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.

Monday, November 8, 2010

BASP #2 Coyote Point 35As

Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #2 Coyote Point
Category: 35 As
Place: 26/50ish starters
Teammates: Drove up with BB

I'm not sure what was more awesome, the rain that was falling as we entered Coyote Pt. or BB's face as he managed to fight down a explosion of rage at the lead registration person at the race.  I'll back up a bit so you get the full picture.  

Once again, traveling with BB is traveling in style, he was 5 minutes, late but only because hew as bringing coffee.  In addition to this he had cleared out his trunk so I could fit in my extra bike.  It's first class all the way with BB.  He was a little tentative about the day since he had not been riding much due to his recent purchase of a house and the launch of Rockmelt, yes that is him in the NY Time's Photo, trying to look casual while he sneaks into the view of the photographer.  Who knew BB Was a media w%$#@?  You will be happy to know Rockmelt, is getting great press and if all goes according to plan they may be one of the several sponsors for Team Bell Lap next year.  

When we pulled into the park he realized he had forgotten money.  We figured he had enough to scrap by and would bum the rest off of  somebody at the race.  While i registered he looked for a few friends but found nobody.  After i got all set up i left BB in the hands of the registration wives, who were manning the post.  He was going to try and do a hold my license so i can get the $$ after deal.  I circled back and found Karl Ehlert, a savior i often fall back too, who loaned us the scratch.  As i walked up to BB he had his Pissed off face on.  As somebody that is often accused of having a temper, i don't think i have a "hate face" quite as good as BB's.  He was in mid-fight with the lead registration lady and i sensed he was about to go volcanic as i handed him $20 to get the deal done.  That was about all the drama either of us had for the day.

I got in a warm up lap, and a decent warm up.  The challenge was it was raining and was going to be tough timing a warm up and staying warm enough so you didn't bag your race.  I opted for a fast interval driven 20 minutes on a little hill and then found a dry spot to huddle up in, and then did the same thing 10 minutes before the start of the race.  

I got a call up in the second row and was standing next to Steve Reaney, i was so close to fame i almost fainted.  When the gun went off i got a great start, i passed my friend James Badia and a bunch of others and was able to sit on the back of the lead group.  James later told me when i passed him it took the wind out of his sails, that made my day after the race. I was top 10 and held that for about a lap.  Somewhere mid-second lap Don Myrah passed me like i was standing still - he worked his way into the eventual win from like 5th row.  Can't deny the guy is awesome.  

The course was pretty cool if not a little hilly.  There was not much road and it was pretty twisty with a mud pit, and a sand pit that you had to dismount to get across. . It was really muddy the whole course but because there were random dry parts on the course because it was in the middle of a eucalyptus forrest.  The dry parts were made a little harder by the constant 180s.  The mud ranged from think spongy grass and peanut butter mud to the real soupy stuff. The soupy stuff was fine, but about halfway through the race the thick spongy stuff just killed me.  I think pretty much every person that passed me got me on the part of the course where the grassy mud started. 

I had started to fade pretty hard after several laps, and ended up riding a lap with a flat.  I almost bit it on one down hill section, that was a little scary, especially for the guy behind me, so i changed bikes right after that.  James Badia and a bunch of other folks passed me at that point, but I had slowed down considerably during the flat lap.  The last few laps were really painful, and after the race it took a while to recover.  I think i was really muddy after.  Wish i had a picture of that.  I mean look at this picture, am i standing still?  Sure as hell looks like it.

Even thought it wasn't a top 20 i felt like it was a good race.  My split lip from the week before really messed up my week.  About halfway through the week it turned into a cancer sore that was so bad i couldn't sleep - in addition to the nerves shooting up the side of my face it was giving me a splitting headache.  I had to numb it so much i was drooling most of the night, the pain was so bad it would wake me up and I had to reapply.  Today is the first day it wasn't hurting that bad.  Still, it's better than that stupid Halloween race.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BASP #1 Merrit College 35As

Race: Bay Area Super Prestige #1 Merrit College
Category: 35 As
Place: 17/50ish starters
Teammates: Just me (TED BURNS) but BB drove with me and did the 35 Bs

Threat level was LOW today.  I had planned this one well.  BB's race was an hour before mine so by heading over at 7 AM, a time i am usually dealing with breakfast for two wildebeasts, or walking my dog we were loading the car and arguing if we had time for coffee.  My race was not till 11 so I was going to be totally dialed in.

When we left the weather was cold and when we entered the Oakland Hills where this race was located it seemed to get worse with drops of rain staring to come down.  This was a pretty big event for me since i was moving up to race with the 35 As which contains several Elite, Masters, and even former MTB World Cup winners like Don Myrah.  I was hopping just to come in the to 50% so that by showing up each week i might get a call up at the end of the series.  

I got in a few warm up laps and was boggled by the course.  there were three straight sections none of which were over 400 yards.  The rest of it was windy, rocky, dusty, and twisty.  Tire pressure was going to be tough.  There were so many turns and 180s and off camber turns you'd want low tire pressure but there were so many rocks that flats would take out the low pressure tires pretty fast.  I opted to go with my back up bike on clinchers pumped to about 30ish.  Probably too low but had to chance it.

At the start I didn't get a call up.  So i was about 6 rows back in 40-50th spot.  Total crap start but I had low expectations.  I had a good warm up so was ready to go.  I got a decent start and took off.  Right away guys were popping out with flats.  I was keeping an eye on my friend James Badia who also had a bad start spot so i figured he would be a good benchmark since he's talented in the dirt and fit even when he's not riding a lot.  My mid first lap i saw former MTB Pro Myrah and former National CX Champ Justin Robinson out with flats.

