Monday, May 11, 2009


Our adopted budgie checking out the camera:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Berkeley Hills 2009

Arg. I started this race feeling like garbage again. Legs moved OK but my head was full of snot once again. I can't wait for summer so everything will just go and die. I wasn't having any problems sticking with the pack and started to think I actually had a chance when a crash separated me from the field. I turned around to check on my teammate who also went down and he told me to go for it. I tried, but my bike was skipping gears. I stopped and tried to straighten the wheel, but it turned out my derailleur hanger was bent. Unfortunately, this was at the top of the course, so I had to chase back on with a two minute gap.

I nailed the descent (why can I go faster on my own?) and drilled it down Camino Pablo, where I could finally see the field and all of the minor attacks rolling off the front. Head down, I cranked away. Finally, I got to a line of cars and used the draft to get myself back on. Now I was tired.

The last time up the main climb, I thought I should mitigate the damage and just go hard. That was a mistake - I should have gone all out. What's to lose? Anyway, finished up 20th or so of 60. I feel really good about getting back on with a flat/downhill TT (at <135 lbs, I don't go all that fast on the flats) but am disappointed with my mental performance where it really counted. Lessons learned.

For a change of pace, I think I'll do the Sonoma 100 km mountain bike race this weekend. I've been surprised at my ability to recover recently, so hopefully it won't impact Mt Hamilton.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wente RR, 2009

I had to miss this race last year due to injury, and was really looking forward to a large-field tough race. Mark, Eliot and Bernhard provided some really valuable pre-race recon as I had no idea what to expect. I decided to remove all the distractions I could from my race: I raced with a simple bike computer and don't think I looked at it once. I also tried my new wheels - after racing on open pros and powertaps for so long, my 2 lbs lighter bike seemed like a brand new ride.

I lined up congested (allergies?) and feeling generally lousy (they need more lazy afternoon start times for us recovering mountain bikers,) but luckily it wasn't too hard up the climb the first two times. Brad was extremely active at the front while I basically sat in trying to clear the snot out of my head. On the fourth time up, a break of twelve had made it up the road, so Grant from Pen Velo and I drilled it on the climb and caught them by the finish. My head was finally clearing so I started to think about doing something beyond just finishing.

The last lap was aggressive and fast, and another Pen Velo guy made it up the road and away while the moto ref neutralized what was left of the field. Oh well, racing for 2nd now. I made my way near the front coming up to the turn up the climb and hit it hard when we made the turn, first chasing down a few riders, then making a newbie mistake by sprinting for the first tent I saw. Luckily, I didn't let up too much and kept going when I realized it wasn't the finish- and that sprint put me well off the front, or so I thought. I turned the corner for the real finish and saw one other guy from my field that I couldn't catch, nor had I seen him roll off the front, for third place. Still working on that race awareness.

Here's a picture of my bike in race garb:

I have to say gluing your tires on is a unique experience. The wheels are pretty nice, but I think I might need to drill out a bit more for the valve stems.

This weekend in Berkeley Hills, then I think I'm going to do the So No Mas 100 because I haven't had enough instant weight loss this year. And I haven't ridden my MTB in over a month, so I figure 8 hours in one shot should make up for that.

Copperopolis 2009

Arg. This race is hard. Someday I'll do it right. This time I forgot to eat. I was on the bike for four hours and only drank one bottle and had 2 gels. That's somewhere around 300 calories, or what I should be consuming per hour.

The race started somewhat fast on the climb, but it's the rough lead-in that gets me. I fell back to the back of the pack and hung in for three laps of crappy pavement. The weather was good at least. My teammate went up the road for two solid laps; he's going to have a great season of Master's racing. By the fourth lap, I was barely hanging on in the crosswind section and actually got dropped on the climb. That's how gone I was. I rolled in for ~25th, glad to have finished. My old man back thanked me for stopping.