the 30’s once. This race was fast and not much swarming going on at all, pretty strung out the whole time. I got caught pulling with 3 to go but did my job and kept it fast. Last lap I set myself up in perfect position and the peloton really hit the gas which lined it out. We took turn 6 really hot flying to the outside running it right next to the steel gates (the kind meant to hold the fans back). I was sitting 7th wheel and knew no one was going to come around me with only 300 meters to go, it was just a matter of how many people I could pass in my sprint, and I was feeling good mind you. This is when the guy in front of me went down! There was a small space between him and the rail that I tried to squeeze through and almost made it but the guy behind me swerved and leaned all his weight on me pushing me down into the guard rails.

My first crash. I would estimate we were doing close to 30mph. Luckily nothing broken on my body. Just a really bad bruised left shoulder, and some decent road race on that shoulder as well. My bibs ripped at the ass I am surprised and really happy no road rash there. My bike turned out pretty well, except for the the broken front Zipp 303 she just suffered some scratched shifters. All in all it could have been way uglier. I’m pissed more than anything that I am riding in form right now and really believed I had top 5 sewed up and maybe even had a shot at the podium for this NRC race. My legs felt great and I was in perfect position. Oh well resume training tomorrow today is recovery day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Race Ready

So tomorrow is Dana Point. So today I went out and did an 1:30 ride picking it up at points, and doing a lot of high tempo riding to get my legs ready for what should be a really fast race. Other than that I decided my house could use a good cleansing and my bike needs to be set up for tomorrow, than I am going to sit around and rest my legs before work and start a new book (To Kill a Mockingbird). My legs were a bit sluggish today but it was Hella windy out so its always hard to tell in that condition. A good warm up tomorrow than the rest is just drilling it until I can't drill it any more.

PS I read my last entry (torrance race report) man what a horrible job I did writing that. I should take a little more time and write better. I have written a 100+ page masters thesis for F sake the least I could do is write a well written race report! Ill try harder on Monday when I am writing about my first win!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Torrance Crit

In the Cat 4 crit in Torrance we had a small field of about 50 riders due to Chuck Pontius being held on the same day. I looked around when we lined up and saw some of the heavy hitters made it out to Torrance and knew it the small field would only make the race faster. Two laps and a break of 6 riders go off the front. I reacted too slow and finally decided I need to be in every break in this race because of the small field so I jumped and spent 2 laps in no man’s land finally bridging the gap to join the break. We held off the peloton for about 5 laps and than were reeled in. My legs where feeling really good and I knew I would be aggressive all race. About 2 laps later I got in a break of 4 that stayed away for about 4 laps or so before getting caught. 2 laps later the pace slowed so I decided to jump knowing someone would come with me and indeed I got one more rider to go with me and this one stuck for awhile but again we chased down. Later a solo rider went away and I was too tired to bridge and seeing no one went with him knew he wasn’t going to be a threat not to mention we had 20 minutes left in the race and it was windy. I helped reel him back in after letting him dangle for 5 or 6 laps (Torrance is a really short course only ½ mile long). The very next lap my friend James took a flyer so I joined him. He exhausted himself on the initial effort, so I came around to pull and ended up dropping him. I held up let him catch back on and take a turn than came around again for my turn and dropped him again. Realizing he wasn’t going to be strong enough to make it stick I sat up and waited to be caught by the peloton.

At this point we went to lap cards with 6 to go. A rider from Ironfly went to the front and set a nice pace that no one willing to come around him, I was sitting second wheel. The rider from Ironfly continued to pull and knowing he had 4 other teammates in the race I refused to come around to pull since that would have to be the job of his teammates. I sat in staying uber vigilant watching over my shoulder for the possible attack up the side. Nothing happened until the last lap. The Ironfly rider still pulling he lifted the pace stringing out the group which made me happy. Just out of turn 3 just what I expected a rider sitting 5 wheel or so jumped from the outside so I jumped and grabbed his wheel and followed him hauling ass right into the super windy section for the course. I knew I had to jump before the last turn seeing it is only about a 250meter sprint to the line out of turn 4. So I did, I jumped and sailed to the outside taking turn 4 super HOT jammed passed the rider and stood and gave everything I had to hold off the peloton. I saw one rider creep up to my right and we sprinted it out for the remaining 100 meters. He beat me by a rim! A stinking rim! Leaving me to finish 2nd. First podium of the season for yours truly and I got pictures to prove it! Oh and a copy of the check I deposited today!
So there it is a perfect time for me to find my form with Dana Point, which is a National Race Calendar race coming up next weekend were the points are doubled. The second place awarded me 11 points, which skyrocketed me to 70th place in the socal cup standings!
With that said I just wanted to take a second to thank Jim for all the support he has provided me throughout the past two seasons. He shows up or calls me before every race to prepare me and does the same after every race to hear the stories of both victory and defeat, always supporting me regardless of the outcome. Thanks again Jim I am honored to have you as my Director Sportif and as my friend! The next one will be a win buddy!

PS. I told you team my money was on me! haha.

