Thursday, December 1, 2011

BB Racing 2011

The rumors of the end of my racing career are greatly exaggerated! My results are nothing to speak of - but I did have a fun season of racing.  These "reports" benefit greatly from the passage of time. I'm sure I remember the races being much better than they were.

And check out the baby photo!


Road Races:

Santa Rosa Crit (Cat 2 and M35+)
I went up for the opportunity to race twice without having to do P12. Nothing unusual happened except I left my wheels in the pit. The usual things happened. The really big guy in the Clover kit yelled at me for no apparent reason, we went 'round in circles, there was a crash on the last lap of the Cat 2 race.

It was just too fast to do anything. But for the first time in a long time I felt "in the flow" at this race.

Foothill Circuit Race
This race is awesome. I don't know how long the loop is, but longer than an average crit. There's a short hill that I figured would be the end of me by the end of the race. There was a good crowd and it's a super convenient race to ride to from the house! I made it to the base of the hill with the lead group of about 10 the last time around. I cracked so hard that a bunch of people passed me before the finish at the top. Hey I beat Dominic.

Novato Grand Prix
Long course with no real corners and no real hill. People always say that courses without corners are crash tests, but I love this course and I hate crash fests. Two laps to go and I took off. No one came with me. One lap to go two guys bridged up but passed me on the other side of the road. I'll admit that I was cracking - but if they would have come by on my side of the road I would have had a chance to hang with them. The field caught me 1/2 way through the last lap. I think Bill finished well.

Scotts Valley Grand Prix
This one is almost exactly like Novato - except Michael and Beth were there and Michael called me a "hard man" and "sexy" after making my end of race attack but being caught.

Fast and Furious Crit in Pleasanton
This is a fun "high production value" crit. Barriers and banners and a festival and all that jazz. The people of Pleasanton seemed super excited to watch racing even if they had no idea what was actually happening.

One of the other boring Pleasanton races the title of which I forget
Circles, yelling at racers for no reason… nothing out of the ordinary.

SF Grand Prix
This was a fun one. It was the first time I had raced with Rob MacNeil in a very long time. He's a great wheel to follow. So I followed it. I was feeling SO GOOD. Three laps to go and I'm following Rob at about 10th position up the outside on the backstretch through the really bad pavement. Some bozo almost knocks Rob into the curb and we both slam on the brakes and loose our great position. I try to get back near the front but it's pretty much over at that point.

Now for something completely different - but with a bike racing analogy!
The birth of Evelyn
The next few weeks I rode a bit, but never more than 45 minutes from home. We were within the window where labor could start at any moment. The closest analogy I have from my personal experience that helps to explain what it was like to support Julia through labor was the time in high school that I was on the support team for a friend who qualified for the RAAM in a 36 hour time trial. I barely made it - I have no idea how she did it!

CX: Because - just like triathlon - it's OK to be going a lot slower than the leaders. No one can tell in the photos that you aren't winning.

I had to sign up for the Open B category because the M123 B sold out weeks in advance for the Pilarcitos series.

Sierra Point
No warm up. Terrible starting grid position. I think I was 94th and the start and I got up to 67th.

Golden Gate Park
Julia and Evelyn came to watch - that was cool. Rand was watching and definitely was out to get me with the heckling. One time through the whooopty-doo thing that you don't quite have to run up Rand said something and I "playfully" gave him the finger. The crowd didn't quite get that this was directed at a single individual which made me feel terrible. The remaining times through this section I tried to ham it up for everyone and grab dollar bills and I took a swig from someone's beer. Rand later told me he appreciated the focus and core strength I demonstrated when I was able to ride up the hill and give him the finger at the same time. Started about 30th. Finished about 60th.

Coyote Point
Great warm up. My favorite course. Decent starting position. Finished 50th.


That's all I got. Looking forward to next season. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Steve Pelaez Practices Kung Fu at Nationals

After a week of living it up in NYC with jenna sans kids. i felt like superman with his Bell Lap kit on.

