Quick and Dirty

Hey sicko, get your mind out of the gutter. This is about bike racing. And some other stuff.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A little encouragment is all I needed

So I've been very quiet lately both online and in person. You may or may not know that I got an evil mystery virus in Belgium and had to lay low for a long time. Two months off the bike is scary, even scarier is when you don't care that you aren't riding. Last week I started to feel better and my new favorite doctor told me I could start riding again. One hour a day every other day with HR under 130 was the prescription.

So I'm riding home from work, my second day on the bike in two months going as fast as cold molasses. This was ok by me because it felt good to be pedaling again. I had worn the team skinsuit to work because it doesn't ride up under a backpack, riding around in a skinsuit feels good, and I figured it won't get action anytime soon so why not. As I'm pedaling over the little hill between work and home (which I've ridden at least 1000 times in the last few years) enjoying the evening sun creeping along nearing the top of the climb and woman comes past me. She's got the cap sleeve arm warmer gap thing going on, a bike fashion no no, aero bars and a bento box. Not that there's too much wrong with that, she is definitely going faster than me. As she come by me she says in a you go girl, women power, positive, affirmative chipper voice "you're almost there!". Thanks.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Wente roller derby race

Yesterdays crit was really a lot more fun than I expected. My job was to get in breaks, attack the race and make the race fast. I was feeling great and I did just what I said I would- attack with reckless abandon! This is a really fun way to race when you have good legs, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted.

Unfortunately, a very good break of 7-8 guys got up the road and none of my team was in there. The gap was around 20 seconds and Wohlberg was really driving the move. So, against all odds, I witnessed the impossible: all my teammates organizing at the front! I punched it to get there and do my part, it was pretty awesome! We with 4 to go we drilled it for a couple laps and brought the gap down to under 10 seconds. Lombardi took over after that and finished the job, catching the break in the last 300m.

Rob was our best finisher, I think within the top 10. But the big achievement of the day was the cohesive teamwork that we are finally beginning to use. I had a really good time at this race, and even if we didn't get much of a result we looked really cool when we were bringing back the break!

Another highlight was racing with the internet's own Olaf Vanderhoot! That bugger can really crank it up coming out of the corners! I think he tried to help me get a prime at one point when we were off the front, but I didn't really take advantage of it. Fun!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I don't really like flat criteriums...

But the fact that I have this bike and a skinsuit means I'll go and race it anyway! Today should be pretty fun, my brother is coming to watch and so is Barb. I don't feel too bad after sleeping for like 10 hours so I'm hoping for the best. If I can, I'll attack today in a furious fashion so that I don't have to be near the crashy group... Our man Rob Evans has a good chance at this race (as long as he doesn't miss the start like yesterday), and it's only an hour so how bad can it be?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wente road race is a hard road race.

Actually, it seems like all norcal road races are hard road races. Especially when Levi Leipheimer keeps showing up to them. My friend Rich came down with me to work the feed zone and spectate, he did a killer job and was appreciated by all the RHVillains. The field was huge, I figure 70 or 80 starters.
Things started off fairly easy today, a couple Lombardis and Cal Giants were up the road right away and it was civilized for the first ascent of the main climb. It felt really hard to me though, since I had a full stomach, no warmup, etc. I slept poorly last night too and that didn't help. Anyway I made it up and over.
We did a lap and the second time up the big climb a promising looking break went away with John Hunt and Levi in there. I don't know who else, but they looked like they were going along. Lombardies went to the front and did a killer job of chasing down that break. They put all their guys on the front and kept it pinned, it was very nice of them. Several of those guys were never seen again after that little move. All in all, this made lap 2 a very fast lap and I was feeling pretty jammed up after that.
3rd time up the climb wasn't so bad. I can't remember much about that lap except that a few people attacked and everyone else just sat there and looked a Levi. I sat there and looked at Levi.
Coming into the last lap going up the climb, Levi did his thing. A few guys went and there was a group up the road, I was in like the second chasing group. I didn't do a damned thing that lap, and I still got crushed on the final ascent to the line. Actually I beat Mike Buckley at the last bit, I made sure of that at least. I was told that I was top 20, but I think that's optimistic. I basically felt like I was on the verge of getting dropped all day. Till I really did get dropped. Oh well, I finished that bitch and it could have been worse.
Crit time tomorrow, I'll bet we won't be seeing Levi there!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Wente tomorrow!

It's another awesome weekend coming up! I like the Wente road race and I'll race both days and see what I can do. I don't really want to race the crit, but I will anyway. Barb is coming out with me on sunday I think, she's feeling better! My team will be in full force, it's time to handle some business!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Who has a funny caption for this photo? Let the fun begin!

