Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Davis Fireworks

The race season: up and down. Just when you start to feel great, come into form, a crash derails you. You clamber back and then it's time to taper down. It seems finding a rhythm this season has been hard. Twice now I've been feeling great and then had bad luck change that. So coming into Davis after a dismal Nez, I was itching a little for some good luck. The only thing was, I had a killer headache!

Okay, so pop some ibesuffering pills and hope for the best right? On the bright side was the fact that Mary and Liz were racing with me. It's always huge motivation to have team mates who can race and will work for you and visa versa. Once I saw Mary my mentality went into Metallica mode. Kick some arse!

Out on the course we had decided to basically watch for breaks in the bunch, namely led by Tibco and CRM. Mary, Liz and myself patrolled the front and chased a few gaps back. At the race's midpoint is seemed clear that nothing was going to stick and the CRM was more interested in setting up Starla for the sprint. Follow their actions I told myself!

So things are always easier said than done. Right.

This is 3 laps into the race -- an awesome shot of me scrapping by the Webcor girl after she was brake-checked in front of me. Her speed dropped so drastically that my only option was around her, barely! Right here, in this very moment I got mentally kicked. Shake it off, re-focus ... took a lap but I got my head screwed back on and resumed racing. You see to be a cyclist you have to forget a lot.

But, with one to go I couldn't forget. As I brought up the gang and kept a watchful eye on CRM Karla wove her way to the front with Starla on her wheel. I followed up the center. The two CRM girls narrowly squeezed and negotiated their way to the front. I watched and when it came to my turn to pinch through I hesitated. Right away I knew this was the move, the win and the wrong thing to do. Adjusting my trajectory and went right and was able to make up some of my lost ground going into the last two corners but it was not at the very front. I launched from the corner hoping 1 of 2 things: Mary would come around me or I would eat up a few riders. Surprisingly my sprint felt powerful, even after putting in an extra effort for being gun shy and for even acting as de facto lead out gal. I was coming right of a Proman rider, using her to block the cross wind and just as I pulled pass her leg she moved right sharply (and likely not intentionally, I think she was just getting on it and swerved). I had to brake and jolt myself away, re-starting my sprint. I'm positive this cost me 5th but that's the way it goes. Overall I ended up 7th, Mary was an impressive 10th on her way to a comeback, and Liz was 13th. We were all in the money and happy nonetheless; albeit my fear of asphalt exfoliation kept me from contesting the win. Sometimes, it really is better to be safe than sorry, and with my luck lately -- that's just fine with me!

Granted, it was nice to have a race go pretty much "right" for a change.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Being Nez'd

Well, day one of the nez -- gapped by a crash that split the pack, came around and chased back on only to get gapped by a second crash. Chased solo for 2 laps passing other girls who were off the back too, only to come around the corner causing the crashes and narrowly avoiding yet another girl on the ground by going off course and beyond the course barriers! At that point I was like like WTF. Oh, and no course marshaling whatsoever. I was zig and zagging through drunk people the rest of the race. The only notice of anything wrong in the corner was everyone on the hay bales doing the wave -- which was really the signal to slow down lol. But it looked like the wave to me! At least the punk band on the corner was good! They we're singing "dead body on the street" because it took 4 laps to get the girl off the ground lol. If I were a superstitious person I had a pre-race omen: boy on a bike with training wheels hit me full-on with his head down knocking me onto his dad which I bounced off of. Somehow I managed to right myself to the applause of everyone watching the near disaster!

