je ne sais quoi

Friday, March 28, 2008

Metro Chronic

Every now and then, the bike goes onto the metro. Saturday night after riding to Huntington Beach, was one of those times. 10:30pm. I buy the ticket, and get on. Typical saturday night crowd on the blue line: Teenagers getting ready for a night out, the requisite guy slangin candy bars that no one buys, the occasional bum, and me, standing apprehensively next to a $6000 bicycle. Not typical metro fodder [the bike...not me]. Almost as soon the doors close...

"Hey man, niiiiice Cannondale. Didn't Lance ride one?", from a guy sitting a couple rows back. "Actually, I think Lance rode on Treks. Not sure though." Immediately, and to my dismay, all eyes on the car are on me and my bike. Regrettably, I know exactly where the conversation is heading. "Man, a bike like that must have set you back lots. How much would it cost to put one like that together?" The guy chatting it up was actually really polite and innocent looking. But with half the car listening/looking in, I cannot honestly answer that question. Sorry, guy. "Ah, well.....I put it together slowly with parts I found. It ended up being about $4-500." The guy is blown away by the figure. "Oh man, didn't think they made them that expensive!" I wish he hadn't uttered that last word..."Well, it's pretty old, from 2003, and has a couple dings and scratches." I say that with emphasis on OLD. ..and i think it did it. Had a couple nervous moments when a few large groups moved in and out, but got through it.

It's mad to think how shattered everything can be if the bike was careful out there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Week Another....

No! Not another crit...

The algorithm is thwarted, and I have my first "off" weekend from racing. The team unanimously decided that paying $40 to race in a glorious Ontario business park for a $1000 purse just might have been too good to be true. It's a real shame that we didn't go down and try to win back our entry fees. A race win would have yielded TRIPLE the entry. Swellllllllllll. I know what a lot of you are saying "Oh, Aram, we don't race for the money" Yeah, well I don't race to line the pockets of greedy race promoting jerks. Purse to Entry fee ratios like that discredit the sport and rape the budgets of P/1/2 squads that try to help their racers out.


Instead, I had a great solo ride on saturday down the san gabriel bike path to Huntington beach, then a sunday rendezvous at GMR with some teammates who are doing SDSR next week. On that note, if anyone is traveling anywhere to do any race next week (other than SDSR), please let me know, I'm looking to ride.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vamos Como Motos

Better Late [and with pictures] than never....

Photo: Alejandro?

A full three days ago not a crit, but an action packed circuit race. The course? 60 miles on a big long straight with a 180 on each end. When I got to the race, the wind was blasting perpendicular to the course, so I thought it might get interesting (aka: difficult), but it somehow shifted 45 degrees as we started, and it was just full-headwind up one straight, and full tailwind on the other. Pretty star-studded field. Toyota heavy-dutiest crit-guys all in one race: Clarke, Rollin, Dominguez with Chepe and Manion to help. The R*ck racing A team with Hamilton lining up, and...the best part on the day: The "new" 5 Star Fish Vegetable Oil squad kitted out with new green kits and matching green Colnags and Zack Morris. Dope!

Photo: Stefan Mayer

Hmm...I didn't properly allude to it in the earlier paragraph, but the "action packed" bit was an attempt at is most of this blog. It's worth noting that all but ONE race this year has had a full field. That's 125+ guys in each one. This is a first. SoCal brings out big fields, but full every single time? Madness...but a swell time. On to the report: Bearclaw had the whole squad out. 5 of us. I wrongly assumed it would be hard as hell given the wind conditions, but like I said, it changed, and ended up being 125 REALLY fresh guys rounding a 180 for the sprint. Dumb-move of the day goes to me: I rode to the race, and needed a bottle. After bothering teammates for some sugary energy drink powder, I got some. Put the powder in the bottle with the intention of filling it with water near the start line....Nope. One bottle of juice, one of congealed powder grossness.

The race was dull. Breaks didn't get more than 20 seconds because it was just impossible with the headwind followed by the push that tailwind gave the peleton. It was 40mph everytime through there. One interesting tidbit: On the second lap there was a crash on the fast tailwind section. Almost instantly, one of the crashed riders (Rock) got up, and started doing what appeared to be jumping jacks right in the middle of a 40mph peleton. Yup. A couple more crashes and failed attack attempts later, the last lap came, and like I said, EVERYONE wanted it...and was fresh enough to make a go. I was really hoping Rock would string it out...Rock, with it's 20 riders in the field, had every one of their riders up front with half a lap to go (each lap is 6 miles?). Pace was really slow though, and they weren't drilling it at all....just looking at each other with blank faces. I was behind the toyota guys at this point, trying to mark Rollin (who I incessantly bother with my not-perfect Francais). Of course, I lost them in the final 180, but wound up about 10 wheels back on the wheel of my teammate. I told him I'm on, but before he could uncork a sprint, madness ensued, brakes were hit. Ahhh, well. I hit the brakes LOTS in that last 2 K's....that's what happens when it's 20-wide with 2 k to go. Finished somewhere between 20-30th. The most reassuring thing, however, is that every one of my teammates was there at the finish. A bit of communication and coordination and the Claw will get something going....I can't wait 'till it's a more breakaway-friendly course to have 4 guys shutting things down in back. Power file from the race:


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blog People,

It's been a while. And of course, I sit down to write one of these time-constrained and rushed instead of jumping in the shower and getting time, in time. I'm just going to get right to it. I'm no longer unattached. I'm Team Bearclaw. Like the donut:

I was a bit apprehensive at first, but things are settling quite nicely already, and I've only done one race for the guys. I'm sure i'll have plenty to reflect on as the season gets rolling, and plenty of blog-worthy shenanigans from the looks of things. I've got to confess, I stole that above image from google, and mannnnnnnn it looks good. A menacing calorie explosion. I've always held firmly that on the road, donuts have the best $ to Calorie ratio, and the bearclaw donut probably wins the overall. Right. Don't have too many words right now, but another picture:

The red bike is officially retired. This one's complete. Big thank you to the bearclaw folk for helping me finish it up. Sadly [but not...sorta] , it might now be around too much longer. Anyhow, it has Sram, Shimano, and Campagnolo stuff...but it all blends real nice I think. And..........the SRM works! Crazy concept, I know. After playing SRM tag for 53 rounds with the people in colorado, they sent me a new one and it worked. At last. Class unit. Don't really know too much yet, but I've just been trying to get to 1500 watts......still haven't hit it. How about a power file from the murietta crit? Okay. THREE photos. So much better than words, no?

It was a crummy race for me. Not sure if it was bad legs or a bad fit (it was the first ride on the above bike...switched a couple things since), but I somehow missed a break of 25 on sunday, and nearly crashed on saturday (in addition to not feeling stellar). The above power/HR/a million other things file is my first ones. Pretty neat, huh? Green: power, blue: Cadence, red: HR, and some i'm not sure about.

Mon dieu, c'est deja neuf heure. Je besoin prepare pour une petite soiree cette soir et j'espere que je ne pas dormir trop tard parce que je fait a velo demain matin.

...and that's my french for the past two weeks....i think writing weekly blurbs might be a bit much...but who knows.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Today's race was so incredibly dull for me that even if I had writing juice for the ages flowing through me I could not possibly write an entry with even a shred of interesting content. The legs are good and i'm no longer sick and daylight savvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvings is comin.