"I'll look anywhere for those WMD's!"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The quince tree outside our door is in bloom and attracting an endless parade of birds. A pair of hooded orioles frequents the fuscia colored blossoms. Josh has been trying to get pictures of them but they keep flying away. An Anna's hummingbird named Francis flits and chirps all day long and drives kitty crazy with bird catching desire. Josh put half an orange in the tree for the orioles to eat, they ignored it. The orange did attract a blue jay. Here's a picture of our local possum taken a two winters ago. In one of the worst storms of the winter something made us look outside and there was this silly possum up the quince tree. -barb

Sunday, April 16, 2006

This is to make up for another dull race report-

Thanks for reading it, anyway. Here is a poem that I wrote using the poetry magnets on the fridge of a host house when we went to Oregon for the Alpenrose Dairy USGP cyclocross race (where I was 12th, my best ever elite 'crossHEY THIS ISN"T A RACE REPORT GODDAMNIT!). They weren't home, and we'd never met them. But it was the "romantic" fridge magnet poetry set, and some of these lines were already partly formed. I definitely came up with some of the more offensive ones. I present to you- The Drunk Girl Show

I left this up and didn't mention it to them- just to see if they had a sense of humor, which they luckily did.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Coppoporolis is bound to be hard...

...when the likes of Levi Leipheimer shows up. That guy is a friggin' bike riding robot. It was a really hard race, as it always is, but with Levi, BJM, Jackson Stewart, John Hunt, etc. are all in attendance you can be assured that there will not be many finishers! The field wasn't that big to start with which makes it even worse. This might have been partly due to a crit being put on by the Velo Squirrels today as well.

The I went around for the first 2 laps, keeping out of trouble and watching everyone get flats. I went through a pot hole going 40 mph on the downhill and I though I'd broken a spoke. The wheel still looked straight so kept going. As we started our 3rd lap Levi attacked through the feed zone and I didn't hold his wheel, even though I'd been sitting on it for the last 10 miles. It was ridiculous, that guy is so fast. I came apart on the climb. My tire was rubbing my frame when I stood to climb and it was making noise so I stopped to switch wheels with my teammate, Dennis Guikema, who had a flat earlier on. That put my even farther behind the chasing group but I still felt like trying to race. As I was going along on the flats above the big climb with another guy when a car comes burning past us with who else but Dave Fuentes tucked nicely in its draft... That guy just can't seem to race and not cheat. And he wears headphones while racing, which I feel is insulting. I pretty much pulled the plug after that and rode back to our sweet RV, Big Red.

Many may have noticed Big Red in the last few weeks, we had it out at the Pilarcitos races a few weeks back and we drove it to Copperopolis this week! Elliot Jaramillo, team member and ancient warlord is the proud owner of this monstrosity and he and Brian Rutherford have done a hell of a job fixing it up and getting it set for use by the team for racing. The thing sleeps 4 easily and is totally punk rock. Elliot had it out at the feed zone, which means we had to turn it around in the street and drive it back down the narrow road. When groups of riders came past, we were pulling off to the side to let them pass. Finally we hit a soft spot and sure enough- mired. We had that thing sunk on one side right to the running boards. It did not look good. We were really tired, and pissed that our glorious RV was stuck, embarrasingly on the race course. But, luckily enough a trio of helpful and enthusiastic Safeway Bagboys opted to lend a hand and give 'er a push! Incredibly, after some rocking and pushing we managed to get Big Red free! We left a 30' long, foot deep burnout in that mud! It looked like there had been a truck pull contest there. We rewarded our samaritans with a 22oz chocolate stout and hit the road. From there it was a smooth voyage back to Oakland. It was fun even though out of our team of 6, not one of us finished the race!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Corrizo Plains

We had a really fun time on our mini vacation! We drove down to Corrizo Plains National Monument on tuesday and did some car camping. It turned out to be a pretty nice place, which noone seems to know about. It has a salt lake and the San Andreas goes right down the valley.

There are many rare and endangered animals that live there including pronghorn antelopes, kit foxes, kangaroo rats and many species of birds. There is also some rock paintings by native americans from long ago, but we didn't get ot see these because they aren't available to the public at this time of year.

Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and a bit breezy- I got to ride for a few hours with no leg warmers and enjoy some time on roads with no cars. Truly a treat!

We hiked around a little near our campsite and found a cool sandstone canyon. At night we had fun watching a Kangaroo rat running around at our campsite.