I had the course dialed in okay and was over taking the occasional guy.  I'm not sure how many I passed in the first lap but i must have made up some ground.  Cause I could see the leaders  at the beginning.  It was confusing because I actually thought that the leaders were catching up to me, but i think the reality was guys who had flats were trying to chase and not  catching back up.  By lap 3 I must have been close to the top 10, I actually must have been in the top 10, as I came around the corner and saw James bloody and trying to fix his bike from a crash.  That lap i flatted on a downhill 180 on rocks.  It was retarded but hardly surprising. I lost 5-6 spots there but it was right by the pit so my change only took 30 seconds or so.  My spare bike tire pressure was pretty low so i was going to have to be careful not to hit the rocks to hard so i had to ride more conservative.

I found my rhythm was screwed up after that but i got going again.  James passed me as did another guy as i started to make a lot of mistakes on some of the run ups and failed to find the right line in some of the 180 sections.  I think i got psyched out then fatigue just started to make me to stupid stuff.

By the last lap two cal giant guys caught me and i figured i was lapped.  Turned out they were casualties (S. Reaney -National Elite Crit Champ who would go on to win the A's race on a mountain bike) from earlier in the race.  When the results came in, the chip timing seemed to be a llittle off, i was in the top twenty which was one of my season goals.  I suppose i can retire now.  I'm hoping i can parlay that top 20 into a call up position the next race.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Podiums at Nationals!!

Nationals went awesome for me ~~ with the great support of Team Bell Lap and sponsors!

I especially want to thank for paying for my reg fees. Nationals was super expensive this year... over $350~~ so thanks so much for the support in helping me get to the races. I wouldn't have been able to do it without your help!

I also want to thank ROCKTAPE. Dude, that shit is magic! I have been getting really sore in my inner quads during my pursuiting~~ so I taped up right where it normally hurts. Greg was cool enough to get me ORANGE tape at the SF GrandPrix... which if you don't know me is my favorite color! I didn't fatigue at all (well, that is a lie... i did fatigure, it is a pursuit! i guess i meant to say i didn't noticeably fatigue in that certain spot)-- and it let me get a PR and bronze medal!! Also, my last day, my legs were hurting pretty good, so I taped up even more... and that day my legs felt the best. While I should have been hurting good by that time in the day, I was feeling like a champ and could attack the hell out of the points race! So, thanks RockTape!!

Lastly, I want to thank my AWESOME teammates for all the support and advice this year. They were awesome. Thanks Brian for coming down to offer support during the nationals! Thanks Tom and Steve for letting me borrow your wheels! Thanks to Ted for being my promoter and making me laugh & give me good intimidation techniques. And thanks to everyone else for all the support and encouragement! I can't wait to ride with the team bell lap next year for track races!

Okay, let's get to the cool pictures! Pat Benson took some killer photos of me during the racing, so i will put them first. Then a bit of race reporting below if you have time and will to read it!

Let's start with the cool ones!

Here is me in the 500m~ thanks Tom for the wheels

Pursuiting~~ thanks Pelaez for the wheel borrow!

Pursuit with my dopey face

pursuit podium!

here is me lapping the field with kim geist in the points race qualifier!

this is me before the points race. i may look nice... but i am ready to crush. (note the handlebars)

Then this crash happened.... I made it in cycling news! My bike frame dented, but my handlebars REALLY dented. I had to get a swap out from San Jose junior Ryan Gaddow. The bars were too big for me. And I hurt my shoulder, so I couldn't really stand-- but you can see Ryan's bars in the best of the photos.

here is me off the front with heather albert. i was off the front with her a lot last week.

here is me sprinting for points

and here is me attacking off the front, right after the crash. rrrrr.

and here is the points race podium-- 4th place. just one point off third! but i look pretty badass in the photo.

Race 1: Omnium-- Wednesday/Thursday

This is actually a new track race. The president of the international cycling body made this event specifically for the Olympics in 2012. There is a limit in how many races/medals can be given out in cycling. With the addition of BMX to the Olympics, this meant other cycling disciples had to lose events. This event is kind of like the pentathlon of track & field. You have six events over the course of 2 days and you are placed in each event (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)—the person with the lowest points wins. I was riding with Sarah Hammer, who is currently the world champion, and Cari Higgins, the reigning national champion. So it was some pretty good competition!

Day 1: There were 4 events on day1.
  • Timed flying 1 lap race (which is 250m). I got a really good time in here, which placed me 5th. I was 2 one-thousands of a second off a second off of 4th place and 1 tenth off of 3rd place, so that was a bummer.. but oh well.
  • Points Race: This is a race that was 80 laps long. Race didn’t quite go my way—I got some 5th places (which is no points), then a lap went without me. Then I had to use a lot of energy to pick up points by being out there solo for 9 laps. I ended up 6th
  • Elimination Race: This has been my best race all summer—I’ve scored really high with fields of 30-40, so I was expecting a high placing here. This is a race with no forgiveness, cause if you mess up, you are out. And I was out—got 8th place. I was really bummed, because this moved me down in the omnium big time. I was now sitting 6th place....
  • 3000m TT: This is a 12 lap race—where you are on the track with one other person on the opposite side… you ride as hard as can and get timed. It is like the mile. I had a person best here, and ended 5th, again missing 4th place by .1 of a second…which was a bummer…. I was now again 5th place overall. I was only 1 point out of 4th and 2 points out 3rd. I really wanted bronze medal. 6th place was close to me too

Day 2: 2 events to finish it off.

  • Scratch Race: I knew I had to do well in the first event, as the second event is my weak event. I needed a top 5 for sure. I was riding well, staying in position for the sprint. The world champ lapped the field, then went to the front and strung it out and there was very little movement from that point forward, and I ended up 8th. It was a big bummer.
  • 500m: this is a 2 lap race from a stand still start. It has been my weak event. I ended up with a personal best time for me, and ended up 6th in the event, but it wasn’t enough to get me 5th place. I was pretty bummed, as I wanted at least a top 5 to get on the podium… but that is racing.