Why? Simple, jenna and i were relaxed and happy. Felt like a 2nd honeymoon. So my testosterone was in overdrive + all the beautiful women that NYC has to offer kept me smiling. Especially in this heat, hoooaaaah, short short skirts everywhere.

Also, i was riding around the city (no helmet) on a foldable bike dodging cabs and pedestrians. That gets your blood pumping.

We raced with the younger dudes (30-34). At first it was confusing how they were gonna score it for both age groups. Either way i figured i'd just win it outright and spank em all. Anyhow, after i took the 1st 2 sprints of 12 (72 laps) i was pretty sure i could manhandle this group so i attacked and elliot logan went with me. I took the next 2 sprints and then lapped the field w/ 35 to go. Unfortunately, elliott dropped off and didn't make the lap. I was egging him on to just hang on and he's guaranteed a silver. Sucks he couldn't make it.

Once i lapped, it was game over. i was able to just enjoy the race for the next 35 laps. I neutralized any breaks and just rode the front in the sphinx position. Btw, the UCI is effectively banning this sweet bar. A-holes!

Tonight is the madison and i'm racing the madison with klipper. I think we'll call ourselves team headlock and punchO. Gonna crush this field under a packed fri night crowd.

It's just awesome racing here. It's like TVC w/ a sweeter faster track.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I think the last crit I did was Timpani back in 2009. So it’s been awhile! Racing was fun this weekend. I have the fitness, but mytactical skills are a bit off. Hopefully that part will start to clicksoon. I've got to be more patient, sit in and follow wheels better,and conserve. And try and win money in primes rather than think about a break

Merco Crit
March 5, 2011
Masters 35+ 1/2/3
Team mates Tom and Steve
11th of 60-70 ish

The crit course was different this year due to constrcution - it had a180 and it went clock wise. It was maybe 400 meters out of the hairpinto the line. Most people hated it, but I LOVED it. At 40 laps, thiscrit is one of the longest the masters do all year (it was 70minutes). The race started slow, with a few half hearted attacks, soabout 5 laps in I launched my first attack of the 2011 season. It feltgood to be back in the mix!

After that I was either covering most moves, or starting trying tostart them them. I spent a good deal of time off the front.Unfortunately, when I came back gassed from an effort with 14 to goBrian Bosch went and I didn't respond. One other rider (Darren Divine)followed him and that was it. They were gone

I tried to get across several times, with various riders, but it justwasn't meant to be. With about 8 to go I started to sit in and thinkabout the sprint for the minor placings

With two to go Steve rolled up and asked how I was feeling. He was allset to guide me to the front and set me up. But, coming out of thehairpin when we were seeing one to go he cramped! I didn't realize itquickly enough and I totally missed the swarm moving up. I tried tomake up ground on the back side of the course, but could only get sofar. My position going in to the sprint was less than ideal. Out ofthe hairpin I just had no where to go I was too far back to have aclean line anywhere. I never got out of the saddle or was able to openup my sprint - too much traffic. I just had no where to go around.Finished 11th and feeling way too fresh at the end

The good news is that I felt great, and jumping 40 times out of thehairpin was no problem. Fitness is there, the rest will come together

Merco RR
Masters 35+ 1/2/3
March 6, 2011
Team mates Tom and Steve
13th of ~75-80

Despite riding motorcycles, eating way too much, and sleeping well, Iawoke to some tired legs. Back to back race days for the first time ina long time... nothing to do but get out there and do it

Unlike Saturday's perfect 70 degrees and sunny weather, our 8 am startwas about 50 degrees and raining. And it rained the whole race.Fortunately the pack was very sane, and everyone rode smoothly andreally well

My legs were slow to come around. Lack of warm up probably didn'thelp. I covered a few early moves. But, I missed the first big movethat went on the first lap. I tried to bridge a few times, but noluck. I drifted back to sit in some and try and get the legs to wakeup!