Torrance Crit 2009

Torrance Crit 2009

Devil's Punchbowl

Saturday was Devil’s Punchbowl Road Race which is know by the majority of Southern California cyclist to be the most difficult RR of the season. A 16 mile loop (we did 3 laps so 48 miles total) with 1800 feet of climbing per lap which is held in the high desert 4000 feet above sea level. Oh yeah I said desert right? its f’ing always hot at this race. My ambitious goal for this race was top 30. Ok I’ll try and make this short. Sold out field of 100. Into the end of the first set of climbs I pop and get pitched off the back. I gather my composure and set out to chase. At this point I am on a descent. I pick up a rider and work with him but as soon as the descent is over he is too week to help me on the long false flat with a series of short climbs so I leave him. I pick a rider here and there and we form a nice chase group of about 5 or 6. We chase like hell all doing a good amount of work but cant quite catch them. Finally we latch back on just before the start finish.
Lap two begins and the pace is still high but a little more manageable. We hit the start of the first long climb and the peloton lifts the pace and breaks are field into two. I make the break and stay with the front group only to be dropped one more time leading into the stair step climbs that are just murder. I pick up two riders. We climb together and descend together. Again we hit the false flats and their slowing me down. After a mile of trying to work with them I decide to lift the pace and if they can’t hang oh well ill ride solo. I drop them and I pick up another rider leading into the beginning of the 3rd and final lap. We end up forming a chase with 8 riders. Into the false flat we go and at this point I am feeling really good and start thinking about beating all of these guys. With about 6 miles to go I attack the group, and bring 3 riders with me. We stay away. I wait a bit and attack again only one ride was able to bridge to me (Frankie was his name he was the guy I joined leading into lap 3 so I was happy it was him). We are drill it to open the gap between us and the groupetto and we end up going clear and picking up another rider. With about 4 miles left I decide to attack again. A good effort but they catch me after a little work. I than cramp in my left inner thigh! Shit I am thinking but I drink and spin and work out the cramp. So once feeling better I attack again! They answer and catch me. Leading into the downhill I figured I should attack again seeing there is a 90-degree turn at the bottom that really causes you to go from 35 or 40 to 10 mph leading into the last climb to the finish so I attack again! Caught again damn! Out of the turn knowing we are on the last climb I attack again, this time dropping Frankie leaving only me, and the Amgen rider to duke it out. Once he caught me he attacked me and I countered catching him. I had one more effort left so I gave it one last go and this one finally stuck!
I finished 29th beating my goal of top 30. At the risk of sounding a bit egotistical I couldn’t tell you how pleased I am with the effort I put into this race. When I got dropped on the first lap I thought I was done for, but I collected myself and put my head down and fought a hell of a fight realizing I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Not being the strongest climber in the peloton I was left impressed with my efforts and determination. This is race is what cycling is all about! This is my strongest showing at a road race as a cat 4. Can’t wait for San Luis Rey!

Sorry this was so long but it was an epic race.

Monday, April 6, 2009

LBC Race Report!

What an event put on down in Long Beach this weekend. The Grand Prix took place right in the center of downtown Long Beach and offered up a great 6 turn course that was very technical due to the turns and the wind. As I lined up at the front I looked around to get a rough head count of the riders figuring that we had to have come pretty close to reaching the field limit of 120 riders. More people to beat I think due to a great warm up that left me feeling confident. At the gun I took off to get position and nestled into the top 5 where I stayed for about 99% of the time. The race was really fast and I felt great so I didn’t mind putting in a lot of work to keep the field from bunching up. About a little more than half way finished there was a break of 5 riders. They dangled out front for awhile and than started increasing their gap on us (the field). I scanned the break on the straight and saw my friend Sean was in it and decided this may be the winning move. So I of course jumped from fifth wheel, bridged the gap and joined the break. Well we ended up getting caught shortly after I bridged the gap. One bullet fired but still feeling good held my position up front.

We went to the lap cards and for some reason I thought there was another 3 man break up the road. I was so sure and with there only being 5 laps left I thought that would be the winning move. I yelled at John on the sidelines if there was indeed a break up the road and he confirmed there was (at least I thought he did). So of course I jumped in order to bridge! Turns out there was NO break up the road and I had mis-understood John lol. Im an idiot I know. Second bullet was fired!! Shit I am still feeling good though. With 3 to go they announced a $50 cash prime! I got caught up front pulling going into the last two turns so I decided I could use the cash and jumped to be beat at the line by a rim! Third bullet was gone.

I held my position up front but found myself once again too far up front going into the last lap sitting 2nd wheel. Luckily some guys made a move to get position so I happily let them in front of me putting me in 5th position. Perfect I’m thinking!! We jam on it and single file the line. Out of the last turn I held on to 5th wheel with the feeling that the only thing left for me to do for the day is collect my 1st place medal and cash while on the Podium after my sprint! The guys in front of me went way way too early causing the whole field to jump me included. It was a 600 meter straight to the line. I was overcome with pain due to the efforts of the race and watched guys pass me with no bullets left to counter. I sprinted and felt like I was standing still. I ended up finishing 16th.

I was really happy with the race even though the end result has been haunting me. I need to work on my sprint is what I learned. I am starting in a gear that is too big for me to push. I am so much faster if I start my sprint in my 16 and get a fast cadence going gradually shifting down as I gain speed. It’s just really hard to get everything perfect during the last kilometer of a race. This week is rest week next week sprint intervals and climbing to prepare for PunchBowl and Torrace!! Hope this wasn’t too painful to read!! GO RIDE!!