Sunday, June 5, 2011

There's my legs. Race report (6-3-11)

The sun was shining on the velodrome; promising a great night of fast racing and good times all around.

I tried some different things in my build up to racing this week and it seems to have aid some big dividends. I rode hard on Wednesday and Thursday so that my body would be used to the efforts.

The format was the same as it usually is; Tempo(points for 1st and 2nd across the line on each lap) , Scratch (one finish) and a Points Race (multiple sprints for points and ties broken on the last lap.) Apparently, a lot of category 3 racers showed up since they had to split us into two groups (usually done when there are about 30 or more racers.
I kind of figured that this would be the same as most weeks and I would just sit in and get a few points here and there in the tempo and scratch race. This is in fact how it always goes for me. Not so this time. Half way through the 10 lap tempo I noticed a chance for me to gain points come up and I took it. Turns out that I surpassed the rider in front of me and took the 2 points. I relaxed a bit expecting to have the pack right behind me but noticed that there was a big gap and decided that I may be able to get the next lap. I took the next two laps and then noticed that Aaron Berntson was getting close to me. He is a strong rider so I pulled up and planned on joining up with him and trading pulls for the remainder of the race. Somehow he wasn't gaining on me and by turn 3 I decided that it was
go time and that I would just go full on for the rest of the race. I'm not quite sure how I did it but I did just that and stayed on my own for the remainder of the race; snatching up 10 out of 20 available points.

The scratch race also went well for me. There was a lot of movement going on during the ten laps but I ended up getting third. I think that I could have done a bit better if I had to halt my sprint a couple of times due to people starting to box me in.
I kind of lost it a bit in the points race and only gained two points. I just didn't have a ton of energy left in me. I feel that the rest of the racers had saved up their energy for the points race since it is the one that can make a winner or a loser. You can win the night having not effected any of the other races and you can also lose it if you don't have the energy left for the fight. I think that some of that was due to misjudging when to eat before the race and possibly going out too hard the day before. Ill experiment a bit with what I eat and how I approach the race next week. Even though I didn't have much energy for the points race I still ended up fifth in the overall and I'm quite happy with that especially considering that my season is just beginning. The wheels performed wonderfully (more on that later and some gear upgrades to come) and were a great addition.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Racing (5-27-11) and new wheels

Well it was another hard night at the track. A lot of fast people were feeling good. I got a few points in the Omnium but it was still a hard night. Apparently, I looked worse than I felt for the most part (good? No, probably not) but I felt relatively good. My form is still coming around, I know that it is hiding somewhere in there and wants to come out with the helpful prodding of racing and training. I'm confident that as the season progresses and my training gets better that Ill be right up there again (I didn't start last season out too well either.)

I think that I may mess around with my gearing while training this week and see what I can do. I felt slightly under geared. I feel that a subtle difference will be all I really need.

One great thing is that my new wheels are ready to race next friday; the first night of the official track season. These wheels are going to be a pure joy. Ive only been out on the street for a few minutes and I can already tell that they are smoother and faster.

This was my first time mounting tubulars. I hope that I got them on there straight enough. It was for sure an interesting experience getting them on the rims. Very hard at the end.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pretty stuff

I have my new wheels now and am just waiting on the tires, which should be coming in on either Friday or Monday. I am hoping that they come in Friday so that I can get them glued up and ready to race on for next Friday's racing.

The tires that Ill be putting on these wheels are Continental Sonderklasse tubulars. They are a bit more expensive that I was looking to spend but I figure that getting cheap tires for some great wheels is kind of pointless. I may as well spend the money and gain the benefit of good and fast tires. Ill be thanking myself later.

I'm really excited to ride on these wheels. They are by far the fastest wheel and tire combination that Ive ever ridden on before.

I really like the cogs that come with the wheelset. They are incredibly light weight and the spines on them mean that changing gears will be easier and I wont have to worry about stripping lock-rings or cogs.
Next up Ill probably be upgrading my frame. I'm still doing some research on some different frames. I'm thinking of going with a Teimeyer but Id like to ride one before spending the money. So far it seems like it is the best bang for the buck. I wouldn't purchase it for a while though since I would like to save up some money and I may also buy a new road bike first (I could use one.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Preseason track (5-20-11)

Well that was an interesting one. As per usual there were three races on the schedule ( scratch, miss and out and a 5x5 points race.) Only difference is that the sun brought out some of the fast guys.

The scratch race (10 laps - one finish) went as expected. People went fast and I was still getting into the groove. I normally take the first race to warm up and see whose who in the zoo.

The Miss and Out (Last rider pulled at the end of each lap) also went as I expected. I really don't like this race. It is just sketchy
and not worth it to me. I normally just fall off of the back and pull myself out of the race. I think that I made my own personal record in this one and was the 4th rider out of a 25 rider field to be pulled. As I said, this is far from my favorite race to be in.

The Points race (multiple sprints throughout the race) is normally the race that I have a ball in. I found myself in a two man break
for the first sprint. We worked well together from the start and I ended up getting 5 points for first and he got 2 points for third. I pulled up and started moving to the back for a rest when things unraveled for me. I found m
yself off the back and the pack was speeding up. I had a really hard to catching back on. At one point I had caught up when the field sped up again and dropped me again. It took me a while to get back on but I did it. A silver lining is that I got some good training back there and I still got 4th in the race.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First track race of 2011

The preseason racing at the Marymoor velodrome has officially started and the first races were last night.

It went about as well as I expected and was a great test of my form and reintroduction to the track. I didn't do anything special but the main thing is that I relearned a whole bunch of stuff.