Day two. Reno downtown crit -- very cool course with a tough climb, a downhill corkscrew and two river crossings. I was tired because Ron and E snored all night and kept me up -- I was about to just go downstairs and gamble because at least that would be a legitimate excuse for being up all night!! But, once I saw the course I was like okay, this looks cool -- hill and all and my motivation came back. I was worried I might not be able to hang with the big shots over the climb but 5 laps into it I was still there and matching their speeds. Granted I probably would have been in the 2nd group that formed during the race -- but I will never know because as I crested the hill on lap 6 and rounded the false flat my "repaired" shifter flew off. I was center of the pack and put my hand up. John Bolton rode over and sent me to the pits. I had asked the SRAM dudes the day before if they had a spare shifter -- like off the emergency bikes -- that I could use explaining that my replacement shifter was still coming in. They told me nada. I was having trouble shifting the replacement Kevin made (Bic pen and epoxy works well for general shifting needs) because I was having to shift so much. Getting my fingers around the slim pen was proving difficult in sudden shift situations -- like sprinting to chase down a gap after coming to near stop. Anyhow, back in the pits they yanked a spare bike off the rack, raised the seat and got me ready for the push off. The dude promised me he was good at push offs. Then he nearly tipped me over lol -- yeah real good indeed! I had to unclip and start over. The ref said one more lap due to the bobble. He righted me again and I waited. Remind you, this is at the base of the downhill so speeds were at 30 plus. Homeboy WAITS until the fast moving pack went almost completely by before starting the push!!! I chased in vain going into the first corner, into the tail wind section but my speed was no faster than the pack and the gap remained. Then I started noticing that the seat was way too low, and the stem was way toooooooo long. I felt like I was riding a low rider ha! I entered the climb in the big chain ring but instead of a 26 I think this bike had a 23. So that slowed me down too. Regardless to say, I spent the rest of the race chasing but I was too gassed and really fed up.

Day 3. I came home. If were to race at 3pm that would mean I would not be home in time to have kev put my new shifter on that was, of course waiting on me at the house. So I decided if I wanted to have my bike for Sunday I better just quit before a lightning bolt struck me!

Great way to drop 150 bucks!

The good news: being the underdog gets you noticed. Two days in a row I was the "chaser." Which in Truckee seemed embarrassing but by Reno it was cool -- what could I do. And, I met with some Hawley guys who really liked the Stork and said I put on a good show. And, lots of New Belgium beer ;-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Palm Bluffs Crit -- AKA Throw Down in Fres-Townk.

The team for Fresno was Jen, myself and Kiwi (Liz Williams).  We had Mary and Mel in Sacto racing a crit there.  So with resources spread up and down highway 99, we had to play it smart.  Vapor brought a full team and wasted no time launching attacks.  Jen worked hard at the front to keep it together and countering.  I was trying to stay rested but since VK was mostly carrying the load of taming Vapor, I too, pulled in girls off the front -- which was typically Felica Gomez.

Meanwhile a crash disorganized the field separating much of it from a lead pack.  Confusion caused this; we had to "slow" down for 2 laps but we were never neutralized?  Of course girls tried to sneak away and this strung the pack out and spilt it up.  Liz fell victim to the confusion but while she was in the pack she dispensed some pain.

The racing was hot!  Poor Jen rolled up next to me and was a tomato so we exchanged bottles for sipping and head soaking.  We could sense that Vapor was going to use its numbers to play us for the finish -- send Felica off and keep their two sprints in the wings.  Well that was exactly how it played out.  Felica took off with 3 to go.  It was a move that I almost went with but I felt like I was being baited.  I guessed wrongly -- it was the move.  Jen slaved at the front to bring her back but got no help from anyone, especially those wearing Vapor colors who swarmed the front blocking.  I had to come up with a plan B quickly.  I moved towards their sprinter, Rebecca and watched her with an eagle's eye.  On the last lap she went midway to the second to last corner.  I jumped too, opening a reasonable gap, powering away from all chasers ... until ... I nearly t-boned a lapped rider coming out of turn two.  I swung incredible wide, almost to the next gutter to avoid her, sluffing off speed as I went!  I was mad.  The change in direction forced me to kick the turbos one last time.  It was a long time to sprint and to fend off the chasers but I did.  I nearly caught Rebecca at the line, coming in 1 bike length back from her.  Too bad for my mishap, I think I could have gotten 2nd.  BUT, considering VK was outgunned we raced hard and matched everything Vapor threw at us!  We have to be proud with 3rd and plenty of swag to-boot! 