As we hit the rollers on the first lap Billy Innes set a hard tempothat lined the group out. It looked like we were catching the breakand I put in a dig up the Snelling feed hill. But, the riders I passedhad Pro/1/2 numbers on.I was confused, and assumed that we WEREN'Tcatching the break. But, I kept going, and had one other guy with me.We got pulled back, and Billy, Yahoo!, and MacNeill put in a few digs,but I still thought the break was up the road. We were nearing thefeed, I drifted back in the pack and ate something and drank abottle. Of course, while I'm back there, Innes and Klein go away. Andwe HAD pulled back the break. So I missed a really key move

Now Innes and Klein were up the road with one other. They only had 3though, so it was likely they could come back. On the last lap, Tomcame up and put in some monster pulls, really impressive, to helpbring it back. Along with the Folsom Bikes team, who did a good jobsetting tempo to help pull the move back

Right before the rollers the break was brought back. I tried to stayup front, but honestly I was hurting. I couldn't let Tom's work go towaste though, so I hung in there. As Tom was rolling back and I'mmoving up. Tom says "okay, they are back. Think Tigerblood!" orsomething like that. In reference to the Charlie Sheen ramblings allover the internet earlier in the week. So I sucked it up, and had todig deep to hang in there and focus

I was trying to stay near Bosch and Briggs - I knew they would betrying to set one of them up for the win. After the Snelling hillSteve came up and was ready to help set me up. I think it will takeanother race or two to work out the kinks - it's been a while since weraced together. But, we'll get there

As I said, my tactics and wheel surfing are rusty. I got swarmed andlost his wheel as he hit the front with 1.5k to go. I hung out a bitand moved up as I could before the left hander at the base of the hillup to the sprint. I was on the inside line there and we came out ofthat and I sprinted up the hill. Both to move up, and because I had nochoice. I crested the hill 10th, but was GASSED. I seriously couldn'tstand up to sprint at that point. Rob MacNeill came FLYING by me andfinished 5th. I just could not get out of the saddle. I got passed bytwo others at the line to finish 13th

That's a hard finish for me, with that little sprint hill before thereal sprint. A little better positioning and maybe I could have beenin contention for a top 5. But really, I think that's my best finishever in that road race, and not *too* bad for the first road race in avery, very long time after a hard crit the day before

Things will start to click soon. I know it

rint hill before the
real sprint. A little better positioning and maybe I could have been
in contention for a top 5. But really, I think that's my best finish
ever in that road race, and not *too* bad for the first road race in a
very, very long time after a hard crit the day before.

Things will start to click soon. I know it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cherry Pie 2011 - Dr. Tom

Well, loaded up with some new willow glen bicycles bottles and socks, i headed up for the cherry pie crit.  weather was awesome but super windy.  basically a headwind down the hill and around the big D section of the course.  About 60 guys registered with a large contingent from specialized, safeway, lombardy, and morgan stanely.  a few other teams, red peloton and some others i didn't pay attention to.  

Of course I started in the back but moved up to about mid field before the end of the lap, we weren't really going all that fast the first couple of laps.  A few attacks that quickly came back, until a break of safeway, specialized, and lombardy, plus one other got away.  The extra guy quickly got dropped and the other three seemed to be working well together.  They weren't all that far ahead of the field but there teammates pretty much junked up the front.  After a bit another safeway and specialized guy got away and bridged up to the lead trio.  They still weren't really gaining a lot of time.  

In the field it was pretty goofy.  Guys were getting dropped at the hairpin at the top of the hill, going down the hill, and in the turns.  I guess despite the extended lack of rain there isn't a lot of fitness around right now.  I kept moving around those jokers and at one time I think there were only about 20 of us left but then later the other guys caught back on.  At one point I pulled back a safeway guy through the windy section just for kicks.  