Race 2: Scratch Race

On Day 3, I had 2 races, the scratch race and pursuit. In the scratch race, rode extremely well in the race the entire time—I was off the front and making the race happen. The announcer kept yelling my name! There were lots of “sprinters” in the field- so I was trying to make the race hard to tire them out. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work. I wasn’t in good position for the final 4 laps, and ended 10th.

Race 3: 3km time trial/Pursuit

This is the same race I had done the day before. I got a better feel for the track and knew I could go faster. I also borrowed my Steve's super sweet wheels, and they were so fast—so I knew I’d be going faster! I went out really hard… about 1.5 seconds faster than the day before. I just couldn't help myself~~ the wheels just got me up to speed so fast! By the last 3 laps, I was seeing double lines on the track. I finished and found out I got a 3:56, this was 3 seconds faster than I had done—so I was jazzed!

I couldn’t walk down the stairs to get to the infield, and had to hobble. This put me in 3rd place. This also meant I had to ride again, because I made it into the bronze medal round. I wanted to die and didn't think I could ride again!

I had a while to recover and kept warmed up the whole time, so my legs didn't seize up. For the bronze medal ride, I went out fast, but not as fast as last time. My strategy was to not die so much in the end. I could hear the announcer telling me I was up. All my friends were yelling loud, and it just pushed me to go faster. In the end, I finished with 3rd! I was so happy! This is my first year doing this race, so to get 3rd was huge for me! I took off 20 seconds from the first time I did the pursuit~ so that was sweet! I know I will only get faster!

Race 4: Points race

My last race was the points race. There was a qualifier and a final. In the qualifier race, I got away with Kim Geist and lapped the field. So, then I made it to the final.

The final was 100 laps. I was feeling really good, and my plan was to take some early points, then make the field really tired by attacking alot, and try to take a lap about half way through. Unfortunately, just as I was about to make my move, I was involved in a crash. I hit pretty the boards pretty hard. My handlebars bent, dented my frame, ripped my skinsuit. Field got neutralized. I got my bars changed, and got in the race. Thanks Ryan Gaddow for the bar loaner. The bars were too big for me, and my right shoulder hurt, so I couldn't really stand up....

The neutralization gave everyone a chance to recover and rest, which changed the race dynamic. Race re-started and I attacked a lot trying to get away, but everyone was fresh. I still got some points and was doing well, but with only 50 laps left, I could get the field tired enough to get a lap. I ended up 4th—only 1point out of third, so that was a big bummer. But, knowing how good I felt in this race, made me realize I have the ability to win in the future.

In conclusion:

All in all, a good nationals. I got a 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 10th—and showed myself well. I know I can do better… so just have to wait until next year!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

CCCX #3 Ft Ord 35 B

Race: CCCX #3
Category: 35 Bs
Place: 1/23
Teammates: Just me (TED BURNS)

Threat level was Guarded today.  I remembered my bikes, i left with enough time, it still only seemed to get me to the course with 40 minutes to spare.  I got changed got my number and rode the back side of the course.  It was at the same place at the CCCX #1 where i had forgotten my bikes but it was running in the opposite direction and skipped the hill and added on some single track that we hadn't covered before.   My practice laps didn't leave me feeling like i had the course down but I was pretty confident after my last win.

I got a call up which I think is pretty key to doing well in a cross race.  The first corner was about 100 yards after the start.  I got out front but took it pretty slow the first lap.  I was having trouble in a few sections of the course that had some deep sand and 180's. For some reason 180's on dirt are really throwing me off.  Anyways... i messed up a few things on the first lap and got passed by two guys.  I was starting to freak out a little cause i kept loosing ground on the technical sections.  I got passed by a third guy going into lap 3 but, actually figured this was my fate, and maybe i was fatigued or what ever.  

Anyway... on that lap the guy in the lead had a huge crash.  I passed him on on the back side single track section where he had gone down and was laying on his back his bike off in the woods.  He's gone.  Sucka.

Then somewhere in the flat 180 section i passed the next guy and put some time into him in some of the 180's that were on the grass, and really distanced him on this run up hill.  Huh... i was back in second.  

Then... going into the woodsy, deep dirt section with turns i saw the guy in first bite it twice and fly off the course.  I told him to take it easy cause it was obvious he was making mistakes cause he was tire.  Just like that I was back in the lead.

The only guy close was the fella i passed in the 180's and he wasn't gaining at all so I just kept it steady and focused on form thorugh the rest of the course.  After three laps I felt pretty dialed in and wasn't making any mistakes. 

Coming into the finish i felt like my lead was pretty solid so I slowed up to make sure i didn't do anything stupid.  The announcer was calling me out so I raised my hands in a super sad victory salute.  I need to work on it, but while it was cool hearing my name, there wasn't much of a crowd to salute for.  However, as a friend said, you can't tell that from a photo.

For some reason, i was tired, i think i was fatigued from racing the previous two weekends and felt like the race was harder than it should have been.  Definitely decided to upgrade.  I put in for an upgrade and it came through so I'm officially a Cat 2 again, at least in CX.

Monday, September 27, 2010

CCCX #2 Manzanita Park 35Bs

Race: CCCX #2 
Category: 35 Bs
Place: 1/23
Teammates: Just me (TED BURNS)

So the threat level for the week was moved down to GUARDED.  I had gone to Interbike earlier in the week and Caitlin said that both her and my daughter will still sick.  I rode on Friday after two days off the bike, and then rode Satruday morning.  I felt horrible on Saturday.  I thought i was sick i felt so bad.  I had felt okay in the AM, and felt fine when we hung out at the beach for the rest of the afternoon.  Anywhow...i was pretty sure I would race even if I was sick if Caitlin was feeling well enough.

Spending time with the family earned me some good will so Sunday morning we were up at a reasonable hour.  I still got on the road late but remembered my bikes which got me to Prunedale about 40 minutes before my race.  I have revised my travel calendar... if i want to make a 10 AM race I have to leave at 7:30 not 8:00.  I was able to register and get in one lap before lining up.  

