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.