Overall the venue was pretty cool.  The women's race by far was the most active and energized.  A great field showed up and we wasted no time putting on a show.  Good job ladies.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When in Wente

This race is always f*&@# crazy.  It's wide and a swarm fest.  At least everyone stayed rubber side down this year (as opposed to being carted away in an ambulance last year).  VK rode a smart race and we even launched a pretty nice lead out!  Mary got 3rd -- way to rock it!

Nothing like winning a little vino eh.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You gotta watch this guy!

Larry -- the sleeper.  The only man I know with the pipes to hold a full on conversation climbing Bear Valley!

The Coulterville Loop

Well, Easter Sunday a group of us head up to the hills and rode the infamous Coulterville Loop.  It starts in town and then after two short climbs, Highway 49 zig-zags in a series of hair pins down to Moccasin.  It's a fast, fun descent and I was impressed with how much the Storck handled like my Ridley -- stiff and responsive.  I'm glad, because I love to go fast and a flimsy bike would not cater to my Bodie Miller-like downhilling skills!  I did discover that the brakes were not like my old Dura-Ace and came cooking into a near 180 at 40 mph expecting to scuff off speed, ah nope.  So instinct took over and I railed it hard and managed to stay in my lane and avoid a blind head on with a car coming from the other side.  So from that point on I was braking waaaaaaaaaaaaaay before each tight turn!  

At the bottom of the downhill 49 intersects 120 and 132 at the fish hatchery.  From there it's a 6 mile 8 percent average climb to the top of new Priest Grade.  I was wondering how my body, especially my knee would handle the long climb which starts out rather steep.  At first, I won't lie -- it hurt.  But I found myself climbing fairly well, keeping the two mountain goats of the bunch in sight and holding off Ron, Mitch and Eugene (always have to beat the husband ha!).  After 35 minutes or so of climbing I was at the top and impressed that my legs were coming around and not much blood was oozing my knee. 

From the top of where new Priest and old Priest connect (old Priest averages 20 percent -- Eugene did it once in with only a 23, we had a blast on the rolling section of Coulterville Cut-off Road.  There is a section of mild downhills punctured by short hills that with speed and a good draft, you can almost motor up them.  Yet, just as our group of Mitch, myself, Rick and Dave gained a good sized gap, the climbs start and man they're a b*tch!  Steep, deceivingly hard step-up climbs.  You have to do four of these to gain the downhill into town.  Admittedly this is where I suck.  Although I can keep guys like Dave who climbs amazingly well in sight, I slow way down on these climbs.  It's a suffer-fest for everyone really.

Buuuuuut, at the top is the awesome downhill back into town with sprint for the "Welcome to Coulterville" sign.  With everyone re-grouped (Ron, E, Kimmers, Dave, Roy, myself, Mitch, Rick and Larry) we all took off trying to out smart the other for position.  The downhill has a false flat and usually it temps someone into to taking a flyer.  Larry and E jumped and opened and nice gap but I knew it was too soon.  Dave roared to life and I followed his wheel while Mitch chased from behind.  Dave and I both opened our sprint and threw equal bike tosses at the sign.  It was a tie from the naked eye stand point.  Mitch slotted in behind us.

Post ride is a trip to the Coulterville Cafe -- huge burgers and shakes make the Coulterville Loop so worth it!

Monday, April 6, 2009


1.  Crash in up scale towns ... their hospitals are nice!
2.  Don't get a concussion in Napa because you can't drink the freaking wine!
3.  Ladies don't pedal the crown of a 180 turn because you can really bring down someone who was about to light up the bunch sprint.  Me.
4.  Thankfully Mary kick butt in the break-away and put us on the chalk board with a sweet
5.  Go to work bleeding, it gets you lots of sympathy -- and I teach high school, they thought is was way cool!