I was cool, i got a call up and since last weeks winner wasn't there I got the primo spot.  The course is a good mountain biker type of course.  It starts on a longish paved hill which turns into fire road.  Fire road turns into some dusty single track before winding around to a descent that is pretty long but over varied terrain.  The course was super dry this time of year so there was a lot of dust, and deep sand.  The descent went through one really long sand pit which was a blind free for all.  After the long descent which was about 1/3 of the course you are dropped into a baseball field with two sets of 180's and some turns in cinder type of track.  There were a few dismounts down there too.  After the field there were some s turns on a hill that were fun and then a short climb to another diamond, which then descended back to the start finish, which was pretty dangerous due to a 180 in deep dirt right at the bottom.

I got the hole shot at the start.  Actually I didn't just get the hole shot, i got a good 50 yard gap at the start, i assume its the track racing, which the rest of the field never closed.  The chasers were about 5-10 seconds behind me and that gap grew about 5-10 seconds per lap.  It got really big when we hit traffic in the third lap. Overall I had some issues on the technical stuff, and could feel I made up a lot of time on the hill.  I think I probably just didn't loose any time on the technical portions which i took conservatively and was able to pull away on the hill.  There was only one chaser i could see and he fell totally out of sight by lap 4.  I tried to keep the gas on the whole race but it was hard when I had to navigate through the B category traffic for about 2-3 laps.  I caught most of the B's, i finished 5th overall, despite starting a minute down.   

I won my race by about a minute, which makes me officially a sandbagger at this point but I really wanted to win a race before moving up with the big guys.  I think my lap times will put me mid pack if i really kill it.  It's hard to tell since the A's don't have to navigate traffic and they have better rabbit's to keep them hammering.  I assume everybody will come to one of the cross races (Oakland, Night Race or Golden Gate?) to cheer BB and me on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Never had this happen to me before - CCCX #1 Fort Ord (35Bs)

I feel like I need some kind of a warning system to display how things are going on the home front to provide some context to my race reports.  With kindergarten, new day care, citizenship tests, wife publishing some paper, et al the previous few weeks were hectic.  I thought things had settled down till my daughter came down with some weird viral infection on Thursday.  It had moved onto my wife Saturday night putting my cross plans in danger.  I was bummed cause I was pretty excited to start.  This would put threat leve of not making the race at HIGH!

I texted BB and let him know.  BB is in Monteray with his folks and sigo for the Jazz festival.  My opinion is Jazz makes you soft.  If you want to win you have to listen to that crap noise Balfus and Brian listen too.  So thats what I did that night.  I listed to that crap noise they call music.

When we got up my wife gave me the thumbs up.  She looked marginally better but she was prepared to suck it up.  I think she just wanted the crap noise to stop, so the quickest solution was to get me out of the house.

On my way out the door both kids (5 and 1.9 months) grabbed my leg and begged me not to go.  I was already trying to do math and logistics on who i owed reimbursement money too from Friday and how to get it to them and if i could pay for my race today and where i would get money.  I was able to extract myself and get out the door.

I hustled to the door, got in and took off.  I stopped at the Willow Cove gas station for gas and money.  Of course the ATM and Debit system were busted.  For get it, will figure it out on the way.   I could tell i forgot something... shoes? Check! - Helmet? Check!  Got it all.. I'm out of here, I hit the road and headed down 101 towards my destiny in Ft Ord.  I was gonna win that race, i could feel it.

So... i got to alviso and glanced at my roof.  I didn't remember packing my bikes on the roof.  I had forgot my bikes.  I can't believe i forgot my bikes.  I forgot my bikes.  I have to turn around.  I'm going to be really really late now.  It felt like forever until i found an exit.  Did the clover leaf shuffle and was heading back north.   I  got back, packed the bikes, broke some inside pieces of my car, and then ran up to the house to get my phone which i also forgot.  I'm attached to my phone.  I never forget my phone.  I freak out when i don't have my phone.  I was a mess.

Back on the road at exactly 8:05. The race was at 10 am who knew how long it would take to get to Ft Ord.   I can now tell you that without speeding TOO much, you can get there in about 1 hour and 26 minutes from my house.   I arrived at 9:32 (I subtract 1 minute for an ill fated stop at a gas station i thought might have an ATM but didn't open till 10 AM - what is up with that?)

I had called BB to try and get him to reg me but he got freaked out by the form Nazi's.  He was kind enough to give me the $30 - LIFESAVER - and so i put on my skin suit and rode over.  I paid my money, got my number.  Took my spare bike to the pit, and saw Karen Brems (former world TT champion) so got her to pin me up.  Karen is tough as nails and doesn't brook with losers.  To teach me a lesson she pinned my number (680) upside down so it read 089.   Lesson learned!

I had just enough time to get a front row seat at the start.  BB noticed my number and fixed me up - LIFESAVER - so now I wasn't "that guy" for the announcers.   I have to say, BB is like the soigneur who makes everything better in the cracks of the whole experience. Last time i went to a race he had gourmet coffee.

I didn't get a chance to pre-ride the course so I ended up making the completely wrong wheel choice.  I put on my file treads and given the amount of sand and dust on the course it was a disaster.  The course was bone dry, several areas of deep sand and dirt.  There was an 1/4 mile uphill section with some ruts.  It was windy curvey down for maybe another 1/4 mile and then got flat but technical in a grass section, that ran into some woods and fire road.  There was a short pavement section and a 180 which was nice to ramp up speed on.  There were four dismount sections which was a lot.  I couldn't hold my line on any corners with my tires so I had to be pretty conservative.

At the start i got in the front group pretty easily.  After the first lap i was able to take the lead and keep it for two laps until I totally biffed on a right hand 90 degree turn on a road section covered in sand.  Two guys chasing were able to pass me.  It took me a lap to regain my rhythm at which point i noticed I had broken the buckle off my shoe.  I had two more incidents caused by concentration, handling issues that screwed me up a little but they didn't totally take me down despite stopping me.