It was good to get out of town and see some new sights. I'd like to go back to this place and see the painted rock and bring a bird book and identify some birds, I think it's a really good place for that. It was another awesome adventure!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

AARGH! Car trouble!

I didn't get to go down to Satan Cruz Crit today. I had everything ready to go- training was perfect all week. Into the truck went my perfectly clean and prepped bike+ bottles, kit, helmet, license, rollers, pump, shoes, spare wheels, snacks, tools. I'm dressed, caffinated, defecated (sorry), hydrated and fed. I gassed up the truck, took a movie back to the rental place and headed out to pick up my dad who was coming with me to spectate and get some photos.

I changed the oil in the truck day before yesterday in anticipation of Barb and I's trip to the desert that's coming up. There's been a "service engine soon" light on for the last couple weeks that has come on and off over the last few years. We've found that it gets triggered by the gas cap not being screwed all the way in, wet weather and Michael Jackson songs. So we've just been ignoring it. For the last couple weeks.

I've kind of noticed that the engine has a kind of "knocking" noise to it at certain RPMs lately, but it's pretty subtle so I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination or not. But when I got my Dad in the truck as we headed off to the race he mentioned it after a half hour of driving. So, not my imagination! I turned back. It totally sucked, I really wanted to race today but better safe than sorry. I'll takethe truck in for service tomorrow, it's probably nothing. So, needless to say, I went out on a rather aggressive training ride.

My team rode killer in my abscence, Christian was 6th! That was a very good result for him, so at least that went well.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Is it still a vacation if you don't have a job?

Barb and I are planning a trip to the Mojave desert next week! She's been affected by a strange low-energy virus kind of thing for the last few months(!) and the rainy weather has been bumming her (and me) out. So we're hoping for sunshine, or at least t-shirt temps. It'll be nice for her to get away from the bike shop, I really have no excuse since I'm kind of unemployed... I'm bringing my bike, I think there's some roads to go around on so I'll be doing some training in preparation for Copperopolis. I probably won't do a full blown week in anticipation of that race, but just be on the saddle enough so I'm not blown off the back on the first lap. We're hoping to have an adventure, get out of town, and just see what it's like down there. We're going to be camping and sleeping out in the tent! I'm really hoping we'll get some sun, it's just been ridiculous around here this spring. I'm tired of training (and racing) in the rain, it's true, but at least I'm training and racing! Barb has kept a pretty good outlook on life during her illness, but the weather has really put her over the edge! She's very tough, but a mystery virus combined with this kind of weather is enough to drive any bike racer to madness... I'll try and provoke her to post here, I've been (barely) holding down the fort so maybe she will check in- She could probably use some fan mail right about now so if you're reading this and you feel like it, give her a shout!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Why are these kinds of freaky photos so easy to find?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oh my god! My last 2 posts are so boring.

So here are some pictures!

Sunday report, blah, blah, blah.

So sunday was a lot better. This crit course was cool, there was some weird off camber turns and a 180 haipin and lots of rain. I won the single prime of the race for omnium points after 20 minutes of racing or so. This also initiated a breakaway, and soon I was rolling along at a breakneck pace with 4 other guys. It started dumping rain. We went like hell and I worked too hard. On the las lap I tried to follow Ben Standish when he attacked but he was too fast and he went on to win. I attacked again after that and was seeing black and white. I'm surprised I didn't crash on that last lap because my eyes were rolled back up in my head. I was caught, and I had nothing in the sprint so I was 5th. This made me 4th in the "omnium" for the weekend and my teammate Christian was 8th, so we landed us some cash. I'm glad I went out and raced, I usually puss out on rainy races and crits in general but it was fun in the break. Can't wait for Santa Cruz!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Well, I squandered my stellar fitness today by riding busily and wasting it chasing breaks and attacking early. No breaks were even close to sticking and I could have sat in and had a nice kick at the end. Instead, I got 10th -best on our team- which means I got at least one point towards the omnium, and I have to go and race a rainy crit tomorrow. I kind of wish I had been 11th... We have all vowed to race smarter tomorrow, and I think I really am going to get to sit in and have a go at the finish. Pays out top 8, so we could get paid and BAT points.

Anyway it was our first day in the new uniforms, which look totally pimp so that was fun. I get to try the longsleeve skinny tomorrow, yay! Anyway, legs felt good but I raced like a numbskull and so did the rest of my team so perhaps tomorrow can be better.

Anyway, I feel I should post a sweet pic, so as I was looking through our iphoto album I discovered this gem. I present to you, Chef Mark.