The action didn't really start until the last race; the 5x5 points race. The points race is one of my favorite races so I was pretty excited to race one again. The first couple of sprints were like normal and then a breakaway happened. It was a big one and they had a giant gap forming. I didn't really worry since about 90% of the time a breakaway doesn't stay out and gets pulled right back in. Not this time; we didn't organize soon enough to real them back in. I made a couple of attacks in the hopes that people would take chase but all that would happen is that they would slow down when I pulled off. Feeling pretty tired I sat up and went to the back for a bit of a rest; hoping that someone would turn up the throttle. Finally I made an attack and found myself in the middle of nowhere. Figuring that it was all or nothing now I put the hammer down and tried my best to make contact. I was all in and put in more effort than I knew I had in me this early in the season. My legs were searing and the commentator was cheering me on as I edged closer and closer but by the time I was just over half way there the race was over and I got nothing for my efforts. I'm pretty sure that I could have made it if I wasn't so under geared (should have been at 90 gear inches as apposed to 86) and will be changing that for next week.

In other news; I now have a pair of Easton EC90 wheels on order and should be here soon. I'm excited to be finally upgrading my wheels. New wheels is probably the single biggest upgrade I can make right now. I'm hoping that Ill be able to get a new track frame in the near future though. I may or may not get a new road bike before that though. Much to contemplate and much to be excited about.

Picture from Dennis Crane

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Track time, fixies and money

Today I rode the track for the first time with my track bike this season. It is kind of hard to tell where my form is right now since the last couple of days were pretty tough. On Thursday I went out and attacked every hill and on Friday I was still feeling good and ended up going for a longer ride than planned. For the most part I took it pretty easy today and just got myself reacquainted with the bike and worked out some kinks in the new position. I did a few sprints and got into a couple of pace lines. I was yet again reminded as to why I love racing track around here as I chatted with people that I haven't seen all year or am just meeting for the first time. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. Everyone is just waiting for this week to fly by and start racing on Friday nights again.

I got a job at the local bike shop. So far it has been a great job and I can now actually afford some of the equipment that Ive been pining after for
quite some time. The problem is now I can also afford the parts that I think I want and probably wont be able to save any cash for a while.

My form feels like it is coming around quite nicely. I fee
l stronger than at any point during last season. I guess thats what I get for actually training seriously. I was very impressed when the other day I towed my boss up a hill while on my fixie. He was in the big ring and apparently not pedaling at all. This just helps to boost my confidence and tell me that Ive been doing the right stuff.

I'm currently saving up to buy a pair of Easton
EC90 TKO wheels. These will be one of the best upgrades that I could do right now. There is also a possibility that I can chat with the Easton Rep and get a sponsorship. I'm crossing my fingers on that one and hoping that it can be done. My goal is to have these ready to go for the FSA Grand Prix on July 24th and 25th.

Something that I was told about today while at the track was Chrome's new Sherman bag. This is just what I have been looking for. Ill be able to carry all my gear and a set of wheels to the track with ease. This is big for me since I don't own a car and I also don't want to ride my race wheels down the street and potentially damage them or get a flat (Tubular tires can retail for as much as $120 each and can take an hour or so to install properly.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dammit Jim I'm a doctor not an astronaut (Westside Series# 3 3-20-11)

Okay I'm not a doctor either (which would you trust me to do first though?) but the point is that I am just as much a mountain biker as I am an astronaut (or doctor for that matter.) I only dabble in mountain biking and really only race in the dirt when I miss racing or forget the pain from last time. Most mountain bike races are about an hour longer than the 15-20 minute races I am accustomed to at the track.

I just finished my first race of the 2011 season, Westside series#3 at Soaring Eagle Park (better know to us locals as The Beav) in the Sport class. Like it was last year; I did a mountain bike race as the first outing. Unlike last years race I didn't have a flu and was feeling pretty good about everything. I knew that if it was going to be muddy I would be just fine since it would be just fine since it would default to being a race about brute strength and horsepower which is something that I can do. It just depended on getting a good starting position and just hang on for a couple laps and then launch myself. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get a good start position. I found myself with little left in the tank about 2.5 laps in. I was still passing people but I knew that I would now be fighting for a top ten finish and not a podium slot. I gauged my efforts wrong and hit the wall hard. For a second I caught myself thinking of excuses to leave the race and go home in shame. I felt like crap: I was over heating bad and my hearing was starting to go, breakfast was coming back for a reunion tour that would undoubtedly result in horrible disappointment. I had to get myself out of this mental hole and back in the game. I drank some water and took off what layers I could and decided to take it back a notch to stave of breakfasts second coming. I started to play music in my mind and in a little I was feeling much better and passing riders again. I wasn't 100% but at that point I was happy with something. All was going well until I chose a bad line over an obstacle and crashed in a way that smacked my knee into the bike, pinned my leg and dropped my chain all at once. As I was pinned I saw all the people that I had just passed overtake me again. Lucky for me there was only one person in the bunch that matter. I got up quick fixed my chain, limped for a bit and got back on the bike. The rest of the race was uneventful and I ended up taking 6th place finishing in 1:10:59. Not bad for someone that only dabbles in mountain biking. I am not disappointed in the result; I didn't come in last and I didn't puke. I learned a lot about myself as a racer and took a lot from the experience. My endurance is still not where I would like it to be but it is for sure a ton better then at any point during last season. I feel confident that with a bit more training Ill be hitting it hard in May (track season starts.)

I need a haircut