I could see i was gaining on the guy in first but we were knee deep in to the B's who were now clogging up the course so I lost too much ground on him between being conservative and trying to get around guys who were now dying.

The last lap I had a pretty good gap on the guy behind me.  At this point i started to notice my foot was coming out my shoes in the dismounts.  I had to take them a little slower which gave the guy behind me a little room to catch up.  In the end I was about 40 seconds down on the 1st place guy and 3 seconds ahead of third.

Cross is about having it dialed in - the bike, the routine, tires, etc.  I obviously did not have that but given the obstacles the day presented I was happy with the result and am looking forward to a race that I get things a little more organized.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

San Ardo Masters 35+

San Ardo Road Race
Course: 66 Miles, mostly flat, few rolling hills
Team mates: Matt BB (Field), Ted (DNF) 

Originally I had planned on doing more racing this summer but travel, mostly my significant others travel, has prevented this.  The problem is not really the travel but the stress that packing brings on.  The lead up to the actual flight etc is a two day event.  It goes like this... the flight is on Sunday.  This means that nothing can happen on Saturday, the house is in lock down, because it is much more efficient to have all of us close at hand in the event that we need to find a swim suit or pants that have zippers that turn them into shorts.  Then of course Sunday is a loss since I am alone with the random child that everybody refuses to travel with, or if traveling, i am then en route.  On top of that I have a kid starting kindergarten which is a surprisingly stressful endeavor.  You would not believe the shit load of paperwork and crap you have to buy... not to mention the PTO parties, fund raisers etc.  I mean WTF, is that a cultural thing for NorCal?  Help me out here people, its like I'm trying to get this kid elected to office or something.

This happened at least four times between June and this weekend, but it did leave me open to get in a race at San Ardo.  So far my road racing has been a joke this year.  Scotts Valley was a train wreck (mechanical that was my fault) and Burlingame was a great example of how three guys can ride a bad team race.   The track has been fine even though I'm racing in the pansy division (3/4 vs. 1/2/3)  I say I'm doing that mostly because I want to upgrade, which is true, and racing down rather than up is smart.  But... in reality i think its cause i only just started liking the track and racing with Triple 6 and a bunch of fast juniors would kill this current fondness for Hellyer.  Plus its fun to listen to Tom and Eric do a recap when i was not in the race.

So BB and I were able to coordinate San Ardo as part of my much delayed racing plan.  I'm pretty much focused on cross so getting some racing in right now is a good idea to get that speed back. I'm fit, given my current work schedule, but not exactly fast.  So BB shows up at 5 AM for the trek down and its like a first class flight.  Philz coffee, Fiji water, and snacks in case I am hungry.  We stop halfway at McDonalds for another coffee and bathroom break and then get to the race and hour ahead of time. 

My issues started pretty fast.  By the time we had to line up i had made three bathroom breaks and had to change one wheel cause of a goat head flat.  Then at the start I had to go again and BB was cautioning me not to go. This was a bad idea since it was all i could think about for the next three hours.  It started out slow and I was somehow at the front.  I hate being at the front.  I like being at the back, so when they folks ramped it up going up the hill i glommed on mid pack.  The race was fast the first lap with a lot of attacks on the back side of the course.  Second lap was a joke, nobody was doing anything until we got to the backside again.  Up until that point BB and I had been covering most attacks.  Going in towards San Ardo I made the mental decision to watch only two or three people, and figured the break 5-6  that  looked like it was forming wasn't going to last.  I figured making a move on the hill would be the thing to do on the third lap since it would probably get harder.

Well, the break got some good distance, maybe 20-30 seconds, and i did make a move on the hill.  I got about maybe 100 yards away and started to go backwards.  The pack came by single file up the hill and i was sure they were going to catch the break.  When i crested the hill i was maybe 20 yards off the back of the pack.  At this point my bladder was screaming and i think was working on my sub-concious.  I didn't have the punch i needed to get on the back and recover so I spent about 10 minutes trying to get contact and just fell behind little by little as the rollers came through.  While i still felt strong, I could not get it ramped up.  I gave up when the cat 4's passed me.  They would catch me on the down hills then i would pass them on the uphills, till finally i threw in the towel and let them go up the road.  I pretty much spent the rest of the 22 mile lap on my own until that Cat 5 group caught me on the way into San Ardo.  You will be relieved to know I had no problem riding into town with the Cat 5 group.

BB made some good last minute attacks going into the finish but that's his story.  I'm thinking this was a good race to get back into it, though i probably should have just sat in or  covered the last few breaks.  Overall I think a few more of these and I will be really good to go for CX which starts up soon. Bladder control is not so important in a 45 minute race, which I am thinking is a good thing. 


Monday, August 23, 2010

July Friday Night Track


Scratch Race ( basically a criterium)  10km 30 laps.  As Eric Balfus said we had 27 guys in the field, prior there was rumor that there would be 32 but in the end it was 27.  With Daniel Holloway ( Bissel)  racing and with what he had done on Tuesday night I figured he would be a key guy to pay attention to as well as the unknown Joel Robertson.  I also figured that since there were so many in the race I never wanted to be that far back.  I set tempo for half a lap at the start then shuffled back a bit.  Some breaks went away but Daniel would just roll the pace up and bring them back.  Eric got away around mid point and I slowed the field a bit but without Daniel he was really doomed.  Eric then did some work bringing back some breaks while I sorta hung out and waited for Daniel.  With 6 to go I was near the back with Daniel behind when he hit the afterburners and came over the top in turn three.  I jumped to latch on when some so cal guy kinda got in the way and hesitated, so, I had to move through a couple of people and go like hell to catch Daniel, I latched on by turn one and then pulled through full gas when Daniel pulled off.  I pulled a half lap and then Fariolletti ( or whatever) pulled off right after me.  Daniel hit the front again and I was behind the other dude.  So now it was just Daniel and I working but he was gracious enough to slow a bit so I could hang on, I was pretty gassed at this point and just hoping to make it to the finish and hoping I could beat the other dude.  Then Rob Evans bridged up, damn, he must have been flying.  So we get the bell, Rob and Daniel take off the sprinter dude sits up and I do as little as possible to get third.  The whole time I was out there I had the peace of mind knowing Eric would dork up the chase, so that was cool.

