Monday, April 23, 2007

Dolan out the hurt!

No 'net at home these days. Infuriating, but still not resolved. Meantime, I'll drop this quick report during my lunch break.

Carl Dolan was lots of fun. After my lackluster showing at one of the Tradezone races, I wondered how well I'd do on a shorter, faster, circuit race. I'm content with how things went. Also, I think it's a good sign I can isolate what might've accounted for my middling results.

The race seemed fast enough to me. As others posted, I agree there was way too much unnecessary slowing at completely random spots on the road, but we did cover our 25.2 miles in exactly 59 minutes.

Had quite a few teammates at this race. They seemed to do well latching onto each others' wheels. I have to say, I favored the right side of the road for most of the race and wasn't very quick to jump in line with our guys on the left side of the road. No matter. The meat of my story really comes from the lone aggressive move I pulled all day and the final kilometer of the race.

My aggressive move was pretty laughable. Lap 3 was a prime lap. I didn't win it. I did, however, launch a hilarious and pointless attack after two guys already tore away from the field for the prime. Here are two shots (shot 1 and shot 2) of me blazing up the right side of the finishing climb. As I rode by nearly all the field, I heard some amusing "What the?"s and "Oh my god!"s and "Woah!"s. I don't suspect anyone was impressed or worried. Mostly, I suspect they were amused and confused. Why the eff did I bother? Well, I kinda just wanted to see how fast I could get up that hill. Further, it did get and keep me at the front of the field (where I wanted to be for the last lap or two) after they swallowed me up.

The kicker about that move, though, is what could've come of it. As I crested the hill and crossed the line, I saw two guys about 50 meters up the road. They looked like they were kinda taking it easy. First thought: I think we're lapping these guys. Second though: naw, that can't be. Third thought: I could ask, but that might be pretty insulting if they're not being lapped. Current thought: maybe they were being lapped and maybe I actually won the prime.

When I caught those guys, no one (including yours truly) made a move to organize and try to stay away from the field. I looked over my shoulder and we easily had 200 meters on the field. Thinking back, I should've continued to drill it and tried to stay away all by my lonesome. Who knows? Maybe it would've stuck.

Anyhow...getting to the finish. Strategy on this one was pretty simple. I had to make sure I was within the top 25 coming out of the turn with 1km to go. I was. Good news. Further, I wanted to use the right lane (which only opened up with about 250m(?) to go) for my sprint. I talked to Dave Kemp about this and he was eager to help me out. I'm just getting used to the team thing, but it's nice to have those sorts of talks with 'mates. I think my strategy was a smart idea, but there was one hiccup in the way. The enitre lead out train and strung out peleton headed to the left side of the road after the turn. Worried that I might get caught way far from the lane I wanted to take for the sprint, I opted to sit out on my own in the wind for the final 500 meters. I chose my plan over protection from the wind. Dumb move. Sitting in the wind let the front 20 ride away from me. Sticking right did keep me out of the final crash, but limited me to 9th in the Cat. 4 group. I also suffered from an All-American guy's move right across my line with about 150 to go. I was spinning the right gear, but had to slam on the brakes to avoid this dude. That slowed the momentum and I was subsequently over geared when I tried to start up again. And so it goes.

Post-race, Kemp did tell me he had all intentions of being there for the lead-out. Once again, very cool to know. He made me laugh when he described how the plan fell a bit flat. He said he was on my wheel coming into the turn. He hoped to come around me so I could latch on. In the end, though, he said I came flying out of that turn at high speed and accelerated away. Oops! It would've been fun to see how well we could've worked together. Next time, eh?

Other lessons from the race...position on the new bike is not yet dialed. I suffered terribly numb feet (left side was worst) and some really odd muscle pain in my extreme upper hammy on the right side. Hopefully this will all work itself out with continued tweaking. Final lesson acknowledged (but I'll probably never truly 'learn' it)...wear friggin' sunblock!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kidding? I think not!