Around halfway, Sayers started getting annoyed and started drilling it for awhile.  We would be single file for most of the lap for a few laps but no one else was helping so the field wasn't making much progress.  Eventually, he got a little group away of 6 guys and then the field really sat up.  Finally, with coming up to three to go, I figured I should give it a go and see what happens.  I accelerated up the hill while billy innes did the same on the other side of the road, dragging the field with him, through the hairpin I was about 5th.  Once out of the hairpin, he sat up as did the other guys, so I rode away on the downhill, got a gap and then stuck with it.  

Not sure how far up on the field I got, but they didn't really seem to be catching me.  I was making slow progress on the two groups in front and ended up catching one guy that had gotten dropped. I stayed away and held the field off for a tenth place finish.   Pretty boring race, I guess there was one crash but it had happened behind me and I really didn't realize it until the next lap when a couple of guys were picking their bikes off the ground.


Pick the Canadian

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ted Burns CX Season Recap: Year 2 of 7 Year Plan

Photo by Terri Watters

After watching my Bell Lap teammate, Brian Peterson, win several national championships a few years ago at Track Nationals in T-Town, I was inspired to try and compete at the masters national level in cyclocross.  The challenge in front of me was how to juggle work, family, and the training commitment that would be required to get there.  My solution was to take my time and create a seven year plan that would hopefully put me in the running for a national cyclocross championship when i turn 45 in 2015.

The logic goes like this:  I can't even think of training 10+ hours a week consistently until my youngest boy, Deadly, turns three in 2011.  Realistically i probably can't do more than 15 hours a week for a whole year until he's five, so i have several years to try and build up some base level of fitness so that going into 2014-15 I can be at the top of my game.  There is a lot of math in my 7 year plan formula.

My first year of the plan, which was 2009 was less than stellar.  I capped off an unlucky year, very few races and inconsistent training, by breaking my ribs at nationals.  However - i did get myself to nationals in Bend, Oregon in order to see what it was like and get a feel for what it would take.

I started off 2010 with a few January cross races to capitalize on fitness I had been building since the fall.  I had gotten off to a late start and was hoping i could see some improvement.  I was happy with two top tens, one of which landed me on the podium in the 35 B's, at the CCCX Finale.

I didn't race much at all during the year but started focusing on building volume.  With help from my wife, Caitlin, we created a schedule through the year which would enable me to do some longer weekend rides during the spring and summer, and the race almost every weekend through the fall.  This is a huge sacrifice for Caitlin and I can't say enough how helpful it is when your spouse works with you on an effective schedule.

Due to both my wife's help and time away from full time work in July and August, i was able to get in the most consistent training I have had since i stopped racing full time in 1996.  With my coach Dan Smith of Sportvelo I had set some goals I thought were achievable for the season.

1. Win a 35 B's race
2. Upgrade to Cat 2 CX  - for improved seeding at nationals
3. Top 50% in BASP 35 As
4. Stretch Goal: Top 20 finish in BASP 35 As race.

My first cross race of the year was a bit of a mess, i forgot my bike - see race report here, but I came in second, and felt that I might have won if I hadn't been so disorganized before the start.  I won the next two races, CCCX 2 & CCCX 3, and and upgraded accomplishing my first two goals before even starting the BASP series.  I was feeling like i was ahead of schedule on my 7 year plan.

At BASP #1, Merrit College course, I came in 17th in my very first 35As race.  Many riders had gone down with flats and crashes so riding a solid consistent race got me in top 20 much to my surprise.  The rest of the series was a mixed bag as I had both good and bad luck but i finished consistently in the top 50% of the field with two top 20 finishes.  With my finish at the Coyote Point #5 I was able to finish 17th in the BASP series meaning i had blown my top 50% goal away being in the top 21.794871794871796 %.

With all goals accomplished I have to go back to work with Dan Smith to figure out how to improve for 2011 and nationals in Madison, WI in 2012.   While I was behind in 2009, I caught up and surpassed my expectations for 2010.  I'm looking forward to 2011 and a new look for Team Bell Lap!

Without the following support group of people I never would be able pull it together.