Points Race 35 laps sprints every 5. During the roll out I was talking with Nick Harter and told him to come with me.  The bell rang, I hit the gas for a lap but unfortunately we couldn't roll off for the first sprint.  The nice thing was that for whatever reason the rest of the guys decided to keep the pace high so it was single file.  The bell rang for the first sprint.  Daniel and Rob came shooting by, I jumped hard to catch on and followed them for third in the first sprint.  Daniel pulled to turn three, pulled off and then Rob pulled off in four.  I said "what the hell, Rob!!!"  He said he was gassed and now it was just Daniel and I.  Daniel was motoring for 1 lap plus pulls and I was going full gas for almost 3/4 lap.  This went on for a while with Daniel taking some sprints and me getting one of them ( I asked him if he wanted it, but he was ok with me getting it,  I didn't want to make him mad and have him drop me).  I have to admit when we weren't really catching the pack and I looked across and they were single file, I was just trying to figure out how long I had to stay out here until I would have enough points to be second.  Also, as I was just staring at Daniel's rear hub I was thinking how good it was that I have done so much team pursuit training.  This was like doing the two man team pursuit intervals only longer.  After 10 laps it started looking like we were finally making inroads into catching the field.  Then Daniel comes off and says " I need a full lap Tom".  Damn, well we've gone this far so I go full gas and realize I can catch the field, so I dig in and catch the back of the pack after 1 1/4 lap pull, whew.  I just sat in from here on out.  Again it was good to know Eric would be messing up the chase.  Rob ended up getting third in this race and now we were tied for the omnium.  I do have to admit that I wasn't feeling that terrible riding with Daniel this time.

Miss n Out.  In this race the last rider is pulled each lap until there are only 3 riders left.

Really I just hoped Rob would screw this up trying to play Devil and not make it to the last three.  I was just going to ride tempo at the front and wait for Doug Hall to get to the front.  So, I started riding tempo from the whistle with Eric, just outside.  We did this for a few laps when Doug made his appearance.  I tucked in behind and enjoyed the ride.  After a few laps, I figured I should get back up front so I went over Doug and started riding tempo again.  Somewhere in here Eric pulled for a few laps as well as Daniel.  At one point I looked around and still saw a big group and I asked Eric how many were left, he thought about 12.  Damn, seemed like we had already done 20 laps.  At one point, Rob came to the front to pull but that confused me so I went around him.  I should have just sat on his hip and let him wear himself out, but oh well.  I got back to the front, Eric said he was done, but I just rode strong tempo keeping Joel Robertson to my outside.  I then heard Eric yelling 6 to go from the cool down circle, cool, I upped the tempo a bit;  he then said 5;  I accelerated a bit more; "4"; more acceleration and now there were just 3 but Rob was there and now I was tired.  We all went to the rail, Daniel, Rob, then me a bit behind.  I jumped as hard as I could out of 4 hoping they would look at each other but, no, Rob came by me in turn one with Daniel close behind, so I coasted in for 3rd and 3rd in omnium.

Nice riding all in all, and cool to get the updates in the miss and out, it is so hard to keep track of when in the race.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Timpani Crit

For some reason, I don't hate crits this year. Which is a relief, because when I hated crits there were not that many races that I wanted to even enter.

The beauty of Timpani is that it's so close to home (that and the fact that they drag those drums out every year). I completely negated the close to home value by forgetting my helmet. I had to drive to the race twice! Doh!

Eric twisted my arm and forced me to throw in my $10 for the P12 in addition to the 35+. It was pretty hot out there, so I tried to keep drinking for my first 2 race day in a long time.

I saw Beth and Hernando as I rolled up to the line. Hernando was suited up! Nice to see them out - of course I wasn't sure who Beth would be cheering for so I made a mental note to see where her loyalties are.

The race was fairly uneventful for me until a prime lap about half way through. I didn't actually know it was a prime however. Just before turn three Hernando and I got a gap on the field and Mike drilled it giving us a decent advantage. I came around with hopes that Mike and maybe some others would join and start working together. I was trying to get a break started! Going into the last turn I was alone. I saw a Specialized guy coming up pretty hard, and I saw the line approaching. I realized it must be a prime so I made sure to hold off the Specialized guy for my cliff bars.

Going into turn one then I was still alone. Rand Miller yelled at me - probably something obscene, but not sure what. I think he was proud of me - looking on me as a graduate of the Alto Velo Elite Team School of Hopeless Breakaways (he's the dean of the school). I figured going it alone wouldn't be such a good idea so I just waited to re-integrate.

With 3 to go I had great position. I was feeling pretty good too. I kinda got this feeling that I haven't had in a while - like I could win this thing.

I lost that good position and that feeling with 2 to go. It just got kinda messy and curb to curb. I probably should have spent a match to prevent being swarmed - oh well, next time.

I go to collect my cliff product for winning the prime. The guy opens his trunk where it looks like there are about a 1000 boxes of cliff bars. He asks "what flavor would you like?"

I do not hesitate - "Chocolate Brownie please!".

"Oh sorry, don't think I have that one".

Barely phased I quickly bounce back "Chocolate Chip?"

Rustling through the 1000 boxes of cliff bars he says "Actually... ummm... all I have is banana nut. Sorry man."

Unwilling to let anything diminish my sense of accomplishment. I explain how very happy I am to bring home the banana nut cliff bars. I realize now I should have offered one to Hernando for the huge lead out!