I'd love to hear that this guy is writing with his tongue fully inserted into his cheek. Unfortunately, I think he's dead (and that's how some unsuspecting cyclist or motorist will end up with assholes like this behind the wheel of their 'hulking SUVs') serious. This kinda talk gets under my skin, but I can't let it eat at me. Nothing I can do will change this moron's mind.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm not the only one

Scanning the mid-Atlantic cycling blog-o-sphere, it seems I'm not the only one who is sick as a dog right now. Here are a few guys suffering in the same sorta way:

I seem to remember coming across more, but that's all I can find for now.

Despite my hacking and phlegm, the hope is to pick back up after two days of full-on rest. If this rain stops, I'll be back out there for about two hours this afternoon.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Should be somewhere else

10AM. Sunday, April 1st. I shouldn't be at my desk in front of this computer. I should be warming up at Tyson's. But sometimes...the stars don't really align. It's misting outside, I was up until 1:30AM and woke up restless at 5:45AM, I had a touch too much vino last night, and my throat feels like it's starting to close up on me. All excuses. But, shit, I just don't feel up to it. And so I'm here, feeling warm, a little foggy-brained, and heavy-legged.

Yesterday, I had a blast at the Tour of Walkersville.

Before I go there, let's travel back in time to last Sunday. I did Jeff. Cup. That was also a blast. Great roads and beautiful country. It was warm, I cramped up with about four miles to go, and that was about all she wrote. No breaks stuck. We came down to a field sprint finish and I just wasn't positioned right. Oh well. Finished with the pack. The race, though, was a big psychological success. I hadn't raced on the road since I crashed at Coppi last season. I had to overcome some mental blocks to get back out there at speed with the group.

Walkersville turned out much better than Jeff. Cup. With some advice from my ever-wise teammate, Josh, I started the race knowing where I needed to be on the last lap if I expected to even be a contendah.

Long story short...I stayed up front coming out of the final turn. There was some definite slowing approaching the final 500 meters. Coming up on about 350 to go, there was a lot of unnecessary shouting from some of the guys who wanted the front of the race to move faster. The speed ramped up and just off to my right, poor Pete Custer got tied up in a pretty bad crash. I heard it and saw it and then saw a huge Ridley, without its rider attached, flying through the air...about six feet off the ground. I watched the bike fall to the earth and knew I needed to swerve a bit left to avoid running into it. Thankfully, there was room to my left and I avoided certain disaster.

With that unfortunate crash came some wide open space on the righthand side of the road. I looked ahead and saw about five guys up the road, each with a few feet between 'em. There were probably about 100 meters to go at that point and I was picking up speed. I was pretty surprised that I was able to pick 'em by one. This move, however, was none so subtle. After feeling Pete's crash, I didn't want to see or be part of another. For that reason, I announced my entire sprint to any and all who were ahead of me. As I motored down the right side, I shouted the whole way, "Coming on your right. On your right. Watch your right." Not exactly stealth tactics.

In the end, Joel (Route 1) came up on my left and almost caught me at the line. I threw the bike and I think that made the difference. At first, I assumed he was one of the guys I passed as I was closing in on the line. I assumed one of those guys was able to latch on as I came past and then follow me to the line. Joel later explained he was latched onto my wheel the whole time I moved up the right side. Go figure. I had no idea he was there. Thankfully, though, I had what it took to fend him off this time.

As much as I'd like to see what I could put together for two days in a row, I think my health will probably benefit from skipping out on Tyson's. I can't say I'm thrilled with my decision, but I think it's the right one. On top of it all, SVR leaves for Paris again tonight and I'd like to spend some good time with her before her trip.

I'd be remiss not to mention last night's meal. Citronelle was not as good as the first time I went. It was, however, decadent and a special meal. I know Drew had a great time. It's hard to believe I've been such close friends with him for twelve years! Amazing.