My Family: Caitlin, Myrna & Deadly
Coach: Dan Smith
Team Bell Lap Crossers: BB
Team Bell Lap Riders: Brian, Beth, Tom, Steve, Eric, Bill and Mark.
East Coasters: Dad, Mom & Jon
Cross Guru (Mechanic & Motivator): Rob MacNeil
Nemesis & Friend: James Badia
Cross Friends: Karl, Karen, Haley, Billy, Megan, Dr. George, Andrew
Special thanks to Teri Watters who came TWICE to cheer me on.
Other friends that came to cheer: Chris, Ava, Ayla

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bay Area Super Prestige #5 Coyote Point

Photo by Terri Watters

Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #5 Coyote Point
Category: 35 As
Place: 28/35ish starters

Teammate: Steve Pelaez
Series Standings 17/78

By the time the last race of the season rolls around my motivation is shot.  While I had a good year I started racing in September, and did a total of nice races which is a lot for me, and I realized that after the night race at Sierra Point, I could feel my will to be in the mix was ebbing even though my fitness seemed to be improving.  I had planned on going to Nationals in Bend, but unable to find a co-driver that fit my schedule, i opted to skip the snow and mud and finish off at BASP #5.  Going into the race I definitely felt like it was a bit of a chore, as i wanted to solidify my top 20 in the series.  Racing is a privilege so it was time to wrap it up.

BB picked me up and was on his game today. He had money, helmet, shoes, and everything else he needed to race. When i got in the car he presented me with coffee and the day looked promising.  The ground was wet, and it had rained the day before but it was looking like it would be clear for our race.  I got in a warm up and took some video of BB and other races in action which I will post below. 

The "Long Course" or "Beach Course" at Coyote Point is known for the sand section that runs about 25 yards in deep sand. You can ride it if you have a clear shot but in traffic requires dismounting.  Otherwise the course is split into two sections... The Upper, which is a hill that goes up into a Eucalyptus forrest then down the hill with a little single track.  The Lower section starts with the sand and then is flat but long.  There are several 180's and barriers with a few odd turns that can throw you off your bike.  Its a long lap but fun, since it has a little bit of everything.

My race was pretty lame. The start was funny because Steve Paleaz pulled up next to me outside of the grid where i had a second row start.  He got yelled at, and then heckled, for trying to cheat the system when really he was only trying to chat.  I had a poor start but settled in somewhere in the top 15 and was moving up which was a good sign.  I could still see the leaders and other guys in top 10 at turn arounds, and I felt like i was making ground on them.  My first lap was poor with lots of mistakes.  I fell in the sand, I botch some corners but I was able to hang onto the lead group.  

I was about to overtake my friend James Badia when I realized my rear was going flat.  I started to feel it on the road after the sand and realized I was probably not going to be able to keep at speed with it.  The tire was almost completely shot by the end of the road and i had to ride the remainder of the lap on a flat.  It was really sketchy in the corners and i was getting passed by the odd guy.  I wasn't totally out of the picture since I could still see james about 10 seconds ahead of me when i pulled into the pit near the start finish.  

When i pulled into the neutral pit the mechanic was not prepared so the switch took over a minute as he fumbled for a wheel, and then with the quick release. I would not have made it to my spare bike any faster since i think i would have had to run a big chunk of the last section and I had almost wiped out on several non-technical corners.  Once i got my wheel, which felt like forever, I started off but most of the field had gone by.  I hammered, and was able to catch one guy but that was it.  

I finished off the race, and felt like i was riding pretty solid, but I was too far behind to either catch anyone or move up significantly.  I made a bunch of technical mistakes the last lap, specifically taking corners too fast on my highly inflated neutral wheel, that both cost me some time and blood.  The only good thing to come out of the race was two photos by Terri Watters that are some of the best I've seen not just of me but of a cross race in general.  My favorite, with the San Francisco Bay, is in the background.

