je ne sais quoi

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Glendale GP

Every year, the world's worst city for cyclists hosts a bike race -for cyclists. Odd. It's actually in the outskirts of town, but borders another town terrible for bikes: Burbank, so no love lost. I can blog for miles about my experiences in these two cities, but it's nothing you haven't heard before. Just be really careful when riding through these areas...

The crit. Yet another really short 75 minute crit-smash. I folded up my numbers, and got caught. Eh. Didn't throw a fit. All you have to do when you get caught is tell the rider next to you to pretend that he's "fixing" your number, then start. The USCF officiating algorithm is pretty easy to circumvent...just keep it subtle.

We start. Meager field again. High gas prices + $35 entries + small purse= the fields we've been having. I blast off after turn one with one other guy. Felt swell, and wanted to hurt the guys who had already done 2-3 races. Maybe it worked...we stayed up for 3 laps or so, then it came back. Legs felt fine, wanted to really dig off the front, but nothing stuck. Teammates, however, were stellar. Found myself controlling the front more than being off the front of it. Swell job, fellas. Eventually it was altogether, and not before too long (as is the case with these really short ones), 5 to go sounded. Thurlow + 1 got a nice gap. I was envious. 4, 3, 2 to go. I was 5th or 6th wheel, ideal position for the ensuing bunch gallop. Bell lap, i'm good. Did a quick rundown of my legs, and for some reason, my mind wanted to go for it. 1/2 lap to go, I attacked on the outside as the pack slowed a tiny bit...attacked hard...1300 for 10 seconds....and SDBC was right there....gah. Hubris, in large doses. In hindsight, I should have attacked inside...or attacked harder. But, I became the guy keeping the group safely strung out 'till the sprint. Teammate was in the mix, however, and finished 6th. Better result than saturday, we'll take it.

I'm going to win one of these really soon...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Double Crit Weekend

And here's one from right in the middle...

This is the easiest race weekend of the year, because both races are 20 minute bike rides from my house. I'm actually planning on watching the 35+ once i'm done race isn't 'till 3:50pm! Geez.

Yesterday: San Fernando Grand Prix

Old school race, right next to my old high school (Alemany). I remember it being the very first P/1/2/3 race i'd ever done way back when. Same course. Little has changed. Only, there were way fewer people out watching. Maybe the heat? Still, nice scene. Love the bilingual announcing. Small field of 50-60 racers. No big-time guys at all...but a good number of 5-Star guys pretty much sealed the outcome before we even started. Teammates were nice and active from the go, and I countered one of their moves with the first chance I had. Ok. Got a prime, and got lonely out there for a couple laps. It was miserably hot, and the peleton was happy to let me bake a bit. Eventually, I saw C-Walk bridge with one SDBC guy tagging along. Swell! Got into the rotation, and we had a great couple laps 'till the SDBC guy slowed. Walker was irate. He's pretty big on quantifying how many MPH the guy at fault is slowing down the break.

Bordineski and his teammate bridged, and I figured it was game over for the peleton. C-Walk, Bordine, Me...but it got brought back. I wouldn't have chased us if I was in the peleton. So...long story short. The race blew to a million bits. I thought I was mid pack at one point, and looked back and saw nothing. That psyched me out. Drilled it with the little group I was in, and in this madness, a group of 7 formed up the road. Bordine, C-Walk, and not me. Gahh. Head down, let's chase. When I flicked my elbow, there wasn't anyone left behind. OK. Head down again. I can close gaps like this in my sleep. They were maybe 100 meters up the road. Didn't close. Did lots of this:

But...stayed in between the peleton and break 'till the end somehow. Good work, legs. I didn't win, but burned more calories than anyone else, i'm pretty sure. Ended up 8th with a prime. A teammate finished in the last $ spot. That's always good. I'm happy with the race. One side-story. After my first move was brought back, I drifted back a bit to recover. Ok. Found myself last wheel eventually, and come the 180 turn, a guy 2 wheels up from me took it real wide and opened up a slight gap. The guy who's wheel I was on, Raul Frias, whom I know pretty well, looked back...saw that it was me behind him, and sat up. The gap grew from 3 meters to 30 very quick.

Me: "Hey, what? You don't want to race?"
Him: "You remember rosebowl?"

Wow. He was referring to a time at the bowl where I sat on his wheel and didn't chase when a teammate was in the break. We were OFF THE FRONT. Amazing. I put my head down, and closed it, but wow. I'm certain that this was an isolated incident and that Raul never does anything to annoy anyone else in the peleton. Never. Especially not all the time.

Glendale today...should be a daisy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Charity Rides

There are millions of these. Everyone's seen the flyers in the bike shops and the occasional message that finds its way into your inbox asking you to "Help fight Disease X by riding 100 miles!". Ok. I get it. But I don't. If you want to support a cause, then write a check to whatever charity associates itself with it. Why complicate things by pinning numbers? Why dilute the support for the cause by adding the expenses associated with permits and staff and port-a-johns and and and. It just isn't efficient.

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is Getting Old...

In case you haven't noticed...i'm in the middle of one of my worst seasons ever. Not sure what it is exactly. No, scratch that. It's quite obvious, and I guess there isn't a better way to come to terms with myself than with....myself. Here.

France. I'm not there. I race around office parks every weekend. It's really detracted from my [current] enjoyment of the sport a bit. By "it" I mean the exposure I had last year to that swell EU lifestyle. It was just so complementary to my style...but it's done. I continuously have to remind myself that there are CERTAINLY worse places to be than Los Angeles.

So there it is. I've come out with that. I rode the Dana Point GP today and the legs were magic. Incredible course, but the head was shite. Enough. I know I can ride circles around most of these dudes. Just gotta lose that limiter...and think less. I'm ready to start turning it up. COMO MOTOS.