Tired, but not completely spent - I line up for P12. Ten minutes in and I have the familiar sensations associated with the back of the P12 field. Groveling. Guttered. About to give in. Somewhere up there there is a race happening. I catch glimpses of the race now and then. It looks fun. It is also miles away. I decide to go up there and see what it's like.

When I get up there I find it's not easier. Then I make it harder - deciding to try to bridge up to what looks to be a coalescing break. I try to get off the front and get up there, but I don't have much snap. I do get up there but I look back and find a long thin line of the entire field came with me. Oooops. At least Eric wasn't up there. Now I am spent. I drift back to the more familiar nether regions of the field. Russ from Davis sees me and offers me a wheel. I dig deep. I just can't hold it. I pull out. I grab a coke from my car and watch the rest from the curb while eating a banana nut cliff bar.

A group of maybe 8 got away. Briggs won, Rand got 2nd.

- Matt

Albany Crit

I - like many people it seems - hate this race. But for different reasons. People are always telling me how dangerous this race is. I - as many of you know - am waaaaay too cautious to be a good bike racer. I have a low tolerance for dangerous courses. But I really don't see why everyone says this is so dangerous. To my mind, it's dangerous like every other crit in NorCal.

Bill had reminded me how "dangerous" the course was the day before, so I decided to take just one more practice lap before lining up. Predictably, when I came around to the line the field was already 3 deep. Doh!

The rest is pretty straightforward. I started near the back, I stayed near the back and I pulled off from near the back with 3 to go. I was dangling off the back of a long thin line the entire race. Specialized, Morgan Stanley and Safeway were each trying to get away, but never all 3 together, so the pace never eased off.

Laps took about 1min 15 seconds. 4x full out sprints out of every corner roughly every minute just isn't my kind of course.

So I too hate this course, but I still don't see what's so unsafe about it.

Hoping my first 2 race weekend in a long time pays off as solid training!

- Matt

Novato Grand Prix

I really like this race. I did it last year as well. Some would say I like it because it's easy, I say I like it because the racers make the race rather than the course making the race. It's mostly flat (very small riser) and not technical (only one real corner).

I was near the front from the beginning. When breaks went off I tried not to get nervous, but I probably was more concerned them than I should have been and I went to the front a few times to keep the break in check. A couple of times someone would try to bridge up and I pitched in. I traded a couple of pulls but by the time we caught the break, the break had lost it's impetus.

Then I tried to wait for nearer the end. With two to go the group fanned across the road at the start finish line and I took off. In my mind, I made a heroic move. The announcer said (and this is TRUE!) "and there is a STRONG move on the inside!" I buried myself. I made it back around to the start finish line but at this point I was going backwards, not forwards and I still had a lap to go. At this point a guy comes past me on the other side of the road. I wish he had yelled at me so let me know he was coming - maybe I could have summoned a bit more... Then another guy blows by me... I wished they had gone earlier with me and we could have worked together. I pretty much knew that two long laps by myself wasn't in the cards but when I attacked I had hoped someone would come with me... Anyway...

With 3/4 of a lap to go the field comes by and I have nothing left to be able to latch on. The field caught the other two guys who passed me and it was a big field finish. I rolled in a bit after that. Being able to attack at the end is a definite sign that the form is coming around…

- Matt

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge

A few weeks ago were some of my favorite bike races of the year: the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge and the FSA Grand Prix. Because women's track cycling does not have a huge pool of athletes, women don't have many races with large, competitive women's fields. In addition to the Testarosa Veldrome Challenge, these two races are the big track races of the year, and I was excited to participate.

Part 1: Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge

First off, I need to give a big thank you to Brian Peterson for being the ultimate teammate. He was the best mechanic, coach, cheerer, nutrition consultant, and friend for the weekend. Thanks Brian, we love you!

Day 1: The first day is mostly a warm-up day, as it is just time trials. I did a 3k pursuit and a 500m. The alpenrose track is a bit funky, bumpy, and slow. Despite having the worst start known to man on my pursuit (where I lost a couple of seconds), I was really happy with time and consistent pacing. I ended me fourth, and a few seconds off of third, so I was happy with that. My 500m was nothing great. I definitely need to work on my start.

Day 2: This year, I decided to stop match sprinting because I hate it. That meant I got to rest all morning until the scratch race. I got on Cari Higgins' wheel with a few to go and stayed on it until the end, so I got 2nd place! That was super exciting! My goal was to podium over these weekends, and I was so excited to get on the podium in my first mass start race! I also did the team sprint later in the day with La La (Mary Glen) Carrasco. We did an okay job. The competition was still; 3 teams broke the track record that day! (We weren't one of them...) We probably should have switched positions, but i am ready to try that race again with her at elite states.

Day 3: This was a big day for me. I had keirins, miss 'n out, and points race. Racing keirins are fun! But those are races for the real sprinters, which I am not. (I only pretend). In Round 1, only the first place got to advance to the final, and Monique Sullivan was in my heat. (If you don't know her, she is the Canadian national champ). I was happy I stayed on her wheel to the finish, but that didn't get me to the final. My rep round (to get back into the final), I was riding with some good people, including Nissy Cobb. Nissy is a very fast woman, who will be one of the top sprinters in the US in a couple of years. I was last in line and made a big run over the top when the moto pulled off, and was able to squeeze my way right behind Nissy (who was riding first position). I let her lead out the sprint and was able to push through in the turn four to pass her at the line! I couldn't believe it~ it was the best keirin I had ever done! I was so happy! But no time to celebrate, because I had the miss 'n out up next.

Miss 'n Out: I set pace at the front for at least 10 laps, which is a very tiring place to be. Then I moved to the back and started playing the devil, popping around people in the final turn before the finishing straight. This is also a very tiring place to be, as you have to accelerate quite a bit. But, I luckily made it to the final three, which was Cari Higgins, Val Bolstrom, and me. I attacked a few times, but Cari was on me. We had 2 neutral laps, not three. I ended up leading out the sprint with 1 to go, Cari passed me on the final straight away, and I got 2nd again. I was pretty happy with that!