Despite my poor luck for the day the series awarded double points which was enough to keep me in the top 20 for the series, surpassing my goal of being in the top 50% for the series.  I was extremely happy, about how the season unfolded and have to thanks my wife - Caitlin Pepperell, my friend - Matt Beebe, and my coach Dan Smith at SportVelo, for helping me put it together.  I think i will write a longer post on that this week.  I took a buch of video of friends I ride with and hang out with during the year and put it together in this video.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BASP #3 Sierra Point & BASP #4 Golden Gate Park

Totally Look Pro
Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #3 Coyote Point
Category: 35 As
Place: 23/50ish starters
Teammates: Solo

BB abandoned me since he had some fancy dinner to go to. He has no sense of priorities. The night race is the shit. It's got crowds, lights, and the course is wicked stupid (ie. fun.) This year they added in some new road sections to make the laps longer. Other than that its dark, lots of 180s, and a great bmx dirt section.

I barely got a call up since they used the previous races results. I got a horrible start, totally missed my pedal, but was able to recover, but was about 50th and as we went into first corner which required a curb hop riders started stacking up. I took a risk, went inside, a rider started to go in front of me, so i went further inside, i started pinballing off some guys and emerged intact, in the top 20, going into the next section where the road started. This is where it started to go bad.

I had kept my tire pressure low which really hurt me on the road section. I immediately started losing ground on the 200 meter sections with 180s and could not stay in touch with the leaders. I as able to keep pace on the technical sections but lost it on the road, which i assume was due to too low pressure or poor fitness. Anyway.. that was the pattern, i would ride fine then lose a few places in the straight, and catch a few guys that were fading.

I had two moments of drama. Two 45 plus guys came by and the guy in front of me slowed to let them through and a guy in my category used them to get by us, after they called the track. I didnt think that was cool so i was happy when he stacked it up the last lap and i went by him. The other moment was some course tape that reached and and pulled me down the the ground in a moment that got a good crowd gasp. It was so fast i laughed. I caught the guys i was with at the very end but couldn't pass them. This is usually a good course for me but I didn't rock anything. today

Notice the stripes? Thanks BP!
Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #4 Golden Gate Park (CrossMass!)
Category: 35 As
Place: 18/50ish starters
Teammates: Solo

I try to have a small party every year and i call it crossmass. My real friends come! Steve, Alti, BB, Stover, C-Monster, Oso, Conejo - You guys rule! Bell Lappers not in attendance - you must now all shot gun a beer and repeat the follow "I will never miss a crossmass again."

We had beer and donuts. Why donuts? I fell in love with them in Canada and now buy them when i want to feel good. 24 krispy kremes were gone in flash... that's a party.

I got a decent warm up which was complicated by BB's panic'd search for a helmet that would fit his jupiter sized head. It was fun to watch... i kind of like the pre-race show now... he's the best race partner ever. We couldn't share a ride up but it was still fun to be there together. Kind of like and 7th grade date at a dance.

The GGP course is awesome... like a roller coaster. Its mostly single track with a little road and fire road. There is a lot of dirt and due to rain it was either tacky bud or really soupy mud, both of which are good for me.

I got a second row start, but the guy in front of me totally missed his pedal and i didn't have an awesome positing going into the first corner. I was catching people first lap and found a few good groups to ride with. I think i attacked a few guys and was able to drop my friend James Badia who I had not been able to beat yet this year. I think if i had played my cards right i oould have been a few spots up. My pedals failed me twice on one steep hill that was rideable and I had to walk up straddling the bike. There is an embarrassing picture of that I will post when i can find the photo insert button on this stupid blog thing. I had 2-3 guys i was thinking i would pass at the end but my pedal came out last lap too.

Humiliation Galore
I got heckled twice... 1. Going up said hill first lap i pulled out and a guy said "Everybody else is riding it" kind of like i was a baby. 2. I totally messed up a barrier, and fell on my ankle but not really falling all the way down, partially propped up by my bike, which was almost worse. Some guy in teh back ground just says totally deadpan. "Graceful."

I finished top 20 which keeps me in the top 20 for the series which I am happy about so far.