Quick and Dirty

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

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Last weeks races...

I had some good rides last week, I'm on track for at least some promising fitness for this weekend's championship races. I'll have a 7th row start, so I don't have much hope for a top 20 like last year but I'll race hard and try not to get lapped!

The race last saturday was pretty awesome- The long awaited epic muddy day at the Watsonville fairgrounds. The Velo Bella crew put on a fun event and the weather provided the kind of conditions that Nor-Cal crossers say they crave... but seem to avoid when they finally arrive! I was surprised by the low turnout but oh well, it's easy to get spoiled around these parts.

I had a decent start, John Funke was kind enough to let me slide in in front of him for a second row starting place. John dashed up into the mix on the first lap along with Justin, Andy J-M, and my teammate Dave Wyandt. Ben J-M and The Clown were pretty much gone by the end of lap 1, and that left the rest of us to fight for 3rd.

I knew I had an advantage with a nice clean bike each lap, so I kept cool and waited for Dave and Justin's bikes to get heavy and stop working! It worked, I put some space on them by the end of the 2nd lap and actually rode up to Andy! I was pretty happy with this, but it wasn't long before he ran away from me on one of the horrific muddy-corral runs. I stayed steady and tried to be one with the mud. This pretty much worked since I kept Andy on the run for the rest of the race. I felt good- I don't really enjoy racing in the mud, but it does play to my strengths. I was very with my 4th place finish, but I do wish I could have stayed with Andy to the finish.

Sunday's race was looking to be another messy one, the track at Ft. Ord has a lot more fast pedalling parts though, so I knew it would be tough. I spent the night at my teammate Brent Chapman's house with him and his wife Jen. We had fun since Barb stayed down too so she wouldn't have to drive home in Saturday's raging rainstorm. On Sunday, Brent and I went to the race together and he ended up just helping me with my bikes, etc. since his back was feeling cranky. He put in a pretty big effort on Saturday (and earlier in the week) setting up and tearing down the Surf City course, so he deserved a restful day of cheering and hanging out at Central Coast. Thanks Brent!

So anyway, I got on my bike and rode a slow lap on the course. I cleaned that bike, and got on the other one to pedal around and try to get my legs to move after all the running from the day before. I was having fun saying hi to everyone and putting around when I compulsively yanked the front wheel up to wheelie for Sabine... Whoops, I've got thick gloves on and I can't pull the brake in time! I totally looped out and went down hard on my back on the pavement. I landed on the top of my hip on my lower back and saw a flash of pain. I was really surprised and I couldn't tell if I was ok right away. I walked it off, and pedalled for a bit to see if I could race. I decided to suck it up and pay the price for my dumb move. Let this be a lesson to you all- showboating doesn't pay. And always be sure you can really work the rear brake before you go to ride a wheelie.

The "gun" went off and we hit the gas. I was feeling some adrenaline from my crash and I led out the first lap. This was a bit of a mistake, and Dave Wyandt and Justin Robinson rode up to me for lap 2. Dave and I tried to 1-2 Justin for a while, but we weren't really going hard enough to make it tough for him and soon we all rode together at a less vicious pace. This was a mistake, because you can't let a guy like Justin have a rest in this kind of situation. He was in front when we came into a tricky mud hole and he went through no problem. Dave botched it, and then I botched it. Justin saw this and took off. Dave started to give chase, and tried to tell me to get on his wheel. This was a mistake since I was feeling bad, and Justin extended his gap. Dave chased in earnest after this, and I kind of rolled home for 3rd. Dave was very close to Justin at the end- I think he could have gotten him if this race was a full hour. It ended at 50 minutes, which was good for me but bad for Dave... Oh well.

More great racing in Nor-Cal, perfect training for nat's. I'm actually in Providence right now hanging around in the hotel while Simon, Evan, Paul and Dan do their masters races. So far, I only know that Paul got lapped at the end by Ned Overend. Results soon to come on the others...

Monday, December 04, 2006

NorCal racing at it's finest!

You know, I had a great time racing yesterday. The first Coyote Point race that Tom did was also my first ever cross race, so that course holds a special place in my heart. I think I may well have raced every 'cross since then at coyote point, I love racing close to home and I appreciate the Pilarcitos gang's effort at these events. Tom and his crew put on a top notch event each and every time, and I love 'em for that!

I had a nice drive down through the city in my shitty Ford Escort Service wagon, with bikes stuffed in and spare wheels up to the ceiling. I had the new DJ Shadow bumping in my blown out speakers and I was feeling fine on the way down.

I made it to the race in time to do some hot laps on both bikes and be sure the tires were dialed. Got to yell at the duffers during their race and caught up with as many cyclocross brothers and sisters as I could while I got my act together. I ran a Dugast 34 Rhino in the front and a silk 32 Typhoon in the back, and I'll tell you that was a very good combo on that track. I lucked out and didn't get anything sharp stuck in them too, so the risk was worth it this time. What good is the killer rubber if it doesn't see the 'cross track?