Next was the keirin final- I was near the back of the group, sitting 6th or 7th wheel on the motor. I knew I wouldn't win, but was hoping to squeek in a top 5 amongst all the real sprinters. My plan was to catch any of the sprinters' wheels as they were making a run. Well, this didn't work so well for me, because the person in front of me couldn't overtake the speed at the front of the back, so I came in near the back of that one. Oh well.

I had very little time between the keirin final and my points race. My points race was my worst race of the weekend. I just wasn't mentally in it. We were racing 50 laps I believe (sprints @10), and I was just zoned out and sitting near the back for the first 2 sprints. I felt great physically, I just wasn't mentally racing. I finally got my head in the game, then got in a few breaks that didn't go anywhere, until I got in the winning breakaway. Well, it was the winning breakaway, had I been scoring points in the first two sprints and had scored more points while in the breakaway. I was trying to pull hard to take the lap quickly, but others weren't needing to take it, as they had racked up a lot of points already and were setting up for the sprints. Anyway, I ended up 5th, which I was really disappointed with, but hey can't get 2nd place everytime!

This put me in 4th overall in the omnium and I won the "best Hellyer rider!" award! I was pretty happy with the weekend and ready to race the weekend. Thanks Alpenrose and Charlie Warner for an awesome race~ I love it there!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

a huge turn out of women at the racing!

here is with 2 to go in the scratch race. i'm on a good wheel!

scratch podium. i need to learn to podium pose, apparently.

miss 'n out racing

miss 'n out podium

thanks ROCKTAPE for being an awesome sponsor! my right quad had a huge knot in it on friday and started wearing the tape and it helped me 100%

and thanks to our most awesome team president and track president for all his help for the weekend!

Part 2 coming: Next stop: Seattle for the FSA Grand Prix.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

far west championship

so i heard a rumor from alfred nash that the current world champion of the international omnium and points race, tara whitten, was going to be coming to the far west championship.

i was a bit skeptical.

...errr, intimidated.

i guess she was really jealous that I was the reigning 'far west champion,' and she wanted to add that title her laurels. i mean, who wouldn't? it was definitely the highlight of my 2009!

when michael and i show up, we see peter bohl get out of his van. man, we can't get rid of that guy! him and lala had apparently gotten up at 3am to drive down, and were driving back that night. crazy guy! it was a big hellyer contingent, which was awesome. nash loves us and gave us lots of nice shoutouts on the microphone. thanks nash!

nash was running one helluva race: full national qualifier plus new olympic style omnium. i think this was the first-ever olympic style omnium to be held... apparently the old-olympic omnium wasn't hard enough for the UCI, so they decided to add a 6th event and make all the distances longer. except they split the program into 2 days... but not al nash. we did the whole shabang in one day. it went like this...
  • flying250- i got a personal best..... [cause it was the first time i've ever done one of these!] it got me 2nd place.
  • 80 lap-points race- i was doing really well...well, until i wasn't doing well any longer. i was a dip shit and missed the break that lapped the field, then pretty much did a 3k pursuit in no man's land. i got 4th here... baller.
  • elimination- i did another 3k pursuit here, setting pace at the front for about that long. on the 4th place elimination the person questioned if her or i was out (it was her), so i got distracting telling her i was still in and neglected to position myself well and then the pace picked up and i didn't have enough muster to come over, so i got 3rd....baller.
  • pursuit- i guess this was my third pursuit of the day, but this time i got to use aero bars and borrowed a funny hat. my splits were super even, so that was good, but i got 3rd by a half second or so...baller again.
  • scratch race- my ability to accelerate was waning fast and it would take me 2 laps to catch onto any attack. missed tara whitten lapping, and ended 3rd place again... i won't say it again (but, yeah, baller).
  • 500m- i pulled off a good 500m for me, so that made me glad, but still got me 3rd.
.....bummed i was riding kinda poopy, but so it goes. but on the good news, all these 3rd places landed me 2nd place overall! so that was pretty rad~ it is kinda fun saying you got 2nd to the world champion, but, in reality, we know it was something like this:
the real problem of my racing was that i did not follow my teammate ted burns' advice regarding racing canadians...
1. Throw some donuts down at the start of the race, Canadians can't help themselves.
2. If that doesn't work just grab some beer an do the same thing.
3. They aren't too bright...tell her it's an extra long track, and tell her every thing in Feet or miles...they only know metric.
4. Tell her that the queen just died. That will make her cry
5. Tell her that Neil Young renounced his canadian citizenship years ago.
i knew i sucked. how could i forget such valuable race material on race day?!

anyway, here are some super sweet pictures of me thanks to pat benson. there are even some cool ones of me by the world champion. xmas card material for sure.

me checking out tara whitten's awesome quads

bethbikes! attempting to pursuit

miss 'n out

so that whole extravaganza resulted in approximately a 13 hour day in the chamois! i had found a sweet all-you-can-eat buffet for us to eat at, called hokkaido seafood buffet. yeah, check out that floor plan-- there are sweet pictures and even a you-tube video if you click on the individual parts of the floor plan. dinner was $16.99 and we definitely ate our monies worth. it was awesome. in addition to all-you-can-eat sushi, they also had a chocolate fountain.

apparently gio took a picture of us. i was too busy stuffing my face to notice.

so that was the far west championship. we drove back that night and got into oaktown around 4am. my boyfriend was crazy enough to want to do a criterium the next day. i went to cheer, but instead of cheer, i got distracted and talked to tim montagne. i did see him chit-chatting at the back a few times. when we were leaving we saw the women's race going on, and we heard some chick in the peleton say "is that beth?" as michael was attempting to ride me back to the car on his bicycle.

well, that is about it for the far west championship.