So, anyway Casey blows the whistle and off we go- I managed to start in the second row behind the series callups. Jeez, I got swarmed! I think I was 15th as we went up the hill on the pre-lap. I just did my thing and by the time we came off the sandy beach I was second wheel, behind Ben J-M. That beach was perfect. If there is a sand obstacle on a cross track, it's best if some run and some ride. That's a sign that it is just right for 'cross.

I settled in and just sat on Ben's wheel. We were riding away from the others, yet the pace didn't seem ridiculous. I was pretty psyched, my goal is always to mark Ben (or Barry, or Andy....) at these local races and see how long I last. This time I didn't last long. We got to the top of the climb and in the deep dirt right before the upper paved section my front wheel went over a fist sized rock that I couldn't see and I was on the ground. Bitch! I couldn't chase back on and in short order the chase group of John Funke, my teammate Dave Wyandt and Chris McGovern were upon me.

As we all made our way back around for the second (third?) lap, Chris dodged around me before the downhill turns in a rather aggressive manner... I regret to say that there were a few sharp words exchanged. I'll admit that I kind of heckled him as he did this, I figured it might be good to put him on edge as we went into the technical parts since a bit of pressure never hurts. Chris managed to botch the next few downhill corners and we made our way to the beach where he ended up having to change bikes- a soft tire was affecting his handling and that kind of ended his race. Chris is a good friend of mine and we had a laugh about the whole thing after the race, but I have to say he's got the mouth of a masters racer on him... and I guess I kind of race like a junior sometimes so I probably deserved it! Chris is super strong right now and I wouldn't have been surprised if he just rode back to Ben had it not been for that flat, the guy's wound tight!

So after that it was just me, Dave and John. We went around a few more times till John had a flat, and then it was just Dave and I. Dave basically drove it home, I went in front here and there but he had that glint in his eye so I let him do his thing. We rode in together for second and third so that was cool.

I'm pretty psyched to race next weekend, I'm feeling good and I'm glad to be home. I will race both the CCCX and Surf City races so that should be good prep for the big show in RI.

Check out http://teamrockblogster.blogspot.com/ to learn about all our other sweet team victories. The HRS-Rock Lobster crew was out in force and we sealed the team competition! Shelly Olds won the womens over-all and Aaron Kereluk was 2nd to old man Funke in the mens GC.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Josh and Barb's Nature Walk

Josh and I went for a nature walk today. It was a balmy warm December day and we went to Drake's Estero at Point Reyes. I had tried to go here once before but ended up at the lighthouse with the keys locked inside the car. Josh had to leave work and drive all the way out to the lighthouse with a spare key.

I saw a really great tree.

and fantastic mushrooms in the pine forest.

This one looked familiar, where had I seen it before?


Friday, December 01, 2006

My new favorite bike!

The other day, I put a new bike together.

I put a new ride together maybe 3 or 4 times a year. At least one new roadbike, rebuild the TT bike, and, if I'm really lucky, a couple of new 'cross bikes.

These are all special purpose racing bikes. And aside from these, I have one other kind of bike that I only use for training and for fun. And that's my fixed gear bike.

I've had a track bike that is ready for road use by virtue of around a 65" gear and a front brake for several years now. It was a good bike to ride, but on the big side. It was a '74 Schwinn Paramount, and since I'm poor and it's highly collectable, I sold it on ebay for a ridiculously high price.

Dave Pearson, who put me up at his house a couple weeks ago gave me this Serrotta track frameset while I was staying with him. This thing is all business- it was really tricky drilling the fork for a brake, and there is not much room for big tires on this bugger. We were just talking about frame size preference and I mentioned that i ride a 53 cm top tube, so he hauls down this old, chipped up Serrotta from the attic and asks "got any use for a track frameset?"

Well, yeah! That thing is perfect!

Check out how close the brake fits on here- I got super lucky when I drilled this fork.

If you don't already have a fixed gear bike, you should think about getting one. The fixed gear bike is a true pleasure to ride, it's not as sketchy as you think. Just because you ride one doesn't mean you have to go out and get some tight jeans, a trucker hat and a studded belt.

Just set it up like your road bike, with brake hoods and at least a front brake. There's no shame in a rear brake too, but it's not really needed once you're used to the direct drive drive-train. Your legs and the front brake can provide more than enough stopping power for most situations, it just takes some getting used to! Skidding the fixed gear is right up there with riding wheelies and doing trackstands for me- easy, fun and best saved for solitary rides for your own entertainment! Skidding the rear wheel doesn't really slow you any better than using the brake, but it is addictive and once you figure it out you'll probably have to do it till your legs are sore. Just put a Specialized Armadillo on the back and change it out once you can see the red stripe...

On your fixed gear, you can feel like your part of a revolution! You can wear special clothes and put little cards in your spokes to show people that you know about a hip new trend! Or you can just set up a fixed gear, learn how to ride it and just enjoy it for yourself. Because fixed gear bikes have been around for a long time, and they'll be there when the hipsters all buy Segways.